Mountaineering

Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year – the weather forecast was grim.

I met three Maryland climbers early in Lincoln. Everyone was fired up to go, to learn, to experience, the Mt Washington climb and effect.

Personally I was very anxious –  the weather forecasted rain, freezing rain, and high winds – some of the worst conditions to handle on the mountain – it had hypothermia written all over it.

Ice coated the roads, warm moist air and clouds whipped overhead towards the ridge line. We prepped and entered the forested Ammo trail which was covered in deep sloppy snow. One party of youthful men were ahead doing a great job breaking for us. So thankful after memories of last weekends tough trail break on the Lafayette climb.

Steve, Will and Allen kept right on my tail – I was setting a brisk pace to be ahead of the incoming rain. We arrive at Lakes of the Clouds at 10:30 and on the Mt Washington summit by 12:15. This climb was shaping up nicely – to be a fast ascent of the peak. We were over half way.

After quick break on top with layer changes, food – drinks and photos we put on our gortex – goggles and tighten down our kit. We headed into the 60+ winds down the Crawford path. Our descent was slow and steady, the rains hit us as we reched lakes so we kept the move on. By 3:30 we we back at the cars in a soggy but warm state.

This day was a another great adventure on the mountain – thanks to Steve, Will,and Allen for making the long journey for a weekend in NH.

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Steve cruising up the Ammo Trail

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Today had this type of weather

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The team up high on the Crawford Path

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Summit has been reached with no view at all.

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Time to refuel and replenish!!!

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Back at it – time to descend.

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We made it to Happy Hour at Woodstock Station and landed these fine seats right next to the fire. Awesome ending to our climb.

Thanks to all – hope to see you soon.

Art Mooney

Oh boy its been quite a week of fun in the mountains. It started off clear, cold and crisp, -10 and now its overcast and in the 30’s. This welcomed warm up is producing some of the finest ice to climb – wet and sticky. This ice ready, the climbers are also ready.

Our team of 5 is geared up with sharp ice tools and crampons. The varied climbing has felt a bit easier – as the placements are sinking into the surface with a welcomed sound of – thunk.

Mt Lafayette, Kinsman Ice, today the Frankenstien and tomorrow Mt Willard – Steve, Adel and Chris are crushing it for sure. One more full day of fun times will end this fabulous week in the mountains of NH.

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Mammut Gear – the finest kind.

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Lafayette Ridge on  a cold crisp day. Click on this image.

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Mercury Mitts – total warmth.

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On top of the world – in a white out.

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Kinsman Notch Icing.

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Repman on the steeps.

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Team of four – Chris,Steve, Adel, Erik.

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Frankenstein approach.

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Great day on Standard Route in Crawford Notch.

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Derek and Steve.

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Chris and Adel.

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Thanks guys its been a blast again.

Art Mooney

The time is here – New Hampshire & Vermont Ice climbs and Mountains are ready for your guided winter ascent. Here at Mooney Mountain Guides we do our part by holding an annual pre -winter guides training day . The theme varies from year to year but one thing is common – frequent meet ups and training with the MMG guides put us all on a similar page when we are working alone or together in the mountains.

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New complete anchor

One theme this year was to Yank the Mank on Kinsman Notch Ice Climbs. The guides climbed all of the popular routes at the main area and cut out all the old webbing and replaced with bomber new redundant rope anchors – complete with double links to use when descending the routes.

IMG_0674The Mank – old webbing and tat in need of replacement.

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As always another theme for the guides was to ice climb. This is what we love to do climb and ascend ice routes of all types is what we did.

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Todd getting into action!!!

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Mike working up the center route – tricky crux at the top.

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Jim – MMG’s Mountain Master.

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Erik – thank you – for prepping all the anchor material.

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No down time today – a technical clinic.

Refresh, Renew, Reboot the mind.

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Simple Anchors – the connection to ice and the belay.

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Erik and Matt

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Efficiency when working the Window Munter and One Handed Clove

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Mooney Mountain Guides Team.

Thanks to all for joining in.

Big Thanks to Mammut for our new Trion Pro guide pack!!!

Art Mooney

Its been full winter in the high hills of New England for over a month now. Not to say the ice has been fat the entire time, but the climbing has been amazing! When I found out that a long time friend of MMG couldn’t wait until January to swing his tools, I knew just were to take him … Huntington’s Ravine

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Jerry – completing the steep, pitch one.

The snow has returned along with the ice to these high climbing areas, making route finding and decision making of upmost importance. Still we were able to pick the prize of the ravine, Pinnacle Gully. After safely negotiating around an ocean size snow slab at the base of the gully, we climbed bright blue water ice for a full 60 meters. The climbing felt like WI4 in the steep early season conditions. Early season “is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gunna get.” What we got was “full-on” alpine conditions: cascading snow that filled your pulled up hood, hard ice, cold hands, and wind. What could be better than that!

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Jerry and I just topping out on Pinnacle Gully.

