I am exhausted from my own vacation. Let me try to paint the picture for you.
Just when you thought our rock climbing days (especially after starbucks) can be a little intense it actually gets worse with ice climbing.
We started at 3:30am to break trail for 3 hrs in 40cm of fresh snow. Exhausting! To then climb 4 pitches of intense alpine ice up to grade v. That is when we discovered our trip was to go horribly wrong: we left the headlights in our packs at the base (what amateurs), we were wet and the temp was -23, we had the ropes freeze to the anchor and we had to do what all climbers dread, we cut our ropes to get out of there, we argued about if we should the descend the way we went up or hike out across the snow bowl to the base of another climb. I was scared of avalanches but it would be quicker so we tried but in the end we got cliffed out and returned to rappelling. I got hit with ice and was bleeding. We kept going and finally at the last rappel it was so dark that we could not see enough to make an anchor and Scott had to rappel to the ground so I could pull back up a headlight. By this time I was shivering uncontrollably and admitted to Scott that I could not think clearly. We got our packs but I was scared to down climb the ice in the gully so he short roped me down and then as I untied for the last bit I plunged through the ice into the creek to soak my legs. Two more hours of hiking out with all of my clothes on plus two down jackets did not warm me up. All in a day of ice climbing.
So we had a weird mix of battling mother nature and being nurtured in her bosom. There is no place I would rather be then wandering through the woods on a windless evening crunching in deep snow and seeing the sparkle of snow crystals on trees, but there is something to be said for ensuring that your day ends with a warm fire and embrace of family to remind me of how far I need to adventure. Wishing you'll a fabulous new year of health and happiness.