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Great White Icicle

January 10, 2011

Jeremy and I attempted to climb the Great White Icicle in Little Cottonwood Canyon over a month ago, but only climbed one pitch due to the abundance of liquid water on the route.

We climbed the route this weekend under much better conditions.  This was our first experience climbing multipitch ice and it went well.  Jeremy led the whole route, which I was thankful for.

I usually don’t write a lot about the actual nature of the routes that I climb because I think that can be boring and I’m more interested in sharing my experience than I am in sharing the technical aspects of a climb.  However, I know that some people read these posts just for the beta so I’ll try to share something useful this time.

This route is usually described as being four pitches, but in terms of length it’s really more like six pitches.  We climbed it in four but we had to simulclimb some sections in the middle.  The first pitch is a short section of fairly steep ice followed by a long snow ramp, which we simulclimbed.

Placing a screw on pitch one. Photograph by Jacob B.

The second pitch is probably the easiest part of the climb because there is no vertical ice.  It ends at another snow ramp and a bolted belay.

At the base of pitch two. Photograph by Jacob B.

The third pitch was the steepest part of the route and very long.  We skipped a bolted belay and simulclimbed for about 30 feet to the anchors at the base of the last vertical section.

Jeremy and his unbuckled helmet at the base of pitch three. Photograph by Jacob B.

The fourth pitch can sometimes be climbed up a vertical curtain, but it wasn’t completely formed so we traversed on steep ice for 15 feet and climbed blocky ice to the top.  The ice was thin at the top-out and there was a fair amount of running water.  Jeremy belayed off a tree at the top and we followed footprints to the west and hiked down a gully.

Me at the third pitch anchors. Photograph by Jeremy H.

Jeremy at the last set of anchors before the last pitch, shot from above. Photograph by Jacob B.

The Great White Icicle is a relatively easy route that gets climbed all the time (we saw eight other climbers), but it was a new experience for us.  It was a humbling experience, not because we had any trouble on the route, but because we were exposed to a beautiful and daunting environment.

Jeremy starting the descent. Photograph by Jacob B.

One Comment leave one →
  1. jesse manscill permalink
    January 11, 2011 3:29 pm

    Stunning. Well done jakob, I am proud of you!

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