We negotiated our way up the rest of the gully, with the climbing taking us a little longer than expected due to the conditions. Still, Jerry and I were psyched to be climbing in such a beautiful place. We got to the cars just after sunset, finishing the easy part of the walk down with headlamps and in a snow squall. Only fitting for the time of year and size of our adventure.

Throughout our entire adventure, Jerry said repeatedly, ” don’t you just love this?” “Yeee-haww”, I replied in my best cowboy yell. Climbing these routes, or in these mountains is special. It shows us what we are capable of and our limitations. It humbles us and reminds us of the power of our planet. Every so often they allow us to pass through and return home with tales of adventure.

Thank you Jerry, for an amazing adventure.

Alex Teixeira

MMG Guide

 

 

It is the time of year to focus in. The ice climbing game is one that should never be taken lightly. Sharp tools in hand, spikey crampons on the feet, a rack of razor sharp ice screws hanging from the harness and a medium of ice that is somewhat unpredictable will certainly keep one on there toes.

Winter is here and its the time to get out and enjoy the amazing world of ice. The season is two to three months long in these parts and you got to get after it while you can. With that said one should be prepared in so many ways. Many would agree that the mental game comes first – a focused mind with a calm cool head in a requirement for leading ice. Sound and tested equipment will help prepare one for a tough demanding pitch or route. Then there is the physical training for the body – running or cardio, stretching and yoga, lots of rock climbing equals the needed power to burn on a steep ice pitch.

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Here are the Petzl Nomics in action – the finest ice tools of the trade.

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Aubrey sampling the first sticks of the season. Felt a bit rough at first but came together quickly by days end.

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Working the Petzl Ergos into the ice.

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Tools in hand and sharp crampons on the feet – got to connect as this ice is slippery for sure.

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Oh yeah – Hanging on by a Moment – a fine ice line. Aubrey finessing the moves on ice.

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Sports action here as Aubrey tops out on the pillar.

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Many fine years climbing together – the A Team!

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The ice screw window – be creative to fine solid gear.

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Aubrey and I enjoyed a fun season opener together. There will be more for us this winter stay tuned.

Thanks Aubrey,

Art Mooney

Ken and I finally started of our ice season together yesterday. This season has been different as I worked the on the rocks until Thanksgiving which is quite late for me. Then I came down with a nasty bout of the flu and needed a week and half to recover. All is going well now feeling much better, the ice is in good shape, so its Pick Swinging Time for sure.

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The Elephant Head Gully – showing the recent rockfall at the base of the route. The ice was in fine shape on this route.

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Highland Center meeting area – always feel very welcomed here – put the boots on by the warmth of the fire!!!

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Lower Hitchcock with wet sticky ice drooling all the way to the base of the gully.

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Clinic time with Ken – winding in a few screws, checking in on anchor configurations, then some scrappy mixed alpine climbing techniques.

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Upper Hitchcock Gully – looks and feels like a mini Pinnacle Gully but without the long approach.

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Clean, quick and simple is the way to approach building belay anchors set ups.

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Lots of ice and running water – its building fast in the mountains now. The new snow will help feed the ice routes.

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Topping out with numb hands – a reminder of the suffering on the ice.

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Great times with Ken – we explored and climbed lots of new terrain today.

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LNT? – This was a valuable root to hook the tools for the top out.

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Top of the Notch in wintry conditions.

Thanks Ken for a great beginning on the ice. See you in January.

Art Mooney

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On Tuesday, our guest Mike completed a goal of climbing Mt. Washington. In addition to being the tallest peak in the Northeast presenting a challenge to any climber, Mt. Washington is home to the worlds oldest Cog Railway (a train that goes to the summit). This combination offers a unique experience to the climber, difficult to find almost anywhere else, a chance to hike up and ride down.

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We had a beautiful walk up the mountain, experiencing in small doses what the mountain has to offer. Sun, wind-gusts, and fog were each taking their turn in an ever revolving pattern that is so familiar in this alpine environment. Mike and I caught glimpses of the train on its way up and down the mountain carting tourists from the world over to the summit and back. We relaxed and took our time walking up, resting with the knowledge that we too, would be passengers of the cog for our decent. Upon his arrival, passengers of the train, and drivers in their own cars gave Mike a deserving hero’s welcome to the summit. The questions and congratulations were only fitting for reaching his goal.

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Mike is into technology, as a small plane pilot, he and his wife flew themselves to New Hampshire from Pennsylvania (very impressive). It was only fitting that we would climb aboard the mechanical masterpiece that is Mt. Washington’s Cog Railway for our trip down. On the trip down, we passed through the changing environments of the mountain, making me take note of exactly how far we had come from the valley floor.  It was a real treat to see the mountain from the train that I had seen role by so many times before.

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Thank you Mike for an awesome day in the mountains.

