Little Cottonwood Canyon - Hellgate Cliffs, Ice Giants first ascent. December 2016.

Lots of snow followed by warm sunny temps, then a quick drop in temperatures put more ice on the Hellgate Cliffs than I have seen so far. In the fall of 2016 I established a new four pitch route, Walking With Giants 5.8 on the Main Wall at Hellgate. The route is mostly bolted with a mixed second pitch. The route was named after Kyle Dempster and Scott Adamson who were lost in the Pakistani Karakorum while attempting the Ogre II. In December there was ice on half the route, so I called up Jewell Lund and suckered Tom Adams into coming along for his birthday. "It will be a casual day on the ice. You'll have lots of fun. I don't think it will take too long and the conditions will be warm and sunny. Perfect for your birthday." Turns out I lied...

Tom Adams at the base of Ice Giants.

Tom Adams at the base of Ice Giants.

We skinned up to the base of the wall and I set off on a meandering route, bypassing the official first pitch as it had no ice and following rampy ice to the base of the 2nd pitch. The pitch was not to difficult which was a good thing as I could not get in any gear.

Jewell Lund following pitch 1 of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund following pitch 1 of Ice Giants.

Nathan Smith at the belay.

Nathan Smith at the belay.

Jewell took pitch 2, a mix of bolts and gear up a right facing corner. Technical stemming and mixed climbing led to the base of the ice where she found the whole sheet hollow and detached. Luckily Jewell was able to find some decent gear in the chimney before pulling onto the ice. Right before the transition from vertical ice to techy mixed climbing she was able to find a bolt making the moves much more relaxed. Ice rained down as the delaminated sheet kept crumbling under her axes and crampons. 

Jewell Lund starting out on pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund starting out on pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund starting out on pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund starting out on pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund nearing the ice on pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund nearing the ice on pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund realizing that the the ice on pitch 2 was not going to be solid for screw placements.

Jewell Lund realizing that the the ice on pitch 2 was not going to be solid for screw placements.

Jewell Lund going for it on pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund going for it on pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund at the belay for pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund at the belay for pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Jewell made quick work of the tricky mixed climbing and belayed Tom and I up.

Tom Adams following pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Tom Adams following pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Tom Adams following pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Tom Adams following pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Tom Adams and Jewell Lund at the belay on pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Tom Adams and Jewell Lund at the belay on pitch 2 of Ice Giants.

Nathan Smith on pitch 3 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Nathan Smith on pitch 3 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

I took pitch 3, an awkward left facing corner that starts out narrow then widens above. There was ice in the cracks but as below it was all delaminated and kept peeling off the wall. The ice above looked better, so punched it to a sheet of thin ice leading to a short pillar. Unfortunately, this ice was detached and thin, offering no protection but covering all the bolts in that section. Thinking the pillar might be attached, I kept going only to find out the pillar was rotten as well. almost 40' above my last real piece of pro, the transition from the pillar to the slab above was tricky and took a bit to figure out a safe way to make the transition. Finally making it through with a well attached piece of 1/2 thick ice to pull on, the anchors were a huge relief.

Nathan Smith on pitch 3 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Nathan Smith on pitch 3 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund on pitch 3 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund on pitch 3 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund on pitch 3 on the first ascent of Ice Giants. Psyched to have the Grivel Twingate draw on that bolt to protect the 40' fall to the slab below.

Jewell Lund on pitch 3 on the first ascent of Ice Giants. Psyched to have the Grivel Twingate draw on that bolt to protect the 40' fall to the slab below.

Tom Adams on pitch 3 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Tom Adams on pitch 3 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Tom opted for pitch 4, a low angle technical slab with super thin but well bonded ice. Tenuous, this pitch was much more difficult than we anticipated, keeping us engaged even following. At this point Tom was already late for his birthday dinner with his wife Gwen, so we rapped as quickly as possible.

Tom Adams on pitch 4 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Tom Adams on pitch 4 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Tom Adams on pitch 4 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Tom Adams on pitch 4 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Tom Adams on pitch 4 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Tom Adams on pitch 4 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund feeling the cold at the pitch 3 belay on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund feeling the cold at the pitch 3 belay on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund on pitch 4 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Jewell Lund on pitch 4 on the first ascent of Ice Giants.

Thin ice lead to tenous pick placements.

As the summer version was named for Kyle and Scott, we had to name the winter one as well, so called it Ice Giants, a nod to two Utah ice legends. 400' WI4 M4 5.8 R.