Ice Climbing

We are back from China.  We spent 4 fruitful days in Shuang-Qiao-Gou to ice climb.  What made this trip more interesting was that there were other Singaporeans ice climbing with us.  The SWET team was never lonely 🙂

the-ice-climbers.JPG                                        The group making our way from the airport to Sim’s Cozy Garden Hostel.

We stayed one night in Chengdu, and the following morning, we headed direct to Shuang-Qiao-Gou (3400m a.s.l).

tibetan-homestay.JPG                                         We stayed at the Tibetan homestay lodge.

Each day, we made day trips out to the nearby ice falls to ice climb, and return to the lodge for dinner.  Shuang-Qiao-Gou offers interesting trails that lead to various ice falls.  For one of the ice falls, we had to cross a “half-frozen” river … 

 river-crossing.JPG                                     Kim Boon set up a line to make crossing easier. We crossed it the way Peh Gee did … but … 

yihui-did-it-differently.JPG                                       Yihui chose to do it differently :p

We took another 30mins to trek up the overgrown trails and the majestic ice falls appeared right before our eyes.

ice-slopes.JPG                                        The icey slope – our play field!

We were geared with Marmot shell (top & bottom), Marmot beanie, Black Diamond helmet & ice axes, Smith sunshades & goggles, and Buff neck warmers …

the-ladies-with-axes.JPG                                          All ready to hit the ice fall!

We started with ascending on fixed rope with an ice axe.  For the first two days, we moved around the ice fall without carrying a pack.

yihui-on-fixed-rope-with-ice-axe.JPG                                     Yihui making her way up a near vertical ice fall [Good front point technique is crutial].

joanne-abseil.JPG                                                                  That’s me, abseiling off the ice fall.

peh-gee-lock-off-on-an-abseil.JPG                                                Peh Gee lock-off on an abseil using a French-prussik.

karen-marzuki-went-up-the-ropes-too.JPG                                                                      Karen and Marzuki went up the ice slope too. 

The remaining two days, we trained with a 16-18kg load (we put rocks into our packs to make the weight).  Kim Boon and his technical crew fixed up a 400m fixed rope circuit for us to practice.  On an average, we took about 1hr 20mins to complete one circuit. The time taken is equivalent to a 12km road run.  We managed 4 circuits, about 1.6km of fixed ropes at 3,600m a.s.l.  The ice climbing trip was to prepare ourselves for a 1.3km fixed ropes at Lotse Face of Mount Everest at above 7,500m.

team-on-circuit-with-load.JPG                                                Jane, leading the team on the fixed rope circuit.

peh-gee-on-fixed-rope-with-18kg-load.JPG                                        Peh Gee ascending with a 18kg load.

esther-preparing-to-abseil.JPG                                                                      Esther was preparing to abseil after a traverse.

 with-ren-qing.JPG                                        That’s me again, a photo with Ren-Qing (one of the 3 technical support crew) while waiting for Esther to clear the abseil line.

For lunch, we had tibetan bread, eggs, and PowerBar gels from Hivelocity!

esther-yihui.JPG                                    Esther & Yihui with their hard-boiled eggs and getting comfortable with their Smith goggles.

lihui-eating-boiled-egg.JPG                                                                         Lihui so engrossed with peeling the egg shell …

with-jane.JPG                                               Jane & me, fighting to have the biggest bite on the tibetan bread.

team-trainers.JPG                                                   SWET with Kim Boon, and the three technical support crew from Chuan-Zang Gao-Shan Xie-Zuo Dui.

Ice climbing is a sport enjoyed by many, and over the years, I have made new friends.

with-alvin-low.JPG                                       Alvin Low, a fellow Singaporean and an outdoor enthusiat, was in Shuang-Qiao-Gou too!

with-kb-shang-zhu.JPG                                                         Shang-Zhu (centre), a tibetan, is one of the climbing instructors from the Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA).  I climbed with him in winter 2004.  He is part of the CMA team to conduct advance ice climbing course this winter.

with-xiao-fei.JPG                                    Another climbing instructor from CMA, Xiao-Fei.  I met her in Beijing, 2005 winter.

We returned to Chengdu on the 26th Jan.  Back to the city, we unwind with a foot massage, and enjoyed the many good food in Chengdu.

team-unwind-at-shamrock.JPG                                                 The group unwind at Shamrock, an Iris pub in Chengdu.

at-shamrock.JPG                                                                                                                  Bacardi breezer, 25Rmb (=S$5) per bottle.

kb-at-shamrock.JPG                                                                    Our most respectable Lin-Jiao-Lian.  Mr Lim Kim Boon, the mountain man, he is the one who taught many Singaporeans how to ice climb! Kudos! 

We have less than 50 days to departing for Nepal.  It is now back to stairs climb, running and trail circuit.  Way to go!