Saturday, May 09, 2009

Colorado Ice Climbing Conditions May 09, 2009: Halletts Chimney, Rocky Mountain National Park

Hallett's Chimney from the approach. Fabrizio Zangrilli Photo.

Tom approaching 1st belay.

Even though it is flip flop weather in Boulder, Tom and I headed into RMNP to try Hallett's Chimney, on Hallett Peak. Eli had updated Climbing life and had emailed to say he was going up to try. Unable to wait for a response - which arrived a couple of hours after we left boulder, the day after he tried - we found great conditions on the way to the base. Neither of us had done the route, so looking up we thought it looked a bit snowier than photos we had seen on mountain project - and more interesting. Eli had done a great job tunneling out the first pitch, it was spicy though, all I could think was "I hope he made it to the top of the route, I don't want to tunnel for myself".

Fabrizio leading pitch 1.

Video of Fabrizio starting the first pitch, luckily Tom stopped filming and started belaying.

Fabrizio leading Pitch 2. Avoiding the snice and climbing the rock.

Tom and Fabrizio 2nd Belay

Tom and I had a pleasant day (curiously found myself wanting to nibble reeses pieces though), and made it into the bottom of the fourth pitch in just a few hours, even though it seemed like I took forever on pitches 1 and 2 (I climbed the rock to the right of the ice - as it was not solid looking, neither is the rock it turns out, btw). I tried for a bit to tunnel through the 4th pitch but didn't have the guts, shovel nor desire. We re-rigged the raps on the way down, placing pins and adding alot of webbing, getting off from the top of the third pitch should be easy now. Hopefully the videos and photos give an idea of how much snow there is now compared to when it is normally climbed.

Fabrizio Leading Pitch 4. Just before bailing.

Fabrizio at bottom of 4th pitch.

We will return soon as conditions were "fun", but, if you want an ice route, wait over a month in my estimation. If you want a spicy snice route then email me after you dig out the fourth pitch for us!