Monthly Archives: December 2013

Jackson and Mike have been coming to NH to climb rock and ice with me for many seasons. It has been a rewarding experience being a part of their journey climbing on the vertical rock faces and on the spectacular ice climbs. Jackson loves the climbing world. He is a solid  hiker, skier and climber. Jackson is able to keep his focus when climbing, he pays close attention to directions on the routes, and he is able to stop anytime to refine his movements as he ascends the route. A very special young climber and so much fun to be out with him and Mike.

IMG_0944

Gearing up at the Highland Center.

IMG_0945

Approach to the Trestle Slabs.

IMG_0947

The trestle area.

IMG_0948

Ready for the action and excitement.

IMG_0950 IMG_0951  IMG_0961

Armed and dangerous – looking for the fun.

IMG_0963

Jackson climbed this route multiple times – awesome job.

IMG_0966

Lunch break in the mountains – PB and Pretzel!

IMG_0967

Great day of climbing fun with these guys.

IMG_0970

Annual MMG photo.

Thanks to Jackson and Mike.

Great to climb with you both again looking forward to seeing you in February.

Art Mooney

Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year – the weather forecast was grim.

I met three Maryland climbers early in Lincoln. Everyone was fired up to go, to learn, to experience, the Mt Washington climb and effect.

Personally I was very anxious –  the weather forecasted rain, freezing rain, and high winds – some of the worst conditions to handle on the mountain – it had hypothermia written all over it.

Ice coated the roads, warm moist air and clouds whipped overhead towards the ridge line. We prepped and entered the forested Ammo trail which was covered in deep sloppy snow. One party of youthful men were ahead doing a great job breaking for us. So thankful after memories of last weekends tough trail break on the Lafayette climb.

Steve, Will and Allen kept right on my tail – I was setting a brisk pace to be ahead of the incoming rain. We arrive at Lakes of the Clouds at 10:30 and on the Mt Washington summit by 12:15. This climb was shaping up nicely – to be a fast ascent of the peak. We were over half way.

After quick break on top with layer changes, food – drinks and photos we put on our gortex – goggles and tighten down our kit. We headed into the 60+ winds down the Crawford path. Our descent was slow and steady, the rains hit us as we reched lakes so we kept the move on. By 3:30 we we back at the cars in a soggy but warm state.

This day was a another great adventure on the mountain – thanks to Steve, Will,and Allen for making the long journey for a weekend in NH.

IMG_0898

Steve cruising up the Ammo Trail

IMG_0902

Today had this type of weather

IMG_0904

The team up high on the Crawford Path

IMG_0906

Summit has been reached with no view at all.

IMG_0908 IMG_0910

Time to refuel and replenish!!!

IMG_0914

Back at it – time to descend.

IMG_0915

IMG_0916

We made it to Happy Hour at Woodstock Station and landed these fine seats right next to the fire. Awesome ending to our climb.

Thanks to all – hope to see you soon.

Art Mooney

Oh boy its been quite a week of fun in the mountains. It started off clear, cold and crisp, -10 and now its overcast and in the 30′s. This welcomed warm up is producing some of the finest ice to climb – wet and sticky. This ice ready, the climbers are also ready.

Our team of 5 is geared up with sharp ice tools and crampons. The varied climbing has felt a bit easier – as the placements are sinking into the surface with a welcomed sound of – thunk.

Mt Lafayette, Kinsman Ice, today the Frankenstien and tomorrow Mt Willard – Steve, Adel and Chris are crushing it for sure. One more full day of fun times will end this fabulous week in the mountains of NH.

IMG_0732

Mammut Gear – the finest kind.

IMG_0735

Lafayette Ridge on  a cold crisp day. Click on this image.

IMG_0740

Mercury Mitts – total warmth.

IMG_0748

On top of the world – in a white out.

IMG_1106

Kinsman Notch Icing.

IMG_0756

Repman on the steeps.

IMG_0766

Team of four – Chris,Steve, Adel, Erik.

IMG_0771

Frankenstein approach.

IMG_0790 IMG_0793 IMG_0797 IMG_0809

Great day on Standard Route in Crawford Notch.

IMG_0813

Derek and Steve.

IMG_0814

Chris and Adel.

IMG_0819

Thanks guys its been a blast again.

Art Mooney

The time is here – New Hampshire & Vermont Ice climbs and Mountains are ready for your guided winter ascent. Here at Mooney Mountain Guides we do our part by holding an annual pre -winter guides training day . The theme varies from year to year but one thing is common – frequent meet ups and training with the MMG guides put us all on a similar page when we are working alone or together in the mountains.

