Friday, December 12, 2008

Counterfeit Girl

Joel Anderson taking a breather....

We were minding our own business playing air hockey after a long day of inhaling chalk dust at our local climbing comp when the bouncer at the bar steps up to this machine that looked like it should have been and the county fair with a some red neck flag waivering above it. You first feed a it a dollar and then the ………drops down and you hit it as hard as you can and then the numbers on the screen race around like you won the jackpot and it reads out a number of how powerful your hit is. The bouncer looked at us and says “hey skinny white boys with toothpicks for arms beat that shit” ….ok he didn’t say that out loud but the look on his face did. He tells us he has the high score as he walks away though. We all agreed how stupid the machine was and what a waste of money it was? Why would people spend a dollar to hit a bag to try and prove how manly they were?

Counterfeit Girl

So we spent about $15 to $20 dollars each on it and walked away rubbing our joints and sore muscles with bruised egos and empty pockets. We did however get within 26 points of the high score. So this whole situation got me thinking how all of us do something in our lives to prove ourselves or set us apart from the pack…or at least we all try to. For that bouncer, his high score meant he was the strongest man at the bar and for us it meant we didn’t want to piss him off.

Aaron Mulkey gettin into the goods...

Getting to my point of the whole story finding first ascents is my thing. It’s what I love. It’s what gets me out of the car when it’s blowing 30 mph and 10 degrees outside. The only problem is that my partners stay in the car but some of them do blindly follow me every once in awhile.

Log these photos under Cody approaches!

Joel Anderson was my blind partner the next morning and all I told him was we were going to get a first ascent. I had known about it for many years but just never found the time for it. We woke up with warm temps and great sunshine for the long hike in. I told Joel it was about an hour and half walk in and it took 2 so I wasn’t far off. With little snow and warm temps so far this winter I knew the hike in Cabin Creek would suck.

Joel pulling thru the V15 boulder problem in Cabin Creek

You have to cross the creek about 30 times on the way in and that raises the potential wet boot factor. In one case there is a super sketch traverse that if you slip your going swimming.

Its good Joel come on.....

A big crystal clear pool of water awaits your moment of bad foot work. Hiking up and around the Cabin Creek waterfall we found that someone had taken the cheat rope to lower down into the canyon, which it also plays a key role in not having to climb v2 bouldering moves on the way out. You used to be able to practice your Batman moves on the way out, which is always good to practice.

After and hour and half we escaped the narrows of Cabin Creek and were sick of being frogs jumping from ice pad to ice pad crossing the creek and we escaped up classic hand over hand South Fork kitty litter slopes. At this point Joel was getting sick of it all and questioning my judgement, but once we escaped the narrows of Cabin Creek he felt better about bushwacking thru the woods.

Joel asked me not to post this photo because his girlfriend would be jealous!

As I figured we were able to find a game trail, which led us thru the thick timbered hillside. We were psyched to reach the base of the climb nice and dry. We soloed up thru the first pitch and got to the main pitch we offered super enjoyable with a nice and thin top out to keep it spicy. We ventured above hoping there would be more to climb but it mellowed out to rolling short pitches of WI2-3.

We named the climb Counterfeit Girl (WI4) and were psyched to start the season off with a new adventure. We eventually stumbled our way out of the canyon with only one soaked boot and one ass over tea kettle flail on the ice.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Big Updates!

Here is a quick update on some housekeeping things here at coldfear

Aaron Mulkey on the first ascent of Counterfeit Girl
Photo By: Joel Anderson

1. Conditons Page

Its coming and will be up by the end of the week and below is a quick update

Climbs that are in:
High On Boulder
Duck Soup
Festering Ice
Main Vein
Hunter Creek Pillar
Animal rights
Mean green- all pitches

These are climbs that are in fat and worth coming for as of Sunday. The valley is way behind in forming ice on the South facing side but the snow and cold weather today and the forecast for the coming week looks great.

Here are a few climbs that will probably be close by the weekend.
Ice Fest
Broken Hearts

2. Joel and I got in a possible first ascent over the weekend and I will get an update for everyone on that soon. Nothing big but
really fun.

3. The Photo Hold'em is a go and I will have the contestants up this week and new photo submission dates posted with that as

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Photo Hold'em Get in it!


We need some more entries for the Photo Hold'em so get them in by this Sunday the 7th...I think a few of you took in a little bit too much Tryptopan over the holiday and forgot to put your entries in. As Larry the Cable Guy would say Get' Er Done.....

