I have been wanting to climb Cryophobia for many years. Due to work and conditions– the stars have not aligned for me. One year, I hiked in 3 times from the North Ghost in attempt of this route. The success of finally ‘sending’ this route is made so much sweeter by the previous failures.
I first went up to Cryophobia with Jon and Magda. They were generous to climb in a team of three with me on an unexpectedly snowy day. The additional snow slowed the pace a bit as it hides all the great features for our tools and crampons and requires some extra cleaning.
Cryophobia has six pitches. The first and last pitch are mostly ice, the middle four pitches are mostly dry-tooling, with just enough ice to keep it honest (‘mixed-climbing’). ha.
On this day Jon lead the crux pitches, (the odd pitches), and we both fell twice on the route in exactly the same spot. Jon did a great job of on-sighting most of the route. (Especially, since he is a dad with a full-time job and just got back from a job/climb in Patagonia!) I found the day a bit slow and cold, but I was super psyched to of made it to the top in our team of three. Also, the last pitch was a 70m rope stretcher of mostly grade 5 ice to a very windy belay. I was grateful, knowing that I wouldn’t have to lead it the next time I climbed the route
A few days later, Kyle Vassilopoulos and I head into the route. I left all the ropes, etc at the base and most of the pitches equipped with draws. So we walked in with light packs and high aspirations.
Kyle lead the pitches I had lead previously and I lead the pitches Jon had lead a few days before.
Kyle was nervous, knowing that this was his one-shot (this season) at sending this route. I had confidence in his abilities and my ‘beta-spray’.
Kyle was very psyched to send the last pitch and ‘send’ the route. So was I. So many years, I have waited for this route. One good thing about waiting is that it felt a lot easier now than it would of several years ago.
The Ghost Wilderness is a super special place, I am grateful for getting to have adventures there. In the future there maybe access issues that make this less accessible.