Two friends as mountain guide and I went ice climbing to Ghost yesterday because pretty bad snowpack conditions this winter.
This happened on the first pitch of Hydrophobia around 1030am.
The route doesn't have much snow above this winter so far ( see the picture)
Temp was -6 at the parking area and wind was moderate from the south.
I was leading the pitch lookers right side to avoid ice fall to belayers.
It was almost 60m full rope length and I was looking for a good stance and sheltered spot.
All of sudden, I got sharp pain in my right hip and I saw ice screws dropping down from my harness.
I hit a rock the size of a dinner plate and broke an ice clipper.
We saw another spontaneous rock falls a couple minutes later and we decided to pull the pin.
When climbing with not much snow overhead with gusting wind (maybe wildlife), I should think of more different overhead hazards even for winter climbing (i.e. rock fall, dead tree fall...)
My friends and I have been discussing avalanche conditions and the terrain above the ice climbing routes but not much talk about rock fall hazard.
We were happy to climb the route without snow but other hazards exist.
I hope everyone has safe winter.
ACMG/IFMGA mountain guide