All info for entries is in the below post!

All deadlines have been pushed back one week!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Photo Hold'em

Photo Hold'em

Welcome to Coldfear's first contest.

First off I have to thank The Range Life guys for coming up with the great idea...

What is it?
It is a photo contest with a little poker strategy. But mostly its just another excuse to get some more eye candy up for people's viewing pleasures.

How Do I Enter?
If you want to enter this contest, you must send a picture of yourself to aaron(at)coldfear(dot)com by midnight on Nov 30th. This photo will be part of the contest and if we get more than 16 participants, these photos will be judged and only the sweetest 16 will get to play - so don't stretch you arm out and click. Make it count. Along with this photo, please include your full name, a brief description about yourself to intimidate, bluff, or otherwise psyche out the competition, and where you are from.

How Does the Competition Work?
On Dec 1st, The entry photos will be posted here in a bracket fashion. Each competitor will be randomly pitted against another.

By midnight on Dec. 5th, you need to submit your first Ice Climbing photo, which will be your entry for Round One.

On Dec. 8th, the Round One photos will be posted along with comments and results as determined by the Coldfear judges, as well as the new bracket for Round Two.

By midnight on Dec. 16th, if you are still in the contest you must submit your second Ice Climbing Photo, which will be your entry for Round Two.

On Dec. 19th, the Round Two photos will be posted along with comments, results, and the next round of brackets.

Dec. 25th - Christmas Day. Be Thankful to be a climber and hope for new gear.

By midnight on on Dec. 26th, if you are still in the contest you must submit FOUR Ice Climbing Photos, which will be your entry for the Third and Final Round.

On Dec. 30th we will post the photos for the Third and Final round along with the announcement of the winner of the First Annual Coldfear Photo Hold'Em. And in the words of Ricky Bobby, "If you ain't first, your last."

Photo Hold'em

Definitions and Recommendations:

Photo of yourself: Get creative. This can be a self portrait, or taken by somebody else. It is not limited to the genre of Ice Climbing.

Ice Climbing Photos: More Creativity, please. This does not have to be a Climber on a piece of ice. In fact we love lifestyle photos, but feel that they are harder to capture in the form of a quality photo. The more unique and creative photos will do better, but ultimately we just want photos that capture the essence of Ice Climbing. Feel free to add a short caption if you like, but this is not necessary.

Resolution: This is not a contest for only people with an expensive camera. I would encourage professional photographers and point-n-shoot users to enter. Let us know what camera you are working with and we will consider handicaps where necessary.

Size: I thought about requiring you to send me specificly sized photos. But fearing that I will not get enough participants this is not a mandate. However, if I need a tie-breaker, the photo that is sized at a maximum dimension of 500 on either side may win.

Of course, Coldfear, reserves the rights to do whatever we want, and change this contest as necessary, so just play along, and feel free to ask questions as necessary.

Finally, in classic blog-community style...Anyone out there want to stoke out the winner? Manufacturers wanna send some prizes? Magazines wanna publish the winner? Other industry folk want to get involved? contact me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BJ Tilden...A Real Cowboy

I had to post this because I think BJ is a great guy and friend. He is a true ambassador to the sport and he is truly a great guy as well. Bj grew up here in Cody, Wyoming and helped grow the sport of rock climbing here along with his long time best friend Leif Gasch . These two guys were brought up as young climbers in Cody under the loose belay of Bobby Model . That is a story I will save for another time but I think it is something that would be fun to write.

Check out the video on BJ Tilden, the video is named Orange For Anguish

Click it HERE

Friday, November 7, 2008

Updates, stokes and more.....

As many of you have noticed the old Coldfear homepage is gone, but never fear change is a good thing...

Im working on bringing all of the old pages back especially the conditions page but they will all link off of this page so the front page of Coldfear is always fresh and new. As for right now the only ice to be found is on Carter Mountain and when the valley has ice I will let everyone know and the condition page will be back up by then anyway!

The Bad News
Bison Willys Bunkhouse in the South Fork Valley is no more, and its era has past. Kenny Gasch has tried hard to keep the lodging presence for ice climbers in the valley but with new owners of the DDX wanting more money and no promise of running water Kenny has decided it can not be operated any longer. Its a bad deal and I know Kenny will continue to look into other avenues to house ice climbers in the valley but for now staying in town is your only option.

Photo Hold'em
Im going to announce the ice climbing Photo Hold'em next week so stay tuned for that, it will be fun and get everyone excited for the season to come!

