Sometimes, you know what you should do, even if it doesn’t make any “sense.” Thursday and Friday were good days at work, but I pushed it past 5pm last night to finish a few things out for the week. I’ve felt over the cold that’s been slowing me down, and knew that there would be some good snow coming my way this weekend, but by Friday night I still didn’t have plan to make good use of a perfectly good Saturday. I ended up telling a friend about all the fun I had in Bozeman, I suddenly realized just to do with today. I could have called a partner, I could have gone to the gym, but similar to my experience in Hyalite in December, I knew I was ready for another ice solo. Saturday would be a red rope day.
Last weekend, Drew and I had reflected on solo ice climbing- the clean minimalism, the quiet, the focus. You don’t need much. I probably still take more than most, but the thing that I notice most about my solo kit is my red Sterling 7mm tag line for rappelling off. It’s light, long enough (75m) to give me plenty of space to play, and packs down small- it’s all I really need. Harness, tools, pons, helmet, puffy coat, and the red rope- clean and simple.
I made sure I got enough sleep, brewed a great espresso, and packed my kit quickly. A shout out to Graham and the Cilogear crew, the 30L Ballistic worksack is the perfect bag for almost any day in the mountains. I told my roommate where I was headed and got a move on. The anticipation put an extra bounce in my step, and I knew I was in for something good.
I don’t like rallying my car up the road into Finley Creek, but I feel badly about making partners walk an extra 1.5 miles to get to the goods. On my own, it seemed like a perfect opportunity for some cardio. Metallica might be the most loved music by climbers (how many route names can you think of that are Metallica songs?), and the Black album powered a very quick trip up the road from where I left the car. 35 minutes of hard effort earned my first views of the route from the trail, and 15 minutes later I was catching my breath at the base. Weedeater is WI2+/3-, well within my abilities for soloing, and is in FAT at the moment. Soloing is a binary activity, if I don’t feel 100%, then I go home, but there was no doubt in my head and I headed up. Calm, controlled (and fun!) climbing in perfect weather. Just what I was looking for.
I rapped off, took another lap with the rappel line as a backup, and then headed over to say hello to a few other folks out enjoying the day. Respects paid, I was psyched on my climb and psyched on meeting new folks- I made very fast time back to the car. It felt so good just to play- hiking, climbing, running around this amazing little canyon just 35 minutes drive from my house. I love red rope days.