Monday, January 31, 2011

Mt. Distin, January 2011

(above) Mt. Distin.  The quintessential foothill of the Kigs taken from Grub Gulch."Distin Bluff" (Pt. 1129) is the little knob visible in the distance at the left edge of photo.  Silver Creek is the little drainage coming in under the Bluff from the left.  The boat in the foreground is like Hemingway's leopard;  no one has explained what it was seeking at this altitude.

ICE REPORT;  By New Year's, the Thanksgiving ice had dissipated into a thin film.  Gone was the nouveau-art skirts of cellophane, only a single layer of seran wrap remained, not so much fun for climbing.  But then, in early January, a refresh:  there came a night of freezing rain.  The snow draped on the hillsides had become saturated, then flash frozen.  The white-covered world was once again become an ice climb.

      The glue of town was viscous, VISCOUS!  But we made it out...  

(above) The Bluff, (Pt. 1129) Ryan, at the base of the bluff, between Silver Creek and Steep Creek, on the shores of Goldbottom.  I wonder what the miners called this formation?  We're about an hour's ride from town.  Minutes earlier, coming down the icy slope above his left shoulder in the photograph, Ryan's machine briefly qualified as an uncontrolled projectile.   On went my crampons upon leaving the machines, and my footing was happy for them.  Ryan motored back to town to work one of his many jobs.

(above)  Looking down Silver Creek.  Believe it or not, that right-hand wall in the photo sports a tiny scampering little 60 ft. nothing dribble-climb of water ice.  I was so jonesing for ice, I pounced on the scrap, like a Brit licking candy wrappers from the trash bags. 
(above)  Bluff, from high in Silver Creek.  In the distance, Bear Mountain, over by Banner Creek, along with the ubiquitous lentiforms overhead in flying-saucer mode.  I completed the trifecta of Silver Creek/Distin summit/Bluff by squeezing in a route on the Bluff at the end of the day, in darkness, to complete a damn-near perfect day in the mountains. 
(above)  Metamorphic clifflets at the very head of Silver Creek.  Some fine mixed bouldering times up here, a new little place...  It was right about here I realized I had stumbled upon a sacred day, a day to end all days, a day where you could have climbed anything in the Kigs had you had the good sense to get there in time...  RAW power of Earth thickly eddying at the ground interface, the tricky moon literally emerging from out of the summit of Mt. Distin like an emerging egg--  the climbing is everywhere, everywhere is climbing, mostly daggers, piolet panne and poignard, and now the sublime crampon to the summit, with the supreme panorama of the Kigluaitch all bathed in sunset and mauve, for which my camera stopped functioning.
(above) approaching Distin summit, January 16, 2011.  That's not really snow in the picture, it's pretty much a sheet of ice.  Fifth time to the summit, I think, in addition to many more trips and peeing expeditions to this area.
(above)  This silly map shows S:  Snow machine, B: Bluff, and C: Cliffs at Silver Creek.  As you can see, Distin is just a hill, but by making things very difficult for yourself by taking the hard way at every turn, and bouldering hard on every rock, and contorting and flexing and hooking as high off the ground as you dare at every opportunity, you can actually pretend like you are doing the real thing.