Jack River Ice Climb

We were anchored half way up the Jack River ice climb. Grant Wilson belayed Sean Marble, I took pictures, and the sun entered the little window of our canyon. Suddenly, winter felt like spring. A rare moment. A reminder that summer is coming and if you aren’t making plans for it; you’ve already missed it.

January 30th 2021. We left town at something like 6am and were in backcountry skis skiing towards the base of the climb at 8:30am. A snow machine trail is packed down somewhat regularly here, and that made the ~5 mile approach fly by.

Sean led the first pitch with his twin ropes. I followed cleaning one set, then Grant followed cleaning the other. And that is how the three of us came to be on a crammed little ledge basking in the 12pm sunlight. The second half was a bit more challenging. Sean led it as well, being the ice beast he is. Grant followed first, then myself.

Continuing up the canyon a ways, there was a short section of ice that the three of us were comfortable soloing (on the way down we stopped half way and set up a rappel). From here, Sean said you could keep walking the canyon back to the top. Some sheep were spotted on a steep slope further up, but we wouldn’t be bothering them today. We made our descent and skied back to the car in similar fashion to how we had left it this morning: in the dark.

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