Training & Fitness

Join in on Saturday evening at Evolution Rock and Fitness!!!

Northeast Climbers Clinic

Over the past three days Jerry and I gathered information and photos at Rumney Rocks for Evolutions presentation this Saturday. The prime topic is  safety awareness for the climbing community. Rumney Rocks is the perfect place to take newly learned indoor climbing skills to the outdoor climbing world. Its also the place where many first time and experienced climbers make common mistakes. One goal of the clinic is to help new and experienced climbers raise their awareness to reduce the chances of future climbing accidents.

IMG_1288   As outdoor enthusiasts – climbers and guides we can be stewards of the land. It is our responsibility to keep our climbing areas in the best shape they can be. This comes with understanding of the LNT principles. Lets all get together and minimize the impact on other climbers and the land – cliffs we are using.

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The Rumney Climbers Association, local climbers, guides have set up Rumney Rocks Climbing routes with these fixed anchors. These permanent anchors are not for top roping they are for the last descent down the route. Please use these only for descending the route as you can see they do wear out.

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Closing the system!

Take and active role in getting all climbers to close the system – many climbers have been injured while be lowering off the end of and unclose rope system

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Rope stacked and system closed – ready for climbing.

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Figure eight – Classic, Elegant, Simple.

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Mammut Smart belay – assisted dynamic breaking for the leader and top roper.

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Petzl Gri Gri Belay device – another assisted breaking belay device.

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Note closed hands over rope – proper bracing position for leading or lowering

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Anchors set ups for Rumney Sport routes. The above is a top choice top rope anchor system for MMG Guides.

IMG_1298This is a simple quick draw anchor set up for short term usage.

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Clipping gear the right way!

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Looking down at the quick draws and bolts.

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Terry enjoying the fun climbing at Rumney Rocks.

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Waimea!!!

See you at Evolution Rock and Fitness.

Art Mooney

Over the past ten days I worked for the AMGA with Larry Goldie of North Cascade Mountain Guides teaching 6 students guide skills on the AMGA Rock Instructor Course. This RIC is the first level multi pitch instructor course. The course is spread out over ten intense days, the curriculum is varied and in depth, and the venus host a variety of multi pitch rock climbs.

Rock Instructor Course (RIC)

The Rock Instructor Course (RIC), is the 1st step in the Rock Guide education and certification process and is designed for aspiring guides who have a strong rock climbing background and for instructors who are interested in improving their skills and increasing knowledge. The Rock Instructor Course places strong emphasis on maximizing client rewards while effectively managing risks.

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Eldorado Canyon is located just west of Boulder Colorado.

 The Eldorado Canyon gorge is narrow, the sandstone rock is steep and fractured, and the fast flowing river adds to the excitement. It’s amazing how just a few miles outside the Boulder city limits one can quickly climb on variety of high quality traditional rock climbs in such a surprisingly wild environment..

First photo views looking down canyon with West Ridge, the Redgarden Wall on left and Bastille formation on lower right.

Second photo host the amazing Naked Edge rock climb up the center rib.

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The AMGA team!

First row – Brett (Estes Park), Andrew (NOLS), Matt (Seneca Rocks Climbing School)

Second row – Andrew (Outward Bound) Larry Goldie (North Cascades Mountain Guides) Colin (Apex Ex Guides)  Joe (NOLS)

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Approaching the Front Range Flat Iron formations we climbed the second one.

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Larry adding info to students during our daily morning guide meetings.

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Rescue techniques for the Rock Instructor

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Matt – ready to travel with kiwi coil,  providing a seated hip belay on a short down climb to start.

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Joe leading our guide meeting on the final day.

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Joe starting the Bastille Crack on a cold and windy morning.

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Andrew taking the lead on the final pitch of Hand Cracker – Long John Wall.

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 Andrew cruising on the climb.

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Colin of Apex Ex Guides guiding the team on Long John Wall.

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A close encounter for us!

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Rocky Mountain meltwater – the river is raging at this time of year.

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Using the I Phone – one technique to have  route topos and a description on hand.

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Adam enjoying the varied climbing on Icarus.

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Brett topping out on the final pitch of Icarus.

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Fantastic times with a great group of guys.

