It’s Saturday April sixth and its still winter on Mt. Washington. The conditions today were cold to say the least. The temperature was 4 below zero with 65mph winds, bringing the wind-chill to 45 below zero. Yet it was sunny and the landscape was beautiful. It was a great day to be out despite the wind. Climbing late in the season like this we see the terrain in a whole new light. Things look different when the sun is higher in the sky.
Upon reaching the Lakes of the Clouds Hut, we decided that going for the summit of Washington was going to mean being exposed for to the wind for a while, and instead we decided to go for Mt. Monroe. A slightly shorter peak, that is closer to the hut, it meant less exposure to the wind. We made quick work of the summit, enjoying the sun and the wind. We were back down to the safety of the hut in no time with another summit to record.
All together, it was a great day in the hills.
Glacier Travel and more.
It’s a lot of information for ones grey matter to take in. Four days of knowledge in two days is a circuit over load for anybody. When you are looking to plan a trip that requires a variation of so many skills such as what it might take to plan a trip, altitude concerns, belaying, rappelling, setting up tents, the importance of good kitchen skills, rescue skills, snow anchors and much, much more. It can be difficult to take in so much information in just a short period of time. In order to maintain everything we learned we all must keep doing the same thing……Practice, practice and practice. Did I mention we saw Fred Beckey too.
Technical systems galore.
Taking the skills up the climb.
The group still smiling after two long days.
Did I mention we saw Fred Beckey!
Thanks Nick, Ethan, Justin and Jenna for a great two days
Jim Gagne – MMG Guide
Mount Washington range is always a challenge no matter what your skill level is. If it wasn’t, then why do so many folks come here to climb it and it’s neighboring peaks? It’s great to have people come here to enjoy the White Mountain in the winter, plus it gives me a chance to meet so many nice folks that are willing to learn and take their new skill back home with them. This past weekend offered many challenges. Winter is still here and is still not willing to let go. The Mount Washington Observatory Trip is the way to go for so many. Take a look at these photos and decide for yourself. For me there is no other place to be.
First light on top of the mountain – great sunrise.
The team on the summit.
Heading up from Pinkham Notch.
The charge on the snowfields!!!
Great eats on in the OBS.
Lions head steeps.
Above tree line travel.
The Tucks trail approach.
Thanks to all of you – for a fun weekend on the mountain.
MMG Guides – Jim, Bob and Alex
Bill Enjoying the Alpine Environment.
Bill is a climber. Even if it hasn’t been that long, he is totally into it. Bills goals are to climb the long, beautiful, moderate alpine routes that can be found in the mountain ranges all over the world. I don’t blame him; these routes are some of the most fun to climb. However, the mountaineer must have a toolbox of skills that he or she can employ to climb or escape a mountain objective. Bill came to MMG to be introduced to that toolbox.
Sending a steep section of ‘snice’.
Practicing rope travel techniques.
Bill Taking on the Crux
The location was Willie’s slide in Crawford Notch, NH. The long moderate ice and snow climb was the perfect classroom for Bills objectives. Some of the topics covered were rope travel, self-arrest, belaying, anchor building, multi-pitch ascents, ice axe use, crampons and many more. Bill was like a sponge absorbing the all the information he could about the sport he loves. Bill has what it takes to climb the big routes determination, technical skills, and above all a positive attitude. I can hardly wait for the learning to continue.
Thank you Bill for an awesome day of climbing in the alpine.
Delphine is a new mountain explorer. She has been a skier for some time in the resort areas, until a little while ago when she tried ice climbing. It seems that with this experience she has caught the mountaineering bug. Delphine contacted MMG to go backcountry skiing on Mt. Cardigan near Bristol, NH. Since the ice climbing trip she went on, Delphine has begun winter camping and ski touring on her cross country skis. All this has left her wanting to get into the steeper back country terrain.
To enter these areas one needs to have many skills beyond the ability to ski. Navigation, back country travel in winter, avalanche awareness, and many others. All these topics were discussed while we toured the Cardigan loop.
Our day began as we skinned up the Dukes trail towards the Firescrew. Once in the open face of the Firescrew we decided to take the skins off for a quick run through the trees. Here Delphine ripped it up, speeding and carving perfect turns around the trees and through snow drifts. After climbing back to our packs, we continued our ascent up the Firescrew towards the summit of Cardigan.
On our traverse of the exposed ridgeline the wind and the snow picked up giving us a real alpine feel. We skinned right over the summit of Cardigan! After a picture or two we began our descent. With a little navigation in the fog we found our next objective, the long steep Alexandria trail.
Soon we were flying through the trees to where the Alexandria really opens up. Once there Delphine and I let it rip full speed down the trail. It’s amazing how fast one can travel through mountain terrain on skis. What took us a few hours to climb, we were down in minutes. All together, the grand tour of Mt. Cardigan on skis is one of the mountain gems of New Hampshire.
Thank you Delphine for a great day in the mountains. I look forward to more skiing and learning about avalanche awareness in the Mt. Washington backcountry.
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.
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.
Superb weather, fantastic alpine and ice climbing, and motoring up Mt Washington all made this MMG climbing sampler another excellent adventure for the starting players of the Peppercom/Cody team. We did miss one player Mark aka Renaissance Man but a new player came off the bench – Sean aka Rookie of the Year did not only join in for the fun Sean crushed it!
Sean started off the weekend with steep grade 3 and 4 ice climbs, learned about 4:30am alpine starts the next day and to complete the game he stayed true by getting the final goal – topping out on Mt Willard in icy cold temperatures with a sharp wind frosting up our faces and numbing our hands.
Sean looking cool, calm and collected on Lower Hitchcock Gully.
Happy Birthday to Sean!
Holster your weapon Sean.
Sean at spring climbing camp – learning quickly about footwork and balance.
Another Mt Washington summit for the team on a beautiful day. The 7th time on top for RepMan
The Team – (left to right) Egyption Stallion, RepMan, Sean Dawg, Eric, The Gale Force, and Crusher Cody.
Repman – contemplating his next move.
Adel leading the team to the top!
On our way to the alpine area Hitchcock, Monkey Wrench and East Slabs of Willard.
Thumbs up – the day just keeps getting better.
Adel on the deck after sending the steep ice climb called the Red Headwall.
Making good time all in sync on the Ammo Trail.
Sean and Chris ready for the action to begin.
Chris sporting the Go Pro – sure would like to see the footage.
A big Thank You to Steve and the Peppercom team for another great game in NH.
Thanks to the MMG Guides Erik Thatcher, Eric Marshall, and Jim Gagne.
Where were you when the nor-easter Nemo struck? Well 6 brave climbers took the storm head on just to spend the night on top on Mount Washington. Everyone was challenged in their own way. Between the cold, steep and difficult terrain, blowing snow and the poor visibility. It didn’t stop this team from obtaining there goal. It sure was nice to push up through this storm of the century and be welcomed at the observatory building. Good food, friendly atmosphere, and most of all a warm place to lay your head down for some rest after a tough day…. But this is only half of the story. What laid ahead for this brave team was going down the next day. Because of the increasing snow and winds the avalanche danger was a concern. It was a long day but the auto road was the safest bet to get down. Through snow drifts and blowing snow whiteout conditions, 11 miles later everyone was back at Pinkham.
Pinkham Notch – start of the OBS trip.
Steep climbing on Lions head Trail.
Matt Ritter leading the team above treeline.
Summit – before the blizzard.
Mt Washington OBS – dinner, bed, and breakfast.
Inside the OBS.
Whiteout on the auto road.
Working the drifts.
Down and out.
Nice push guys.
Jim Gagne – MMG Guide