Topher Donahue and Kevin Cooper have climbed a new smear of ice rising from the classic The Window on Long’s Peak, Colorado. The granite swelled with water during the Colorado floods this fall, there was a state of emergency, but the alpine seeps froze with dropping temperatures. Rarely formed ice appeared at the will of eager alpine ice climbers. Longs Peak has a history of ice climbing stretching back to 1919 when Werner Zimmerman climbed Alexander’s Chimney. In 1922, the Notch Chimney was climbed by J. W. Alexander and in 1924, Kieners Route was climbed by Walter Kiener, Agnes Vaille and Carl Blaurock, a line that was descended by Elkanah Lamb in 1871. In 1960, The Window was climbed by Dale Johnson and Cary Husted. Will Gadd and Mark Twight mix-climbed Schobinger’s Cracks, first climbed in 1958 as a rock climb by Chuck Schobinger and John Amato. In 1989, Duncan Ferguson, Jeff Lowe and Malcolm Daly climbed Smear of Fear, IV, M6, WI6+, which has become an ultra-classic. In 2000, Topher Donahue and Kelly Cordes (the climbers who free climbed All Along the Watchtower in the Bugaboos, VI, 5.12,) climbed Crazy Train, WI5, near Smear of Fear. A number of other ice routes have been climbed on Long’s Peak.
Donahue and Cooper climbed Field’s Chimney to Broadway and then The Window to gain the base of the unclimbed smear.
From Donahue’s blog: “I moved the belay onto a tiny perch at the lip of the Window ramp so I would be out of the line of fire while Kevin prepared for the hardest lead of his life. The exposed perch provided a solid rock anchor and an incredible perspective to photograph Kevin as he put together everything he’d learned in 20 years of unadulterated ice-fiend behaviour for a lead neither of us will ever forget. At some point in the previous few days, another party had climbed to the bottom of the crux smear, leaving a couple of V-thread anchors. They bailed from there, leaving the smear untouched. Their anchors saved us precious time (thank you!) which allowed us to get to the regular rappel route and reach bottom of the face just as darkness engulfed the cirque in pitch black. All that remained was a long, dark stagger and a couple of dark Irish beers.”
Longs Peak, Colorado
Grade: WI Sicks-plus
FA: Kevin Cooper, Topher Donahue October 25, 2013
Topher Donahue’s blog: http://topherdonahue.com/blog/2013/10/27/chasing-dreams-on-the-diamonds-elusive-ice