Monthly Archives: July 2014

Franconia Notch and Echo Lake viewed from the Hounds Hump Ridge. The Eaglet and Flatiron are two of the many granite formations perched high above the valley floor. This area is absolutely amazing with alpine rock climbs of all types. The steep granite faces of the Flatiron, the wide cracks and awkward chimneys on the Eaglet, airy free hanging rappels all test a variety of movement and technical skills.

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Aubrey and I were looking for a multi pitch climb of the unusual sort. A climb that we had not been on for a while would be nice and if possible a new pitch or two would top off the day. The Eaglet came to mind as the start to a perfect outing. The weather was good and it even held out for us. In the afternoon we bagged a new route ( for us) on the Flatiron Wall called Salt Packed Pig Sack a beautiful 5.8 climb.

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 The slab in center named the  Flatiron and the free standing spire on right  called Eaglet

IMG_3702 The first pitch of the Eaglet may look a bit grungy, it is in places! But be ready for some techy face climbing at the 5.7 grade. Protection is a bit tricky to add to the excitement.

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Jagged formations loom overhead above our belay area.

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Manky anchors – as they say buyer beware - we set up our own to be sure.

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Chimneys and under cut overhangs – Aubrey in action.

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Three points make and anchor – well maybe. These pitons are a piece of NH climbing history.

Aubrey busting a move on the crux of the final pitch.

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Aubrey arriving on the summit – just enough room for two.

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Me – prepping the airy rappel set up.

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The descent from the Eaglet Spire – 180 feet rappel to the base.

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Afternoon clouds boiled up around us.

The radar looked great so we opted for a few more pitches on the Flatiron.

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Aubrey climbing Salt Packed Pig Sack – leave it up to Jon Sykes and you get a name like this.

The route is 5.8 and is one of the finest face climbs in the Notch. The protection is good and the vantage point is incredible.

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Aubrey – very psyched at the top of this amazing pitch.

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The approach and descent weave the way throughout this boulder strewn forest.

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Hounds Hump Ridge as seen from the bike path.

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 The visitors center leads folks to the viewing point for the Old Man. We choose a different path one that offered a birds eye view of the entire Franconia Notch.

Thanks to Aubrey – it was an awesome day climbing with you.

Art Mooney

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Once a year, Dave, takes a trip to New Hampshire for some hiking and relaxing. Dave is from New York and looks forward to this trip each year. This year Dave planned is biggest hike yet, a traverse of Franconia Ridge including a summit of Lafayette.

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For many the Lafayette traverse is the most beautiful hike in the White Mountains. Indeed is is a special place. Stunning views of the eight Presidential Summits, Vermont Summits, and the Pemigewasset Wilderness. Not to mention the alpine flowers and rugged landscape.

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One of my favorite ski descents.

Traversing the ridge a hiker is exposed an entirely different environment. Due to the elevation the climate is similar to the environment found in Newfoundland and Labrador. To Dave, he said it was as exotic as being on the Moon.

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Alpine Flowers.

We traversed the ridge under perfect weather, building clouds, and a cool breeze. We were both happy to be in the Alpine.

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To the west of the ridge is New Hampshires largest alpine wall, Cannon Cliff.

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Cloud Shadows over the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

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Clouds over the ridge.

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Waterfalls are just part of the stunning beauty on this adventure.

Thank you Dave for a great day in the hills.

Alex Teixeira

Jerry and I met at Whitehorse this past Saturday. It was a pleasant day with bright sunshine, temperatures in the 8o’s and a light breeze. As the weather man on the radio 93.5 in North Conway would say this day is a keeper or otherwise a fifty cent day.

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Jerry and the belay station on pitch one.

 Todays plan was for Jerry to get back on the sharp end of the rope. He decided on a full length route up the Whitehorse Slabs. I recommended the Beginners route with a few variations as another great introduction to the slabs. Do to the long unprotected areas on this route I would give a word of caution to any beginner leader who is not accustomed to this type of climbing. Jerry and I have been on Whitehorse many times – so he was up for the task.

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Pitch three winds its way up the slabs for 190 feet with only a few pieces of protection. Jerry out there in the sea of granite, maintaining a cool head with steady and solid climbing movements.

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Jerry leading out on yet another sparcely protected pitch. Seems to be a theme here at Whitehorse.

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A watchful leader can get lucky and find solid solution pockets to thread the slings through for bomber protection. It took me a few times on this route before I got lucky and noticed this solution hole went right through.

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Here we begin our afternoon session, at the middle of the South Buttress – the Seventh Seal area. Jerry is preparing to crank hard on this lie back hold, then a smear of a high left foot is key to gaining the reach up into the finger locks above.

