20090211-12 SoCal Retailer - Reps' Ice Demo

Continuing a 10-year old tradition, Sierra Mountain Center hosted the Reps' Ice Demo - a two day event for retail employees from southern California to come and experience ice climbing with new boots, crampons, and tools provided by Black Diamond, Petzl, La Sportiva and Scarpa - Rab and Arcteryx also made a presence. While the participants had breakfast and collected equipment, Eric, Trish and I - helped out by two rep employees - pounded in the trail to Chouinard Falls in Lee Vining Canyon.

eric and trish wallowed in snowshoes / team posthole sunk even further

Recent fresh snow made pounding in the trail even harder than we suspected. Eric and Trish, on snowshoes, passed the three of us without and still kicked in a trail knee deep. We were able to follow - mostly - but at several passages we resorted to re-distributing our weight on four points of contact. This is also known, colloquially, as crawling. Kicking in this trail took us almost two hours - the first participants caught up to Team Posthole before we reached the ice.

Dale Remsberg, the BD/Arcteryx guest speaker and another IFMGA/AMGA Guide, quickly put up the top rope for Conrad's Corner / Colonel Clink / Water Logged, while Eric set up Curley, Moe, and the WI3 first step to Heal-Toe, and I climbed Classic Curve to set up ropes on Aqua Seal / Piolet and a second rope on the Tree Route.

topping out on colonel clink / this anchor can also be used for conrad's corner and watter logged / add a second rope and you can top-rope the bottom half of scrappy's child and the top half of conrad's corner for "scrappy's corner" WI 4- M6
Many of the employee-participants were first-time ice climbers. Those with some experience took advantage of trying out the different leashless tools from BD and Petzl. Dale passed out technique advice and put on mini-clinic for ice protection and anchors. SMC provided a stove running all day to make hot drinks. To minimize the impact of 40+ people, we designated a pee hole and set up a toilet tent to pack down solid waste.
That evening the reps provided pizza and salad, and the employees provided beverages, and a huge amount of schwag was passed out or "raffled" off. Dale had a slide show about climbing and guiding hard ice in the States and Canada.

finishing piolet / an extended anchor allowed us to use one 60m rope / this anchor can be used for piolet and aqua seal
Day Two was a little shorter than day one - but not by much - as participants wrapped things up to head home. We coiled up frozen ropes and gear before heading back to Lee Vining for beers and burritos at the Mono Market. Mission accomplished.

Conditions Report: Chouinard Falls is in, all routes, except the crux on Conrad's Corner (WI 4-) is verglass and curtain. Main Wall is mostly in - P3 on Cave Man isn't fully formed. Harrington Wall has very little ice again this year.