Winter Climbing 101 Course, Frankenstein Cliffs

This summer I got to meet 16 year old Harry for a very rainy day of rock climbing. Most of the day was spent indoors covering rope skills, which he was keen to acquire. He would later climb with EMS Guide Ryan and was following 5.9 routes his second day out. Soon after he started leading traditional climbs. This kid is getting good fast! He returned today and was joined by Wildcat Ski Instructor Marissa for an introduction to winter climbing.

We pulled into Frankenstein around 9:30am. The upper parking lot was full and cars on the side of the road almost reached the lower lot. I wondered if Lost In The Forest would be swarmed.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Ice Pack
Crossing the trestle at Frankenstein Cliff- sweet pack review coming soon! #hyperlitemountaingear

We saw one party on Chia and later heard parties climbed Smear, Hobbit, Pegasus Rock Finish, The Blobs, and Bob’s Delight… all looking quite good. There was no one in the Trestle Cut or at the Trestle Slab. When we arrived below Lost In The Forest we could easily see a large group, probably 10+, around Walk in The Woods/Lost In The Forest. On we walked…

My back-up plan was the slab to the right of The Hanging Gardens… we got there after passing a very busy Standard Route.

Standard Route, Frankenstein Cliff
Standard Route, Frankenstein Cliff

We had the slab to ourselves and had lessons in crampon technique, ice axe use, and belaying.

Ice Climbing Frankenstein Cliffs
Marissa prepared for her very first ever climbing experience while Harry provides a solid belay
Ice Climbing Frankenstein Cliffs
Marissa crushing our first route of the day
Ice Climbing Frankenstein Cliffs
Harry getting after it

After a couple of laps here we ate some lunch and moved down and over to Standard Route right as a few parties were finishing. We opted for a quick climb up the center to the cave and rappelled.

Ice Climbing Frankenstein Cliffs
Harry reaches the cave at the top of the first pitch of Standard Route

On our way out we had a quick lesson in ice screw placement and building V-thread anchors. Marissa seemed to enjoy her first experience in the vertical world of ice climbing and Harry is chomping at the bit to learn more. He’s heading out tomorrow with another EMS guide for some longer multi-pitch type climbing and I’m sure he’ll do well. At this rate I expect to see him climbing up a storm in the next few years. Get after it Harry!

I’m heading out again tomorrow with another group, so stay tuned and see you in the mountains!



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