This Labor Day weekend, my wife and I were looking for a nice moderate climb away from the crowds at Rumney, Cathedral, and Whitehorse. We decided on Endeavor, a classic 5.7+ route at White’s Ledge in Bartlett. I had first heard of the route more than ten years ago and wanted to climb it but never made it out there.
While the beginning of the trail seemed a little perplexing, we followed our instinct and realized quickly we were on the right track. The short hike and approach through the boulder field warmed us up this cool morning, and before we knew it, we were at the base. No other parties had arrived yet.
The first look at White’s Ledge after exiting the boulder field.
The first few pitches went smoothly as we encountered some technical sections and beautiful exposure. Taking our time, we chose not to link any of the pitches, though it would have been possible. The fourth pitch (5.6) was a little “spicy,” and challenging to find gear in some places, but the half of the crack that continued on to the next pitch was superb: solid jams, good gear, and footholds outside the crack in case your feet hurt too much from being in climbing shoes all day. We enjoyed the view from the top and set up our rappel.
At the rappel station at the top. You can see the Saco River in background.
About ten feet from the rappel station – close enough to see your partner and communicate clearly but far enough to be truly on your own – I stepped on a large rock that shifted slightly and came loose. I stuck my foot out to try and stop it. Before I realized what was truly happening, I saw that the rock rested on my right foot. I held it in place and yelled rock to the party below me. A small stone fell toward the woman at the anchor, which was right below me. I told her there was a huge rock still loose as I carefully bent down and steadied the rock with my hand before picking it up with my right hand. Though I was aware at the time that I had wisely backed up my rappel with an auto block, a practice I employ regularly when rappelling without a fireman’s backup, in retrospect, I am even more thankful for taking the extra two minutes to do so.
Gripping the rock tightly to my chest, I told her we were still not entirely safe. She informed me that there was at least another party below her at the base. I eventually managed to finagle the rock in my backpack (my wife’s suggestion) and rappelled down with the extra weight.
I hope the photo gives a sense of the rock’s size.
We made it down safely, warning everyone we encountered about the precarious section right below the rappel and made our way back to the car and then home. Despite the scare at the end, I would highly recommend Endeavor, a nice, long classic route with moderate climbing with a fairly short approach and less crowded than the popular crags.
I expect the views are even more spectacular once the leaves change.
The adventure begins – here is the entire Cody, Barr and Hall team on top of the summit of Welsh and Dickey.
This was a very special trip – the MMG guides enjoyed showing off the NH climbing areas to Catharine and Nicole who join Team Cody for their first rock and mountain climbing adventure.
This past week Team Cody reached yet another milestone – leading rock climbs!!!
It all took place during the end of summer climbing trip where the main goal was to have a fun time and climb rock and mountains in a variety of areas. We had six days planned so this could easily be achieved if the bodies would do the job – hold up from day after day of climbing.
The other goal planned was to learn the skills to lead rock. Learning the skills is one part then another one comes into play when the sharp end of the rope is taken on – its the focus and the change of mindset that automatically comes on board – it happens to everyone.
We all joked around when Chris tied in for the first lead – the mood immediately took on a serious note – he was Scared Straight!!! Chris did a fine job leading multiple sport routes and Steve took on the challenge too. By days end we all had racked up a few notable leads and we all had a blast of a time.
Team Cody and Barr setting up for the day.
A focused Chris getting some action clipping bolts on lead at Rumney Rocks.
The attentive belay is no easy task – nice work Adel .
Repman alive and feeling the sharp mindset change with the rope hanging below his feet. Fantastic job leading these routes.
Suns out guns out – summer returns to NH.
Cathedral was also on out hit list. It was a hot day so we opted for a fast ascent of the Funhouse and Upper Refuse.
Here I am topping out on the lookout of Cathedral Ledge.
A surprise visit from Alex yielded these great photos. Alex dropped a fixed rope and came down to see and record the action. Here is Steve mid pitch on Funhouse – a three star crack climb!!!
