Thanks for all the years of dedication providing a base line for all subscribers to gauge their own level of acceptable risk, Al. The Ice Report is an awesome tool to have when considering a day out in the mountains winter climbing. Your efforts are appreciated.
Honestly, I think the subtle (sometimes less than) comments I've seen over the last 2-3 years about "you don't know until you go" "you can't tell from the road" and blaming Al for saying something wasn't in, then come to find out, it was freaking stellar blue ice all the way to the top or it was a scratch fest up a climb he said was in and it clearly wasn't. Well those comments are a little immature, my opinion, like it or not. I think the crew that I see leaving these comments need to move on. Hey, maybe even start your own climbing report!
Climbing is a personal endeavor, completely agree Al, and a lot of you other climbers might not have climbed Central gully in the conditions we found this past Saturday, or you would have and just not have roped up and placed screws and rock gear like we did. Was it sketchy climbing? Yup, most definitely, but super fun! I pounded in a snarg (rock skis of of ice climbing) at the first belay, along with a ti russian screw and a tool, we had an anchor. We pitched Central out in two short, and three long pitches and placed rock gear, nuts and a couple cams, BD stubbies and ti-russians all the way up, had a few three point sitting belays...it was a great mountaineering adventure! I had a blast, and since it was my first ice climb in over a year, it felt great managing rope, clipping and placing pro. We made pretty good time despite placing all the gear and pitching it out, as other parties were finishing their respective climbs around the same time and we all walked near along the Alpine Garden.
How many of you have pounded in a snarg in the last 10 years? ha, ha, you're missing out!