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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Hurricane Author might have dropped a significant amount of rain on the North East on Friday, but that didn’t stop the Buzanis’s from a great day of climbing on Saturday. The cool damp morning kept the crowds away giving us first go on the classic climb “Upper Refuse”.
Upon topping out the tourists looking down the cliff saw our team coming up. What an exciting way to top-out on Cathedral, with a clapping audience.
The excitement wasn’t over. After lunch on top of the cliff, we headed to the Thin Air Face for 400 more feet of climbing before the day was done. By then the rock was dry and a cool breeze was sweeping down the valley, a perfect afternoon of rock climbing. All together a spectacular day.
Starting the day with a beautiful view of Whitehorse Ledge
Topping out on Upper Refuse
Lounging around on top of Upper Refuse
Pre-rigged on Rappel
For Roberto, Ariel, and Jonah rock climbing was a new adventure. The trio headed to Rumney Rocks, just down the street from their home, tied in, and gave it their best shot. The family learned to belay, communicate, and move over the steep new terrain. Challenge and success were experienced. If perfect strangers who climb together can form strong relationships, imagine what can happen when a family climbs together. For this family their experience was enjoyable enough to come back for a second day. Two days in one week, made this family go from novice climbers to doubling the difficulty of the climbs they could do. I look forward to see the new adventures this family experiences together.
The family on their first multi-pitch adventure!
Rock Climbs provide great views.
All smiles at the end of a great week.
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.
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.
Mooney Mountain Guides is excited to offer a spring special. Our crag skills seminars will help you get ready for your best climbing session yet.
Crag Skills Seminar
Choose one of four options:
1) Top-Rope Construction.
2) Introduction to Traditional Climbing.
3) Gym to Crag Transition.
4) Self Rescue
Combine any two for a comprehensive two-day seminar.
Who: Learn from expert guides who not only teach these skills but apply them every single day in the field. Our guides are trained and certified by the AMGA and use the most up-to-date methods in the field. 4:1 guide to guest ratio.
What: You can expect to learn and apply the skills needed to perform independently at the crag with your friends or family.
When: Seminars will be held May 1st – May 20th.
Where: Seminars will be held in four different locations based on interest and availability. These areas include Pawtuckaway State Park, Rumney, Echo Crag, and Crow Hill in Massachusetts.
Why: Climbing can be dangerous, especially if a climber is unprepared and underestimates the risks. Receiving training from experts allows a climber to choose the appropriate technical systems for the situation, make conservative decisions when evaluating risk, and reduce the time to gain independence.
For more information:
Please vist www.mooneymountainguides.com
E-mail at [email protected]
or Call Alex
Mark enjoying the sun on the Willard summit.
It may be late March, but many of the ice climbs in Crawford Notch remain in great shape. In fact, many of the climbs are larger than I have ever seen them. At least Mark seemed to think it was “the best day ever.” The bright sun didn’t hurt ether.
Alex in the Cleft.
I often say that climbing ice is something special. We are climbing on a medium that only exists under the right circumstances. This is part of it. However, climbing with someone who is positive and loves climbing. Makes climbing anything special.
Mark after doing battle with the flow above.
Thank you Mark for an awesome day on the ice.
Alex breaking the new skin track.
Mountain guiding is as much of a life style as it is a profession. Guides around the country and world not only dedicate their lives to climbing and skiing at high levels recreationally, they also train and learn how to share theses amazing experiences with their guests. Its a whole other ball game when climbing transforms into guiding. It takes a life time of training and dedication to learn the art form of the mountain guide.
Eric, above the trees on our ascent.
Thanks to Mammut for the Trion Light 29L pack, and windproof short shell (perfect for our objective).
There are however some really great perks. Other than traveling to amazing places, playing outdoors every day, and meeting wonderful people; guides get to have fun. Sometimes when everyone else is at work. MMG guide Eric Thatcher and I took a personal day this Friday to enjoy the fresh powder that fell across northern New England. Skiing fresh tracks is most defiantly a quality perk of being a mountain guide.
Alex on the ascent at the tree line.
