Monthly Archives: February 2013
Its almost March and it has been an awesome season of ice climbing here in New Hampshire, with some recent snow the landscape is looking like a winter wonderland. This, combined with mild temperatures set the stage for Erin and Jason to have an amazing ice climbing trip in Crawford Notch.
The newly married pair come from the D.C. and N.Y. areas, and were excited to check out New Hampshire. I guess their first impressions were good, because they mentioned that this would be a great place to retire. Of course I added, “Its a great place to live now.” Maybe getting geared up in front of the warm fireplace at the AMC’s Highland Center had something to do with it, or maybe is was the snow covered trees and bright blue ice waterfalls. Either way both Erin and Jason were happy and we had only just begun our approach.
Day one was spent on Mt. Willard climbing Left Hand Monkey Wrench and the Hitchcock gullies. It was a blast blazing our own trails through fresh snow and climbing popular routes that we had all to our selves. Day two was spent at the Frankenstein area. We climbed Standard Route followed by some leading and anchor building practice. When all was said and done we were perfectly tired, content on strolling back to the cars as the sun went around the hillside.
Thank you Erin and Jason for a great couple of days out on the ice. I hope to see you both again in the hills.
Mike and I just had two days of steep ice climbing together. Each time Mike come to NH we take climbing to a higher level. This time is was the steep ice and two great venues Frankenstein and the Lake Willoughby.
As you will see the climbing is fantastic right now – get it while you can.
Lots of steep long routes at the Lake.
Mike warming up on the hobbit.
Pegasus done – lots of varied climbing on this one.
Chia right side – beautiful ice climbing in the sun.
Thanks for a great two days Mike!
Amber on the Summit of Mt. Willard
Amber was raised in western Canada and is no stranger to the mountains. She moved out east for the city of Boston, but ever since she has missed the mountains of the west. Last year she decided to climb New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington and spend a night in the Weather Observatory. On that trip she discovered that the mountains of the Northeast have a lot to offer, and that Mooney Mountain Guides could help her achieve her goals.
Earlier this season, Amber wanted to take a stab at ice climbing. She enjoyed the challenge of climbing steep frozen waterfalls, but missed the aspect of moving through the mountains and reaching a summit. So she gave us a call and wanted to combine hiking with ice climbing into a more mountaineering type objective. Mt. Willard was the perfect choice. With its gullies that combine sections of snow with sections of ice and top out onto a summit with a spectacular view, it is the perfect mountaineering combo.
Preparing for the crux of Left Hand Monkey Wrench
Amber and I linked up a few routes as we made our way to the summit of Mt. Willard. It all ended in the bright sunshine overlooking the beautiful glacially carved Crawford Notch. Mt. Washington’s summit and a bright half moon were also visible, making our day complete.
Thank you Amber for a great day in the hills.
Location: Mt. Willard, Crawford Notch, NH
Climbs: Left Hand Monkey Wrench & The Cleft
The MMG Guides along with myself strive to be mountain athletes. I am a full promoter that the MMG Guides (all guides) must climb often and also guides/climbers should develop a regular mountain athlete training program to keep on the cutting edge of movement skills on rock, ice, and mountain climbs. Specific training such as yoga, free weights, climbing wall, hit strips, running all add up to a strong more nimble guide who can operate day after day with out injury.
This post is of Jerry – one of Mooney Mountain Guides frequent travelers. First Jerry maintains a high quality home life and career then he climbs. Many times he has joined MMG for five day stretches on the ice and rock. He has come a long way in a short time and now he is able to climb a variety of high end ice routes, long rock climbs, mountain tours without missing a beat. He is a Mountain Athlete. Jerry has developed a regular training program that keeps him in great shape – when he comes out to climb he is ready.
The payoff is huge – last week we climbed ice routes for four straight days then Jerry finished the week off with a climb of Repentance on Friday and a fast early morning ascent of Mt Washington on Saturday.
Nice job Jerry – keep up the specific training and fitness program you are doing – it works!
Jerry working the back step on the Penguin Route.
Lead time on Hitchcock Gully – Willard is in great shape right now.
Descending from Penguin area.
Jerry on lead at the end of the day – Trestle Cut!
Repentance in fine shape – arriving at 2nd belay area.
Steep alpine rock and scrub at the top of Willard.
Another back step on Dracula.
A new route for us – Twenty Below Zero Gully.
The technical side – making a V thread for our descent at Newfound Lake.
No line up for Jerry and Matt on this day – green light.
Great day on the mountain with good friends.
Thanks Jerry for the superb week together. I am looking forward to our next trip to Red Rocks this spring.
Superb weather, fantastic alpine and ice climbing, and motoring up Mt Washington all made this MMG climbing sampler another excellent adventure for the starting players of the Peppercom/Cody team. We did miss one player Mark aka Renaissance Man but a new player came off the bench – Sean aka Rookie of the Year did not only join in for the fun Sean crushed it!
Sean started off the weekend with steep grade 3 and 4 ice climbs, learned about 4:30am alpine starts the next day and to complete the game he stayed true by getting the final goal – topping out on Mt Willard in icy cold temperatures with a sharp wind frosting up our faces and numbing our hands.
Sean looking cool, calm and collected on Lower Hitchcock Gully.
