Minnesota’s World Cup Training Structure

This past weekend my sister Kendra and I createdFile_000(2) a UIAA regulation height speed ice climbing structure.  The structure is 32 feet high, 3 feet wide, and around 600 lbs.

We constructed the wood structure on the ground and hauled it into place using a 7:1 pulley system.  Hauling the structure into the tree was definitely the most challenging part of the project.  We are already training on the structure for the 2016 Ice Climbing World Cup and can’t wait for the first competition this December in Bozeman Montana and then in South Korea, France, Italy, Romania and Russia!

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Climb UP!

This past weekend Kendra and I traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the Climb UP! Event hosted by Down Wind Sports. Friday afternoon we joined several locals from Marquette at the AAA Walls for a cleanup and some climbing.  The AAA walls is a collection of a couple 30-40 foot walls that offer sport and trad climbing.  The cleanup went really fast, so we got in lots of climbing!

On Saturday we met about 40 other people for a day of climbing at Silver Mountain which is located at the western base of the Keweenaw peninsula. Silver Mountain is a gem among midwest climbing.  The rock quality is fantastic, the routes are varied and interesting, and there are multipitch routes!

On Sunday, Kendra and I along with our friends Jon Jugenheimer and Erol went to Norwich Ledge.  It is an obscure cliff that is 200 feet tall and maybe a mile long with only 4 documented routes!  Kendra and i had never been there, but Arrow had hiked into the top before, and Jon had scoped the cliff from the road.  It was going to be a day of adventure!
After a little bit of scrambling around at the top of the cliff, we found the rap anchors and rappelled to the bottom with a single 60m rope and had several feet of rope to spare.  We scoured the cliff for the best lines to climb.  Jon and Erol decided on the route Book of Saturdays.  Kendra and I decided to try to put up a new route  a little left of the center of the cliff.  Our prospective route didn’t turn out too well.  There wasnt very much gear to be had, and I wasn’t willing to run it out as far as was needed, so I backed of and we searched around for another climb.  Eventually we decided on an easy looking route near the southern end of the cliff.  It ended up being a two pitch  5.7 R with some fun moves and refreshing but moderate runoutes. When we were near the top of the cliff, Jon and Erol came over to find us having successfully climbed their route.  What an amazing cliff!  It has some height to it which can be difficult to find in the midwest, has beautiful scenery, and a remote feeling due to the lack of climbing traffic.

We named the route the Stritch Route in honor of the easy adventure climbs from the early 20th century.

Remote First Ascents in Michigan

On Monday the weather was fantastic No chance of rain. The bug forecast on the other hand was horrible. It called for large clouds of gnats. We hiked into the top of the cliff via a spur trail to the North Country trail and rapped down the rappel line on the east end of the cliff. Once at the bottom, the real work began. Our task was to fid a new unclimbed line to the top. Normally that might be easy, but this cliff has a few sections of crappy rock and large sections of crackless roofs that look nearly impossible to protect wit trad gear. We walked almost the entire nearly 2 mile long cliff and decided upon a nice looking weakness with a few slabby sections that looked to go at 5.6. We scrambled up to the bottom of the route. After flaking out the rope, both Kendra and I decided that the route looked very familiar. After a few minutes of discussion we decided that it was The Stritch Route which is the first route we put up on the cliff in September the year before. After a little bit of disappointment, we decided to go for our second choice for a new route which is a couple hundred feet east of The Stritch Route.

The route starts out on a steep but less than vertical face that feels a little insecure. The first pitch ends on a small ledge to the left of the obvious vegetated crack and just under a small roof. The second pitch goes up the vegetated crack and traverses out left on small foot ledges to a ledge which creates the roof above the first belay. Due to a lack of good protection on the ledge the pitch continues to the left side of the ledge and up a small groove through brush and eventually to a vegetated ledge. Be careful with rope drag on this pitch due to the 30 foot horizontal traverse. From the second belay, head up the grungy groove and eventually up some easy slabs to the trees in the forest.

All three pitches of the route are fairly short due to rope drag and lack of other places to belay. As the route is climbed and cleaned up, it may become easier to do the route in less pitches.

Urushiol 5.8 PG13 3 short pitches
May 30th 2016 Carter Stritch, Kendra Stritch, Samantha Glowacki