The past few weeks has been a pretty amazing guiding time for me. Very fortunate comes to mind, as my work as a guide brings me in contact with so many positive, energetic and interesting guests.
This photo blog shows just that – in the course of my recent work with Mooney Mountain Guides our guests, family members and friends have been turned on to adventure climbing events in amazing New Hampshire places. The climbing is plentiful and varied whether we are on skis, on the ice, or ascending a mountain. Smiles are plentiful with suffering common too – but one thing we all commonly enjoy, is reaching for the top!!!
Margie and Dylan – on an exciting adventure – out of the normal routine!
Roland buffing out his ski touring skills to prep for the Haute Route.
Conditions were icy but we made the best of a sunny day and had a full mountain tour.
Long time guest Aubrey getting after the steep ice at the Flume.
Aubrey is a technician on the ice and mixed – armed with Petzl Ergo tools and footed with Boreal Ice shoes.
Laurie – a mother, a professional, a mountain traveler, and now an ice climbing addict.
Laurie and I had three amazing days sampling ice climbs in the notches of NH.
Laurie – mixing it up from ice to the stone.
Lisa and Sylvain drove south from Montreal to ski tour on Mt Cardigan. We had an absolute blast spending the day together.
The ski tour turned into a mountain climb – with grand smiles on top of the summit.
Mike has been with MMG for twelve years – it all started with skiing. He brings his entire family on some events but this one was just for him. Steep ice was our goal and we had at it.
Two sunny but cold days one at Crawford Notch and the other at Newfound Lake.
Thanks to all of you for climbing with me – it has been a pleasure and I look forward to seeing you all soon.
Margie and Dylan were up for an unusual adventure. They both enjoy trying new sports and do like to push their limits. Margie is an avid runner and Dylan is in season playing hockey. Both were very fit and up for the task of a steep mountain approach to start the day. Once we accessed the ice climbs the ball was rolling and we climbed and climbed!!!
Usually a family outing is learning the moves on the slab route and climbing it a few times, then maybe the gully on the left for a finnish of the day. Dylan was not ready he kept asking for something steeper and harder. Our finale was the center route where both Dylan and Margie climb a line right up the steeper headwall.
It was an awesome day with two very energetic climbers.
Margie learning the ropes right away while Dylan climbs above.
Ready for the ice – Petzl Quarks in hand.
Time to replenish – the engines are running low.
Dylan on the ice, ready to climb inside the cave, and icicles to take away.
Thank you Margie and Dylan
Had a great day climbing with my brother Mike and Nephew Emmett at Kinsman Notch. Emmett recently saw some of my ice photos on Facebook and he really wanted to give ice climbing a try. I think he’s hooked on the sport and will be back again. We had an excellent day climbing, exploring, and sliding in the snow. It was a fantastic winter adventure for all.
Emmett – armed and dangerous!
Emmett learning the craft.
Time to climb
Emmett reaching the top on the Shamrock route.
Mike back on the ice – its been awhile but he got right into the swing of things.
Mike again on the steep pillar of ice – nice job on this one.
Kinsman ice caves – very cool place.
The Mooney’s – Mike, Emmett, Art
Happy ending the glissade.
Smiles all around – thanks to Mike and Emmett for making the long journey to NH.
The ski conditions are pretty nice in the NH area right now. This past storm blanketed the area with over a foot of light and dry powder and ski tourers are out and about on the mountain trails. Paul and I enjoyed a full day over at Mt Cardigan yesterday. We skied the Alexandria Trail and the Dukes Trail both from the top. The Alexandria was bumped out like a ski area but the Dukes had a nice carpet of snow that made turns a bit easier and smoother.
During our tour we met up with friends Missy and Jay and toured with them on the Dukes. Jay is a Cardigan regular and he took us into one of his secret stashes for a bit of untracked snow.
Paul getting into his stride skinning up the hill.
Paul topping out on our second run.
The upper Dukes area – great place for a transition, food and drinks, to ready us for the long downhill run through the forest.
Paul in the secret powder stash.
Thanks to Paul – great fun ski touring with you.
Each week is so different in the guiding I do. I move around NH and Vermont climbing on the ice climbs, different peaks and all over the rock faces. It is a very challenging and exciting line of work that I love. This past weekend after a week on the ice I met up with a great group of new climbers and headed to the peaks to learn and practice skills for a couple of winter ascents. Our prep led us to climb NH’s big one – Mt Washington.
Ten of us summited the mountain in whiteout conditions. Being on top with this group was a fantastic experience for sure. We were able to climb efficiently and safely up and down – and all came home with great memories of a weekend adventure that will last a while.
Enjoy the trip photos of our Mt Washington climb.
