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WI First Ascents

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WI First Ascents

Postby Haliku » Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:37 pm

A glacier or a mountain does change over time but for a human’s lifespan it is usually minor. The newly established route may shift as weather, rock fall and numerous other issues impact the region but short of a major event—landslide, glacier disappearing—the route with its unique characteristics can usually be repeated. With the original route beta a subsequent attempt is often easier.

Can the same be applied to water ice? Annual water ice has a very temporal aspect even for us humans as it disappears only to be born anew the next season. So is a first ascent of a seasonal waterfall really only a first ascent for that season? Does a first ascent even matter for WI climbs?

Cheers!
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Postby Dow Williams » Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:25 pm

A lot of waterfall ice in the Canadian Rockiesis quite remote and has to be discovered before it can be climbed. In this essence, yeah, my hat is always off to the FAers. This is a perfect example. I can remember the long approach in, wondering, how anyone knew this stellar WI 6 route was even back here....pilots and now Google Earth obviously make it easier I suppose....I have climbed a handful of steep ice (WI 6) routes and they seemed pretty damn consistent over human time albeit most are short lived and don't even form many seasons. Steep ice is always hanging by a thread.
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Postby Guyzo » Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:05 pm

Ice conditions vary... from hour to hour, week to week, mo to mo, year to year.....

I think it's a lot like going to a surfing spot.....

"so you say you surfed "north shore" .... was it 40 feet or 4 feet???"

The experience, changes.
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Postby chicagotransplant » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:14 pm

I would imagine its a similar ethic to "First Descents" in the ski/snowboard world. Again, the routes are seasonal, and they change with the weather over the course of a season. The first ever descent is considered the first descent, and then next year or next snow storm when someone else does it they are the second descent etc...

I would imagine the same could be said for WI routes, the first person to climb that particular route is the FA and when it melts and reforms next year everyone else is just a "follower".
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Postby kiwiw » Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:39 am

Ice is almost always easier to climb after someone has done it before you, you can see where they placed their picks and crampons, + screw holes. so a FA of the season is more legit no matter what.
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