Sunday, January 9, 2011

Madison Gulf Ice - 12/18/2010

It was mid-December and our options felt limited. Frankenstein Cliff and all the other usual crags were in marginal condition and neither one of us felt like dealing with the crowds in Huntington Ravine. Then Courtney suggested Madison Gulf. With five miles and 4000 vertical feet to cover on the approach, we could count on having the place to ourselves and, with its decent altitude, the Gulf seemed like a safe bet to find some fat ice. So, without a guide book or recent conditions report we set out on the Valley Way to have an adventure.

Now we're getting somewhere:

A shoulder of Mount Adams comes into view:

Mount Madison catches the morning sun:

A brisk day to be above treeline:

Madison Gulf Trail plunges off the edge:

Photo by Courtney Ley

Downward through unbroken snow, this trail sees sparse use in the winter:

Photo by Courtney Ley

The ice comes into view to our right:

Photo by Courtney Ley

The entry fee:

Photo by Courtney Ley
Almost there:

Wildcat and Carter Notch to the East:

Courtney leads the first pitch:

With many options, we're able choose a line to suit our desired difficulty:

Photo by Courtney Ley

Some easy terrain:

Photo by Courtney Ley
As well as some moderately steep stuff:

Photo by Courtney Ley
View over to Mount Madison:

Photo by Courtney Ley
Some dork at the last anchor:

The walk off at the top takes you through this. Don't forget to put your hood up!

Finally home free on the Buttress Trail:

Photo by Courtney Ley

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