Tracey navigating the ice column
For the second year running, Pauline and I went to Munising for the annual ice climbing festival. This time, Mike, Chuck, Roger and Tracey came with us. And this time, we ditched our camping plans. It was far too cold for a comfortable pitch – even we’re not that crazy. With windchill, temperatures went down to -30 degrees F, or -34 degrees C if you will. Well, we did have some shelter from the wind where we climbed, but -34 degrees C carry more bragging rights yah?
Before I forget, I need to publicly thank Angela for her super early (about 4-5 months in advance) birthday gift of a thermos flask. It was MAGNIFICENT! Pauline and Tracey each brought a thermos too, but within hours, their contents were ice cold – Pauline’s coffee became slushy. My thermos however, worked beautifully. The hot chocolate was still PIPING HOT at the end of the day. Don’t know what we would have done without it… finish my hip flask of whiskey I guess. 🙂
– We took part in a raffle in the evening “show and tell” (sponsored athletes sharing their crazy-ass mountaineering photos and stories) and Mike and I both won. He won a synthetic jacket from Patagonia ($265) and I won the last raffle of the evening, a Gregory ISO day pack ($99). Hehe, of course I was psyched. Before the draw, I kept saying, I’d love a backpack, or a pair of mittens (which, incidentally, I think are waay better than gloves. It’s helluva difficult to jam your fingers in).
– I somehow managed to bust my knees again. Both of them. Bleah. The short but super steep trails up to the climbs were hard on them I guess. At least I could still climb though. But I think I need to start getting serious about treating them. My Colorado ski trip is up in two weeks. Bleah.
– It was so cold, the ice was brittle. We almost always had to hack a few times before the ice stopped shattering and the picks caught. But I think we’ve got the hang of it. I’m hoping that I get to go again before the season’s over. Pauline might be going in a couple weeks, but that’s when I’d be in Colorado. Aye. Maybe the weekend of the 24th? That’s my only open window for a while.
– It was great to finally meet Kami again, after so many missed attempts. She invited us out to climb early this morning, and offered to show us how to set up top ropes with the ice screws. Unfortunately, all six of us slept through our alarm clocks. Yes, all three alarm clocks. Bleah.
– Lake Superior was frozen over. Solid. There were rows of ‘out houses’ half a mile out on the lake itself, ice fishing sheds more like. After climbing on Saturday, Chuck, Mike and I braved the stinging snow and wind and walked out onto the ice to take pictures. There was a couple who were folding up their makeshift shed (which was actually nice and toasty since they had a propane heater turned on), so we ventured over to look at their catch. That was pretty cool. I’ve always wanted to try ice fishing. Doubt I’d have the patience, but it would have been fun to try at least once. 😉
The ice fishermen dragging their portable ice shanty
Mike by an ice fishing hut
Just to give you an idea of the conditions…
Tracey looking very cold
Look at all the snow…