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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you Mike for an awesome day in the mountains.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Thank you Steve for an awesome adventure!
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)
Three generations – The Cody family.
The Cman – a fine inn for the team.
Tuesday rain kept us inside. The Evolution Rock Gym is a fantastic indoor climbing facility in Concord NH.
Steve cruising the moves on plastic holds.
Energetic Chris fires his way to the top.
We all enjoyed the bouldering walls. Our session here put on a fierce fore arm pump.
Cog traffic controller – this gent greeted us and help us find our way.
Pools along the Ammo Trail – this one is aptly Gem Pool.
Climbing the Ammo trail in the mist. Our ascent was a quick 3 hours – nice work guys.
Hot drinks and lunch on the top of the world.
Steve, Chris, Pop Pop, and Russ inside the Mt Washington OBS summit building.
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.
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.
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!
Talus fields – boulders everywhere up to the wall.
Andrew – he was truly amazed at this awesome climbing area.
Summer view of Pinnacle Gully.
Our first pitch – steep slabs with wet rock made for some interesting movement.
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.
Dayton on his toughest climb yet – he loved the experience.
Clouds and a cool breeze on the alpine gardens.
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.
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.
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
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