The lottery wall

The Lottery Wall


The Lottery Wall has handed us another payout as we go for a possible new line on north side of the wall. A day after climbing Mean Streak, Tanner Callender, Stephen Berwanger and I are still as giddy as school kids. My Bucket List is getting shorter and life is getting better, so I must be doing something right.

Aaron Mulkey psyched on the valley as usual

Aaron Mulkey, psyched on the valley as usual.

It’s November 9th and I have climbed ice on 21 days since September 21st. Everything is looking like it’s the ultimate year for ice climbing across the country. The stoke is incredibly high in the ice climbing community, with some inspiring new lines being put up across the Rocky Mountains. It will be a “Big Year.”

We awaken with no thought of how tired we might be. We concentrate only on the cool new line we spotted the day before. It’s rally time.


Upwards. Classic South Fork style

Upwards. Classic South Fork style.

Stephen Berwanger and Aaron Mulkey scrambling to the base

Stephen Berwanger and Aaron Mulkey scrambling to the base.

“Get out of the truck and hike straight up” seems to be the common theme this week as we ascend toward the vein of ice striking down the blank wall above. We climb up some low angle ice to the base of a gorgeous pillar. Unfortunately for me, I’m last in the rotation for leads today, and Tanner takes the sharp end.


Tanner getting his turn

Tanner, getting his turn.

Tanner enjoying the first pitch

Tanner, enjoying the first pitch.


Im still jealous Tanner got to this pitch

I’m still jealous Tanner got this pitch.

Pitch One leads to a belay below a large, wet curtain of ice. Pitch Two turned out to be a bit shorter than we had hoped, but we were not complaining.

Stephen Berwanger gets his turn on yet another great pitch

Stephen Berwanger gets his turn on yet another great pitch.


After two pitches, we reached a large bench and were able to see the last pitch of ice. From below the 3rd pitch, it looked to be decent size, but it ended up being short. We scrambled above the 3rd pitch a ways, but there was nothing else and we were pretty much at the top of the mountain. We rapped off V-threads and an unfortunately small boulder. Lucky for us, the boulder proved to be heavier than it looked.

um guys I think its good...

Um, guys, I think it’s good…

Another great day of climbing and the Valley just keeps giving us the goods!

I can never get enough of this place

I can never get enough of this place.