Alaskan Alpine Club Ice Wall Project
February 25, 2005 6:01 AM   Subscribe

The Ice Wall Project. In Fairbanks, Alaska, where the average temperature is below freezing until May, there is no shortage of ice. By spraying water from two vertical pipes 24 hours a day, a group of climbers create a masterpiece. Ten more feet of pipe has just been added, bringing the total to 136 feet... and still growing.
posted by adzm (17 comments total)
It must get lonely up there in the Winter...

I'm frequently amazed - and sometimes delighted - at the things humans will do just because they can.
posted by krtzmrk at 6:13 AM on February 25, 2005

Seeing a person in some of the photos gave me a better understanding of the impressive effort.
[this is nICE]
posted by Feisty at 6:15 AM on February 25, 2005

Very cool. But how do they get prevent the pipes supplying the water from freezing?
posted by FreezBoy at 6:19 AM on February 25, 2005

It doesn't seem that impressive until you scroll down to some of the pics of the guy climbing it and you see how huge it really is. And then when you look at the pics of other ice walls it's even grander in comparison. I just hope my giant salt wall doesn't get to close their work.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:20 AM on February 25, 2005

My first link of mefi :) I was nervous... lurked for 3 years.
posted by adzm at 6:21 AM on February 25, 2005

The water pipes don't freeze because they don't turn off, as far as I know. The motion doesn't allow the water inside to get cold enough to freeze until it goes out. They mention problems with the nozzles freezing, which is why they designed all sorts of wierd nozzle shapes.
posted by adzm at 6:32 AM on February 25, 2005

Heh, reminds me of something this guy would do.
posted by scheptech at 6:51 AM on February 25, 2005

Wow. Not so much to the ice wall – though admittedly that is pretty high on the wow factor; looks beautiful in some of those photos – but to the rant posted on this page. He makes a joke about global warming, someone fails to get it, and the largely nonsensical response contains gems like this:

"There is only one way to reduce their scant effect on the planet. That is to reduce the total number of humans, by sufficiently educating them as to the benefits of producing fewer babies, especially the ones subsidized by tax money seized from working people..."

"...believing all those institutionally fabricated, self-serving illusions of greedy government and organization leaders, who do not question their idiot conclusions ..."

" ... At this particular moment, 2005, if we can sustain this current warming thing a bit longer, whether real or imagined, primarily by hot air production among those grossly over-funded, otherwise useless government and environmentalists dolts, burning tons of fuel to fly around the country and world, heating and polluting the atmosphere to attend hand-wringing and prediction fabricating meetings ..."

Nice guy.
posted by Len at 6:53 AM on February 25, 2005

scheptech, ha, no doubt. Red Green cracks me up.

This reminds of of one year when Seven Springs Ski area in PA made snow on one hill 24hrs a day for a season. They ended up skiing on what was left of it in JULY! This is PA we're talking about.
posted by tomplus2 at 6:58 AM on February 25, 2005

Heh - amazing pictures and concept, and funny text... a combination of things that are rarely found together! :-)

Good find adzm!
posted by Chunder at 7:29 AM on February 25, 2005

Great post, adzm.

I've long joked with friends that if a town like Cicely, Alaska from Northern Exposure existed, I would move there in a second. But this has me thinking that maybe every town in Alaska is like Cicely. Think I'll wait till summer to pack my bags, though.

One question - when do they stop climbing in the spring? At some point, that bad boy is going to melt and/or fall down.
posted by nyterrant at 7:29 AM on February 25, 2005

Nice post. And the thing about tagging is I never knew there were seven interesting posts on MetaFilter about ice, but now I do.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:50 AM on February 25, 2005

Looks like a lawsuit waiting to happen.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:36 AM on February 25, 2005

Len try clicking around his site a bit more. He's got pages and pages of rants against the National Park service and their policy of requiring licenses for climbing/mountaineering guides, among other anti-any-organization positions he takes.

It's a good thing this guy lives in a low population density area. He'd go ballistic if he had to deal with the bureaucracy/idiocy of living in a city. Of course, he likely knows this and has thus chosen wisely.

His ice tower is a damn good idea. It's odd to think of water flowing out of a pipe for months on end, ending up encased in a container of air. Then, when it gets warm enough, those thousands of gallons of water slowly collapse into a small lake.
posted by Four Flavors at 10:31 AM on February 25, 2005

I loved this guy's rants. He seems to be the type you can't take quite seriously, so read with plenty of salt. I'm sympathizing with some of his thoughts, since I am starting to get sick of city life and layers upon layers of bureaucracy myself.

Anyone notice the subplot regarding the crossbow bolt made out of a ski pole? Apparently a guy in Russia claimed it landed there, along with another guy in town...
posted by adzm at 10:39 AM on February 25, 2005

In Alaska, you can climb as a free human, if you learn how.

The really good places to climb in Alaska, are all secret... If you are a tourist, go to The Park. Stand in line. Do as you are told.... If you don't want to be a tourist, rag the government dolts, to their face, and go where the parks are not. All the information you need for where to climb in Alaska, is on a topographical map.

Man is born free, yet everywhere he is in chains.
posted by adzm at 10:45 AM on February 25, 2005

I live in Fairbanks and, coincidentally, drove out there just yesterday on my lunch break to take a few photos of the ice tower.

But how do they get prevent the pipes supplying the water from freezing?
As long as the water keeps moving through the pipes, they won't freeze. Same concept of letting your faucet slowly drip if you go out of town for a few weeks.
posted by rhapsodie at 3:53 PM on February 25, 2005

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