Mt Washington

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

IMG_1669

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!

IMG_1676

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

 

 

DSCN1281

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.

IMG_1402

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.

IMG_1404

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.

DSCN1282

Thank you Mike for an awesome day in the mountains.

Alex Teixeira

MMG Guide

DSCN1101

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.

IMG_1299

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.

IMG_1302

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”.

IMG_1295

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.

IMG_1306

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)

IMG_1637

Three generations – The  Cody family.

IMG_1638

The Cman – a fine inn for the team.

IMG_1640

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

IMG_1642

Steve cruising the moves on plastic holds.

IMG_1643

Energetic Chris fires his way to the top.

IMG_1647

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

IMG_1652

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

IMG_1653

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

IMG_1655

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

IMG_1659

Hot drinks and lunch on the top of the world.

IMG_1662

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

IMG_1664

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.

IMG_1666

 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

The Huntington’ Ravine trail is the steepest trail to the alpine gardens area of Mt Washington. Dayton and Andrew had this trail on their mind for some time now. Both had researched the trail with written accounts – descriptions and they even found a You tube video of the climb. Dayton decided this would be his route up to the alpine gardens area then onward to the Lake of the Clouds Hut to spend the night. I was excited for this day – its not often for me to be in the ravine during the summer. A change of the office location would be good and the weather finally had given us a break.

Conditions were good to go!

IMG_1580

Huntington Ravine

IMG_1581 Dayton and Andrew on the approach.

IMG_1582

Talus fields – boulders everywhere up to the wall.

IMG_1583

Andrew – he was truly amazed at this awesome climbing area.

IMG_1585

Summer view of Pinnacle Gully.

IMG_1586

Our first pitch – steep slabs with wet rock made for some interesting movement.

IMG_1587

I used a 100 foot rope to belay Dayton and Andrew. No harness just bowlines around the waist. This kept are backpacks light for the climb.

IMG_1588

Dayton on his toughest climb yet – he loved the experience.

IMG_1590

Clouds and a cool breeze on the alpine gardens.

IMG_1592

We arrived at the Lion head Junction at 2pm.

Dayton and Andrew headed over to Lakes for the night and I descended down to Pinkham.

Great climb in the ravine.

Art Mooney

P4050466

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.

P4050474 P4050473

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.

Alex Teixeira

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.

IMG_3002D-2-2

First light on top of the mountain – great sunrise.

IMG_2972-3

The team on the summit.

P1050676

Heading up from Pinkham Notch.

P1050965

The charge on the snowfields!!!

P1050907

Great eats on in the OBS.

P1050871

P1050769

P1050714

Lions head steeps.

P1050733

P1050748

Above tree line travel.

P1050691

The Tucks trail approach.

Thanks to all of you – for a fun weekend on the mountain.

MMG Guides – Jim, Bob and Alex

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!

DSCN1016

Jerry working the back step on the Penguin Route.

DSCN1051

Lead time on Hitchcock Gully – Willard is in great shape right now.

DSCN1025

Descending from Penguin area.

DSCN1034

 Jerry on lead at the end of the day  – Trestle Cut!

012

Repentance in fine shape – arriving at 2nd belay area.

DSCN1053

Steep alpine rock and scrub at the top of Willard.

DSCN1032

Another back step on Dracula.

DSCN1042

 A new route for us – Twenty Below Zero Gully.

DSCN1004

The technical side – making a V thread for our descent at Newfound Lake.

002

No line up for Jerry and Matt on this day – green light.

DSCN1080

 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.

Art Mooney

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.

P1050153

Sean looking cool, calm and collected on Lower Hitchcock Gully.

Happy Birthday to Sean!

P1050159

Holster your weapon Sean.

DSCN1056

Sean at spring climbing camp – learning quickly about footwork and balance.

DSCN1080

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.

P1050163

Repman – contemplating his next move.

DSCN1074

Adel leading the team to the top!

P1050151

On our way to the alpine area Hitchcock, Monkey Wrench and East Slabs of Willard.

DSCN1061

Thumbs up – the day just keeps getting better.

DSCN1060

Adel on the deck after sending the steep ice climb called the Red Headwall.

DSCN1067

Making good time all in sync on the Ammo Trail.

P1050161

 Mt Willard.

P1050160

Sean and Chris ready for the action to begin.

P1050157

Chris sporting the Go Pro – sure would like to see the footage.

IMG_0875

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.

Art Mooney

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.

P1040819

 Pinkham Notch – start of the OBS trip.

P1040848

Steep climbing on Lions head Trail.

P1040890

Matt Ritter leading the team above treeline.

P1040913

Summit – before the blizzard.

P1040928

Mt Washington OBS – dinner, bed, and breakfast.

P1040966

Inside the OBS.

P1040982

Whiteout on the auto road.

P1040978

Working the drifts.

P1050002

Down and out.

P1050007

 Nice push guys.

Jim Gagne – MMG Guide