Monthly Archives: March 2015

Alex and Erik just had what may have been the course of their winter. Ski guiding is a relatively small segment of our business, and that of the NH guiding business in general, so when we get a day of this work, let alone a long weekend of it we’re excited. We’re currently trying to expand our ski programming to get more folks introduced to the world of back country skiing. The skiing and techniques required is not overly burdensome, but getting instruction for your first day out will greatly quicken the learning curve. As you get into the world of Ski Mountaineering their is a a slew of technical skills that need to be refined in order to participate safely.

This group of three was curious about getting into the world of back country and ski mountaineering, so we designed a three day curriculum to introduce them to the techniques and skills required. On day one we went over gear and clothing requirements for being in the backcountry. We practiced transitions ( moving up hill to downhill, which requires a number of equipment changes) and beacon searches in case of an avalanche burial. On day two we practiced moving as a rope team, dug a snow pit and experimented with a number of stability tests, and what these testes tell us about the relative avalanche safety. On day three we combined many of the formerly learned skills to ski Hillmans Highway in Tuckermans Ravine! The weather kept us from covering all that we wanted, but that in its self is a great learning experience, and gave us ample opportunity to address not only surviving but thriving in those conditions.

If you’re getting tired of shredding groomers and riding lifts, or want to take your skiing to the next level, get in touch with us to book a custom back country ski day. NH is blessed with a wide range of terrain from historical backcountry ski trails at lower elevations, to big mountain lines in alpine terrain. The prime season for the bigger objectives is fast approaching!

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Twice a year Mooney Mountain guides offer’s and exceptional trip, ascending Mt Washington with an overnight in the observatory. This trip is great for those who want to summit Washington and aren’t sure if they can do it in a day, or those who have already done it and are looking for something new.

We get a late start from Pinkahm Notch after going over clothing and equipment needs. This puts on on the summit mid afternoon. After the obligatory pictures and high fives we head inside to prepared coffee and snacks! After settling in and getting comfortable the head of the Observatory staff gives us a brief tour and intro to the building and the scientific work going on in the Observatory. We then have dinner with the whole crew, chatting up the volunteers and scientists and getting great stories. After dinner they were nice enough to open up the museum for us to learn more about the science and history behind Mt Washington. The next day we wake up at a reasonable hour, have a grand breakfast and mosey on down the mountain.

Doing the trip this way certainly lessens the technical demands of a usual day hiking up and down Washington. Despite that, its still an awesome accomplishment and an exceptional experience. We book these days far in advance each winter and spots frequently go fast. if you’re interested in joining us next year for one of our two over night Observatory trips ( 1 in Feb, 1 in March) get in touch early!

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The odds are not in your favor in Las Vegas – the house always wins.

Each morning as we departed the LaQuinta Inn, Jerry and I hoped we would be ahead of the game. This idea begins at the start of each climbing day and continues right up to the end. Planning and preparation are certainly key components but there are times when luck is on your side.

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Early start times yield cool temperatures for the long approaches and the views of the Red Rock range can be magnificent.

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 Leading rock climbs is the ultimates experience for the climber.  For those who put in their time and stick with the sport, leading provides the finest moments. Movement comes in first, one must have experience and know how to climb and be solid with the level they are leading. Terrain assessment, this is the art of finding the traveled line. Next is technical systems, the kraft of protection or placing gear, this kraft requires a careful approach as one looks for solid rock, the right piece, and a surface that will secure gear to the wall. The mental focus needed is a huge component – to keep calm and cool only comes with years of practice and training.

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   Straight Shooter – Jerry is not a gambling man – he sends this piece to the chains.

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Physical Graffitti one of the areas finest moderate crack lines – with Jerry on the sharp end.

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The Conundrum Crag has three very nice sport routes. The crag is located behind Kraft Mountain and is a long enough approach from the cars that you may likely have the area all to yourself.

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Geronimo was the icing on the cake. Throughout the week Jerry refined his skills to put together this masterpiece of a lead. Five pitches of quality rock with the entire route void of bolts put Jerry to work. Finding the line, protecting the route, setting anchors, rope management all add up to a big day on the stone.

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 Fun climbing on cracks with steep pocketed rock on the sides.

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The prize Geronimo in full view.

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Red Rocks is one on the best multi pitch areas in the country. These canyon are loaded with climbs in full sun or shade. Climbers come here year round but you will find spring and fall to be the best.

The Green Wave?

That is when you pass through all the traffic lights on the way to the cliff – nice way to start the day.

Thanks Jerry for an amazing week together.

Art Mooney

This weekend was slow on work for the Mooney crew, but certainly not on play. While two guides were in the field with groups, many of the others where out getting their own days in on snow and ice. Two group trips were running out of Lincoln this weekend, a two day Ice Climbing Basics course and a two day Intro to Mountaineering course.

Ben had a crew of three for the weekend of ice climbing. Day one was spent going over the basics in Kinsman Notch, our main stomping ground for intro days. On day two they upped the ante and went to the Flume Gorge not far away. This mini gorge freezes up in the winter providing a platform of ice to walk on and a wall of steep pillars to climb on. Here they were able to push themselves on steeper, more difficult terrain. Once the pump set in they were able to up the technical ante as well by practicing a rappel on belay

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At the same time, Erik was running an intro to Mountaineering course. A diverse group of 3 joined us for this as well. We had folks with relative inexperience all the way to folks training for Rainer in the group, and they were all able to take something valuable away from the weekend. Day one was spent on the flanks of Welch and Dicky. Here we warmed our bodies walking up through the woods to some exposed slabs with incredible views. Once there we dropped packs and pulled out crampons and mountaineering axes. We went over technical skills like how to use a mountaineering axe as protection and in what conditions its appropriate. We even practiced self arrest on a bullet hard slab of ice. After that we donned our crampons and went over various steps for descending and ascending steep slopes in crampons. Through out the day we engaged an ongoing conversation on how to manage layers heat and sweat thought the variable energy outputs of a full day, as well as necessary safety precautions, skills and items we should all cary in case of an accident.

Day two turned out to be one of incredible weather which allowed us to soar to the summit. Because of the beneficial conditions and extra time they afforded us we descended the summit cone on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail so as to see the impressive alpine terrain on that side of the mountain.We then took the Tuckerman Cut Across trail traversing the Bigelow Lawn back to the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, our main path. We got to see a lot of stunning terrain on this day with views stretching to Camels Hump and beyond in VT (100+ miles), and a tour of all aspects of the Presidential Range. Shortly after we got down clouds rolled in and dropped in elevation causing summit visibility to plummet to a 1/16th of a mile.

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