On our climb of the West Gully the previous weekend, Brian and I noticed that All Mixed Up looked in relatively good shape. Kevin had not been up the route and was looking for something to do on Veterans Day, so the three of us decided to go and check it out despite a questionable forecast. We met in Denver, Colorado, at 4:00 and were hiking from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead at 6:00. The approach to Mills Lake went quickly, and the initial section of the scramble to the climb wasn't too bad. Once out of tree line, progress slowed as we wallowed, post-holed, and slipped our way to the base of the climb. The weather was actually very good and light snowfall was on and off throughout the day.
Kevin took the sharp end of the rope for the first pitch which was in fatter than I'd ever seen before. He did a good job on the run out pitch and built an anchor in the ice as he couldn't locate the fixed pin and webbing. This was partially my fault as I directed him too far right and away from the fixed anchor. After he brought Brian and I up the first pitch, I found the gear so we moved the anchor to the standard location. For the first time out for the year, Kevin looked good with stable footwork. Now he just needs to get rid of the old Trango ice tools he climbs with.
Brian had led pitch 2 once and pitch 3 twice before on the route. I had led pitch 2 twice and pitch 3 once before, so it only made sense that he took pitch 2 and I took pitch 3 on this trip. Brian led out from the anchor on good ice for 20 feet. Like the siren song from mythology that lured sailors to the rocky shores of their island only to shipwreck, better ice lured Brian to the left where he climbed into a corner and was also sunk. This was again partially my fault as I remained silent and wasn't vocal about traversing right when he started heading left. We easily lowered Brian off a fixed anchor to where he could get back on route and finish the second pitch to the right and then up on better ice to another fixed anchor. The middle section of this pitch was super thin and mixed with limited gear. Brian did a great job staying in control on the pitch which was pretty much a free solo.
I traversed left out of our second anchor across a weak curtain with thin feet and then up to easier ground and the snow pitch to the base of the final pitch. I anchored into the rock to the left of the base of the pitch. After Brian and Kevin joined me, we restacked the rope and I headed up the third pitch to the top of the route. The ice was generally acceptable with a few thinner sections but overall quality climbing. Once Brian and Kevin climbed the last pitch, we decided to rappel the route instead of going down the standard walk off.
We threaded some cord through the rock and did our first rappel which got us to the base of the snow pitch. From here we slung a large boulder with more cord and got all the way to the first anchor station at the top of the first pitch. The third rappel took us to our gear at the base of the climb. We ended up hiking out in the dark, but were happy to have completed the climb. After a beer to celebrate our climb, we went back to Denver, Colorado, to sort gear and head home.