Its getting cold finally and the ice is forming slowly but surely. Start sharpening the tools and keep training for steep ice and long approaches....ha

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Remembering Todd Andrews

Rememebering a man that changed my life

Me: So what did you think ?
Todd: I think I was boating for my life..
Me: I think we were!
Todd: That was one of the scariest canyons I have been thru in my entire life
Me: Yea I agree it got a little intense in there when the water started rising and logs were coming down.
Todd: Ha what about the rappeling ourselves into a canyon with no escape and mandatory blind drops and oh yeah the drops I wanted to walk but couldn’t because we were trapped in a slot canyon.
Me: Oh yeah I guess I forgot to tell you about those..
Todd: That was the most incredible adventure I have ever been on and my life is better for it.

Walking down the old dirt road Todd and I were recapturing the moments we had just shared and possibly one of the most memorable experiences in our lives. As we shouldered our kayaks dust rolled past our face as an old ranch truck passed by, the man driving was an obvious ranch man with a very raw look on his face as he glared at us like we were carrying skis in the desert. Im sure in all his life he had never seen someone with a kayak in this valley and we felt and looked like the walking dead with a smile on our face as we had just cheated our demise. Those steps to the car and our conversation are burned into my mind and will always be remembered.
Todd and I had just gotten off the 2nd descent of Deer Creek here in Cody with flows 4-5 times what I had on the First Descent. We had gotten a quarter of the way thru the canyon when the day temps rose quickly thru the morning. With warm temps brought stained brown water and wood rocketing its way thru the canyon. Once you rappel into this canyon there is no way out until the end, the canyon snakes its way thru 400 to 600 foot walls and never gets wider then 25 feet. Todd and I at times were boating for our lives, there is no question we were pushing the line but we also knew we had no choice. We managed to keep our heads together and stabilize the situation mentally. We knew there was only one option and if we could have found a way out we would have ran like a dog with our tails between our legs and never looked back. Telling the story could never give our adventure justice our give realization as to what took place and we understood that as we walked down that road.

Sunrise driving over the Big Horns the morning of Todd's Funeral

Todd changed my life, it wasn’t being the greatest kayaker or climber that took him all over the U.S. and other countries it was the adventure and the journey getting there that kept him always smiling.

Mande (Todd's Girlfriend) made her first trip back to the Big Horns this summer to help run shuttle just like old times

Todd and Dan Crain were the kayaking pioneers of the Big Horns and discovered world class runs in this small slice of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a class 5 paradise Todd would say like a proud father of the Big Horns. Im very thankful to have shared time with Todd and learn the secrets to the Big Horn Range without his knowledge my own explorations and experiences would have never happened.

Me looking into the Subway where todd was last seen

Today October 19 is the day Todd died 4 years ago and I still remember the day very clearly. Todd and I had talked for well over an hour the day prior and for Todd that is not normal. We talked about life and my family, we all enjoyed his company. When he would show up at the door he was a part of the family and I was given a pass to play when he arrived. The Summer before Todd died he and I spent a lot of time together exploring and cleaning new runs in the area. I think that summer we discovered 4 first descents and ticked off some high water runs thru the season.

Last rapid on the Great Falls of the Potomac

Last year I went out to the Great falls of the Potomac where Todd had passed away to put all the pieces together of what happened. Putting onto this run was hard for me but I had to for myself and for Todd. In order to get to the place where he died I had to do the run. I felt like he was with me the whole time and standing there looking into whats called the Subway where he was washed into, it all made sense what had happened and helped me with some closure. For more info on what happened click here

The crew gathered from across the globe to celebrate Todds life in 2004

Todd was passionate about everything he did and will always be missed but never forgotten…. LTP baby!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

For The Love of ICE.....

Driving to the ice im reminded how much I enjoy this time of year, cold in the high country and nice in the valleys

Every fall all ice climbers begin to get jittery and anxious in anticapation of the season to come. We get one day of 30 degree weather and we all begin to wonder if ice is forming in the mountains. We frantically search for our guidebook and scope the pages for ice that comes in the earliest thinking, "maybe last year when I searched I missed something..." We then begin calling friends in other places (I think Im this friend to many people) asking if its cold ...."do you think theres ice?". The great part is we repeat this every year like the wind that brings in the cold front or first snow, we begin to salivate over the season to come and its only September!

Little thin on the not so classic "Curtains" 10 min approach and climbing in October doesnt get better....

