Monthly Archives: June 2014
The birthday girl high above Mt. Washington Valley
For Emma’s 15th birthday she requested a day of rock climbing in New Hampshire, more specifically North Conway. I can’t blame her, as it how I’ve spent my five last birthdays. Theres something about climbing beautiful face, crack, and slab climbs with family. To a climber, what could be better. Coming from Illinois and being among these large cliffs, it must have been truly awesome.
Emma, on the cracks of the North End
The family watching Dad on the cliff
Emma, her brother Jack, Dad Pierre, and Mom Cathy all took turns climbing the Cathedral Ledge Granite. Each climbing higher and faster than they personally expected. Although the day started on short easy routes, our team’s confidence and skill quickly progressed, and soon we were standing 200 feet above the ground.
Emma and Jack 200 feet above the ground
To conclude the beautiful day of climbing we had all enjoyed, we headed to Cathedral’s “North End” to test ourselves on one of the challenging cracks. With a short lesson on crack climbing technique, Emma and Jack seemed to fly up the climb. Tired and happy, our group walked back to our cars, admiring the cliffs we had just climbed.
Thin Air Face – what our team was climbing on
Thank you Emma for sharing your birthday with us. Thank you to everyone for an beautiful day at Cathedral Ledge.
The Flatirons dominant the skyline high above Boulder on the slopes of the Rockies. These unusual formations of stone are numbered 1,2,3 and all are climbed regularly by Boulderites and visiting climbers.
Steve arrived in town and Flatiron number 1 was our first objective. Our choice of routes today weaved up the center of the wall and offered over 1 thousand feet of mindful movements in 10 pitches of varied roped climbing.
Steve giving the thumbs up to the Flatiron. There would be no wrinkles on this ascent – we pressed onward to the base.
Special times – breaking in the new rope.
This Mammut Revelation rope is a beauty and will be treated with care.
Today we went for comfort and performance and both of us chose to wear our new Five Ten – Guide Tennis shoes. These shoes went right into action, sticking to the stone. A great choice of climbing footwear for the moderate routes, much more than the so called approach shoe.
Learning the ropes, clove hitches, belays techniques and protection.
At the top of the face is an alpine style ridge. Here Steve is breaking down the anchor ready for the summit bid.
Our early start paid off big. The early morning approach was quiet and peaceful then the masses of climbers and hikers arrived. No worries for us we were on top for the day.
High above Boulders open space lands.
First Flatiron climbed, next stop Eldorado Canyon.
Great warm up day for Steve and I – let the fun times continue!!!
Rock climbing may seem like an individual sport, and it can be. However, those who climb may begin to see that climbers are like one big family. For one family, climbing is a way to get together and spend some time outdoors. Anne and her daughter Meghan decided to spend their time together at Rumney. It was a beautiful warm sunny day. We decided to walk up high to enjoy the sun and the breeze. Anne and Meaghan climbed some classic routes, like Nuthatch and Junco cheering each other on. Our group climbed a few other routes to gain some height and enjoy our surroundings. Its hard to beat a relaxing day on the rocks with family.
Meghan on Junco & Anne at a belay on Clippedy
Thanks Anne and Meghan for spending your time with MMG.
To Nick, climbing and mountaineering is less about achievement. Nick prefers to use the mountains as a place for discovery. He does not limit this discovery to natural places, and spectacular views; in addition to these, Nick takes time for self discovery and reflection. Knowing this about Nick I felt that a traverse of New Hampshire’s Presidential range was a perfect objective.
Foreground Mt. Adams, Mid-ground undercast clouds, Background Mt. Washington
New Hampshire’s Presidential Range is the loges exposed alpine ridge-line in the eastern half of the U.S. It also boasts eight summits, Mt. Washington being the tallest in the North East. There are some options on how to start and finish the traverse, however, our path would take us 24.5 miles over which we would gain and loose 7,200ft of elevation.
Our journey began at the Appalachia trail head where we walked 5 miles to tree-line, eventually topping out at the AMC Madison Spring Hut. With it being early season, Nick and I decided to stay in the huts operated by the AMC. This option allowed us to cary light day packs, as apposed to heavy overnight packs.
View from Madison Spring Hut
Our walk to the hut was beautiful, following a stream fed by an alpine spring made it even better. An easy pace with good conversation, gave us plenty of time to relax on the porch of the hut before we were served a delicious hot meal. One of the most stunning sunsets over a blanket of undercast clouds made a great ending to a even better day.