IMG_6672

New complete anchor

One theme this year was to Yank the Mank on Kinsman Notch Ice Climbs. The guides climbed all of the popular routes at the main area and cut out all the old webbing and replaced with bomber new redundant rope anchors – complete with double links to use when descending the routes.

IMG_0674The Mank – old webbing and tat in need of replacement.

IMG_6692

As always another theme for the guides was to ice climb. This is what we love to do climb and ascend ice routes of all types is what we did.

IMG_6691

Todd getting into action!!!

IMG_6683

Mike working up the center route – tricky crux at the top.

  IMG_0675

Jim – MMG’s Mountain Master.

IMG_6671

Erik – thank you – for prepping all the anchor material.

IMG_6660

No down time today – a technical clinic.

Refresh, Renew, Reboot the mind.

 IMG_6665

Simple Anchors – the connection to ice and the belay.

    IMG_6698

Erik and Matt

IMG_0679

Efficiency when working the Window Munter and One Handed Clove

IMG_0681

Mooney Mountain Guides Team.

Thanks to all for joining in.

Big Thanks to Mammut for our new Trion Pro guide pack!!!

Art Mooney

Its been full winter in the high hills of New England for over a month now. Not to say the ice has been fat the entire time, but the climbing has been amazing! When I found out that a long time friend of MMG couldn’t wait until January to swing his tools, I knew just were to take him … Huntington’s Ravine

IMG_1669

Jerry – completing the steep, pitch one.

The snow has returned along with the ice to these high climbing areas, making route finding and decision making of upmost importance. Still we were able to pick the prize of the ravine, Pinnacle Gully. After safely negotiating around an ocean size snow slab at the base of the gully, we climbed bright blue water ice for a full 60 meters. The climbing felt like WI4 in the steep early season conditions. Early season “is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gunna get.” What we got was “full-on” alpine conditions: cascading snow that filled your pulled up hood, hard ice, cold hands, and wind. What could be better than that!

IMG_1676

Jerry and I just topping out on Pinnacle Gully.

We negotiated our way up the rest of the gully, with the climbing taking us a little longer than expected due to the conditions. Still, Jerry and I were psyched to be climbing in such a beautiful place. We got to the cars just after sunset, finishing the easy part of the walk down with headlamps and in a snow squall. Only fitting for the time of year and size of our adventure.

Throughout our entire adventure, Jerry said repeatedly, ” don’t you just love this?” “Yeee-haww”, I replied in my best cowboy yell. Climbing these routes, or in these mountains is special. It shows us what we are capable of and our limitations. It humbles us and reminds us of the power of our planet. Every so often they allow us to pass through and return home with tales of adventure.

Thank you Jerry, for an amazing adventure.

Alex Teixeira

MMG Guide

 

 

It is the time of year to focus in. The ice climbing game is one that should never be taken lightly. Sharp tools in hand, spikey crampons on the feet, a rack of razor sharp ice screws hanging from the harness and a medium of ice that is somewhat unpredictable will certainly keep one on there toes.

Winter is here and its the time to get out and enjoy the amazing world of ice. The season is two to three months long in these parts and you got to get after it while you can. With that said one should be prepared in so many ways. Many would agree that the mental game comes first – a focused mind with a calm cool head in a requirement for leading ice. Sound and tested equipment will help prepare one for a tough demanding pitch or route. Then there is the physical training for the body – running or cardio, stretching and yoga, lots of rock climbing equals the needed power to burn on a steep ice pitch.

IMG_0628

Here are the Petzl Nomics in action – the finest ice tools of the trade.

IMG_0629 IMG_0633

Aubrey sampling the first sticks of the season. Felt a bit rough at first but came together quickly by days end.

IMG_0634

Working the Petzl Ergos into the ice.

IMG_0641

Tools in hand and sharp crampons on the feet – got to connect as this ice is slippery for sure.

IMG_0658

Oh yeah – Hanging on by a Moment – a fine ice line. Aubrey finessing the moves on ice.

IMG_0660

Sports action here as Aubrey tops out on the pillar.

IMG_0666

Many fine years climbing together – the A Team!

IMG_0668

The ice screw window – be creative to fine solid gear.

IMG_0670

Aubrey and I enjoyed a fun season opener together. There will be more for us this winter stay tuned.

Thanks Aubrey,

Art Mooney

Ken and I finally started of our ice season together yesterday. This season has been different as I worked the on the rocks until Thanksgiving which is quite late for me. Then I came down with a nasty bout of the flu and needed a week and half to recover. All is going well now feeling much better, the ice is in good shape, so its Pick Swinging Time for sure.

