This is a special time of year! Spring conditions in the mountains are great for ice climbing, mountaineering, and skiing, and the valleys are perfect on these sunny days for rock climbing, cycling, and coffee shops. We are getting our first real glimpse of Spring and our happy reminder to take full advantage of our ephemeral ice climbs. Kinsman Notch was a gleaming ball of sunshine in the morning, sunglasses were almost mandatory. It was awesome and so warm! As the shade took over the crag it became a good deal colder, but we stayed warm as we sampled Kinsman Notch ice climbing at its best. The ice is in very full and was nice and buttery due to the warmer temps. I had the privilege of climbing with four great folks. This friend and family outing was a blast! Amanda, Diane, and the two Daves go to swing ice tools for the first time, learning the new and rewarding techniques for ascending steep waterfall ice. Sometimes they even climbed with one ice tool, a few of them got to climb with three! Occasionally an ice tool gets left in the middle of a hard route and needs to be rescued but we came home with all six! Great job to everyone, and thanks to you all for a great day! Enjoy!
Thanks again for a super fun day! Hope you all enjoyed and learned as much as I did!
This past Saturday, a boy scout troop from Groton Mass came out to seek some adventure on the vertical ice waterfalls of Champney Falls. This is the troop’s second year climbing with MMG so most of the scouts had some experience with the gear and skills necessary to climb the steep ice. After the beautiful walk into the falls we got right to it. MMG guides Matt and Alex led the routes and in no time the scouts were flying up the frozen waterfalls. Each of the scouts climbed every route that the guides could set up. Some scouts climbed with only one ice axe, and some even with no tools at all, completely relying on foot work and determination to ascend the difficult routes. Here are some photos from that trip. Enjoy!
I must say that I was very impressed with the leadership and outdoor skills these scouts possessed. It was easy to see that each of them enjoyed being challenged, learning new things, and have had great instruction from their scout leaders.
Thank you all for the awesome day climbing at Champney!
Alex Teixeira & Matt Ritter
Its almost March and it has been an awesome season of ice climbing here in New Hampshire, with some recent snow the landscape is looking like a winter wonderland. This, combined with mild temperatures set the stage for Erin and Jason to have an amazing ice climbing trip in Crawford Notch.
The newly married pair come from the D.C. and N.Y. areas, and were excited to check out New Hampshire. I guess their first impressions were good, because they mentioned that this would be a great place to retire. Of course I added, “Its a great place to live now.” Maybe getting geared up in front of the warm fireplace at the AMC’s Highland Center had something to do with it, or maybe is was the snow covered trees and bright blue ice waterfalls. Either way both Erin and Jason were happy and we had only just begun our approach.
Day one was spent on Mt. Willard climbing Left Hand Monkey Wrench and the Hitchcock gullies. It was a blast blazing our own trails through fresh snow and climbing popular routes that we had all to our selves. Day two was spent at the Frankenstein area. We climbed Standard Route followed by some leading and anchor building practice. When all was said and done we were perfectly tired, content on strolling back to the cars as the sun went around the hillside.
Thank you Erin and Jason for a great couple of days out on the ice. I hope to see you both again in the hills.
Mike and I just had two days of steep ice climbing together. Each time Mike come to NH we take climbing to a higher level. This time is was the steep ice and two great venues Frankenstein and the Lake Willoughby.
As you will see the climbing is fantastic right now – get it while you can.
Lots of steep long routes at the Lake.
Mike warming up on the hobbit.
Pegasus done – lots of varied climbing on this one.
Chia right side – beautiful ice climbing in the sun.
Thanks for a great two days Mike!
Amber on the Summit of Mt. Willard
Amber was raised in western Canada and is no stranger to the mountains. She moved out east for the city of Boston, but ever since she has missed the mountains of the west. Last year she decided to climb New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington and spend a night in the Weather Observatory. On that trip she discovered that the mountains of the Northeast have a lot to offer, and that Mooney Mountain Guides could help her achieve her goals.
