Epic Fail on Olympus

Sometimes things just don’t go your way. Keelan joined me on today’s hate fest, and we began the approach to the Great Chimney on Olympus hoping that it would would provide a good training tool. Flotation is a must on the 2800 foot, very steep approach. I chose approach skis while Keelan used snowshoes. They both sucked. It took just as long to reach as it took for me and Alex to get the Pfiefferhorn earlier this season. Pretty sad considering we could still see the car. Before the actual pitches began, we reached a short squeeze chimney that, according to a friend is full of ice when the route is in. Unfortunately, only the first half or so has some ice-ish type stuff and then it turned to powder snow. I cruised up the chimney quickly, but when I stemmed across the top I was separated by the mellow terrain above by a body length of powder-covered featureless slab. There was absolutely no pro around or anywhere below me for that matter, and after wasting a good 20 minutes looking for some, I decided to come down instead of risking a fall that would certainly land me in the hospital. Not wanting to fail so pathetically, I moved 20 feet to the left and tried to climb the face before traversing into the gully. After 60 feet, it was clear that this wasn’t going to work. Keelan gave the slab exit a try but had the same result. So, after screwing around for a couple hours to try and cover less than 100 vertical feet of what I would feel comfortable soloing with rock shoes in summer, we went home. I’m pissed about failing, but sometimes conditions just aren’t right, I probably would have been able to top out the pitch, but it would have been a stupid gamble. No cracks, no gear. No gear, no go.

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