Thank you all,

Art Mooney

AMGA IFMGA Licensed Guide

The Mountains are a common bond with climbers and guides. This is the place we all love to spend our days, climbing high on the rocks, ascending ice routes or traveling amongst the high peaks. For this years Mooney Mountain Guides training day I decided to hold the rock climbing training session on Cannon Mountain. Cannon is an amazing place. The cliff face soars high above the valley floor of Franconia Notch. The views of the Pemigewasset Valley to the south and Mt Lafayette to the east are spectacular.

The MMG Guides and myself have rock and ice climbed on this granite face hundreds of times. For me the Cannon experience is always exciting and full of amazement. This mountain is alive and each time I climb here I sharpen my senses, bring respect and focus to the area, and make decisions based on the time, place, and the current events around me. Maintaining this type of awareness is needed for Cannon, this higher end NH alpine rock climbing area.

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View of the Whitney Gilman Ridge and Cannons big wall section.

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Exposed climber on the Whitney Gilman Ridge.

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Classic Rock Climb – Whitney Gilman Ridge – first climbed in 1929.

IMG_2183 Mooney Mountain Guide team.

The Mentorship is a crucial part of the development and training of all climbing guides. Alain Comeau of New England Mountain Guides was my first instructor with the AMGA certification program. I feel Alain has mentored me over the past 20 years. To this day we are in touch, working together and bouncing new ideas and guiding issues off  each other. Much thanks goes to Alain for all the mentoring and sharing of his mountain expertise.

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“Mentoring is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less”.

Mentorship comes is many ways. I led the MMG training with assistance from MMG Guides Derek Doucet and Matt Ritter (AMGA Certified Rock Instructors). Our focus was on general discussions pertinent to guiding on the rocks this summer. In addition the above photos picture the MMG guides solving specific technical problems and brushing up and practicing rope techniques.

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Guidance is what we do. To do this well a guide must have strong climbing movement skills. Part of our training day was to have  fun on the rocks. Derek and Erik led and set up two of Cannons base area routes Slow and Easy and Sticky Fingers. The MMG team followed with multiple laps of rock climbing fun.

Thanks to the Mooney Mountain Guide sponsors Mammut, Julbo, Petzl and Five Ten for the continued support of MMG, the guides and AMGA certification and training.

Mammut styled us with new Pokiok soft shell guide jackets. Being a very warm sunny day we did not need to use them today but this soft shell will be in our packs for the fickle weather on Cannon this summer. Thanks to Gribbin and Mammut for the ongoing support of MMG Guides and myself.

Julbo hooked us up with cool new shades for this event. Keeping the guides eyes sharp on Cannon is a must. Thanks to Julbo and Nick Yardley for the continued support of the MMG Guides.

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Dave Karl of Sky Ambition – the northeast area Petzl representative. 

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Dave traveled over to Cannon to meet the MMG staff and present new Petzl products and valuable technical info on many products in use today. In Daves kit was the new Sirocco helmet, the Ange carabiner, Spirit Express Draws, and new this season Petzl ice screws.

IMG_2171  On approach.

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The wall – Cannon Cliff!!!

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Great day on the mountain – Cannon that is!!! Thanks to all the MMG guides for taking time on a sunny Saturday to  join in on this training day.

Art Mooney

 

As I approach the climbs the smell of thick sweet crude oil reminds me of my location. The Red River Gorge area in Kentucky. The climbing is extensive with two new guidebooks loaded with sport and traditional routes and countless secret crags with more to be found. The locals are a friendly bunch of southerners welcoming us where ever we climb. The Red River is steep sandstone full of pockets, rails and huecos. The routes tend to be long with hefty run outs at the top, one must be ready to push onward above the last bolt to clip the chains.

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Muir Valley area – sweet approaches to the climbs.

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A favorite of Terry – Fire and Brimstone *****

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Drive by Crag – with sports action all day long.

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Getting started on a rain day – plenty of dry routes to be had.

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Gung Ho, steep and pumpy – a project for me.

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Sunny crags are rare in the deep woods of Kentucky.

We found some light at the Bruisebrothers Wall!

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Great 5.10 routes on this wall.

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Muir Valley is tricked out with crag beta, routes tags and rescue info. great area that well maintained by Rick and Liz Weber.

Awesome trip to the Red River – can’t wait till next fall.

