Ariana trip report

by We didn't write this

“Its no sport climbing up there.” I mulled over Nick’s statement from the night before, took a few breaths of thin air, snagged a quickdraw off my harness, and clipped the 5th fixed piece of gear in the 80 foot 12a crux of Airana, on the Diamond.
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It was a cool climb. We awoke at 3:30 in Nick’s driveway in Estes, drank a good portion of cold brew coffee and were hiking 45 minutes later.

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We witnessed the sunrise on trail and arrived at Chasm lake 2 hours later. Casually racking up we were psyched to see only a few parties on the wall, and one party having a tough time with the glacier at the base. Having never climbed one before, this was an unsettling sight.
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45 minutes later we crushed the glacier in a few minutes, rock daggers in hand, excited to use our arms for the first time of the day. I tied in, gave Tara our only helmet and set off simulclimbing the North chimneys. I was shortly almost murdered by the party above, who knocked off a huge amount of choss onto my exposed head. I guess glacier climbing and choss climbing are correlated skills…

“Don’t have summit fever: Enjoy the experience, but be willing to turn around at any time.”

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So says the official park documentation. 7 hours after stepping off the glacier we were pushing third class terrain to the summit. The weather finally turned sour and a thick hail was coming in. Our bare heads were feeling achy after slamming into the “glass ceiling”, but sick with summit fever we pushed on anyways and stood on top.

The decent down took forever. If anyone reads this, the only takeaway I actually want people to have is, if you plan on doing the diamond and topping out, do not leave your packs at the lake. I learned this one the hard way, going for a high alpine jog to retrieve them at the end of the day.

Happy climbing!