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

(click on any image to view in gallery mode)

________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

(click on any image to view in gallery mode)