Day 6 – 双桥沟 (Shuang Qiao Gou)
A day of fast climb.
Today’s breakfast was wonderful as I drank a cup of locally produced butter tea. It was surprising that Yi Qian did not enjoy the taste of the tea. He’s usually quite adventurous with regards to food. Must be an acquired taste.
In today’s training, the approach route was relatively short, and we got to practice our crampon skills early on. The main bulk of the training was done on a simple frozen waterfall, where we had our first go at actual ice climbing. We began to learn to trust our foothold more as we walked on steeper terrain, and learnt to appreciate the functionality of our mountain boots. It felt more comfortable for us as we began to adapt to the physical strain the training had on our body.
Approach to training area. Guides in the background laying the lines for us.
It was interesting for me as I could compare ice climbing with rock climbing, as I rock climb often back home. There were some similarities, but a major difference was that we had to place greater trust in our equipment. The strain was felt more on the thigh and calf muscles in ice climbing, as compared to the arms in rock climbing.
Furthermore, we learnt about an Abalakov/V-Thread anchor, which was basically a makeshift anchor made of ice for the climber to be able to descend without leaving their important ice screws. I felt that it was a useful technique to learn, and this gave us a greater understanding of the ice as well. Pity we didn’t take any pictures of the Abalakov as we did not bring our cameras up to the area where we practiced. We were afraid of falling and damaging the camera.
Raymond and Javier tackling an 80 degree section of Ice.
Abseiling down the frozen waterfall after training.
A picture against Needle Mountain at our crampon removal point!
We went back to the lodge early and enjoyed roasted mushrooms, tofu, and lamb satay. Dinner was ready not long after and we were in for a surprise. There was fish! Fish in the mountain! Fancy that. We also had beef rendang, which was brought in by Edwin’s friend who happened to be climbing in that area as well. It was a very wonderful dinner, following an eye opening training session.