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A first attempt by Wayne Trzyna © 1996

Bob did a very nice job leading the Seventh Tenacle (M7). For me it was a flail-fest -- I got up, but in a self-humiliating manner. It wasn't pretty.

Then Bob led out the Octopussy (M8) dirt-and-rock traverse to the point at which you have to swing across to the free-hanging icicle, and stood there for a while. It had some interesting horizontal fracture lines at the point where ice meets rock. Both of us looked at it askance and debated the likelihood that one of us would come crashing down along with its several thousand pounds, whether the rope would break, whether it would result in a trip to the mortuary or just the emergency room, etc. Meanwhile, Craig Leuben shouted up, "I did it yesterday; I just held my hands out and leaned across." To make a long list of excuses short, we decided to rap. Then we spent most of the drive back debating whether we were cowards or possessors of good judgement.

Bob, though he found the climbing difficult, maintained remarkable control, pacing himself, moving cautiously, sizing up each situation carefully, and finally backing off while Craig Leuben looked on. After watching Bob climb that day, I think I understand how he has managed to stay alive while performing solo ascents of imposing climbs such as Slipstream.

Ascent by Bob Cordery-Cotter © 1996

Pete (Takeda) and I did Octopussy yesterday (the first day of spring) with Pete leading the 7th Tentacle. Of course we did not have to do the horrendous dry- tooling moves out the roof! Instead, I was able to pinch a small limestone hold with my left hand and reach across to the icicle with my ice- tool and stab the spike into the ice. Thus bridging the gap, I braced my right crampon against the ice and with my left foot still on rock, could now hook the icicle with my left tool. Next I hooked my left tool, then brought over my left foot. A series of hooking moves with delicate crampon placements then followed on the slightly overhanging ice until the junction with the roof is reached. Here two pitons are clipped and you climb around onto the valley side of the icicle where at the top of the icicle a screw can be placed. Unbelievable! The view down as you surmount the roof is spectacular! An exit left on mixed climbing is then needed before you head up through the trees to the belay. Pete bloodied his hands following, and was quite happy to reach the belay. He mentioned he would not have liked to have led this climb. Much to our surprise, Jeff Lowe came up the climb after us. He was there with Greg Lowe and his wife Teri Ebel climbing while Greg filmed him and his partner climbing.

I spoke with the creator, Jeff Lowe, after he did Octopussy the same day and we agreed that the route as it is is not the same route as it would be if it required the complex series of dry- tool maneuvers to reach the ice. Furthermore, once at the ice he mentioned that in its original state the ice was quite extreme with highly gymnastic maneuvers required to ascend the icicles. Not an 8 as is, but the climb gave me reason to pause and carefully consider my actions whereas when faced with a class 5 or 6 column I would never hesitate. I would consider it worthwhile to return and attempt the route in its original form some other year. We have had a fairly severe winter storm today and it appears that the ice season may not be over!

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