Monthly Archives: March 2013
It was 4am and the Epinepherine move was on. Coffee was had in the hotel room with PB and J’s for breakfast. Jerry and I new this early start was needed for this long traditional route in the Black Velvet Canyon. The route proper is 1500 feet of technical climbing which leads to 700 ft of 4th and 5th class scrambling with high exposure – total route is 2200ft.
The Main Event of the route is the 300ft of chimney pitches which lead one to the stacked 5.9 corners which continue for another 700 ft or so. We prepared for the route by climbing the previous three days on the routes Group Therapy, Dark Shadows and Sundog. All had a small amount of the wide stuff to get us in the groove. One main goal was to have quick transitions to keep us move fast another was to be lightweight. We carried minimal gear in our small Mammut Neon Packs and the racks and ropes were on our backs.
The day was excellent, we ended up second in line with another party on our tail. The climbing was very physical in the chimneys and the corners were steep and technical. Over all good fun climbing in a wildly exposed setting.
Enjoy the photos of the Red Rock classic route – Epinephrine.
First light as we start up pitch one.
Early morning glow on the wall.
The Main Event – Chimneys and Corners!!!
The upper wall comes into view.
The exposure starts to get good on pitch 7.
Jerry – focused on the moves high on the wall.
Early afternoon on the summit of Black Velvet Peak.
Thanks to Jerry for joining me on this spectacular climb.
Glacier Travel and more.
It’s a lot of information for ones grey matter to take in. Four days of knowledge in two days is a circuit over load for anybody. When you are looking to plan a trip that requires a variation of so many skills such as what it might take to plan a trip, altitude concerns, belaying, rappelling, setting up tents, the importance of good kitchen skills, rescue skills, snow anchors and much, much more. It can be difficult to take in so much information in just a short period of time. In order to maintain everything we learned we all must keep doing the same thing……Practice, practice and practice. Did I mention we saw Fred Beckey too.
Technical systems galore.
Taking the skills up the climb.
The group still smiling after two long days.
Did I mention we saw Fred Beckey!
Thanks Nick, Ethan, Justin and Jenna for a great two days
Jim Gagne – MMG Guide
The American Mountain Guides Association – is the premier guide training and certification organization in the US The AMGA offers a variety of courses in rock climbing, alpine climbing and ski mountaineering tours. Throughout each years hundreds of climbers and guides enroll in these training and certification programs which teach new skills and refine their instructing and guiding skills.
In Joshua Tree KC and I met and worked with six new students in this years first Rock Instructor Course. The students were either at the beginning stages of instructing while others were already in the transition from climber to instructor – guide. The RIC course has an extensive curriculum which is covered over a ten day period. Starting with ground school we work to learn,refresh and refine techniques. When climbing we shift the mind set from oneself to thinking of overall risk management for the group. Then we apply efficient techniques to cruise up and down the granite domes.
Transitions are two fold – first is the transition from climber to instructor. The second part of transition is the technical area. Much of the course is focused on practice and refining transitions on multi pitch rock climbs. Examples are 3rd and 4th class movement to 5th class climbing, from climbing to descending, climbing to short rope travel, and single belayed climbing to simul belayed climbing. These are major areas we focus on to execute the right technique and minimize the time the rope is not moving.
After all the goal for the climber is to climb and reach the summit!!!
The desert landscape – Joshua Trees and granite domes.
Marcus – on the Dapple Mare – Lost Horse Wall.
Miranda on the wide and Chris liking the finger locks.
Greg giving us the beta in the guano chimney.
Joshua tree has varied climbing, cracks faces slabs and some wide chimneys. A well rounded climber will enjoy sampling any of these routes.
Jason, Marcus and Chris enjoying the J tree area.
Left hand perfect size for number three camalots – right hand the number two fits fine.
Techniques – Jason leading the short rope travel, Luke with an extended belay system, and KC demonstrating the 2 to 1 raise.
Practice of rescue skills for all.
Kiwi coil races – the guys rocked it coiled and tied off in under 1 minute!!!
Thanks to each of the students,KC, and the AMGA – it was a great course, with lots of learning and a fun time meeting and climbing with you all.
The Sunday forecast for Mt. Washington was calling for sever weather. Too sever for a summit attempt as planned for that day. So early Saturday morning the call was made to go for it on Saturday. All the participants were willing to make the change in exchange for weather more favorable for a summit bid. While we were normally taking our time saying hello, we were quickly preparing for our summit bid. It was the positive attitudes of the participants that made this day possible. By the end of the day five climbers made it to the top of the mountain and descended under clear skies.