Chris hanging on by a thread – looking casual up high on the granite faces of Cathedral Ledge.
Scared Straight – the vision is clear – more leads and more adventure to come.
Thanks to all of you for an awesome week on the rocks in NH.
The Zieglers made the trek over from Vermont to sample the Rumney Rocks last week. Having previous experience both inside and outside, they were able to make the most of the gorgeous day.
Jackson belaying on Bolt Line
Don after the crux on Bolt Line with Kelly in the back on Beginner’s
We started at the Meadows, working on footwork as we ascended the slabs while staying cool in the shade. After warming up and talking about anchors, we headed over the to the Parking Lot wall for a few more climbs and then finishing the day back at Mom’s Pancake and the testy Lies and Propaganda.
Don at the top of Lies and Propaganda
Jackson pulling the tricky start of Lies
Kelly starting up on Glory Jean’s Devin working his way up Easily Amused
Thanks so much for a wonderful day at Rumney!
This past week my work has been with a group of 4 rock climbing instructors seeking to raise the bar for themselves and their guests. Each of these instructors put themselves and their skills on the line by guiding Alain and myself around Cathedral and Whitehorse. The end goal was certification as a Rock Instructor with the American Mountain Guides Association.
Rock Instructor Certification is designed to apply to most “cragging” style rock climbing areas in the United States. It is meant for guides or aspiring guides who work on routes that are Grade III or shorter. While these routes are multi-pitch, they are relatively straightforward and may involve complex approaches and/or descents. Time factors are important on all of these routes.
The photos below are of the instructors guiding us around last week. Great job to all of you for continuing your education and your commitment to guiding!!!
Whitehorse – a pleasurable day out on the slabs with AMGA guides.
Cathedral Ledge – fantastic steep cracks and flakes.
Diedre – one of the best corner systems around the NH area.
Rock rescue skills in action – mock drills for the instructors tool box.
Solid, efficient,movement – is number one for the climber, instructor, guide.
When choosing your guide look into the guides page. The information in bios will tell you who may be the best fit for your instruction and guiding day.
SPI guides are trained for the single pitch terrain and the RI are trained for multi pitch. Many certified SPI guides are in the process with mentorship and training for the RI. The Rock Guide is trained for the longest, complex routes.
Thanks to all of you for a great week.
It is the middle of the summer rock season and Cannon is in prime condition. Last week I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days up there. The plan is always flexible and it needs to be this way – as routes can be seeping water, other parties are there and weather can change the plan. Our plans were for the VMC but upon arrival the main wall was soaked from the previous days thunderstorms. We opted for two pitches of Union Jack, then Reppy’s to get our day started. By mid day the main wall started to dry and Tom and I were excited for the Lab Wall. We were able to fire 5 pitches. By then it was time to descend. This was the right choice as when we hit the ground the skies opened up in a deluge. Happy to be on the ground we hike out slowly. The change of plans worked out and we had a pretty good sampling of Cannons finer pitches.
Union Jack – Vertigo start.
Tom working the tight finger crack on Union Jack.
Selfie high on Lab Wall.
Tom on the steep headwall pitch of the Lab Wall.
Traverses protected by old bolts are quite exciting for both the leader and follower.
Waterfalls came down the face quickly.
Terry and I have been a bit fixed on the Rumney scene and we both needed a break from the schist. Moby is a long and fun climb and we had not been on this together in some time. Bright sunshine and a warm breeze it was a perfect day for us to be up high on Cannon. The route was completely dry even up into Kurt’s Corner. It was awesome to move fast and light – on a Monday morning.
Terry getting her day going on the lower pitches of Moby Grape.
Triangle roof pitch – jamming through the crux.
Topping out on Kurt’s corner.
Cannon – there are a few more weeks – maybe two months to get out on a dry ice free Cannon. Join me for a tour of this amazing alpine rock playground.
