With winter in full swing, it was time for some more ice-climbing fun, this time a bit closer to home. I went with a few folks from the Hoofers Mountaineering Club to Cox Hollow in Governor Dodge State Park, about an hour from Madison. With the temperature at a mild 28 F (-2 C), hammering the ice with an axe would be like stabbing butter with a hot fork. A few others had the same idea as us, but there was still plenty of ice for us all to play nice and share.
Two separate branches of the waterfall at Cox Hollow were frozen, and we each got several laps on both. The ice was easier than what we had climbed in Munising, so I finally got the confidence to attempt my first lead. Falling while rock climbing is expected from time to time, but on ice, you really don't want to take a lead fall because you're carrying axes and have sharp points strapped onto your boots. For some reason, I like the added danger, though. My first ice lead went smoothly, and now I want to try something a bit more challenging.
This was another fun day on the ice. I hope it's not my last this season. The weather has been too warm over the last five days to sustain good ice for climbing. It's still January, so chances are it will get cold again, but I'm getting a bit concerned. Please Winter, don't go away just yet!