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Another hidden gem of a route.

Loose Lips is a fine three star 10.a which starts on a delicate thin face then follows thin cracks for 140 feet in a rising traverse. Awesome positions and great movements on this one. Hats off to Alain Comeau for finding this route but he gave the secret away  in the coffee shop and Jimmy Dunn took the first ascent prize.

Hence the full name Loose Lips Sink Ships!!!

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The final moves ease up a bit with climbing on nice finger locks to the chain anchor.

A phenomenal day for Jerry and I – thanks very much.

Art Mooney

Aileen wanted to do something fun for Martin’s birthday. The couple has been climbing in the gym since last fall, getting in two or three days a week. Taking there skills to the outdoors seemed like a great time. Up to the Granite State they came. New Hampshire is home to some of the best rock climbing east of the Mississippi River. A great place for an aspiring rock climber to hone his or her skills. Aileen and Martin are off to a great start, and what a great time to start a new adventure than on a birthday. Thank you Aileen and Martin for a great day on the rock. Happy Birthday Martin!

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Alex Teixeira, MMG Guide

Lexi, Lola, Bri and Robert joined me for a day of fun rock climbing. This was their first experience in the outdoor environment and it would be full of challenge. These two young ladies along with Mom and Dad were up for this exciting indoor to outdoor transition. Geared up with harnesses, helmets, and comfortable shoes – off we went to the Meadows area of Rumney Rocks.

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We found ourselves down by the Baker River during a mid day break from the rock climbing action.

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Super Hero – Lexi successful after her first climb on the Meadows Wall.

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Lola getting started with Dad on the slippery first moves – then she took off on her own climbing to new heights all by herself.

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Lexi lowering down and clipping gear for the next climber – learning and practicing the outdoor ropes.

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Lola – gaining trust in the system and confidence in her guide. Floating up the rock on a beautiful day.

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Future rock leaders Lexi and Lola placing stoppers in a crack.

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Baker River – summertime in NH.

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A big thanks to the entire family.

It was pleasure to meet all of you and climb together.

Thank you,

Art Mooney

Marc and I met up last week to get two awesome days of climbing.

Thursday was a great cragging day at Rumney Rocks.  We climbed 8 pitches in all.  We started the day high on the hill with Lonesome Dove, Junko and several other climbs in the area. High quality schist!   For the afternoon we headed down to climb the nice longer pitches on the left side of the main cliff area. Metamorphosis, Sesame Street, and a few others.
We ended the day with a brief multi-pitch/trad lesson including anchors, transitions, gear placement and removal.
On Friday we met in Franconia Notch for an ascent of the classic Whitney-Gilman ridge.
We had fantastic conditions with blue skies and a fairly brisk wind keeping the bugs to a minimum.  We were very happy to have our windbreakers for the second half of the day!
We moved right along in our approach and climb and included the 5.8 handcrack variation. The 5.8 variation finishes with an overhanging 5.6 headwall several hundred feet above the Black Dike.  Exciting for the leader and the second!
We enjoyed a casual lunch and water at the last belay.  (The climb offers excellent and comfortable belay ledges)

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Finishing the first pitch

Marc warming up on pitch one.

Top of the first pitch

Marc – top of first pitch.

Exciting traverse to the anchor

Exciting traverse to the belay anchor.

Marc finishing off the pipe pitch

Marc high over the Black Dike area on the Pipe pitch.

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Marc at the top of the Whitney Gilman!!!

Wind picking up in the afternoon

It was a really nice 2 days of cragging.   Sunny and 70s is hard to beat.  Marc is a gentleman and excellent company.   Thanks very much for coming down to NH and climbing.  Best of luck to you!
Steven Cooney
MMG Guide

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Do you have tickets?

For the past four or five years now, camp Wildwood has come to climb with Mooney Mountain Guides. Sometimes for a few days, other times for an entire week. We are very lucky to have created such an awesome relationship with Wildwood. The campers that have attended these trips are great kids, and the camp instructors are professional, friendly, and great with kids. It is a real pleasure to spend time with Camp Wildwood.

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Technique overpowers strength every time, here a camper gets her feet high to reach the next hold.

MMG and Wildwood schedule these trips far in advance. We cross our fingers in the weeks leading up to the trip that the weather will provide us with beautiful days for climbing. This year, the weather forecasts were not perfect. Despite the forecast, MMG and Wildwood kept it positive, and went climbing anyway.

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Rappelling is a vital skill for a climber; here MMG Guide Todd teaches a camper with the added support of a belay from above.

