The rain keeps coming. The crags are soaked, roads and trails too wet to ride or hike and the thought of another weekend in the gym was too much. The forecast shows rain everywhere. St. George, Moab, the West Desert. But one place is different. Scouring weather sites and cameras I finally found a spot in Utah that would have perfect climbing conditions for a rainy Saturday in May. As usual, my phone calls to friends resulted mostly in laughs when I told them I was certain we could ice climb first ascents in May. Fortunately, Jake was willing to take the drive…although he kept trying to get out of it even up to an hour before we were supposed to meet. "Looks pretty desperate out there.” "Raining monsoon here". Whatever…
The drive was wet, the landscape soaked as we kept winding our way up the mountain. As we got higher, slowly the landscape changed. Pines dusted with snow, the roads getting slicker and slicker. We finally arrived at the area I wanted to scout, and we miraculously had about 30 min of clear enough skies to scope 3 different peaks for ice. High up on one of the 3 was a glimmer of ice. It was impossible to tell how thick it was or how well bonded to the rock it would be, but that glimpse was enough.
Off we went, and right away the storm came back in and reduced visibility. Deep powder and the 11,000’ elevation made for slow but steady progress up the hillside.
We finally reached our objective and found the ice in great shape. The start was a bit thin but the ice got thicker the higher up we went.
1” thick ice lead to delicate taps up the wall at the start.
May Showers WI4-, 115’. Perfect for a May first ascent adventure.
Not having had enough, we decided to do a harder variation with a rotten pillar start and steeper line on the upper headwall.
A week later I returned with my wife Cheri and a few friends to finish off additional variations.
Joi and Matt each added a line to the right of May Showers and I put up a mixed start in the overhanging corner to the left.
Hiking out after a bluebird day.
Here is a short video featuring our May Showers FA.