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Two thin ice pillars form in the bowl above the Spiral Staircase. The pillar on the left is The Pencil. The Pencil forms a narrow pillar about 40 feet high completely detached from the overhanging rock face. The ice is vertical and often very chandeliered with no real cone at the base. Climb to the trees above. This climb can be led, but is just as easy to toprope. From the top of Spiral Staircase, scramble up an ice gully to the base of the climb. Follow a trail up steep dirt to the right of The Eraser, and anchor to abundant large trees at the top of the climb. There appears to be a very difficult bolted mixed climb that ascends the roof of the cave in between The Pencil and Eraser as well.
Descent: Scramble down a steep dirt trail to the right of the Eraser to the base of The Pencil. Scramble down an easy ice gully to the top of the Spiral Staircase. Roping up here is a personal choice. The ice is easy (grade1+) but the exposure above Spiral Staircase is significant. Rappel the anchors for the Spiral Staircase, a large tree to the left of the route with slings and rap rings.
Ben: The Pencil came in really fat this year (March '01) and seems to be more like WI4. It was only chandeliered on the right side, but really solid in the middle.
Screws, the ice is usually thick enough to take long screws.
There are good anchors on top consisting of several fixed slings and rap rings around a large tree. An additional ~10 ft sling and a biner for a backup is a good idea. One rope is sufficient.
BETA PHOTO: The Pencil on February 19, 2008. Not the skinny i...
Swillig on The Pencil.
Pencil, Eraser, Belfry, 3/11/12.
Pencil is longer than the staircase and had a brok...
Dec 10, 2001
Most years ('98, '99, & early '01 at least) the Pencil is WI4.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jan 2, 2002
Good condition on 12.28.01. Slightly thin ice at top, but good turf.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Apr 19, 2003
Even in the thinnest shape this climb is no harder than WI4. Still it is very fun.
Nov 3, 2003
Okay, I thought Eraser's WI5 rating was just confusion about length issues. Eraser is very pumpy to start for sure, but I've never seen the Pencil harder than WI4, and that's only if you took the absolute steepest line you could take on it. Better than Eraser because it's longer.
|By Dan Battin|
Feb 16, 2004
Be careful of that center colum. It has a nice horazontal crack about 4 feet from the base.