January 31, 2014

PickyLife: Narrative of an Ice Climb Adventure.

Picky Bars Dude, Josh Warren shared an awesome photo with us last week on twitter and we were beyond stoked! The Picky Life is about is about connecting, encouraging & supporting each other; healthy, active dreams who keep it fun! When we saw Josh living the Picky Life, we wanted every one to know his story. What Josh wrote below allows us to enter into a snapshot of an ice climb and all the radness that goes along with it. Read on!

 

Midday, feeling the dizzying effects of hunger, I reached for my stash of Picky Bars and housed a Blueberry Boomdizzle (formerly known as Runner's High).
At 6:00 AM on Sunday morning I awoke to Pete stirring in the kitchen. For the last 27 years he has been the Grand Poobah of our motley crew of ice climbers. At 61 years young, Pete has climbed most of New Hampshire’s rock and ice features, and has been organizing a skiing and ice climbing weekend for his friends since the year I was born. I climbed out of my sleeping bag, tiptoed over a few sleeping bodies strewn across the living room floor and joined him in the kitchen. A chalkboard hung on the wall read “MLK #27.”


Over coffee, Pete and I discussed the plan for the day. We decided that we were going to drive to an ice flow not far from Lincoln, New Hampshire that had enough ice to support our group of 12 climbers. With temperatures in the high 20’s, it was going to be wet. I was glad that I packed my rain gear. Minutes later we were joined by Dave, who wore a teal corduroy hat that read “NO GUTS NO GLORY” in bold hot pink letters, his trophy from the day before and a cross that he would have to bear for the next 12 months.

One of the many traditions of our annual MLK Weekend trip is to award the hat at dinner on Saturday night to whoever takes the hardest fall on the slopes or the ice, or just generally makes the biggest fool of himself on the first day of the trip.  For the last quarter century it has been won with broken collarbones, yard sales under the chairlift, black eyes in the terrain park, or in Dave’s case, what would prove to be much more painful, “verbal buffoonery.”

One by one, the entire group awoke and before long the small condo was abuzz with the sounds of flushing toilets, sleeping bag zippers, rattling of carabiners, ice axes and crampons, and relentless jokes about the Dave’s “new” hat.

Dave (Right) with previous hat winner, Paul (Left).

With comments like, “Twenty years ago we’d just be leaving the bar,” some of the older veterans in the group let us youngsters know that our early departure from the bar the night before was not how things were when they were our age.  I counter their gibes with a photo of my “32oz Arm Curls” from Saturday’s après climbing trip to the local brewpub, another annual tradition.

“32oz Arm Curls” of Oatmeal Stout.
After my second cup of coffee and a light breakfast, I stuffed my sleeping into its sack and began sorting and packing my climbing gear that had just dried from the day before. Helmet, check! Ice axes, check! Harness, carabiners, slings, ATC belay device, crampons, hat, gloves, sunglasses, check, check, check. Picky Bars… oh no. Picky Bars…
After a panicky few seconds I found my stash of Picky Bars hidden beneath my spare pair of gloves. A proven bonk buster, Picky Bars have become my mid-morning, mid-day, and midnight pick me up. Whether I am out climbing or off on a long run, they are my go-to source of energy and nutrition. Crisis averted, I had everything I needed and was ready to rock.

After a short drive up 93N, four of us found ourselves at the trailhead. We had offered to leave ahead of the rest to claim a spot on the ice and drop a few ropes. With a short approach through the woods we elected to put on our crampons at the car.  We bushwhacked our way through the trees and before long were standing at the base of the ice.

With ropes in hand, Rick, John, and Nick scrambled up a hill and around the back of the ice-encrusted cliff. I stayed put, and let them know how things were looking from below. After setting up anchors and a bit of back and fourth about where to drop the ropes, Rick and John yelled, “ROPE!” and in unison two ropes dropped, one on each of the main flows. Seconds later, the three rappelled down.

Not wasting any time, I tied in and began my first climb of the day.

Me on a mixed climb underneath a small curtain of ice.

After a few climbs, the rest of the group arrived and the sound of dripping icicles was drowned out by the sound of swinging axes, laughter, and words of encouragement.  

John makes the transition from rock to ice on a mixed climb.

Pete makes his way up a thin layer of ice.
Midday, feeling the dizzying effects of hunger, I reached for my stash of Picky Bars and housed a Blueberry Boomdizzle (formally known as Runner’s High).
Nom, nom, nom.
After a full day of climbing we broke down our anchors, packed up our ropes, and hiked back to the trailhead. Exhausted, we exchanged hugs and high-fives, hopped into our cars and headed home. For many of us living in New England, this meant a 4-hour drive. For some, living as far away as Virginia, the trip home would be much longer. None of us knew how many of coffees, rest area naps, or spent gallons of gas were in our immediate future, but we all knew that next year, the chalkboard on the wall would read, “MLK #28.”
When Josh isn't ice climbing, honing his skills as a chainsaw artist, or rocking out to Meat Loaf, he is hard at work managing Team With A Vision. Since 1993, Team With A Vision has joined blind and sighted runners at the Boston Marathon to race and raise funds to support the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. This year's team roster boasts 70 athletes, 25 of whom are blind or visually impaired! Also joining this year's team is host of NPR's Wait...Wait...Don't Tell Me, Peter Sagal and actor & comedian, Drew Carey.  
Click here to support Josh's work! 
And thank you to all the Picky peeps for getting out there and LIVIN' life!
Have a #pickylife story you want to share? Email us at pickyteam@pickybars.com!
2014/01/31

Don Johnson said:

Totally awesome story and photos to back it up! Now I shall try Picky Bars over my usual stash of energy bars!

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