Headed out to a not yet (fully) discovered crag today for my 3rd visit. This was the first time I attempted to climb anything at it, the second time out I did a bit of ice bouldering but the ice was fairly thin and brittle.
It turned out I miscalculated the gear I needed, and ended up on a lead without any screws, or rock gear. Considering my plan wasn't to actually lead anything but to top rope I was fully prepared, just not for the change of plans.
This was sort of an endeavor of lazy stupidity. Since we didn't bring snowshoes moving around the 4 feet of unbroken snow at the base of the climb was a bit slow, and I thought the left side of the climb looked like a 4th class scramble. The problem of course was to get to the ramp, I needed to climb a fairly vertical wall on the left, or up the ice on the right and traverse to the left. Third option was a broken 5th class (5.1-5.2) crack system with some small trees for protection.
Going up the ice and then moving slightly left to the crack system seemed doable since I had slings but no hard protection.
I anchored into the tree, called for slack and passed the rope through (around) the tree, tied in a second time, untied my original figure of 8, and down climbed. Then a did a little climbing on the right side which I'd rate as an NEI3. The ice was a little hollow, but the wall to the right looked solid.
The icicle to the right was dead vertical, and a short (60ft) NEI 4 if you went right. Further right were were a few chutes at NEI 2+ to NEI 3, plus some multi tiered short climbs that reached about 120ft up the cliff side.
While the ice was good, I was a little disappointed in the growth of it over the last month. Definitely not nearly as fat or diverse as I'd have expected after the extended cold, plus decent snowfall, and a little warm spell for melt runoff, followed by cold nights.
Next week I'll bring some screws, a few stoppers and some alpine draws. Perhaps a first ascent of the climb?