Monday, February 3, 2014

Ice, ice baby!

You know how you wait in the waiting room to see your doctor and then they finally call you into your room where you will visit with the doctor only to wait there too, until he/she finally comes in to actually find out why you are there? Well, sometime in December, I was at my doctors office waiting in my exam room after having waited in the waiting room, I decided to look at some pictures he had up instead of the "look-how-much-more-beautiful-and-perfectly-shaped-they-are-than-the-rest-of-the-population-and-look-how-horrible-she-looks-without-make-up-and-photoshop-and-find-out-how-many-more-unmentionable-things-someone-else-in-hollywood-did" magazines.

It was one of those digital frames that changes through pictures ever 30 seconds or so and it was packed full of ice climbing photos.

When I finally got to see my doctor, I took the moment between making excuses that he was sorry it took so long and looking over the answers I had given the nurse so that he could ask me the same questions, to inquire if that was him doing the ice climbing in the photos.

His face brightened and he replied, "Ya. I go 3 or more times a week."

I proceeded to tell him how crazy he was for doing so and explaining that we had been watching some ice climbers at the local Bridal Veil Falls and thought it was really awesome to watch some one climbing ice like that, but I would never want to actually do it!

He got excited to see my interest and informed me of a big ice climbing festival that would be happing the end of January that his friend was putting on for the first year here in Utah.

We only live a 10 minute drive from Bridal Veil Falls, so when I told Marc about the festival he was so excited that something so epic was coming so close to us. Marc has been into rock climbing and learning more about it for a while now. So when I told him about the ice climbing festival, he was soon looking online to research ice climbing and anything about it.

This last Friday afternoon we went to check out what was going to be the Bridal Veil Falls Ice Climbing Festival. We just happened to meet up with some of the climbers and the owner of Bridal Veil Falls that were outside getting things situated and finalized before the big day. We were brave enough to talk to them and learned that they were having beginner ice climbing clinics with all the gear rental for $15!

I don't know where my logic went but I do know excitement and adventure got invited in and for the next 3 hours all I could think about was how awesome it was going to be to ice climbing on one of the falls that I had grown up seeing year after year!

We got there early in the morning to make sure we were there early enough to get some gear and get up there ASAP.

When I walked into the tent I felt like I had just walked into one of the many documentaries that Marc has watched about climbing Everest... it was like, "Here's the real adventure! This is it!" The tent was full on one side with climbing boots and helmets. The other side was packed with volunteers, crampons, and ice picks. I couldn't believe I was about to put all this stuff on and participate in something I NEVER thought I would do!

Here's Marc with the owner of Bridal Veil Falls and (ironically) one of his former bosses, Dave... small world we live in!

I was giddy as I laced up my climbing boots and giggling as I put on my helmet that just sat at the top of my head and made me look safe in a funny way. I kept turning to Marc, "Can you believe we are going to do this? We are going to try ice climbing!" Marc couldn't wipe the grin off his face either, although his was much more refined and cool...

We finally got all our gear on and started heading down the trail that would take us to the spot that would take us up the mountain to the frozen falls called "Stairway to Heaven." If you don't know what crampons are, let me show you...

See those claws on the end of my boot? There were more in the middle and the rear.
They're not exactly the easiest things to hike in up a rock-packed snowy trail straight up a mountain. There's no dragging your feet there! I was trying miserable to keep up with Mountain-Goat-Marc and finally half way up I just had to come to terms that I just couldn't keep up his pace. He slowed a bit and then got VERY excited as we got closer and he left me in his snow dust... bless his heart, he was so excited.

As I neared the spot where the belayers were waiting for their next climbers I started to get very nervous. I had just made quite a climb in my, not so great, body and was up higher than I even realized once I looked down. My legs felt like Jell-O and my heart got a bit nervous wondering what I was thinking... why did I, an almost 37-year-old mother of 3 children with FXS think that I could do something this adventurous and dangerous! I sat for a moment, voicing loudly, so that in my embarrassment I could at least make those around me laugh about my nervousness and possible inability to even make is up the ice falls even 5 feet. I told Marc to go ahead and I would take pictures of him.

So he got his GoPro on and his gear on and was set to start learning to ice climb.

As I watched him climb I started getting a bit jealous that I wasn't up there with him. So, I gulped down my fear and turned to one of the belayers who had an empty rope and asked, "Are you ready to take me  up? I might not be too good at this!" He was happy to help and while Marc was getting half way up his climb I was getting ready for mine.

I learned to kick my toes straight into the ice to give me self a way to step up and then to swing my ice pick the right way so I could get a good grip and ease my way up the ice. It was a whole different way of thinking about climbing. You're completely relying on your gear and your ability to use the gear correctly.

I LOVED it!!! It was so exhilarating and hard and fun all at the same time. My arms, sadly, are just not strong enough yet for a real climb but accomplishing what I did was enough to make me want to try it again. I mean, I really enjoyed it! It gets the adrenaline pumping and sure adds a bit of excitement to a dreary winter.

Marc went up 2 more times after me and it was so fun watching him accomplish something we never thought we'd have the chance to do. It was epicly awesome!

We wanted to stay up there all day but we needed to give other people the chance to use our gear. We headed down and couldn't stop talking about how exciting and fun it was to have done something like that. We were so happy! On the way down we saw FOX 13 news and Channel 2 News going up to film the event and then when we got to the bottom we met a photographer for The Daily Herald, Grant. He was going to head up with out the boots and crampons so we invited him to come back to the tent with us to get some gear so he could at least make the hike to the spot (you really wouldn't be able to make it without crampons and boots). It was fun talking with him and it was fun to see his photos in the newspaper the next day!

This, for sure, will go down in the blog as one of the most memorable dates of my life! And it actually didn't even end there!

We went later that evening to hear from an inspirational speaker who is an adventure guide, Stacy, to top off the Ice Climbing Festival. His story was inspiring and exciting. It ended our evening like the cherry on top!

1 remarks:

Unknown said...

I can picture Marc's big grin in my mind! I'm glad you guys enjoy life together!