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TR- FreezeFest VIII- Day 4

Discussion in 'Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group' started by RAM, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. RAM

    RAM Guest

    With all the new energy from new arrivals and having scouted out the bottom of Trail, the plan was set for the descent of Maidenwater. I had 1st done the canyon on a January 3rd of the 1st FreezeFest and had only been back once or twice over the 8 years. Many love the canyon. I found it repetitive, with one similar chockstone drop after another. Trail Canyon next door I enjoyed so much more, with its rowdy variety and places that test my fitting and climbing skill. But on a snowy FreezeFest? I was seriously concerned that conditions could just be too hard in Maidenwater. But its appeal could not be denied. A soil based approach sealed the deal.

    With new blood in the way of the Crane, Mr. Road Trip, Talboys, Denali Mike and Brendan, we were off. I followed well behind, arriving at the top of the slot 15 minutes behind everyone, with the Crane keeping the old man company. A few views into the slot near the end, confirmed for the new folks, what the rest of us knew..."Scaaaaary in there" as false bottoms were evident even from the rim.

    The normal walk in route was unappealing due to steep snow covered, slickrock slopes in between the soil benches, so an anchor was built at the canyon head and the rap proved to be quite eloquent and in the 50 foot range. After several days of sharing the trail busting/breaking duties, I saw the new folks literally lining up for the opportunity to break trail, up front. Fine by me! Some meat anchors with Aaron downclimbing last. Some old webbing dug out and used by the last man, after courtesy anchors. Some slush, some waist deep pools sporting broken ice surfaces.

    The redundancy that I often attribute to the canyon was no where in evidence. Its deep coat of snow created a new place I had never seen. Multiple snow slides elevated the "Yippee" factor many fold. Just sit down at the edge and let er rip! It was a cloudy and blustery day and several times, spindrift would land on our necks, sending chills down the spine. In the canyon's mid section, substantial spindrift avalanches streamed down the wall and reduced visibility to no more than a foot or two. For me, the days most amazing experience was when one of those spindrift avalanches had more heft to it and before hitting us below, basically blocked all daylight, instantly making it deep twilight, on the edge of night. Startling the first time. Eerie the following 2-3 times it happen. One of the whole trips most indelible memories for me.

    Raps, slides, downclimbs, partner assists and spots eventually led us to the road crossing the canyon. We got through the place in under 4 hours, driven to keep moving by the need to stay warm. The group was elated. We headed back to camp and hooked into the other groups who had done other canyons that day and retired to the fireside chats that have become the tradition. The fire never expanded enough to seat the whole crew and new methods were used to wrest prime seats, by those that stood and waited. A 5 hour game of musical chairs ensued. With my spirits and confidence bolstered by the positive, but serious experience, in Maidenwater, I planned a trip into Trail Canyon for the next day. The last day of 2009. Ram
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