Alexander's Chimney

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This Spring I was lucky enough to get out and enjoy some climbing
with my good friend Fabrizio Zangrilli. We had hoped to get out and link up
Alexander's Chimney to the Notch Couloir in a fast day. It ended up that
the avalanche conditions that were forecasted for the Notch were not
favorable so we got a "belated" alpine start on the lower part of the route.

Hiking is was great fun as it was my first time on Longs Peak in
the new season. All the running and training for my various upcoming
adventures had the regular landmarks blurring by. Fabrizio just
returned from a recent trip to the Himalaya where he was teaching Sherpas
to climb was well acclimatized and ready to run as well.
As is always the case with Fabrizio the fun of the climb is as
important as the objective, or at least he would lead you to believe that
singing 50 cent songs "if I can't do it, it can't be done" in a lounge
singeresque style while leading out tough pitches. Today would be no

Fabrizio was kind enough to swing pitches with me and bring me up
to speed on the "new alpine styles" as I've spent most of the last 4 years
repping and driving. (Things like the BD Guides ATC are all new and
fabulous tools for this kind of thing). He of course purposefully drew the
monster 5th pitch that is partially pictured. Inch thin poorly bonded ice
from the belay, going up to a mossy chossy iceless last 2/3'ds of a rope
length. Of course he did it with style.

I was glad to be out in my new "test" Marmot gear. My Alpinist 55
was amazing and light, and the Essence Jacket-(always one of my
favorites)-proved to be awesome at blocking the wind while I was at a cold
Belay and kept up with my "sweat production" when I got to lead. (I had
almost forgotten that I had actually packed the jacket until we got up to
Chasm Lake. It's really that light and packable, like 8oz and totally
waterproof breathable). I also sported the ATV pants which proved to be
just the right weight for traveling fast AND standing in place, sometimes
knee down in the snow at the belay. The fact that the cuff of the pants
readily fits over the top of my ski boots AND snugly keeps out snow over my
narrow ice boots was a real winner for sure. We of course found the
occasional Post Hole while on the way out of the backcountry so that was a
super cool factor.

One thing that I did learn was that no matter where you climb,
Ravens are a serious contender with getting between you and what you
brought. I've seen it on Denali, and Logan and now on Longs. They were
actually dexterous enough to get into the Alpinist 55 pack that I left at
the base of the climb, knowing that we were going up and down fast, and
removed my "shiny" goggles from the lid of my pack and strew my balaclava
down Lambslide..... I guess that means that getting into the lid with
gloved mittens will be a snap as well:)
All in all it was a great day in the mountains as most everyone
usually is. Keep on living the dream! B Block

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