Jerry and I have been on the ice for the past five days at a variety of areas. Jerry was looking to refine, steep climbing techniques on pillars and corners, climb a new alpine gully, and spend some time taking on the lead end of the rope. We kept our focus for the week and were treated to some fine ice conditions.
The Penguin route.
Dracula Right and Left
Trestle Cut area.
Jerry on lead – Duofold.
Crawford Notch area
The week was sooo good – thanks Jerry much appreciated.
Selsun Blue was the objective for this day. The brutal cold weather steered me to finding an ice line on the warmer sunny ice flows at Rumney Rocks. Ken and I tried Selsun Blue a few years back and now it was time for a rematch. Kens ice kit has been refined with new lighter boots, modern tools and mono points. To prepare Ken has been working on movements skills on the steeper ice flows and today our goal was to put it all together.
We arrived at Selsun Blue and were quite surprised to find much of the ice route laying on the ground in huge ice blocks. The deluge we had over a week ago washed the main portion of the flow completely out. Our plan quickly adjusted to the Cave Route.
MMG Guide Alex joined us for the day an he racked up with gear and led the Cave Route. He climbed brittle hard ice for the first portion then found a wet sticky vein in the cave and took this to the top. It is amazing how and where the water flows on the ice – even on the coldest days of the year. Cave route was climbed and then a top rope was set for a nice series of stacked pillars on Selsun Right. Ken delicately climbed upward enjoying this technical piece of ice.
The Selsun Blue – out of the game.
Ken styling the moves on the thin pillar.
Alex finding a sweet spot on the Cave Route.
Our afternoon led us down to the Meadows area where we chatted about our next routes. Ken wanted to try the Newfound Lake area. We hopped into the cars cranked up the heat and headed that way. Newfound is mostly shaded and the routes have been in great shape this year,
Ken on the long route called Bloodline. We found fantastic conditions on this route.
Newfound Lake – ice above and below.
Thanks to Ken and Alex for a fun day on the ice. We found good ice lines at two areas Rumney and Newfound.
Carolina and David are on a brisk climbing adventure to NH. They left the West Palm Beach area, the 84 degree temps and had to shut down the air conditioning for this trip. The goal to seek out a different type of air conditioning – the type Mt Washington has to offer. Yesterdays weather on the mountain was actually quite pleasant, the Polar Vortex is long gone and we enjoyed above seasonable temperatures with light winds.
Trail conditions were another story – we were greeted with icy trails all the way to the parking lot, wash outs were common from the recent deluge and then above tree line the snow was deep – drifted into all the low spots on the route. Knee deep trail breaking was lots of fun (work) and a good challenge to keep us focused on the goal -Sea to Summit.
Stop here or else!!!
Dave and Carolina fresh, excited and ready for the climb.
Lower mountain trails – like November conditions.
Above treeline travel in the fog and deep snow.
Shot blocks give the needed boost – time to recharge for the summit push.
On the summit – congrats to all!!!
Its was a long day for us – Carolina seeing the light at the end of the path.
Beautiful evening glow as we reached Marshfield Station.
Thank you – Carolina and David for this awesome day on the mountain.
Jerry took the ice on lead today. Mount Willard was the perfect place for this. Hitchcock Gully and the Upper East Face Slabs were in fantastic shape. Jerry was in solid form as he steadily led all the routes. Protection was placed were needed and directionals were adding to keep the rope from freezing up in the running water. It is on days like these that all the hard work comes together and a new zone is entered. The zone is the lead area which requires focus, balance, power and a calm cool head.
Lower Hitchcock Gully.
The guides Jerry and Alex at the first belay .
Jerry on Upper Hitchcock Gully.
Rappelling Upper Hitchcock – to access one more climb.
Going for the summit – Jerry on lead on the East Slabs route.
Jerry – Great job leading today.
The ice climb at Rumney called the Geographic Factor is certainly a prize of an ice line. The climb is guarded by a long steep approach and is hidden from view as it is tucked away in the Giant Man alcove at the Hinterlands Area. You must make the hike to see if the route is in shape or suitable for your climbing day.
Jerry and I cruised the cliffs today with Franky Lee as our warm up then onward to find out if Geo was in condition. Upon our arrival at the base we noticed a substantial overhang of ice at the crux area. Not sure if this would go – we decided to take a further look and climb to the half way point. It would either go or we would descend from there.
A bit of cleaning was needed to remove the fragile daggers of ice that barred the upward moves – once completed it was a go. We were very engaged by the technical and strenuous moves for twenty feet or so. Then is was fat and sticky ice to the top.
You must get out and try, seeing the route is not enough, feeling it is much better. Some days are just right for the climb and today was the right day for Jerry and I on the Geo.
First view of the route.
Wet and sticky ice on the sunny upper half of the route.
Crux overhang – three to four feet to clear.
Great send of the Geographic Factor.