The ice obelisk usually rising from Andrew Eck’s front yard on Lear Nagle Road is not there this winter.
The reason is obvious: It’s been too warm.
“I’d like to have about five days of temperatures of no higher than 26 degrees,” said Eck, who’s known as the Ice Man around town. “This year, our temperatures have been so up and down, I haven’t been able to get anything going. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do the ice mountain this year.”
Eck’s wife, Roberta said, “The weather is just not cooperating.”
Nearly every year for the past 10 years, Eck has hooked up a 50-foot-long garden hose to a 20-foot-tall black steel pipe with a misting system nozzle to create the frozen pillar.
Two years ago, it reached 28 feet before Christmas. Once Eck turns on the water on, he keeps it running for days until the column gets as high as he wants.
“It takes a lot of time to do, but a lot of people stop by to see it,” Eck said. “They enjoy seeing it, and I do, too. In freezing temperatures ranging from 17 to 26 degrees, I can get the ice mountain up to 8 feet in a day.”
With few below-freezing temperatures the past two months, the 43-year North Ridgeville resident realizes he may be unable to create the sculpture this winter.
“It would be a waste of time and a waste of water to try to do the ice mountain if the high temperatures were going to be well above freezing,” said Eck, 74.
Eck said he got the idea from a friend who emailed him and his wife, Roberta, about ice mountains more than 100 feet tall that people create in Alaska. People climb the mountains with a rope while wearing toe-spiked shoes.
Eck decided to do something similar to brighten Northeast Ohio’s dreary winter days.
Eck is enjoying one benefit: With no ice mountain so far this winter, his water bill is lower. It can jump $50 to $200 in the winter, which he does not mind.
“It’s just a fun thing to do,” Eck said.
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