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Thread: Ice and a Sunset-Giant's East Face: 2014 December 7

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mudrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Lake Placid Area

    Ice and a Sunset-Giant's East Face: 2014 December 7

    • East Face Solo Climb 2013

    The hunt was on; we wanted ice not wind blown snow like many of the faces seemed to be. This included the slides of the western aspect of Giant (Eagle, Diagonal, Bottle). Upon arrival, we found our target was entombed in consolidated snow and ice – perfect.

    I wanted to climb a different route through the ledges than 2013, so we searched for options. It took less than an hour to descend. Once at the bottom, we looked up and spotted the ideal line. The East Face changes aspect to the southeast at an obvious seam – the primary drainage and steepest area of the face. Most of the stone to the left of the seam was covered in ice.

    Brittle snow and low-angled ice – some only a fraction of an inch thick – made the initial climb fun and warmed us for the main event. It was a dramatic stage, set in the shadow of Giant. The sun had already fallen behind the southeastern ridge though it was only 2 pm. Some gusty winds that accompanied our ascent, subsided as we neared the wall.

    NP on the southern tributary of the slide before our descent.

    NP led the way up tiers of ice to the bottom of the real climb. The tiers were the first steps of a nearly 100-foot pitch of sustained climbing with a couple short nearly vertical sections. As an experienced ice-climber, he rated it later as WI3. I shot video while he buried his axes into the ice. When my turn came the problems of life melted away. All my attention was on the axes and the front-points of the crampons.

    Are there longer and more challenging ice climbs? Absolutely. This type of outing doesn’t appeal to everyone. It’s all about the setting; the challenge of getting to the location and then climbing in total isolation. For me, it offers freedom, expression and beauty.

    NP was comfortably seated in a pocket of snow when I crested the wall. After watching the clouds drift up Rocky Peak Ridge, it took another hour to traverse south to the center of the slide and bushwhack the 450 feet to the summit.

    Icy seam of the east and southeast faces.

    Above, NP on approach; Below, NP resting about 3/4 of the way up.

    Kevin nearing the top of the 80' pitch.

    The sun was setting over the distant High Peaks as we crested the ridge. The landscape was lit in an array of colors and contrasting shadows; long shadows of a late afternoon sun. Wisps of vapor rose from the valley up the western cirque and crested the ridge diffusing the light as they swirled past – the sunset surpassed any I’ve seen to date.

    The outing turned out to be nearly perfect in every way--weather, ice quality and duration. I haven't been as active as over the summer and with plans for longer outings, this gave me an idea of my fitness. Bring on the winter!

    May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.
    Full list of trip reports, photo galleries, mosaics & video at:

  2. #2
    Senior Member eddie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Colden from Marcy Dam pre-Irene
    Nice report and alternative climbing route. Great sunset photos too.

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