Earlier this season, Amber wanted to take a stab at ice climbing. She enjoyed the challenge of climbing steep frozen waterfalls, but missed the aspect of moving through the mountains and reaching a summit. So she gave us a call and wanted to combine hiking with ice climbing into a more mountaineering type objective. Mt. Willard was the perfect choice. With its gullies that combine sections of snow with sections of ice and top out onto a summit with a spectacular view, it is the perfect mountaineering combo.
Preparing for the crux of Left Hand Monkey Wrench
Amber and I linked up a few routes as we made our way to the summit of Mt. Willard. It all ended in the bright sunshine overlooking the beautiful glacially carved Crawford Notch. Mt. Washington’s summit and a bright half moon were also visible, making our day complete.
Thank you Amber for a great day in the hills.
Location: Mt. Willard, Crawford Notch, NH
Climbs: Left Hand Monkey Wrench & The Cleft
The MMG Guides along with myself strive to be mountain athletes. I am a full promoter that the MMG Guides (all guides) must climb often and also guides/climbers should develop a regular mountain athlete training program to keep on the cutting edge of movement skills on rock, ice, and mountain climbs. Specific training such as yoga, free weights, climbing wall, hit strips, running all add up to a strong more nimble guide who can operate day after day with out injury.
This post is of Jerry – one of Mooney Mountain Guides frequent travelers. First Jerry maintains a high quality home life and career then he climbs. Many times he has joined MMG for five day stretches on the ice and rock. He has come a long way in a short time and now he is able to climb a variety of high end ice routes, long rock climbs, mountain tours without missing a beat. He is a Mountain Athlete. Jerry has developed a regular training program that keeps him in great shape – when he comes out to climb he is ready.
The payoff is huge – last week we climbed ice routes for four straight days then Jerry finished the week off with a climb of Repentance on Friday and a fast early morning ascent of Mt Washington on Saturday.
Nice job Jerry – keep up the specific training and fitness program you are doing – it works!
Jerry working the back step on the Penguin Route.
Lead time on Hitchcock Gully – Willard is in great shape right now.
Descending from Penguin area.
Jerry on lead at the end of the day – Trestle Cut!
Repentance in fine shape – arriving at 2nd belay area.
Steep alpine rock and scrub at the top of Willard.
Another back step on Dracula.
A new route for us – Twenty Below Zero Gully.
The technical side – making a V thread for our descent at Newfound Lake.
No line up for Jerry and Matt on this day – green light.
Great day on the mountain with good friends.
Thanks Jerry for the superb week together. I am looking forward to our next trip to Red Rocks this spring.
The American Mountain Guides held the Ice Instructor Course last week in Crawford Notch NH. This course is a 5 day ice guiding course designed to train alpine guides and ice guides who are in the guide program. The course focus is on the guides movements skills, and on the guidance and movement of clients on a wide variety of ice and snow climbs.
Marc Chauvin, Silas Rossi and I instructed 9 students during the week. Over half the students were visiting guides from Colorado and the remainder were locals from New England and New York. I always enjoy showing the western guides our fantastic climbing areas. New England is a hidden gem in the climbing world.
Silas at the AMC Highland center getting our program started.
Mike leading up the East Slabs of Mt Willard.
Outdoor writer Rob taking the team up Frankensteins Standard Route.
Petra Cliffs owner – Mammut ambassador Andrea on the Chia Pillar.
Sea of Ice.
The instructors Silas Rossi, Art Mooney, Marc Chauvin.
Thanks to all the students for their commitment to education as a guide.
Last weekends weather was in one way excellent with clear cobalt blue skies but on the other some would say brutal with temperatures in the negative numbers and winds hitting the century mark on the summit of Mt Washington. Our group of four climbers came to NH for a two day adventure on a intro to mountaineering program. Our first day was loaded with skills and techniques and day two followed with a climb of Mt Washington.