IMG_0578

The Elephant Head Gully – showing the recent rockfall at the base of the route. The ice was in fine shape on this route.

IMG_0576

Highland Center meeting area – always feel very welcomed here – put the boots on by the warmth of the fire!!!

IMG_0597

Lower Hitchcock with wet sticky ice drooling all the way to the base of the gully.

IMG_0596 IMG_0602

Clinic time with Ken – winding in a few screws, checking in on anchor configurations, then some scrappy mixed alpine climbing techniques.

IMG_0605

Upper Hitchcock Gully – looks and feels like a mini Pinnacle Gully but without the long approach.

IMG_0618

Clean, quick and simple is the way to approach building belay anchors set ups.

IMG_0599 IMG_0607

Lots of ice and running water – its building fast in the mountains now. The new snow will help feed the ice routes.

IMG_0612

Topping out with numb hands – a reminder of the suffering on the ice.

IMG_0614

Great times with Ken – we explored and climbed lots of new terrain today.

IMG_0620

LNT? – This was a valuable root to hook the tools for the top out.

 IMG_0616

Top of the Notch in wintry conditions.

Thanks Ken for a great beginning on the ice. See you in January.

Art Mooney

Each winter Mooney Mountain Guides helps dozens climbers reach the summit of Mt. Washington. For the climbers of the west Mt. Washington does not stick up all that high; however, those of us on the east know its reputation for extreme weather and steep climbing. Climbing this mountain in winter is a quiver in any aspiring alpinists hat, regardless of its altitude. This weekend MMG got its Mt. Washington season underway with a successful summit. Thank you to all who participated.

IMG_1592

The crew about to begin the more technical climbing or our route to the summit.

IMG_1596

In the alpine and all smiles.

IMG_1607

Thanks to Julbo for making awesome eyewear

IMG_1624

A successful summit.

Thanks for a great weekend.

Alex Teixeira

November is the month many Northeastern climbers travel south trying to extend the last couple of weeks of rock season, and pass the time until the ice comes in good back home. Along with the Chattanooga area of Tennessee (see T is for T-wall, below) the Red River Gorge in Eastern Kentucky is a popular season needing location. In the hills around Slade Kentucky lies a lifetimes work of climbing. While there is both trad and sport, the Red is known for it’s radically overhanging sandstone sport climbs. The style is almost pure endurance, where the main challenge is getting to the top. With prime climber accommodations throughout the Gorge ($2 camping), this area makes it easy to come and hard to leave. It’s no wonder many traveling climbers live here for months at a time!

Seth Cohen warms up on Oompa 5.10a at The Chocolate Factory. The steep wall of Pure Imagination 5.14c is in the foreground

Seth Cohen warms up on Oompa 5.10a at The Chocolate Factory. The steep wall of Pure Imagination 5.14c is in the foreground

Mike Mastanduno resting on Tissue Tiger, 5.12b at Military Wall

Mike Mastanduno resting on Tissue Tiger, 5.12b at Military Wall

There are two main strategies to learn in order to climb hard on the Red’s overhanging cliffs. One is to climb fast and efficiently, the other is to train to be good at recovering when you come to a good rest, as in the photo above.

Mike Mastanduno off Tuna Town, 5.12d at The Motherlode

Mike Mastanduno off Tuna Town, 5.12d at The Motherlode

Aside from the pump, the steep walls and rather run out climbs lead to some of the biggest whippers you’ll ever take. The “Red River Belay” involves a large loop of slack and a generous hop when your climber falls. Most of these falls are as clean as possible, and we frequently jumped from the chains to get some of that fun air time.

Chelsea Kendrick on Fuzzy Undercling, 5.11b at the Military Wall

Chelsea Kendrick on Fuzzy Undercling, 5.11b at the Military Wall

The Red is known for having the biggest holds you’ll ever fall off of. After climbing 80 feet of overhanging rock, sometimes it just doesn’t matter how big the holds are, you’re too pumped too hold on to anything! One of our friends melted off the top of this climb on massive jugs.

Erik Thatcher on Steel Worker, 5.12c at Torrent Falls

Erik Thatcher on Steel Worker, 5.12c at Torrent Falls

At the end of the day, The Red offers some of the most enjoyable, stress free climbing around. No frustrating cruxes or micro beta, no scary falls, and a large percentage of climbable days. I suggest every one find the opportunity to head down to Ole Kentucky and check their grip on the Red’s awesome Sandstone buckets!

Erik Thatcher