Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Trip Report: When Mother Nature Sends Ice...Go Ice Climbing!

I don't tune my skis.
I don't know why, but I have been thinking about it a lot lately.
Trying to figure out why I choose the challenge of dull edges instead of razor sharp 3 degree tunes that can slice your palm open if you carry them wrong.
Been there, Done that.

It has definitely changed my technique - but also how I look at the mountain.

Since Christmas, the skiing in Vermont had been solid.
Don't get me wrong, I love fast and hard in all facets of life.
But when mother nature brings ice,
One should go ice climbing!!

And that is why I ski with dull edges.
Because it forces my very narrowly focused ski brain
To look to what else Vermont has to offer in the winter.
And since I know what locked on edges feel like,
I am convinced that I know when my axes are solidly in the ice.
Well, I am trying to convince myself of that anyways.

I am a horrible ice climber.
I am petrified of heights,
Have absolutely no trust in the system - no matter who sets it up,
My forearms are straining to swing the axe into the ice
My legs are shaking from trusting two tiny little points stuck in the ice

Why this is scarier than one long slice of metal holding me vertical on something like Ovation or Double Dipper on a slide for life kind of day, I have no idea.

It just is.

Not the Boyfriend though.
He can find the zen in the tying of knots into systems and anchors,
Into trusting his life to a rope connected to a screw in the ice.
Gently placing his axe onto the tiniest ledge, he rocks his axe a little bit to ensure its solid and pulls himself up.

But then it is my turn.
Taking a deep breath,
I lean into what feels like an impenetrable wall of ice and cast my first swing.
My life becomes simplified.
Nothing exists except the rhythm of the climb.
A swing.
Then another.
Now the left foot.
Then my right.
Then I stand up from my crouched position and reach upward again.

There is nothing.
Nothing but me, my axes and the wall of ice.
She is my bitch.
i kick her.
I hit her with axes.
And then I do it again.
And Over.
I look up to check my route and keep moving,
Like spiderman with crazy sharp things sticking out of me.
There is nothing.
Nothing but me, my axes and the wall of ice,

I killed it!!
For the first time in my life, I actually killed it on the ice!
It could have been because the ice was soft
Or whatever...who cares?
I found the zen!!
I was able to push my fear out of my mind,
To clear the mechanism and focus solely on the task at hand.

Kinda like tree skiing,
Where a turn of the head in the wrong direction,
A split second where you think how awesome you are
instead of about what you are doing.
I was focused!!
(which if you know me at all, if a miracle in and of itself!)

Even if it was just a little bit,
For one ascent, one climb, one day
For one small moment in time,
i was an ice climber!

I doubt that the next time will be so easy,
Or that i will find myself in the zone as easily
But I was there,
I bit off a piece of greatness.

And the shit eating grin?
Yeah, I was glowing.


Can we do this with skis on our backs now?

May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,

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