We decided to conduct an alpine experiment.How much ice would there be on the Beehive in late October? Would we be able to climb it? Could unseasonably warm days, cold nights, and an early storm, create the necessary ingredients for ice…or not? Not quite sure what was in store for us, we brought along crampons, ice tools, a couple screws, a small rack, and loads of optimism.
As I slowly made my way up the crack, I found my thoughts drifting to what difficulties might lie ahead. This uncertainty kept me sharp. I knew I needed to stay on top of my game. The crack widened and I ventured in; one foot precariously stuck in the sugar snow that barely clung to the inside of the chimney while the other searched for edges on the clean face. I slowly work my way upwards, wiggling and squirming against the rock until I reach the point where I can go no further – the chimney is suddenly too narrow. I have been in this position way too many times. Strangely, I almost feel comfortable. After a few moments, I manage to birth myself from the crack and make my way to the belay.
Matt takes the next pitch, delicately making his way up a finger crack. Matt’s a strong climber, he seems to move effortlessly upwards. He continues, briefly disappearing out of sight and then returning back into the chimney. Kevin and I hear grunts of exasperation, we joke about what lurks above.
Kevin leads the final pitch, a beautiful grass filled corner all the way to the ridge. The summit has some pristine hanging snowfields. We move across the ridge to the summit, careful to not release any loose boulders. We summit one by one.
The views are spectacular, crystal clear, and appear to be infinite. We descend the couloir, make our way back to our packs, take a celebratory swig of Crown Royal and plod our way back to the truck.