October 17th was my day this year and its the earliest that I can remember swinging tools. Kenny Gasch and myself enjoyed the warm weather and thin ice. Each season switching from kayaking to ice climbing I always wonder if my passion and drive will still be there. Fortunately the passion for Ice Climbing remains a constant for me in my life and in my world right now anything constant is great. For me - my kids, climbing and kayaking are my passions and loves in life. After being married for over 6 years and now single I feel like climbing and kayaking are the safest relationships for me for many reasons....

1. They are constantly giving
2. There are no expectations
3. They dont complain if you show up late..scratch that...they never complain.
4. They are always satisfying
5. They dont cheat on you
6. Sometimes they hurt you or work you over but you enjoy it and brag about it to your friends

Dont get me wrong I enjoyed marriage for the most part and my x-wife was a big influence in my life but not sure im willing to deal with that pain again.

Carter Mountain Ice Climbing Area

Back to the original post, getting out today reminded me how much I love ice climbing and cant wait for the season to come and I hope all of you are as psyched as I am. The South Fork Valley looks good- lots of water on climbs and Moratorium was already touching down believe it or not, although with the warm temps over the weekend im sure thats gone. Keep training for the season to come its almost here!

A good morning of ice climbing and ready to go rock climbing in the afternoon....

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ice Climbing Training 101

Butterfly excercise

I often get asked how do you train for ice climbing, and for many years I just climbed and that was by far the best training and still is. When I started pushing my limits on how far I could hike and climb in a day I realized I needed to train harder. Im pretty lucky given I own a climbing gym and I have figured out how to use the gym as great training for the mountains.

Frenchies with feet

For the first phase of this program I figured most of you will not have been training and I wanted to make the first phase a warmup phase to progress you into the next. For the most part you can do this entire training in your local climbing gym, if you dont have a local climbing gym let me know and I can give you some alternative options.

Phase one - two weeks 2-3 times a week

1. Traverse for 5 minutes warming up grabbing jugs only

2 minute rest

2. Traverse non stop on wall for 15 minutes

3. Start Circuit

A. Pull Ups-wide

B. Butterflies- hold yourself to the wall for 10 seconds then lower back to full extension of the arms and come back holding
ur face close to the wall for another 10 seconds and repeat until failure.

C. Frenchies- like a pull up but holding yourself all the way up and holding for 3 seconds, then lower to half way and hold
again for 3 seconds and then lower almost all the way down and hold again for 3 seconds and then all the way back up
and repeat until failure. To get started feel free to use your feet for the sets. Make sure you never straighten your arms.

D. Push Ups

You will do the circuit 4 times all reps until failure and no rest

4. Ice tool dead hangs
Wear gloves if you can, it makes it easier on the hands, also if you can put your feet on something like an edge for the end
burn. You will do 4 sets and resting between sets will be push ups until failure.

Your goal is to workout 2-3 times a week and do at least 30 minutes cardio training on your off days.

Have fun!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Get ready to get off the couch!

Ice climbing season is just around the corner and I already know a few of you have been calling wanting to know what the season is gong to be like, well to be honest I have no idea!

I will say however that its been colder then usual and we have had some great moisture this fall so things could be incredible, but for know lets just stay calm and begin to think about conditioning our bodies for a great year. Beginning this weekend im going to post the 1st phase of a 3 phase workout routine that I have been using and hope that all of you can motivate to get in great condition for the ice year.

I will aslo be posting info on a photo poker contest coming next month so stay tuned in about that as well!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Deer Creek Before Work!

This July Tom Sunderland and I got back up to do the Lower Deer Creek Canyon here in Cody. We were in the Car by 7 and back at work by noon you cant beat that!

Im not going to say much just post some photos,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Huntin in the Beartooths!

“A large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life, by him who interests his heart in everything”

Exploring is an addiction of mine, and no matter how many well traveled paths I follow, it seems there is always a rough side trail leading me another direction. Sometimes these trails lead to great creeks and waterfalls or simply lead to nothing but hiking with a loaded boat. Fortunately, they are all rewarding in there own way and seem to keep me looking for the next unexplored creek.

A friend of mine Joe Josephson (aka JoJo) who spends a lot of time running around the Beartooths told me to check out Broadwater Creek, high in the upper Clarks Fork drainage. His words were, “I'm not sure if its runnable, but it's got a lot of water”. Its hard to just grab the gear and go on everyones tips, but this one felt good. After checking it out on Google Satellite it looked promising.

Google map looks like slides and steepness!

