After a long wait, schedules and weather finally matched up. Wednesday, Jeff and I, along with Justin Woods started up the oh so familiar trail to Snyder Lakes basin in hopes of climbing a big ice line. A 4:30am wake up call on top of only a few hours of sleep led to a slow start. Coffee barely seemed to effect our exhaustion and before we knew it, we were at the trial head.
Within a few minutes of charging top the trail, Justin became ill. The lack of sleep combined with over exertion started to take it toll. After a projectile moment, Justin had to throw in the towel and head back. Jeff and I shouldered the remaining gear and continued up.
The Snyder basin was terribly cold when we arrived there. It was late in the morning now and all hopes of climbing something big were gone. We shifted our attention to the Brainstem Wall which is on the south face of Mt. Brown. It's a 60m cliff band they is littered with ice and mixed lines. And oh yeah, it's in the sun! We continued up the approach slope and into the sun. The warmth was a welcomed feeling, but unfortunately it was causing ice to fall. Conditions weren't appropriate to climb so we opted for some ice bouldering.
A short while later, clouds rolled in dropping the temps and stopping the ice fall. Conditions now looked good to climb so we started racking up. Jeff had spotted a nice weakness through the rock band above us that neither him or I had ever noticed before. It was an off-width crack/corner system with the occasional piece of ice spilling out. It looked fun and was unclimbed so why not give it a go.
I had the first pitch which was more awkward than difficult. Some icy rock steps followed by an iced up corned, topped by some rock move gave way to a suitable belay. The next pitch would get us to the top and be the business of the route. Jeff delicately stemmed up above me flowing over the rock inch by inch. Eventually he left my sight and I could only listen to his progression. The character of the pitch was revealed when I followed. Corners, wide cracks, thin cracks, ice, roofs, and thin to poor gear. On second, the climbing was pure fun, but on lead must have been an exhausting mental exercise. Jeff climbed brilliantly and topped us out on another new route in the GNP.
Jeff follow the 1st pitch