Summertime is here and today the August visit from Mike his family was on. We all enjoyed a great day on Whitehores with Jackson – Miley the two superstars climbing exceptionally well. Mike, Amy and I looked on as both of these young climbers motored up the climbing routes.
Smearing their climbing shoes on the smooth friction, making high steps to overcome the overlaps, both Miley and Jackson reached new personal highs today. They both have been climbing for many years and it has become a natural activity. Tying into the rope, on belay from above or below, lowering from the top anchors – these two climbers are able to rise up and gain control in a calm and positive way.
Nice job to both of them – keep up the good work!!!
Miley and Jackson on side by side ropes up the friction wall.
Jackson very cool, calm and well balanced as he lowers to the ground.
Miley enjoying a bit more motion as she tries out a pendulum swing on the rope.
Big supporters of Black Diamond gear.
And also of Mooney Mountain Guides
Jackson putting some focus into proper footwork and positioning.
Two helpers teaming up as they pull the rope down.
A very awesome day with Mike, Amy, Jackson and Miley – thank you all very much.
Our crag for the day – Whitehorse with the Echo Roof area just left of center.
I must say I have an absolutely fantastic job. Yes guiding rock, ice, mountains is not for everyone. This is what I chose for a career and it is weeks like this past one that showcase how good a guides work can be.
The people – my guests – these folks are what make each day interesting, engaging, and fun. They all have a choice of who to climb with and I do feel very special that they choose to spend a day in the mountains, on a climb with me.
A huge Thank You is in order to all the guests who climb with me and the guides at Mooney Mountain Guides. I/We do appreciate your choice and climbing with each of you is a blast.
Jerry – aka the force – a driven man who loves to climb. Whether is be the rock, the ice, or big mountain faces in the Alps Jerry loves it all.
Aubrey – trains hard at home and plays hard when he gets out. A busy man running his business but still manages to find the time to get out on the cliffs to refresh the mind.
Charlie – our second season together – Charlie is on his way to becoming a major player on the stone. This week we crushed the routes at Rumney and with three upcoming sessions planned – new personal heights will be gained.
Ryan and Amy – new friends – on the Whitney Gilman.
We enjoyed a fantastic day on Cannon together. Amy was challenged but maintained her focus on the big stone. Ryan and I swapped leads and worked on transitions and systems.
Ryan on lead the final pitch of Whitney Gilman.
A special day for Ryan – Happy Birthday!!!
Thank you all for spending your time with me. This was amazing week of guide work/fun in NH.
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.
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.
The slab in center named the Flatiron and the free standing spire on right called Eaglet
Jagged formations loom overhead above our belay area.
Manky anchors – as they say buyer beware – we set up our own to be sure.
Chimneys and under cut overhangs – Aubrey in action.
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.
Aubrey arriving on the summit – just enough room for two.
Me – prepping the airy rappel set up.
The descent from the Eaglet Spire – 180 feet rappel to the base.
Afternoon clouds boiled up around us.
The radar looked great so we opted for a few more pitches on the Flatiron.
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.
Aubrey – very psyched at the top of this amazing pitch.
The approach and descent weave the way throughout this boulder strewn forest.
Hounds Hump Ridge as seen from the bike path.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jerry leading out on yet another sparcely protected pitch. Seems to be a theme here at Whitehorse.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
We found ourselves down by the Baker River during a mid day break from the rock climbing action.
Super Hero – Lexi successful after her first climb on the Meadows Wall.
Lola getting started with Dad on the slippery first moves – then she took off on her own climbing to new heights all by herself.
Lexi lowering down and clipping gear for the next climber – learning and practicing the outdoor ropes.
Lola – gaining trust in the system and confidence in her guide. Floating up the rock on a beautiful day.
Future rock leaders Lexi and Lola placing stoppers in a crack.
Baker River – summertime in NH.
A big thanks to the entire family.
It was pleasure to meet all of you and climb together.