MichaelgSeamans's Blog

Illiterate ramblings from a photographer.

Two Climbers, Two Feet and Two Mountains: Training Nears The End

with 2 comments

Chad Jukes leads through a tight squeeze chimney of ice in the Ouray Ice Park on March 9, 2010. Poor snow conditions in the back country has kept the two Chads training in the Ice Park for the week.

Skip my ramblings and go straight to the photo gallery at the bottom of this blog if you’d like.

Click here and here to get back blog post for Two Climber, Two Feet and Two Mountains.

First things first. Chad Butrick was featured in The Denver Post as the poster child for Gimps On Ice in the Sunday, March 14, 2010 edition and was also interviewed by KUSA in Denver about Paradox Sports and Gimps On Ice. Check it out!

The past two weeks have been a blur, complete with a pre-Gimps On Ice party at the Butrick residence in Arvada, Colo., a harrowing late night drive down route 285 to Ouray, two major snowstorms and four attempts at two different back country routes. A perfect example of the planets falling out of alignment and answering the prayers of skiers rather than climbers.

The snow is deep and bounty full as usual for the San Juan Mountains in March. Not good for climbing in the mountains, especially in one of the most dangerous snow packs on the planet. Climbing in the Ouray Ice Park was the redeemer for the two Chads providing plenty of ice with no worries of avalanches or deep snow to trudge through with a prosthetic limb.

Chad Butrick, 33, of Arvada , Colo., lead climbs the ice route "Tangled Up In Blue" in the Ouray Ice Park to kick off Gimps On Ice in Ouray, Colo., on Friday, March 12, 2010. Butrick, the Executive Director of Paradox Sports is a right leg amputee and one of the organizers of Gimps On Ice.

The two Chads’ first attempt on Stairway To Heaven, a seven pitch grade III, 1200 ft ice route, was a test in walking through deep powder with one leg. An exhausting affair that consumed too much time forcing the team to turn back. The second attempt was nixed by a late start and a winter storm that ultimately dumped 12 inches in Silverton.

The third attempt was probably the most memorable and of course the one I was not present for. Food poisoning from the salad bar at City Market in Montrose, Colo., the night before kept me in the bathroom for a good 12 hours. Since I wasn’t on the climb shooting every move, Chad Butrick decided to take a whipper (fall) while leading the first pitch. The ice screw held and he was alright. He was a little banged up with a possible concussion, but otherwise alright. And with that the Chads packed up and headed back over Red Mountain Pass to Ouray.

Chad Jukes suffered for nearly two hours of post-holing up to his waist in the snow on the approach to the base of Stairway To Heaven in Eureka, Colo., on March 9, 2010.

The Chads joked about upping the anti after they climb in Alaska to come back and climb Stairway To Heaven next winter. Laughing is good. Laughing means an understanding that routes make themselves available to climb and do not always abide by the climber’s schedule. A valuable lesson to learn. You can’t force your way up a route and demand to conquer the mountain. Learning to turn around is one of the most valuable lessons in a climber can learn. The ability to say no when the conditions are not suitable to climb in will save a climber’s life.

Stay tuned for more the two Chads’ pursuit to climb in the Alaska Range. Next get together is scheduled for April 8th-12th. Maybe a trip to the desert will happen before then, though. Also be looking for a guest blog by Chad Butrick this week.


Written by michael G. Seamans

March 23, 2010 at 4:08 pm

2 Responses

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  1. …cool Mike – keep writing and shooting them pics.


    March 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm

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