Classic Provo Canyon On Ice by Jim Knight 1978

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 23, 2007 - 09:10pm PT
Tis the season and this is a dandy from the Jan/Feb 1978 Climbing. Jim Knight snagged lots of frozen plums and penned the article. Back in 2002, I wrote a piece on clean climbing for the 30th anniversary of the 1972 Chouinard catalog. Jim was the only BD employee that appreciated my effort enough to let me know about it. So, who loves ya baby?











yo

climber
The Eye of the Snail
Dec 23, 2007 - 10:24pm PT
Miller's Thriller! Oh my!
Scrunch

Trad climber
Provo, Ut
Dec 24, 2007 - 01:55am PT
That man is awesome... and heavily involved in the preservation of local climbing areas. Continues to be one of the greatest assests to the Utah Valley Climbing Community.
tenesmus

Trad climber
slc
Dec 24, 2007 - 09:48am PT
pretty cool stuff
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 25, 2007 - 05:38pm PT
I did Stewart Falls long ago with John Fowler and had an exciting time. On the approach we passed a trophy house that happened to be in the wrong spot for a slide past a certain size and had a wall of avalanche debris clear through it! "Well, at least it already slid. Right?" I gazed ahead up the track to our destination.
So, already a little jittery, I head up the crux first pitch which turns out to be a thin shell of soft ice over vaguely consolidated snow. No protection, fogged glasses on a warm day and the ever present collapse potential made for a memorable outing.
jimknight

climber
Orem
Dec 26, 2007 - 01:53am PT
Thanks Steve. Your contributions are awesome and I appreciate the post of the ice article. Can't believe it's 30 years old now. Time flies when you're having fun, eh? Provo Canyon ice is not a well-kept secret anymore nor should it be. We're lucky to have such a resource that is essentially private land but allowed public access and enjoyment.

As an interesting side note to your Stewart Fall climb, the trophy house you mentioned belonged to my boss at the time. The slide happened the day before they were supposed to move in, and ironically, just after the furniture and furnishings were put in place.

Happy New & Safe Year Climbing

Jim
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Dec 26, 2007 - 11:39am PT
You have the most excellent library, Steve. I remember all these articles from when I had the issues in my hot little hands, but didn't start hanging on to them religiously until around '80, or so. Thanks for posting these!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 26, 2007 - 08:15pm PT
Nostalgic pleasure for all. Great to see your post Jim. Do you have any inclination to scan some of those old slides and post them? If enough time has passed, I bet your boss even has a shot of the slide blasted house! As a builder with a good sense of physical forces, I was very impressed with that scene. Glad that nobody was home when nature came a callin' with an exploded view!
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Dec 26, 2007 - 08:28pm PT
Steve,

Thanks for this, among many excellent way-back posts. Your sense of what's classic is really appreciated.

Jim,

Not having met you until much later, I like this glimpse into your deep past. Our moonlight ride up the Snake Dike was so inspiring -- maybe you noticed that since then I have been lurking again about the Dome. I keep mentioing in awe your rippinly rapid transit of the John Muir Trail -- did you ever write about that one?

Doug
jimknight

climber
Orem
Dec 26, 2007 - 09:40pm PT
Hi Steve and Doug,

I think you both can appreciate the power of wet snow. The concrete work on that house was incredible but the snow oozed it's way though the spacious doors and windows like a dose of salts. I vividly recall the grand piano reduced to kindling in the great room. An insurance nightmare.

I read your article in Rock & Ice. Outstanding! Every time I run the panorama trail I have to stop and gaze at the marvelous beauty of that face. I'm psyched you're bringing your magic prose to such an enchanted place. That moonlight trip we took was a career high.
I haven't written about the JMT fastpack. I really should, but I think I'll have to write it in situ, taking the time for it all to come back. Thanks for the prodding. ps- I just finished another batch of holiday kahlua, so email me an address where can I send it.

best,
Jim
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 27, 2007 - 03:05am PT
Check out those totally "old school" ice tools. Getting good sticks back then was a whole different animal. And then there were all those totally marginal ice screws. Also, before plastic boots and FootFangs you had to have calves of steel or a very high pain threshold. What a totally different sport it is today!

Bruce
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Dec 27, 2007 - 10:36am PT
No ice in Utah, nothing to climb, move along please ...

marky

climber
Dec 27, 2007 - 11:39am PT
goddamn it, if you post a photo, caption it with the name of the place
jimknight

climber
Orem
Dec 27, 2007 - 01:32pm PT
the photo is of Stairway to Heaven

the extended pitches in the upper left are farmed (so to speak) courtesy of Scott Adamson and others who hauled ass and hoses up there preseason to redirect the spring water. props to them.

jk
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 27, 2007 - 03:10pm PT
So the route was hosed then??? Along with the climbers. LOL

Now here is a fabulous historical nomenclature quandry. The birth of the AWI grade for Artificial Waterfall Ice!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 31, 2007 - 09:39pm PT
Bump for memories of FrostyJello in the New Year!!!!!!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2008 - 10:30pm PT
Icy bump....
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Jan 7, 2008 - 12:59am PT
Hey, Steve, you're always pulling up the good stuff!

Jim Knight--talented, valiant and unsung. Cheers, bro. Through all the years we've been through all the years...

-HeiloJello
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2008 - 10:48am PT
Any memories from the mass ascent of the Fang? Looked like a family affair where you had to rent out the next gully over to accomodate everybody. Take the clan ice bowling!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jan 7, 2008 - 11:31am PT
Haha,
The couple times we made the trek to Provo, that article was our guidebook.

This is maybe in the vicinity of The Fang, probably Bridalveil, 1980, myself and Erik Erickson, a polaroid taken by Nick Badyrka:




We never really got that much done; just a few pitches each trip. The drive out on our second trip, 15 hrs from LA, featured blinding midnight snowstorms. The wipers were alternately failing in their clearance of ice from the windshield and I'd follow the big semi trucks' wheel tracks through white out conditions, at times holding the wheel cocked in a turn, with zero visibility at about 50mph, waiting for the roadway to re-appear before needing to straighten out the arc.

This was the Humingbird/Big Bird era, but just on the brink of plastic boots. Also Chouinard screws, placed with one arm through a wrist loop all the way to the elbow. Snargs came out shortly after, which were nice for the leader, because they could be placed and wailed in with one hand.

On this particular trip, I had fortified my Galibier Superguides with a neoprene sock and that did little for me other than cut off enough circulation to induce mild frost bite. Erik wore Supergators, a better option which I uptook along the way to Koflachs. For most of that trip, when in town, I had to wear my Snow Lion polarguard booties to help my cold feet along. I still have chronic cold feet, so I'm wearing those same booties here at home as I type this recollection!
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