Happy Birthday to Sean!
Holster your weapon Sean.
Sean at spring climbing camp – learning quickly about footwork and balance.
Another Mt Washington summit for the team on a beautiful day. The 7th time on top for RepMan
The Team – (left to right) Egyption Stallion, RepMan, Sean Dawg, Eric, The Gale Force, and Crusher Cody.
Repman – contemplating his next move.
Adel leading the team to the top!
On our way to the alpine area Hitchcock, Monkey Wrench and East Slabs of Willard.
Thumbs up – the day just keeps getting better.
Adel on the deck after sending the steep ice climb called the Red Headwall.
Making good time all in sync on the Ammo Trail.
Sean and Chris ready for the action to begin.
Chris sporting the Go Pro – sure would like to see the footage.
A big Thank You to Steve and the Peppercom team for another great game in NH.
Thanks to the MMG Guides Erik Thatcher, Eric Marshall, and Jim Gagne.
Where were you when the nor-easter Nemo struck? Well 6 brave climbers took the storm head on just to spend the night on top on Mount Washington. Everyone was challenged in their own way. Between the cold, steep and difficult terrain, blowing snow and the poor visibility. It didn’t stop this team from obtaining there goal. It sure was nice to push up through this storm of the century and be welcomed at the observatory building. Good food, friendly atmosphere, and most of all a warm place to lay your head down for some rest after a tough day…. But this is only half of the story. What laid ahead for this brave team was going down the next day. Because of the increasing snow and winds the avalanche danger was a concern. It was a long day but the auto road was the safest bet to get down. Through snow drifts and blowing snow whiteout conditions, 11 miles later everyone was back at Pinkham.
Pinkham Notch – start of the OBS trip.
Steep climbing on Lions head Trail.
Matt Ritter leading the team above treeline.
Summit – before the blizzard.
Mt Washington OBS – dinner, bed, and breakfast.
Inside the OBS.
Whiteout on the auto road.
Working the drifts.
Down and out.
Nice push guys.
Jim Gagne – MMG Guide
The American Mountain Guides held the Ice Instructor Course last week in Crawford Notch NH. This course is a 5 day ice guiding course designed to train alpine guides and ice guides who are in the guide program. The course focus is on the guides movements skills, and on the guidance and movement of clients on a wide variety of ice and snow climbs.
Marc Chauvin, Silas Rossi and I instructed 9 students during the week. Over half the students were visiting guides from Colorado and the remainder were locals from New England and New York. I always enjoy showing the western guides our fantastic climbing areas. New England is a hidden gem in the climbing world.
Silas at the AMC Highland center getting our program started.
Mike leading up the East Slabs of Mt Willard.
Outdoor writer Rob taking the team up Frankensteins Standard Route.
Petra Cliffs owner – Mammut ambassador Andrea on the Chia Pillar.
Sea of Ice.
The instructors Silas Rossi, Art Mooney, Marc Chauvin.
Thanks to all the students for their commitment to education as a guide.
For anyone who was been watching the weather lately, you know that it has been bone chilling cold up on Mount Washington. Han has had his eye on doing a winter presidential traverse for some time. However, due to frigid weather conditions recently we had to postpone his original trip dates. Fortunately, Han did have a flexible schedule and when it looked like we could catch a break in the weather we decide to go for it. Although it was still cold we were able to pull off the feat. Han also wanted to stand on top of every peak along the way which adds another stage of difficulty. Between the cold bitter weather, tough bullet proof snow, and long days. Han was able to reach his goal.
Wintry weather above treeline.
Level platforms were hard to find in the bullet hard ice and snow
View from Mt Adams to Mt Washington
Full loads for this trip – 50 lbs.
Han and Jim on Mt Washington.
Han bagging Presidential summits along the way.
The southern Presidential Range
Han on Mt Pierce.
Heading down the Crawford Path.
Congratulations Han for a job well done!
Thanks – Jim Gagne -MMG Guide
Last weekend I worked with over 25 new climbers over three days at the Mt Washington Valley Ice Festival. The entire event was a blast. From getting together with the local and visiting guides, see and chatting with the equipment dealers ( Mammut and Petzl) and others, and taking climbers out on the ice climbs at a variety of cool areas. The conditions were quite good and each day improved with sun filled days/cold nights and lots of water feeding the climbs. Enjoy the photos of this years 20 year anniversary of this amazing ice climbing event in NH!
The posse of ice climbers heading into Frankenstein Cliffs.
Ice and Mixed climbing at the Trestle area.
Madeline enjoying a new type of acrobatic exercise.
Matt and Chad from Petzl getting ready for the crowds.
Pippa enjoying the steep ice routes.
Chad displaying the gear.
No tools all hands at the North end practice area.
Pippa armed with Petzl Nomic Ice tools.
Our ice climbing group photo at Cathedral Ledge.
Climbing Ambassadors Andrea and Alden getting the table ready
Front points engaged – ready to climb.
Chad having an exciting day on the ice.
Need tools – say no more Petzl Quarks and Ergos ready for action.
Another fun group shot at the Barking Dog Crag.
Great event working with IMCS Climbing School, Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides, Carolyn George and the guests that make this event happen.
Thank you, Art Mooney