Training & Fitness

Its a rare day when guests are rope gunning for guides, but then i guess this was a rare week. Jerry the Gale Force continued his epic season climbing with Art. They had a stellar day on the on the east face of Willard. A few days before that, George joined us again and also took the sharp end on the east face of Willard with Alex. The snow is deep between the climbs, but the ice is great right now!

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Also this week, Erik and Alex chose to use some rest days to hunt down the last of the powder from last weeks storms. These days were just long enough to help work the lactic acid out of legs from the previous week of work, as well as to put a day long powder grin on our faces :)

The Mooney Mountain Guides were out in force this past weekend. below you’ll find a couple of snippets of what went on.

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Lynn and Mike visited us from South Carolina for their third attempt on Mt Washington. In the past, bad weather has thwarted their attempts. This past Friday looked like the best weather window of the long weekend, so we made hasty plans and changed our schedule around to get them the best shot of success.

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Sure enough the forecasts delivered. Fog and steady snow hampered visibility, but coupled with 15mph winds at worst, created an eerily calm atmosphere while on the belly of the beast.

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Mike and Lynn finally got their white whale.

After a day to rest up on Saturday they rejoined us for a sunny morning of ice climbing on Newfound Lake

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On Saturday, good friends Connor and Yaffe joined us for a bitterly cold and bitterly awesome day of ice climbing in Crawford Notch. Connor has climbed ice before, but not in a while, and Yaffe was a first timer.

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We chose the Trestle slabs as our starting location. This is an ideal classroom for ice climbing, with a 100′ slab of low angle ice, and a wall of low ice bulges to practice swinging and kicking on, with a particularly fluffy crash pad at the moment.

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Connor on the North Face of Everst. Ok, fine. It’s just a spindrift filled picture of the Trestle slabs, but hardcore nonetheless.

After our warm up there we went to Standard route to finish the day. This meant that Yaffe got in his first ice climbing and his first multi pitch climb in one day. Not bad, Yaffe. Not bad.

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While I was on sunny south facing ice Sunday, another group of three was battling brutal winds on Washington. This tough group made the summit on a day when winds reached near 100 mph and the cold was COLD!

Hopefully some pictures to come.

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With most of the crew staving off frostbite and hypothermia in what finally feels like winter, two MMG guides traveled to Red Rocks NV where they are staving off sun burn and dehydration!

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Derrek and Alex are out there for a week guiding a handful of students from Middlebury College’s outdoor program.

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This is the premier destination for winter time rock climbing, and Im sure a welcome reprieve from the cold of a NH winter.

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Thanks to all our guests and students who joined us this weekend! We look forward to hopefully seeing you in the mountains again soon.

The Mooney Mountain Guide Crew

The winter season is here. It was quite a shift from the warm desert of Red Rocks, Nevada and into to cold of New England. Yet the psyche is high and MMG is is off to a great start. Routes include a few laps on the Black Dike, Standard Route, Shoe String, Kings Ravine, and routes in Huntington’s Ravine. Thanks to all the MMG guides and guests who made the first week of the ’14, ’15 ice season a amazing one.

There’s plenty to go around, come and get it!

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Art enjoying pitch two of the Black Dike

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Finding some good ice in Shoe String

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Standard Route

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Crossing the Presi-ridge in 80-mph winds

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Kings Ravine!

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Early season = awesome climbing

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Crossing the Alpine Garden after a successful day in Huntington’s

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Topping out in Huntington’s

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The Ridge from the bottom of the talus.

For almost any climber the striking arete’ that forms the Whitney-Gilman ridge begs to be climbed. The shear size of the feature is imposing. It can be easily see from the road and when walking along Lafayette Ridge, Cannon’s 5,000ft neighbor to the east. Needless to say, the climbing is just as fun and aww inspiring as it looks from the ground. Parallel cracks, perfect corners and exciting face climbing only add to the appeal.

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(Left:) The excellent second pitch. (Right:) Mat, headed directly for the 5.9 exit moves on the final pitch.

Mat, came down from Montreal to climb the ridge. Together we made great time. Each pitch flowed smoothly into the next. The warm sun and cool breeze provided perfect rock climbing temperatures. It was truly a great day for Cannon.

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What made this climb come full circle, was climbing it in October. Typically October brings cool temperatures, clear blue sky, and the amazing foliage. Watching the hills change from a sea of green to bright oranges, yellow’s and reds makes this experience even better. I’m not sure what it is about perfectly dry rock and collared leaves that makes climbing this route so fun, but I invite you to come and see for your self what the Whitney-Gilman ridge is like in October.

Thanks Mat for a great day on the ridge.

Alex Teixeira

I must say I have an absolutely fantastic job. Yes guiding rock, ice, mountains is not for everyone. This is what I chose for a career and it is weeks like this past one that showcase how good a guides work can be.

The people – my guests – these folks are what make each day interesting, engaging, and fun. They all have a choice of who to climb with and I do feel very special that they choose to spend a day in the mountains, on a climb with me.

A huge Thank You is in order to all the guests who climb with me and the guides at Mooney Mountain Guides. I/We do appreciate your choice and climbing with each of you is a blast.