I figured it was only an hour and half drive, and the hike in would be about 2 miles. There looked to be a trail leading into the upper lake that followed the creek and would hopefully allow us some short windows to view the creek.

Tom Sunderland, Randy Binder, and Matt joined the team. We took off around three in afternoon which was wasn’t our smartest decision, but we thought we could hammer out the hike and run pretty quickly.

After a few creek crossings and some 4 wheeling we found the takeout and started hiking. From the quick view of the lower creek the water looked low but doable, and looked like it might have some hope of being a good run.

Once we hit the lake we started realize that wood was an issue. There wasn’t a standing live tree to be seen and a fire which I believe was part of the 80’s Yellowstone fire scorned the area and numerous trees lined the banks like dominos. The area was solid granite with domes escaping out of the meadows and rising to the sky. Our hopes were high that the upper reaches would reward us with granite slides and waterfalls. As we got closer the upper gorge had neither and was very typical of other stretches of the Clarks Fork, carved granite gorges with boulder drops, wood and big boofs.

Our dreams of slides and falls diminished quickly while the remoteness and beauty of the area quickly consumed us. Soon the wood would also consume our boating efforts and we all got our fair share of sketchy faries above log jams and trying to negotiate the limbo under numerous logs. A few of us got to wrestle with some logs and do some underwater belly dancing which is always good to practice.

The first gorge ended up running really well and then we hit the first meadow which felt more like a lake and then we were able to paddle the first half and then the portaging started. Like a fly crawling across a web we negotiated our way thru heavy downed timber, chest high jungle bush and granite boulders. For almost an hour we moved down stream eventually reaching a maze of timber as the creek bled into small veins below the steeps of the second gorge and into the second meadow.

Check out the horizon line, there was no fact the creek was steep and gorgeous

Finally back in our boats and very thankful to be back in water we moved across another gorgeous lake/meadow and dropped into the third steep section which provided fun read and run class 4 with the occasional log limbo to keep it spicy.

Not a classic run, not a run I will ever do again, but a run that took me on an adventure to explore an area I otherwise would not have seen. The views were gorgeous and worth just hiking into to see alone. I don’t regret hiking in and boating at all it was fun and its always fun to get off the local runs and see something new.

Its like hunting, some people hunt there entire lives without that big trophy. I can say I have hunted for new creeks and new ice climbs for almost 10 years and have been very successful and fortunate in my hunts. The hunt is what keeps me going!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stix and Stones

Just in case you wondered why they called it Stix and Stones!

Boof the log, rail slide the right wall, 2 quick strokes away from the sieve, and split the two logs and tuck. Ahh yes, Stix and Stones was holding to its name of sketchy class 5 drops with marginal lines.

Its a good thing I didnt have this view before probing it for the young lads. I told them after I ran it "nice and clean" and that it would be tuff to hit the log and they both followed with some type of log interaction of various degrees.

Stix and Stones lies high in the upper Clarks Fork River a little over an hour from Cody, Wyoming, and has been on my list of runs to get on for quite sometime. This section of water lied untouched for quite some time after a group of Jackson paddlers reported horror stories of numerous portages and drop after drop filled with wood.

About 5-6 years ago kayakers began to wander into its depths again with only curiosity guiding them. Some found the drops and crystal blue waters inviting, and others found numerous portages and swarms of mosquitos. We found that the portages weren’t that bad, eight in all, and for the most part the mosquitos were the worst part of portaging.

When we put on, the Clarks Fork gauge was reading about 1100cfs and we found the flows to be at a minimum flow. I really do believe you could get in there at some pretty high flows, maybe 3000 on the Clarks Fork gauge and will hopefully get a chance to test that theory next season.

You better come to Stix and stones ready to fire up some marginaly runable drops and get comfortable with wood. It sucks when you factor in dealing with the blood sucking mosqutios to run a drop. I took two young guns with me Tom Sunderland and Randy Binder, both having a great year firing it up in their first class 5 season.

This was the put in drop which looked like it would be runnable with much higher flows.

Mid way thru the first gorge of big drops stacking up on eachother. This section that was super fun!

Great pools between drops in the lower half of the run

Lower Chicken Head Falls

Tom was pretty excited about this drop, instead of giving it a thumbs up he gave it the air hump!

Randy getting ready for the boof on one of the 15 footers

What I like to call " The Money Shot" Randy catching me styling Chicken Head Falls

We all agreed the run was super fun and the drops just keep getting better "Oh Yeah" and they get cleaner!

Thanks to Randy and Tom for shooting great photos.