When the weather is extreme climbers must be prepared mentally, physically, clothing systems and equipment must be dialed in. Bob and I prepared the team for these conditions and by the time we ventured above tree line we were all in sync. At Lake of the Clouds everyone put the extreme gear to the test – shell coats, parkas, expedition mittens, facemasks and goggles kept us comfortable enough to keep climbing upwards. The winds did subside abit – down to 70 and the temp was a balmy -6 when we topped out on Mt Washington.
Enjoy the photos of winter mountaineering on Mt Washington – at times home to the worlds worst weather!
Louis and Neil on Welsh and Dickey.
Arturo – prepared and ready for the climb.
Don – learned about icing on the moustache.
On left Bob MMG Guide our Mammut Rep leading the way, Arturo keeping pace right behind .
Firm snow made for easy travel.
Neil cruising up the steeps.
Full face protection!
In Sync – using flat foot and rest step techniques.
Headed for the top!
Mt Washington aka the Rock Pile 6288.
Thanks to Arturo, Don, Neil, Louis and Bob for an excellent weekend adventure in New Hampshires White Mountains.
Yes it was a holiday and there were tons of climbers around NH but it was a fine holiday weekend on the ice. Jim, Eric, Mike and I enjoyed meeting and climbing with the Cleveland Ohio area Meet Up Group. The entire weekend was a blast – a fun experience for all with lots of education and practice on technical steep ice climbs then on Willeys Slide a multi pitch alpine climb.
Kinsman was our first choice to ease the team onto the ice. This cold day was spent climbing numerous single pitch slabs and pillars from NEI Grade 3 to 4. Our second day started early to avoid any crowds at Willeys. The plan worked as we topped we counted over 55 folks at the base or on the route. Could possibly be a record for the Willeys Side – who knows. After Willeys the Elephant Head Gully was located on own way home so we stopped for sure so each of the climbers could take a run on this varied and interesting climb.
Rob, Cat, Mark, Scott, Jen, Lauren, and Jack on approach to Kinsman Notch.
The ice cave – nice spot to take a rest.
Pot of Gold – steep hooking up the pillar of ice.
Cat on the pillar – Pot of Gold.
Three ladies ready for the icing at Kinsman Notch.
Jim telling the tale of Willeys Slide.
Jim – our motivational mountain guide.
Jen learning about the ice, anchors and protection as she climbs and cleans the route.
Lauren and cat on Willys.
Scott clearing the ice bulge high on the climb.
Lauren in Scenic Crawford Notch NH.
The rainbow of outdoor clothing!
Thanks to each of you for climbing with Mooney Mountain Guides in NH.
Great times for us.
Art, Jim, Erik, Mike – MMG Guides
These great photos are part of our NH guide team. I arranged this day to take a group photo of the guides in their new Ultimate Hoody Jackets from Mammut and as a general information gathering and training session. Missing are a few other guides from NH -Todd from Plymouth, Bob from Portsmouth, Majka, and Mike from the North Conway area and the Vermont guides Derek and Derrek.
Each spring and fall MMG schedules a training session for the guide team. Having all of us in one spot churning up the information is mandatory to have a group of guides that are on a similar page with MMG info and all the types of mountain training and guiding we do in the field.
You may have thought we get together working frequently but thats not the case. Much of the time the guides are working alone in the field. This goes on all over the country and world in mountain guiding. Frequent get togethers are well needed for quality control. At the same time its surely a fun way to get out with other guides and do what we all love – our passion.
Eric, Phil, Alex, Art, Matt Erik Jim
Eric roping up for Hanging by a Moment.
Phil and Erik off and climbing.
Matt – trying to get one of us to climb his new route Pot Of Mold.
Jim happy on the ice or the mountain!
Phil – the red man.
Jim – the man of many jobs.
Me getting on Pot of Gold – a short steep pillar.
Thank you for all the guides taking their time to get together for this day. I / MMG is very fortunate to have each of you on the MMG team.