Type: Trad, Ice, 100 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 5,461 total · 34/month
Shared By: Leo Paik on Jan 10, 2006
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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This is the name given in [J. Roberts'] guidebook for the popular steep curtain in Loch Vale Gorge. [B. Gillett's] guidebook lists this as Loch Ness Monster. It is located near where the approach trail intersects the cliff. It is popular & later in the season can get enough traffic that finding solid ice to place ice screws can be challenging.

The curtain has an intersting ice cave part way up. The ice cave on the right side offers a place to warm the fingers or depump. The left side of the curtain is less steep. The right side often has nice stemming potential.

Pick a line & enjoy a nice, steep line. Rappel 80+ feet off slung trees above or walkoff far left or far right.


Ice screws.

Toprope Protection

Slings, directional screws.


Shouldn't this be "Loch Vale Monster'? Jan 6, 2006
If anyone knows the real name of this climb, let's correct it. Jan 7, 2006
The name Crystal Meth comes from Rich Page who climbed in this area a lot about 20 years or more ago. That was the name I was told it went by. Just like Mixed Feelings is Mixed Feelings and not Mixed Emotions. Alex told me that in person. As far as I know there is no such a climb with the name of Loch Ness Monster or Loch Vale Monster. Maybe Bernard has more accurate beta than I do but I only print the names that the locals tell me.

Jack Roberts [Eds. due to the more conversation function not working in the ice section, this comment is moved to the Beta Comment section. It does work in the rock routes.] Jan 10, 2006
I'm certain Jack is more in tune with the ice climbing community than I am. I got several names for the climbs in Loch Vale Gorge from Jim Detterline, who had done a couple FAs there, though I was aware that other people had their own names for these routes. I just chose one name for each line, and that's what ended up in my guide.

Regarding Mixed Feelings/Emotions: I knew of the two names for that line, but I seem to recall seeing the name Mixed Emotions in a magazine article about Alex, so I went with that (the magazine likely got it wrong as well; I'm sure Jack is right on this one).

The name Crystal Meth seems to me to be of more recent nomenclature. From a reputable source on the internet, I read this:

  • "Meth" was not a drug of choice through much of the 1970s and 1980s. In the late 1980s, a smokable, crystal form was created, perhaps in Asia, and then surfaced in California in the 1990s.*

Amphetamines have been around for quite some time (speed in the 1960s, and used long before that in medicine and the military); methamphetamine is more recent; but crystal meth is a new kid on the block when compared to the climbs in Loch Vale Gorge. My guess is that the line Jack calls Crystal Meth was climbed well before that name became part of the popular lexicon (it didn't hit California until the 1990s -- maybe Rich was involved in the Asian drug scene, and was able to translate the Asian name into the English name we use today?). I don't doubt that Rich told Jack that he referred to the climb as Crystal Meth, but I'm thinking the name got attached long after the FA of the route. Most likely, the route was done (by whom, I don't know) and no name at all was applied to it. Richard Dumais referred to the entire spate of climbs in what we now call Loch Vale Gorge as "Loch Vale Ice Climbs."

I had Jack's Colorado Ice guide in hand when I was writing the second edition of my guide (i.e. the pair of books published in 2001), and I saw his names, but I surmised -- Jack can tell us whether I was correct or not -- that he just used route names that were familiar to him for the various lines in the gorge. He's gotMo' Flo' Than Go, Mo' Fo', Crystal Highway, Crystal Meth, and Mo' Crystal for the generic climbs that were probably done many years ago, and having heard other names applied to some of these lines, I went with those. If I remember correctly, Loch Ness Monster was a creation of my own (though maybe Jim gave me that one?), as was Lochluster -- I needed names for those routes, and figured the names in Jack's guide weren't original, so mine didn't have to be either. (The use of Mo' to stand for More seemed mo' modern to me than the routes themselves). Also true is that I couldn't tell, based on Jack's descriptions (they are rather terse), which names went with the climbs I was familiar with in the gorge. Thus I struck out on my own and had to use some of my own names.

So, Jack, are the names that include the word "Mo'" of your creation so that you could attach a name to formerly unnamed climbs, or are they original?

To ac's suggestion: I doubt anyone knows the true name of this climb, because I'd guess it never had one until guidebook writers like Jack and me needed to attach a name to the climb. Happens more frequently than you might think. My grandmother used to call The Spearhead (in Glacier Gorge) The Pinnacle in the early 1900s when she was a member of the CMC; it didn't receive its official USGS-sanctioned name until 1923. Since almost none of the names we climbers use for our routes and rocks are recognized by the USGS, you're always going to find a variety of names attached to various features depending on whom you talk to, especially if you start talking to non-climbing locals. (More along that line if you want it: I recently spoke with an old timer who used to run MacGregor Ranch when climbing was just getting going on Lumpy Ridge. He said they used to call the three formations at the west end of Lumpy Ridge "The Old Witch," and he seemed put off that we call them The Needle, Sundance Buttress, and Sundance West (only The Needle is a USGS name). Those old timers will give you an earful about the names they hold dear when someone goes and changes them... Oldtimer: So, anyway, we head over to Jimtown, and... Me: You mean Jamestown, above the old Balarat mine? Oldtimer: It's Jimtown, NOT Jamestown!!!)

OK, I think we can log this under the category of "I had this crazy dream last night..."=======[Eds. due to the more converation function not working in the ice section, this comment is moved to the Beta Comment section. It does work in the rock routes.] Jan 10, 2006
Greg Sievers
Bozeman, MT
Greg Sievers   Bozeman, MT
I just stumbled on this string.
When we climbed all these lines in 1987, I only heard one name for any of them - Mixed Feelings. All the rest were just mini ice routes as far as I ever knew. I spoz we did refer to the 'steep column', the 'leaning tree' (it was a new deadfall in those days), and 'the mixed thing in the middle'. LOL Feb 11, 2009