Our mission was a ten mile tour that would take us through beautiful silent forrest, over the summit of 4,802 foot Mt. Moosilauke, and down a beautiful carriage road filled with fresh white knee high powder. Along the way we would get breathtaking views of Mt. Washington, Mt. Lafayette, the Sandwich Range, and Pemi-Wilderness.
The 4,802′ summit.
Breaking trail to the nearly 4,802 foot summit required consistent swapping of the leader position. For the person following in the skin track laid out by the leader life is grand and easy as Sunday morning. For the leader breaking trail, its more like a sweaty meditation. Good news is, if you higher a guide they do all this work for you. Never the less we were on top in 3 hours. Not break neck speed, but good considering breaking the skin track.
Eric and Colby enjoying the ascent.
Once on the summit we admired the view pointed out the different summits we could see on the horizon, then headed down. About another mile of touring with skins led us to the top of the carriage road. Once there the skins were off and we were ripping new tracks in the fresh powder. It only took us and hour to get down. Needless to say, skiing = pure joy; and getting first tracks is a big perk of living the life of a mountain guide.
Thank you to our guests who make this possible and to Mammut for the perfect packs and soft shells for our powder-day in the hills.
The team just after setting out.
This weekend Mooney Mountain Guides, along with five guests, had the opportunity to spend a night in the Mt. Washington Observatory (OBS) on the summit of Mt. Washington. Growing up as a New England kid in love with his local mountains, Mt. Washington represented the pinnacle of mountain terrain. As I stared at its windy white summit, it was completely wild to think that people actually lived and worked up there. It seemed as cold and remote as the moon. My curiosity and imagination running wild of what it must be like.
It seems that this feeling I experienced since my childhood is not uncommon among others who go to the mountains. After all, year round weather observatory that has been manually taking weather observations every hour on the our, 365, since the 1930’s is quite unique. Why wouldn’t a mountaineer want to spend a night up there? Spending the night is only half the fun. MMG’s five guests and I had to climb the mountain to get there.
The trip begins with a leisurely meeting time of 8:00am. Followed by a discussion on gear, and itinerary. Typically we are hitting the trail by 9:30, prepared to spend the next 36 hours on the mountain.
Ascending the technical Lions Head trail.
After relatively laid back hike up the wide Tuckerman’s ravine trail providing us with lots of room to talk and get to know one another we reached the Lion’s head winter route. At this point on the trail, ice axes and crampons are used to ascend the steep semi technical terrain on our way to tree-line. Once above the trees on the exposed “Lion’s Head” our group began to feel the wind Mt. Washington is famous for; however, it was relatively light and the temperatures were warm with bright sun.
Ascending the summit cone.
We continued our traverse across the southern end of the Alpine Garden, our sights fixed on the summit cone ahead. The team was making such good time in the favorable conditions that we had time to ditch the crampons for some self arrest practice on the snow fields of the summit cone. Following some fine tuning of our technique, the team continued up the snow and rock towards the summit. The bright sun, mild temperatures, and moderate winds made our time on the upper mountain very enjoyable.
Taking a moment to enjoy the upper mountain.
We reached the summit and took our time taking photos and exploring the alpine terrain. On this particular day we enjoyed 130+ miles of un-OBS-structed visibility. Seeing summits in New York’s Adirondack State Park! For those of you who know Mt. Washington, you know how special this opportunity was.
Finally inside we were greater with warm soup and freshly baked bread. A magical sunset was followed by a delicious dinner. With some good conversation we called it a night with hopes of catching the sunrise the following morning.
Weather instrument tour.
Sunrise, breakfast, and a tour of the weather instruments left us prepared for the journey down the hill. The team made a slight detour to experience the stronger winds, spend more time in the beautiful sunshine, and explore more of the mountain. The team enjoyed a picture perfect descent. We all found it difficult not to smile following such a wonderful trip to the OBS.
Descending the upper mountain
Special thanks to Mooney Mountain Guides and our guests, Mammut for the gear the makes alpine exploration possible, and the Mt. Washington Observatory for being such gracious hosts.
I hope to see you all in the Mountains