Day one was calling for thunderstorms. We all had our raincoats along with our climbing gear and super sticky 5.10 climbing shoes, ready for anything. By the time we reached the cliff we were going to climb, there were patches of blue sky and intermittent sun. The rock was perfectly dry, and even better, we had Rumney to our selves. Due to the fact that we wanted to get everything in before any rain, the group climbed a ton, and the rain never came. We had a beautiful day of climbing despite the forecast.

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Working on technique, crimp session.

In the a.m. of day two we woke to rain, but it looked as tough it was heading east towards Maine and away from central N.H. Again, armed with our positive attitudes we headed up the trail to climb, with the idea that we would climb until we couldn’t. Yet again, the more we climbed the better the weather became. Day two was just as great as day one.

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The team out climbing despite the drizzle; MMG Guide Todd looking sharp in his Mammut Rain Jacket

It was the power of the positive attitudes we all came to this trip with that allowed for two great days of rock climbing. It goes to show that climbing is about more than rocks and climbing them. Its about spending time in beautiful places with positive people.

Thanks to MMG Guide Todd, Wildwood Instructors Shannon and Matt, and all the campers.

Alex Teixeira, MMG Guide

This Saturday, Eric and Amy came to Rumney to take a step in their climbing experience: leading.

We started the day in the Meadows on Mom”s Pancake to warm up and talk generally about lead climbing.   After, we headed over to the Parking Lot Wall and hopped on Glory Jean’s.

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Stopping for a snack and water, we practiced clipping techniques and spoke further about setting anchors before giving A Week With Pete a go.

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Eric looked solid with his climbing, rope management, and anchoring.

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With a little more time in the day, we hiked up to Dirtigo where we climbed, led, and rappelled, broadening the skill set.

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A lap on the Wimpy Gilman was a fine finish to the afternoon.

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Thanks Eric and Amy for a fantastic day on the rock!

Todd Goodman MMG

Jill, mother of the Giacalone family hit one of those milestone birthdays this year. The kind where you get to suggest any kind of birthday gift you’d like, and be sure that you’ll get it. So what did this mom of an adventurous family of 5 ask for? A day out on the rock with her family!

Brother and sister climbing both variations of Beginner's Route

Brother and sister climbing both variations of Beginner’s Route

With a cousin/nephew tagging along, I was able to take 6 of the Giacalone’s out for a nice morning at Rumney NH. We were able to set up both variations of Beginner’s Route at the Meadows so the whole family could climb next to each other, 2 at a time.

Glenn stepping outside of his comfort zone. What a good husband!

Glenn stepping outside of his comfort zone. What a good husband!

Not only did Glenn, the patriarch of the family, bring everyone up here for this experience, but he stepped well out of his comfort zone to be a part of the experience that his wife wanted to share with her whole family. Its hard to see folks struggling with their fears, but at the same time it makes for the sweetest victories, when you also get see them push through those fears and tackle what they can.

The whole family cheering on Glenn

The whole family cheering on Glenn

This was one of the most supportive group of guests I have encountered. It was awesome to see them cheer each other on and relate their own experiences of pushing through fears or obstacles to encourage their brother/sister/ father/ mother/child push through as well. I spent a lot of the morning sitting back in awe at the positive atmosphere.

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It sounds like the Giacalone family shares outdoor adventures frequently, from Acadia ME to Moab UT. Thanks for visiting Rumney NH this time, and doing so with Mooney Mountain Guides. I was thrilled to be a part of this family outing and wish you guys many more fun ones in the future!

Erik Thatcher

MMG Guide

 

 

Wow – I must say Laura was spot on when she decided to give the gift of climbing outside to Issac. Issac was pumped to climb and eager to learn the skills to take climbing to a new and quite different level. Both Laura and Issac have climbed mostly indoors and both wanted to learn the proper techniques to get on the outdoor climbing track. Rumney rocks is the perfect place for sport climbers to make this transition. This day was planned to happen three weeks ago but weather kept us off the rock – finally we had a clear an sunny day – perfect for outdoor climbing.

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Issac and Laura – having a blast – all day long!!!

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Laura getting a feel for the stone and pushing herself to new heights.

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Issac in good form on the tricky traverse moves on Bolt Line!!!

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The entire day was full on learning – both Laura and Issac set the routes up, belayed each other and then cleaned the routes. Nice job to both of them!

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Issac’s new Petzl rope – silky and smooth.

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Fun times at Rumney Rocks.

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A very happy Laura – she climbed more routes than any of her other trips – fantastic!!!

Thanks to Laura and Issac.

I hope to climb with you again.

Art Mooney