Sunset at Madison Spring Hut
Day two dawned bluebird skies, and 20% humidity. A perfect day to hike across one of the most stunning landscapes in the east. We passed deep glacial cirques, and craggy summits on our way south. After our hike across the the Northern Presidentials, we arrived at the AMC Lakes of the Clouds Hut at the foot of Mt. Washington. We sipped hot coco as we unpacked our packs and prepared for dinner. Another wonderful four course meal. Both tired, we headed to bed early for day 3.
Starting out on Day 2
Midway Point Day 2
Nick and I awoke to the sound of rain blowing against the window of the hut and coffee brewing in the kitchen. Two large bowls of oatmeal prepared us for our journey across the southern end of the range. Out the door we were met with rain, but it didn’t detract from the experience. We were prepared with rain gear to stay warm and dry. Over the summit of Monroe we went.
No more rain, and good visibility.
Nick and I had been out for two hours,when suddenly the rain slowed to a stop and the fog lifted. The skies remained cloudy and dark, yet the clouds were in the upper atmosphere and visibility increased to about 30 miles. We completed the final 2/3rds of our day with beautiful views all the way to Mizpah Hut. By this point in our travels we had gotten to know some of the other southbound hikers on the trail. Having dinner and breakfast with these other hikers, Nick and I got to know them a little. Walking into the hut, it was like seeing old friends at the local watering hole. Another hot four course meal was served. Desert of cream cheese brownies sent us full and warm to our bunks.
Final Summit in the Presidential’s complete.
Breakfast and goodbyes to the hut workers, then we were off down the trail. We were out around lunch time. On our hike out Nick and I reflected on how the mountains teach us about our selves. Our physical fitness becomes apparent, our decision making, and what is important to us. Nick and I promised to meet again for another mountain adventure in the future. Between now and then, Nick will go to Mt. Rainer in the Cascades of Washington, as well as Mt. Elbrus in the Caucasus of Russia. No doubt that he will have done some self discovery.
Thank you Nick for a great week on the trail.
A big shout out is in store for the MMG guides.
Thanks very much for attending the spring training day this season. This day is where and when the MMG Guide team gets together to Raise the Bar. By reviewing our practices, discussing new techniques, lots of hands on with new and previous skills, and general fun times cragging on the rocks the team comes together and tightens up the MMG guiding operation.
L to R: Derrek Anderson, Phil Thalheimer,Derek Doucet,Steve Cooney, Alex Teixeira, Todd Goodman, and Mike Leathem
Missing – not forgotten are: Erik Thatcher, Jim Gagne, Matt Shove.
Our Sponsors Mammut, Julbo, Five Ten – came through again – in a big way!!!
Check out these excellent products.
On approach to Jimmy Cliff area.
Discussing the descent technique options.
MMG’s team – we have been together for many years which says a lot.
Good friends, good times = good guiding and instruction.
The Gi Gi and the Connecticut Hitch
Phil managing the station and transitioning to the descent.
Great day getting together – Thank you all.
Yesterday was an absolutely stellar day of the stone. Brilliant sunshine, a light breeze, crisp dry rock gave Jerry and I the go ahead for sports action on Whitehorse. The Julbo Stunt glasses were on board to keep the glare out of my eyes – my guide job for the day was to assist Jerry in leading the way to the top. I needed a good visual from below to point out a few key placements on the sparsely protected route – a Whitehorse specialty.
Pitch one starting off the launch pad – easy slabs lead to the anchor 150 feet up and right.
Jerry keeping his focus on the typical long run outs on moderate terrain.
Simple anchors on the bolted station were solid and fast to set and remove.
Taking this place for Granted – never – a special area for all to enjoy.
BD Cams placed in good solid rock, surface area excellent and direction of pull considered.
Crystal pocket belay area.
Headed out to Lunch ledge – long runout on easy terrain leads to great gear before the steep climbing.
Jerry and I on top – enjoying views on the valley and Mt Washington in the distance.
Mammut – Innovative Rock and Alpine equipment for all our climbs.
Julbo – The World needs your vision!!!
Troop 1 from Northboro Mass climbed at Rumney Rocks this past Saturday. The day was full of excitement and challenges. After our morning skills session the Scouts were put to the rocks of Rumney. Tying knots, climbing, belaying and lowering skills were practiced in full force with three groups at various areas.
Check out these fun photos of the day.
Thanks to all the Scouts and leaders.
The MMG staff of guides – Art, Steve, Phil