Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ice soloing sixthwater

I have always thought that the hardest thing about winter climbing is finding someone to climb with.   There is special gear and a special attitude to sometimes embrace the occasional adverse weather.  As the season set on Stu and I set out to look for routes. We spent a day in the car on back roads and getting lost on approaches in central utah while following an old book of ice routes that we hoped had begun to form. After 10 hours we came back to Park City after that early day in November mostly empty handed.
One of the routes we had set off to find was called "sixthwater."   It was a hundred foot ice fall known to form just up stream of the popular "fifthwater" hot springs.   Stu and I never found it but a month later I wrangled some partners and tried again.
By this time the weather was colder and the road was closed low in Diamond Fork canyon because of snowfall, lengthening the hike in to the route. Nate, Kat and I parked the car where the road became snow and loaded our packs. We didn't know what to expect so we nearly brought everything.   We followed the canyon 5 miles up to he hot springs then continued on breaking trail in the fresh snow.   After 3 bends in the canyon we came around to find a pristine fall climbing up before us. We climbed one at a time, the difficulty never enough to require ropes or gear.  We rappelled off the route, dipped in the springs and made it back the 5 miles to the car after dark.

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