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Jerry – aka the force – a driven man who loves to climb. Whether is be the rock, the ice, or big mountain faces in the Alps Jerry loves it all.

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Aubrey – trains hard at home and plays hard when he gets out. A busy man running his business but still manages to find the time to get out on the cliffs to refresh the mind.

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Charlie – our second season together – Charlie is on his way to becoming a major player on the stone. This week we crushed the routes at Rumney and with three upcoming sessions planned – new personal heights will be gained.

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Ryan and Amy – new friends – on the Whitney Gilman.

We enjoyed a fantastic day on Cannon together. Amy was challenged but maintained her focus on the big stone. Ryan and I swapped leads and worked on transitions and systems.

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Ryan on lead the final pitch of Whitney Gilman.

A special day for Ryan – Happy Birthday!!!

Thank you all for spending your time with me. This was amazing week of guide work/fun in NH.

Art Mooney

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Once a year, Dave, takes a trip to New Hampshire for some hiking and relaxing. Dave is from New York and looks forward to this trip each year. This year Dave planned is biggest hike yet, a traverse of Franconia Ridge including a summit of Lafayette.

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For many the Lafayette traverse is the most beautiful hike in the White Mountains. Indeed is is a special place. Stunning views of the eight Presidential Summits, Vermont Summits, and the Pemigewasset Wilderness. Not to mention the alpine flowers and rugged landscape.

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One of my favorite ski descents.

Traversing the ridge a hiker is exposed an entirely different environment. Due to the elevation the climate is similar to the environment found in Newfoundland and Labrador. To Dave, he said it was as exotic as being on the Moon.

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Alpine Flowers.

We traversed the ridge under perfect weather, building clouds, and a cool breeze. We were both happy to be in the Alpine.

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To the west of the ridge is New Hampshires largest alpine wall, Cannon Cliff.

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Cloud Shadows over the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

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Clouds over the ridge.

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Waterfalls are just part of the stunning beauty on this adventure.

Thank you Dave for a great day in the hills.

Alex Teixeira

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Do you have tickets?

For the past four or five years now, camp Wildwood has come to climb with Mooney Mountain Guides. Sometimes for a few days, other times for an entire week. We are very lucky to have created such an awesome relationship with Wildwood. The campers that have attended these trips are great kids, and the camp instructors are professional, friendly, and great with kids. It is a real pleasure to spend time with Camp Wildwood.

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Technique overpowers strength every time, here a camper gets her feet high to reach the next hold.

MMG and Wildwood schedule these trips far in advance. We cross our fingers in the weeks leading up to the trip that the weather will provide us with beautiful days for climbing. This year, the weather forecasts were not perfect. Despite the forecast, MMG and Wildwood kept it positive, and went climbing anyway.

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Rappelling is a vital skill for a climber; here MMG Guide Todd teaches a camper with the added support of a belay from above.

Day one was calling for thunderstorms. We all had our raincoats along with our climbing gear and super sticky 5.10 climbing shoes, ready for anything. By the time we reached the cliff we were going to climb, there were patches of blue sky and intermittent sun. The rock was perfectly dry, and even better, we had Rumney to our selves. Due to the fact that we wanted to get everything in before any rain, the group climbed a ton, and the rain never came. We had a beautiful day of climbing despite the forecast.

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Working on technique, crimp session.

In the a.m. of day two we woke to rain, but it looked as tough it was heading east towards Maine and away from central N.H. Again, armed with our positive attitudes we headed up the trail to climb, with the idea that we would climb until we couldn’t. Yet again, the more we climbed the better the weather became. Day two was just as great as day one.

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The team out climbing despite the drizzle; MMG Guide Todd looking sharp in his Mammut Rain Jacket

It was the power of the positive attitudes we all came to this trip with that allowed for two great days of rock climbing. It goes to show that climbing is about more than rocks and climbing them. Its about spending time in beautiful places with positive people.

Thanks to MMG Guide Todd, Wildwood Instructors Shannon and Matt, and all the campers.

Alex Teixeira, MMG Guide

Ridge running has always been one of my favorite workout activities. Putting on the trail shoes, carrying a small pack with the essentials, and moving light and fast gives a feeling of a free spirit in the mountains. Lightweight travel and quick moves over boulder strewn trails leave the miles behind as one runs along the trails and ridges in the high peaks.

The Whitney Gilman Ridge is another type of ridge running adventure. The vertical 5th class kind! The game is played in a similar way, lightweight gear, efficient movements, and quick transitions all add up to topping out on the ridge in a short amount of time. The Whitney Gilman Ridge route is positioned along an exposed knife edge of stone, the route wanders back and forth with moments of exceptional exposure over the dark north wall. The route is somewhat committing as descending is  not an easy task – there is certainly an excitement factor on this climb. This is Cannon and getting to the top in a timely way is the common goal.

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The Whitney Gilman – 600ft of technical 5th class climbing.

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Bill – happy to be back on Cannon!!!

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Today we had a slight breeze and light cloud cover – this kept conditions quite nice on this hazy, hot, and humid day.

