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.


Gearing up at the Highland Center.


Approach to the Trestle Slabs.


The trestle area.


Ready for the action and excitement.

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Armed and dangerous – looking for the fun.


Jackson climbed this route multiple times – awesome job.


Lunch break in the mountains – PB and Pretzel!


Great day of climbing fun with these guys.


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.


Steve cruising up the Ammo Trail


Today had this type of weather


The team up high on the Crawford Path


Summit has been reached with no view at all.

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Time to refuel and replenish!!!


Back at it – time to descend.



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.


Mammut Gear – the finest kind.


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


Mercury Mitts – total warmth.


On top of the world – in a white out.


Kinsman Notch Icing.


Repman on the steeps.


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


Frankenstein approach.

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Great day on Standard Route in Crawford Notch.


Derek and Steve.


Chris and Adel.


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.


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.


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.


Todd getting into action!!!


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


Jim – MMG’s Mountain Master.


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


No down time today – a technical clinic.

Refresh, Renew, Reboot the mind.


Simple Anchors – the connection to ice and the belay.


Erik and Matt


Efficiency when working the Window Munter and One Handed Clove


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


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!


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.


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

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


Working the Petzl Ergos into the ice.


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


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


Sports action here as Aubrey tops out on the pillar.


Many fine years climbing together – the A Team!


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


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.


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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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.


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


In the alpine and all smiles.


Thanks to Julbo for making awesome eyewear


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