Day 3 Down…and Tomorrow: Suffering

06 Feb 13
Pre Climb

A great day multipitch guiding on the “Standard Route” at Frankenstein. We practiced guiding two and three clients, minding the rope, managing the rope, trying NOT to kill passersby with icefall, and the like. I almost failed the latter skill one pitch up when I swing into a bulge and dislodged a microwave-sized chunk of ice which then fell towards another guide’s client and missed him by six inches. Phew–that would’ve been messy.

We threw down the morning guide meeting in the parking lot, which turned out to be pretty casual. Tomorrow will be another story. More on this in a sec.


A good buddy from Boulder, Chris Burk, dutifully belaying another candidate on the Standard Route. Great, fat pitch of ice up to a comfortable belay.

Mid Climb

Silas Rossi discussing the finer style points of ice guiding with two candidates.

One thing that separates ice guiding from the rock environment is the ability to have followers climb different terrain simultaneously. Typically on a rock route both followers climb the same route, but wide, fat flows like the Standard Route allow people to tackle different parts of the same climb. As a guide you’re trying to provide protection so that each person gets a fun pitch, while being safe from pendulums and falling ice.


Another candidate finishing the second pitch of the Standard Route. He’s traversed climber’s left so he’s not raining ice down on his clients as he kicks his feet and plants his ice tools. Now he’ll bring up his clients simultaneously, coaching them on where and when to climb.

Today’s grovel factor was pretty low, just a little wind, some flowing water (no sweat–literally–thanks to my Rab Stretch NeoShell!), and temps in the 20s. Tomorrow, however, the sadistic meteorologists at NOAA say we’re in for a high of 8F. Yes, that’s a HIGH of eight degrees, Fahrenheit. Ouch. Crack out the toe heaters and the heavier boots–my beloved LaSportiva Nepal Extremes. I’ll bring my puffy pants, too–pics to follow.

We’re hoping to get high on Mount Willard tomorrow, via one of the gullys–there are plenty. If we survive the cold I’ll post pics tomorrow eve. Check back to see the pain and suffering!

Lastly, I’d like to show you a somewhat shocking image of young Mike Arnold, IFMGA aspirant guide and apprentice in the dark arts of alpinism. Upon returning to our condo Mike had a complete breakdown of self-discipline. I believe the pic speaks for itself. He’s currently in diabetic shock on his bed, quaking like a terrified little vole. He’s in the lower right-hand corner, with a slightly paranoid look on his face. It was just as his post-binge symptoms began. Sleep tight, friends.

arnold binge

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