Alex Teixeira

MMG Guide

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This man, Steve, over the course of three days walked twenty + miles through rain, fog, near freezing temperatures, all above tree line, hopping from boulder to boulder and wind with gusts up to 50 mph… here’s the kicker, he did it for someone else, and he raised money to do it.

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Traversing the Presidential Range in New Hampshire (a.k.a. Presi-traverse) is a coveted achievement among climbers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts all over the north east. It can be breathtakingly beautiful, and is always immensely rewarding. However, it is no secret that Mt. Washington and the surrounding alpine environment is known for its severe weather. Yet, maybe its this knowledge that draws us to the the mountain. The knowledge that even with preparation, skill, wisdom, and endurance, it may take a little bit of luck to be successful in climbing it.

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There in lies the scale of Steve’s achievement. The fact that despite the adversity he faced up on the exposed ridge-line he kept moving forward and was successful in his journey across the “home of the worlds worst weather”.

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Steve was climbing for an organization known as “Summit for Someone”. This organization raises money for inner city at risk youth, and uses that money to fund programing and opportunities for these children. Fundraisers set a goal of climbing one of many mountains around the country, and then fundraise and train to prepare for their expedition. It takes individuals like Steve to participate in these organizations in order for them to be successful. We all owe Steve a couple of nods; one, for being successful on his first presidential traverse, and two, raising all that money to benefit children.

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Thank you Steve for an awesome adventure!

Alex Teixeira

MMG Guide.

Three generations of Cody’s made there way to New Hampshire with a common goal, to meet up on the summit of Mt Washington. Of course there were various obstacles upon the way. For one the NH weather has not been kind – Tuesdays tropical rains kept us off the mountain and yesterday we forced our way to the summit in the continued wind driven rains and 45 degree temperatures. Our mission was accomplished Pop Pop (92 years of age) and son Russ cogged their way to the top to join climbers Steve, Chris and I on the summit of the mountain. The Generation Climb was a success to all.

When Pop Pop puts his mind to something he stays on the task and with this climb his motto was Veni, Vidi, Vici!

 Julius Caeser said this when discribed how/what he did on his campaign. (veni (I came), vidi (I saw), vici (I conquered)

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Three generations – The  Cody family.

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The Cman – a fine inn for the team.

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Tuesday rain kept us inside. The Evolution Rock Gym is a fantastic indoor climbing facility in Concord NH.

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Steve cruising the moves on plastic holds.

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Energetic Chris fires his way to the top.

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We all enjoyed the bouldering walls. Our session here put on a fierce fore arm pump.

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Cog traffic controller – this gent greeted us and help us find our way.

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Pools along the Ammo Trail – this one is aptly Gem Pool.

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Climbing the Ammo trail in the mist. Our ascent was a quick 3 hours – nice work guys.

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Hot drinks and lunch on the top of the world.

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Steve, Chris, Pop Pop, and Russ inside the Mt Washington OBS summit building.

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Quote from Steve below.

Mission accomplished! Despite temps of 35-40, pouring rain and winds of 30 mph, Chris and I successfully summited Mt. Washington for the 10th time. And, this time we were joined by my dad and brother Russ. Conditions were too brutal to snap a pic outside with our elders, though, so here’s one of Chris and me.

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 Steve made a smart mountain decision – due to the wild weather and wet slippery rocks we saved our body and knees on the descent. Here we are joining the masses for a luxurious ride down the mountain on the Cog Railway.

This was a very special trip for me to guide. Much thanks to Steve for putting this all together, To Chris, Pop Pop, and Russ for joining Mooney Mountain Guides on this fantastic mountain adventure.

Art Mooney

Many folks celebrate their birthday with special friends over dinner and drinks  – not so with Steve aka The Repman. Steve’s preference is to leave the Peppercomm office early on Thursday with the message  – Gone Climbing for the Weekend!!!

This weekend weather was a bit fickle – if you have been following the northeast you know it’s been grim. Clouds, humidity, thunder storms, and torrential rains have been the pattern for the last week.

Steve, Adel and Sean hopped in the car and made the journey to NH. It was the right time to escape the heat and humidity down in Jersey and come up to the Live Free or Die state for a refreshing weekend of outdoor activity.

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   In the Mist – on the summit of Mt Lafayette!!!

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Steve getting his pre climb stretch.

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Adel – The Barr has been raised – he cruised to the summit in 2.45.

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 Sean – always reddy for a good climb.

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Agility, balance and focus – the crucial elements for mountain travel.

IMG_1505 Steve leading the team yo the top.

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Stairway to heaven – granite blocks laid out to the top.

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On a mission – great pace Steve.

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Steve and I on the summit –  a Happy Birthday to you!!!

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Charging back up for the descent – wet and slippery trail for the next 4 miles.

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Erik passing out warm gatorade to charge up the team.

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Amazing to have a break in the clouds – almost a view of the summit.

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Greenleaf hut – a welcome spot for lunch.

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AMC crew members – bringing goods to the hut.

Thanks for a great day on the mountain!!!

Art Mooney