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First In Line Etiquette Question, aka Early Ice Season Shenanigans
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By Jon H
From Boulder
Oct 10, 2012
At the matching crux

Climb Rock Ice wrote:
So, here's my story: In July (two years ago), I decided it was time to climb Huntington Ravine on Mt. Washington in NH. I read up on the deets, selected my rack, laid out my clothes, and waited. In November (of last year), I read on in the great hive mind interwebs that the ice might sorta be coming in up there. Well, since I live in Maine, I knew I had to get up super super early to get there, do the hike in, and get to the route. So I set my alarm for 1AM and went to bed. I didn't tell my wife or child so they wouldn't worry about me climbing super thin, dangerous early season ice. Why should they worry about me; it's better just to sneak out in the middle of the night. The guy up the street from me climbs ice every once in a while too, so when my alarm went off, I snuck out of my house and then snuck into his to turn off his alarm. You know, just in case. I think his wife might have seen me, and I figured she'd probably tell my wife and the gig would be up, so I grabbed some food out of their fridge and hit the road. I was not the first car in the lot, but there's an AMC hut there and the other cars had frost on the windshields. I deflated their tires just in case, grabbed my stuff, and hit the trail. When I got into Huntington Ravine, I passed the Hut there that people sometimes sleep in. I quietly closed the hasp on the front door and slipped a stick in it so they couldn't catch me on the trail, and then sped up to the route. And I got there first. Ha! Only problem was that I had neglected to bring a partner and I had only ever TRed. On rock. No matter, I wasn't about to let silly experience (or a lack of gear) stop me now after all I'd done to get here first! So, with a carpenter's hammer in one hand (waffle faced) and an ice pick in the other (remember never to defrost your freezer with an ice pick), I set out. By the second pitch, I realized there wasn't any actual ice on the route so I put away my tools and just climbed. On the school bus belay, I put in a bomber anchor and had a drink. Well, I must have spilled some water on my hand because when I grabbed the eye bolt I was using as an ice screw, my hand froze to it and I was stuck. I couldn't unscrew it thanks to the angle and I couldn't get my hand off without removing all the skin, and I'm partial to the nerves in my hand so I didn't want to do that. I'm not a criminal who needs to destroy fingerprints! I sat there for a long time thinking. After about 45 seconds, I started screaming and yelling. After another 10 or even 15 seconds I started crying and blubbering, which didn't help at all since it just froze my eyes open when the tears hit my cheeks. Then someone yelled back from the ridge. After choking back tears, I yelled what had happened and the guy -- I think I had snaked him in the parking lot -- brilliantly suggested I piss off. Of course! So, with my free hand, I pulled up my climbing kilt (they're awesome, btw) and urinated on my other hand, releasing it from it's frozen spot. I survived that epic climb thanks to the kindness of a stranger, and I think it's all about mountain karma and all the good I've done. No one should be upset with me for getting to the route first, since I earned it (clearly). I always pick up trash when I'm hiking (well, if it's not gross or sticky and I remember to bring a rubber glove and trash bag) and my life has been saved by a stranger. I know I will always remember that day, and even retelling it here gets me teary-eyed, which is a little painful on those spots where my cheeks got frost bite. See? Everyone should just get along. I didn't have to resort to leaving notes or calling people names on the interwebs, did I? No. I say we just all climb and be peaceful and get along.


Welp, this thread is over. Doesn't get much better than this.

Move along folks, nothing to see. Show's over!


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