I decided to take an ice climbing class in the Catskills Saturday. This would serve as a re-introduction to roped climbing (it's been 30 years), harnesses, and some more technical aspects of winter travel.
I met my instructor, Justin, and another student, Steve, at the little EMS in New Paltz at 8am. A quick gear check and harness fitting later and we were on our way to Kaaterskill Falls. Compare that picture to the summer picture here with info on the falls.
We started the day by getting familiar with our gear, axe technique, some knots and crampon technique. Soon Justin headed up the lower falls to set our anchor. After he returned I volunteered to head up first. With more muscle than technique I chopped and kicked my way quickly to the top. The view across the middle pool to the upper falls was inspiring . It was primarily a frozen tube of water and would be a great climb for the more experienced. Looking back down at our group I began my first rappel since high school. Fun stuff ! Turns were taken all morning with tips and techniques interjected.
After a quick lunch break in the sun we had fun creating a long slide in deep snow to practice self arrest. The afternoon was more instruction and climbing on different sections of the lower falls (that's me standing up in the middle ).
All in all a perfect day of instruction and climbing with good people in a perfect setting.