Friday, March 5, 2010

Ayasayuk Iterations

i take full responsibility for trespassing.   

Below is a comparison.  The upper picture is from 2 weeks ago, year 2010, and the lower one is from, uh, 2002 perhaps.  It is a quarry:  the idea here is that humans must keep blasting the climbs out of existence so that they only exist any longer in the mind's eye.  Am I to be prosecuted?  What cliff, i say,  what ice?  

I so apologize for putting this person in there, this image seemed to give the best resolution of the ice:  the longish thinnish looking one in the center of photo was a pitch of WI 3+ with a short pillar section.  First Iteration Right.

Circa 2002.  First Iteration Right is at center of the photo.  It was as ephemeral as it was ephemeral.
       In Fall of 2001 or thereabouts, Mikey Lean and I drove out there after school and I got up the pitch.  Up top, I made a sitting belay on a frozen pool anchored to equalized willow tips.  Down in the darkness, Mikey thrashed and struggled and panted.  With a blood-curdling scream, she exploded off a little overhanging bulge.  I was pulled from my stance and skated on my butt toward the edge which I found myself suddenly looking down.  Mikey appeared to be cratering, but it was only her headlamp off her helmet.  I glanced back and the tiny ropes of the willow branches were completely taut as Mikey dangled in space, rotating like Dr. Jonathan Hemlock.
        The lefthand flows in the picture were easier.  I remember various climbs of these spaced over a few years, (before quarrying resumed to build the new port of Nome,) some solo, some with partners, including Paul LaBolle, longtime Nomen, who reports making an early ascent of the Cape Nome ice somewhere in the haze of the eighties or nineties.  Was Paul's the first ascent?  Did Paul climb an earlier iteration? (He couldn't remember if the climbs had changed from when he first climbed it.)  Even when the blasting started up again, the lefthand flows continued to exist a few years after the center pillar was destroyed.
       Like the year O A.D., the appellation "First Iteration" is relevant only to one person's personal reference,   there were undoubtedly earlier iterations of the cliff / aquifer system which only the old-timers remember.  It's just my little thingy:  if I come upon evidence of earlier iterations, I'm going to have to assign them negative ordinals.

  Unidentified climber on some random smear of Ayasayuk ice nestled in the folds and faults of space and time and slices of preCambrian orthogneiss.  We are used to the ice morphing and changing with each year, but the stone?

The mysterious Pig Man

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