Training & Fitness

This pas weekend, MMG Guide Ben Mirkin was in charge of an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Exam. A big thanks to all the candidates on the exam.
Alex Teixeira
We had a fantastic group of participants in our AMGA SPI Assessment this weekend!  Our aspiring and re certifying guides included individuals from Atlantic Climbing School, the new Director of Carrabassett Valley Academy’s ALPS program.Like any AMGA course or assessment, the emphasis was on learning and bettering ourselves as climbers and guides – which I deinetly believe was accomplished this weekend.

I am reminded about how essential this type of training is for any climber leading groups, guiding, or just taking friends climbing.

Keep playing and keep learning!

Ben Mirkin

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An older post, saved from a while back. It seemed applicable to post it today as we enter rock season. Follow Steve’s lead, and get the whole family outdoors and rock climbing!

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I have had the pleasure of climbing with Steve twice over the past few weeks. Once with a his son and two friends, and a second time with his son a daughter. Both days were spent on the beautiful granite slabs of Whitehorse in North Conway, NH. Whitehorse seems to be the superior area for a family rock climbing outing. The slabs offering a host of routes that everyone can enjoy together.

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 This inclusiveness is important to Steve. As a climber himself, learning the craft on the granite big walls of Yosemite Vally, he wants to pass on the joy he received from climbing on to his two children. Moving to New England less than a year ago and not knowing the terrain prompted Steve to seek out Mooney Mountain Guides. Together we decided that Whitehorse would be the proper venue for his goals.

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In two days, more than ten pitches had been climbed from the Echo roof to Beginners Route. Lots of rappels, lowers, and funny pictures later everyone was happy to have shared the experience together. I was happy to have helped introduce the next generation of climbers to the sport.

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Thank you Steve, family and friends for two great days on the rock.

Alex Teixeira

 

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To me, above all, climbing is a pursuit, a lifestyle that is best shard with others. For generations of climbers, skills have been passed down through mentorship. The 50′s, 60′s, and 70′s did not have a lot of climbers. Climbing was not apart of the main stream media. Gear was primitive and hard to come by. Climbing was better referred to as an art-form, than a sport. The equipment of the day closer to a hammer and chisel, than to the space age equipment of today. The 80′s brought on the popularity of sport climbing, and as a result climbing became slightly more accessible to the average joe. The 90′s and 00′s made this even more true with the increased popularity of climbing gym’s, ABS, and mainstream media.

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It is awesome, especially for a working mountain guide, to  have the pursuit of climbing be more popular than ever. However, a part of me feels that the most special part of this life, the mentorship, has been, at least a little, diluted down by the main stream. The main-streamness of climbing has led many young/new climbers into believing that you can learn all you need to know from the gym, that, if you are strong you can go anywhere, and its every climber for his or her self.

There is an individual who I met this ice climbing season that has defied the trend. A relatively new climber, but a lifetime lover of wild places. A passionate people person, Stephanie has created her own climbing community by combining the powers of the mainstream with the magic of  mentorship.

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Nature Girls is a “Meet Up” group with over 600 followers! Just one example of how modern times are changing the climbing world. Stefanie is the boss and she has done some amazing work this year. On top of her own busy life and climbing goals, she has taken the time to run two ice climbing trips with Mooney Mountain Guides. I’m not sure why the guiding gods were so good to MMG by allowing us to work with such a great group, but I am grateful for the opportunity.

I can’t say enough positive things about this group. Women from all walks of life, getting together to climb frozen waterfalls. So cool! The most inspiring aspect of the Nature Girls is their drive to learn more about the sport, and not in a rapid way, but how they enjoy the process. Through Stefanie the Nature Girls are seeking guidance to help push their limits. I can’t say the MMG is sensei to this great group of gals, but I am honored to have helped provide a little guidance along their way. My hope is that MMG can help Stef provide amazing climbing experiences to her followers, and push them in the direction of seeking a climbing mentor.

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I so look forward to many climbing trips with the Nature Girls on the ice and rock. I think there are many great experience to come. I must send out a big Thank You to Stefanie, for being the driving force behind Nature Girls and all the have accomplished.

If your interested in learning more, or joining a trip please check out:

http://www.meetup.com/Nature-Girls/

Rock, ice and mountain climbs have kept my interest for over thirty five years.  To say the least its my ultimate passion in life!!!

The movement over the stone or ice requires balance, flexibility, power and  focus.  The mindset is complete attention to gain control over the extreme situation.  The motion is fluid along the path or climb.   These are the three M’s that I try to achieve each time I head to rock face, the ice line or the mountain path.

Repman is back on the mountain.  After a needed break from the activtity he is back into shape and ready to climb. He bought family along to join him on this trip.  His daughter Catharine and friend Nicole came for their second time and it looks like they are both hooked on the sport too.

On a side note they all work at Peppercomm and this was a quick summertime break from their work. See the blog post Steve wrote about the trip.  http://www.repmanblog.com/repman/2015/08/we-are-family.html

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Steve leading the way up Whitehorse.

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The three inline Steve, Catharine, and Nicole climbing the steep slabs of Whitehorse.

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Success the team of five on the Whitehorse summit.

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Repman viewing and coaching Catharine at Rumney Rocks.

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Catharine to the top on the steep crack route at Rumney.

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This was Steves fourteenth summit of the Mt Washington. Photo of him on the alpine gardens heading up.

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A strategic partnership – Steve and Art on another amazing adventure together.

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There you have it – Mt Washington.

Art Mooney

On any given week you could bet good money that the MMG crew is out at the cliffs introducing folks to climbing and or new climbs to them, as well as working on their own climbing and guiding progression. This past week was no different! Below is a quick collection of updates from the past week. 

Early on in the week Erik got out to Rumney Rocks for a half day of climbing with Jen and Amanda. These gals were visiting the area for the week, coming from Long Island. They’ve started climbing in the gym back home and venturing into Top Rope terrain when they travel. We had a gorgeous day for a sampling of classic pitches at Rumney!

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This weekend Mike got out with the Schildge family. While on vacation in the north country they joined MMG for a day on Square Ledge. This venue has great moderate climbing for a family outing, with what is possibly the best backdrop of any crag in New England.

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Earlier on in the week, Art was joined by Jerry “the Gale force” They had a couple of great days swinging leads at Rumney and reclaiming perennial classics on Cannon!

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On the personal training front, Alex has headed out to CO to take the Advanced Rock Guide Course through the AMGA, one of many professional development courses MMG guides are involved in this summer. The course, and his acclimatization are taking place in Eldorado Canyon and Lumpy Ridge in the Estes park. Back home, Erik is taking advantage of dry days between the rain to regain strength on some steep sport routes. Most intriguing of these days was at the Groton High Grade Wall, in Marshfield VT.

Alex in CO  

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Erik in VT                                                                                                                                                                                               

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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