Friday, November 1, 2013

The Sword of Damocles

Erik suggested we take a look at an ice climb called the Sword of Damocles.  I vaguely remember hearing about the climb before, but knew nothing about it.  Online research didn't give me much information.  Jack Robert's guidebook mentions the climb and has a sketch, but thats about it.

I was also curious about the name.  Did find some good information there.  Here is a 'modern-pop culture' explanation of the Sword.  Damocles was basically a brown-noser to his boss Dionysius II of Syracuse.  This Dionysius character was not a pleasant ruler and didn't take lightly to smoke being blown up his arse.  Damocles was laying it on thick one afternoon when Dionysius called his bluff and suggested he play Eddie Murphy in a little 'Trading Places' skit.  Of course Damocles was all over this idea not realising he was being 'royally punked'.  As Damocles relaxes on the throne soaking in the riches around him, he happens to look up.  Dionysius mischeviously had a huge sword hung over the throne tied with only a single strand of hair from a horses tail.  As we'd expect, Damocles didn't approve of this arrangement and begged for the King to let him return to his pion status.  The moral being that with treasure and power, danger and stress are ever present.  Or even more concise, one cannot have contentment where fear constantly resides.  Not sure how this applies to ice climbing, but I suppose you can come up with some comparison.

Damocles not impressed with the King's symbolism

As an ice climb it was never desparate, but certainly challenging.  I assume a dagger may form up on the route, but wasn't there this day.
Tedious gear placements, including driving 3 pins with a Nomic hammer.  The 'Cold-Thistle' hammer-mod broke

Erik commits to the crux move over the funky M6ish wall

Erik following 2nd pitch

Erik tops the short plastic wall to the anchors
Still waiting on Erik's shots of me leading the central WI5- flow

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