This left Sunday. Our typical summit day had no agenda. At dinner we took a vote. It was no surprise that ice climbing won. For some it was one more experence to make on the list, and for others it was one step in the process of climbing the tallest mountain on all seven continents. Either way ice climbing was the chosen objective. The guests knew this was a bonus, Mt. Washington and Ice climbing, two trips in one!
Thank you all for a great weekend.
MMG Guides Alex Teixeira and Jim Gagne
Ben and Jonathan are two guys who have started climbing together. Their current goal is to climb Mt. Rainer, a challenging yet highly rewarding mountain. These guys are fit and can cruse up anything, as I found out last Friday. However, they know that they need to spend time climbing to become familiar with gear and climbing techniques. The two had participated in an introduction to mountaineering course this winter, but wanted to test there skill and fitness on a more technical and challenging objective. We headed to Shoe String Gully in Crawford Notch to climb and train.
These two guys crushed it. They were flying up the ice pitches and moving even faster up the snow pitches, which had become rock hard with the recent rain (even better for climbing!). They even climbed the crux technical rock finish! These guys are going to have a great time on Rainer in July.
Thank you guys for a great day!
There are many reasons why we climb. I think that any climber would agree that a big factor in making climbing a lifestyle is the friendships that we forge while tied into a rope. I had the pleasure of climbing with a legend at MMG, Nick. Nick is a climber of a different caliber. Of course the summit is the ultimate goal, however Nick has the wisdom and experience to see the big picture. The climbing with Nick was awesome, but even better was the good conversation. Nick fits my definition of the best climber I know; “the best climber is the one who is having the most fun.” I feel that I have made a friend. A friend I made in the mountains.
Thank you Nick for an awesome week.
Mount Washington range is always a challenge no matter what your skill level is. If it wasn’t, then why do so many folks come here to climb it and it’s neighboring peaks? It’s great to have people come here to enjoy the White Mountain in the winter, plus it gives me a chance to meet so many nice folks that are willing to learn and take their new skill back home with them. This past weekend offered many challenges. Winter is still here and is still not willing to let go. The Mount Washington Observatory Trip is the way to go for so many. Take a look at these photos and decide for yourself. For me there is no other place to be.
First light on top of the mountain – great sunrise.
The team on the summit.
Heading up from Pinkham Notch.
The charge on the snowfields!!!
Great eats on in the OBS.
Lions head steeps.
Above tree line travel.
The Tucks trail approach.
Thanks to all of you – for a fun weekend on the mountain.
MMG Guides - Jim, Bob and Alex
As you can see by the Matt’s previous post, the conditions were perfect for the Brown University’s annual ice climbing trip. It was a spectacular day for this high energy group to enjoy the climbs of Kinsman notch. It was awesome to spend the day with such great people. I look forward to seeing some, if not all, of you next year!
Thank you all for a great day on the ice.
Meaghan, Mike, & Alex
This is a special time of year! Spring conditions in the mountains are great for ice climbing, mountaineering, and skiing, and the valleys are perfect on these sunny days for rock climbing, cycling, and coffee shops. We are getting our first real glimpse of Spring and our happy reminder to take full advantage of our ephemeral ice climbs. Kinsman Notch was a gleaming ball of sunshine in the morning, sunglasses were almost mandatory. It was awesome and so warm! As the shade took over the crag it became a good deal colder, but we stayed warm as we sampled Kinsman Notch ice climbing at its best. The ice is in very full and was nice and buttery due to the warmer temps. I had the privilege of climbing with four great folks. This friend and family outing was a blast! Amanda, Diane, and the two Daves go to swing ice tools for the first time, learning the new and rewarding techniques for ascending steep waterfall ice. Sometimes they even climbed with one ice tool, a few of them got to climb with three! Occasionally an ice tool gets left in the middle of a hard route and needs to be rescued but we came home with all six! Great job to everyone, and thanks to you all for a great day! Enjoy!
Thanks again for a super fun day! Hope you all enjoyed and learned as much as I did!
This past Saturday, a boy scout troop from Groton Mass came out to seek some adventure on the vertical ice waterfalls of Champney Falls. This is the troop’s second year climbing with MMG so most of the scouts had some experience with the gear and skills necessary to climb the steep ice. After the beautiful walk into the falls we got right to it. MMG guides Matt and Alex led the routes and in no time the scouts were flying up the frozen waterfalls. Each of the scouts climbed every route that the guides could set up. Some scouts climbed with only one ice axe, and some even with no tools at all, completely relying on foot work and determination to ascend the difficult routes. Here are some photos from that trip. Enjoy!
I must say that I was very impressed with the leadership and outdoor skills these scouts possessed. It was easy to see that each of them enjoyed being challenged, learning new things, and have had great instruction from their scout leaders.
Thank you all for the awesome day climbing at Champney!
Alex Teixeira & Matt Ritter