The ice climbing in Vail is famous worldwide, mainly because of the famous pillars Rigid Designator and The Fang. These, and other climbs, dribble out from
the aquifer under Battle Mountain. I have not yet had the nerve to attempt Designator,
let alone The Fang. I have been there numerous times, the first with inadequate tools
in about 1996. While Alissa & Brianna waited for me in the van, I ran up to the start of Spiral
Staircase and soloed up some 15 or 20 feet, and haplessly fell off. Luckily, there was alot of
snow at the base, so I bruised little more than my ego.
I returned in 2004, once with Stacy Bender, another time with Kevin Siebke. Both times we
stared with awe at the pillars in the amphitheater, then tucked our tails between our legs and
hurried over to Spiral Staircase. This being the first time since I'd fallen off, I was a bit skittish,
(most of my partners will tell you I am always that way). I think I put 6 ice screws in the
seventy-five-foot route, which is a bit much!
I came back with Kevin Siebke the next time, feeling a little more confident. He lead the Staircase,
and I lead The Pencil. I didn't think I could ever be that scared again, but there I was... We also
top-roped a serious mixed route called Secret Probation, which... well, I could barely get off the
ground. Kevin, who is a very strong climber, completed the route, and even got himself a little souvenir...