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Team Mammut in action – Grib coming over the exposed pipe pitch, great vistas of the Lafayette Ridge from this spacious belay ledge, and Grib on the final corner pitch.

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Pitch 5 has a steep corner system – excellent climbing high on Cannon.

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The pitch 5 exposed belay station perch.

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 Great times – back in action on Cannon.

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What a fantastic climbing area – right in our backyard of NH.

Cannon Mountain!!!

Art Mooney

The Flatirons dominant the skyline high above Boulder on the slopes of the Rockies. These unusual formations of stone are numbered 1,2,3 and all are climbed regularly by Boulderites and visiting climbers.

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Steve arrived in town and Flatiron number 1 was our first objective. Our choice of routes today weaved up the center of the wall and offered over 1 thousand feet of mindful movements in 10 pitches of varied roped climbing.

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Steve giving the thumbs up to the Flatiron. There would be no wrinkles on this ascent – we pressed onward to the base.

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Special times – breaking in the new rope.

This Mammut Revelation rope is a beauty and will be treated with care.

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Today we went for comfort and performance and both of us chose to wear our new Five Ten – Guide Tennis shoes. These shoes went right into action, sticking to the stone. A great choice of climbing footwear for the moderate routes, much more than the so called approach shoe.

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Learning the ropes, clove hitches, belays techniques and protection.

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At the top of the face is an alpine style ridge. Here Steve is breaking down the anchor ready for the summit bid.

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Our early start paid off big. The early morning approach was quiet and peaceful then the masses of climbers and hikers arrived. No worries for us we were on top for the day.

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High above Boulders open space lands.

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First Flatiron climbed, next stop Eldorado Canyon.

Great warm up day for Steve and I – let the fun times continue!!!

 Art Mooney

To Nick, climbing and mountaineering is less about achievement. Nick prefers to use the mountains as a place for discovery. He does not limit this discovery to natural places, and spectacular views; in addition to these, Nick takes time for self discovery and reflection. Knowing this about Nick I felt that a traverse of New Hampshire’s Presidential range was a perfect objective.

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Foreground Mt. Adams, Mid-ground undercast clouds, Background Mt. Washington

New Hampshire’s Presidential Range is the loges exposed alpine ridge-line in the eastern half of the U.S. It also boasts eight summits, Mt. Washington being the tallest in the North East. There are some options on how to start and finish the traverse, however, our path would take us 24.5 miles over which we would gain and loose 7,200ft of elevation.

Day One:

Our journey began at the Appalachia trail head where we walked 5 miles to tree-line, eventually topping out at the AMC Madison Spring Hut. With it being early season, Nick and I decided to stay in the huts operated by the AMC. This option allowed us to cary light day packs, as apposed to heavy overnight packs.

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View from Madison Spring Hut

Our walk to the hut was beautiful, following a stream fed by an alpine spring made it even better. An easy pace with good conversation, gave us plenty of time to relax on the porch of the hut before we were served a delicious hot meal. One of the most stunning sunsets over a blanket of undercast clouds  made a great ending to a even better day.

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Sunset at Madison Spring Hut

Day Two:

Day two dawned bluebird skies, and 20% humidity. A perfect day to hike across one of the most stunning landscapes in the east. We passed deep glacial cirques, and craggy summits on our way south. After our hike across the the Northern Presidentials, we arrived at the AMC Lakes of the Clouds Hut at the foot of Mt. Washington. We sipped hot coco as we unpacked our packs and prepared for dinner. Another wonderful four course meal. Both tired, we headed to bed early for day 3.

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Starting out on Day 2

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Midway Point Day 2

Day Three:

Nick and I awoke to the sound of rain blowing against the window of the hut and coffee brewing in the kitchen. Two large bowls of oatmeal prepared us for our journey across the southern end of the range. Out the door we were met with rain, but it didn’t detract from the experience. We were prepared with rain gear to stay warm and dry. Over the summit of Monroe we went.

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No more rain, and good visibility.

Nick and I had been out for two hours,when suddenly the rain slowed to a stop and the fog lifted. The skies remained cloudy and dark, yet the clouds were in the upper atmosphere and visibility increased to about 30 miles. We completed the final 2/3rds of our day with beautiful views all the way to Mizpah Hut. By this point in our travels we had gotten to know some of the other southbound hikers on the trail. Having dinner and breakfast with these other hikers, Nick and I got to know them a little. Walking into the hut, it was like seeing old friends at the local watering hole. Another hot four course meal was served. Desert of cream cheese brownies sent us full and warm to our bunks.

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Final Summit in the Presidential’s complete.

Day Four:

Breakfast and goodbyes to the hut workers, then we were off down the trail. We were out around lunch time. On our hike out Nick and I reflected on how the mountains teach us about our selves. Our  physical fitness becomes apparent, our decision making, and what is important to us.  Nick and I promised to meet again for another mountain adventure in the future. Between now and then, Nick will go to Mt. Rainer in the Cascades of Washington, as well as Mt. Elbrus in the Caucasus of Russia. No doubt that he will have done some self discovery.

Thank you Nick for a great week on the trail.

Alex Teixeira

MMG Guide