Art Mooney

Cannon Cliff

The Man in the Mountain, or what remained of him, hung above me as I scraped my way up the climb. His absence reminded me of what many had said about the cliff: Cannon was an exfoliating onion periodically shedding its layers. I heard loose rocks in the near distance tumbling down, adding to the boulder field that stretched halfway to the bike path with rocks that previously comprised the cliff.

After pulling up to the ledge, completing the pitch, I rested my head against the rock and decided then and there that I was done. My climbing career was over. I quit.

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Todd leading Pitch 1 Down east 2004

Unfortunately for me, I was only 150’ up a 1000’ climb. The physical retreat would not be so easy. There was no fixed anchor to use for a rappel. Ironically enough, the safest way off the cliff was up. My two partners stood below waiting for me to secure the rope and belay them up. I fiddled with some gear placements and clipped a fixed piton that I hoped was ok.

I quit several times more after that; I forget how many. The technical element of the climb was not the issue, for I had climbed “harder routes” with more challenging moves. The insecurity of grabbing a wobbling hold often rattled me, but today, the fear was especially strong. Though the fear dominated that day, I felt great satisfaction during sections of the climb when I had no choice but to push the fear aside and move from a secure position or off a ledge.

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Todd on Pitch 2 – note the large rack of gear by his side!

We stood at the end of the final pitch and read the guidebook’s description: “Step left, face climb to a corner, then mantle to the top.” We had completed a mantle – pushing down with the palm of one’s hand like one would do when getting out of a pool – and looked up to see that we still had another few hundred feet of climbing above us. I cursed the author and wondered if this day would ever end.

Later, when we were safely hiking down, my friends teased me; in fact, they continue to tease me to this day. “When are we going back?” For years the question created uneasiness in my stomach, but it also reminded me of the physical and mental challenges I faced that day. Even though I wanted to retreat to the safety of the ground, I ventured upward until I reached the top. A few days later, we climbed at Crawford Notch on a route with the same technical grade; this time I took the crux pitch. Less affected by the difficulty of the moves and the sparseness of gear placements, I focused on the climbing, enjoyed the exposure, and savored the time with my friends.

Renowned climber and author John Long once wrote: An honest failure never haunts you because the body knows no shame. But if you let your mind defeat you, if you bail off because the “vibes” are weird and you let fear run away with itself, you have not truly failed, rather defaulted, and it will nag you like a tune till your dying day – or at least until you return and set things straight.

The passage struck a chord with me the moment I read it, and it has stayed with me to this day.  It could be applied to so many climbing adventures, so many facets of life, in fact, but not “Down East.” This route was the exception: I would never want to climb it again.  Then a few years back, I reflected upon my experience.   I thought about the route and that day.  I even wondered if I could lead the crux pitch.  Though we did not “bail off,” and certainly not from a lack of wanting, I still hear that tune and want to “set things straight.”

In order to successfully climb the route, I will need more mileage on the rock so that I can regain the necessary strength and endurance.  But unlike in previous years when the idea of climbing “Down East” scared me, I now look forward to the opportunity and the challenge…and to giving dear friends more fodder for laughter.

DSCN4466 Todd on Kurts corner – back on Cannon at a later date.

Sykes, Jon.  Secrets of the Notch: A Guide to Rock and Ice Climbing on Cannon Cliff and the Crags of Franconia Notch. Huntington Graphics. 2001.

Long, John. Rock Jocks, Wall Rats, and Hang Dogs: Rock Climbing on the Edge of Reality. Fireside, 1994.

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Todd Goodman MMG Guide

Right after my returned from the sunny and warm south west I was treated to a cold moist day on the Willys Slide. This was the beginning of a six day technical training session for a group of visiting PJ’s. Over the six days Alain Comeau lead this group through a series of train ups followed by practical sessions on the ice, the cliffs and over the rivers. I was along to assist and be the other set of eyes keeping the group on target with these new and highly technical skills.

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A modified self arrest – note slider is picking up axe on the move.

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Snow anchors – these should be the last of the season on Willys.

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Ice bollard for rappels.

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The twin rescue system in action.

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Twin system on the top of Cathedral Ledge.

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Getting started with the English Reeve system .

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English Reeve system in action over the gorge.

Thanks to Alain and the men from the pararescue squad – it was a great week of learning with some additional fun hack sessions.

Art Mooney

Today the Team took a new direction in the Red Rock area – a session at the Kraft Boulders. Armed with two pads we warmed up at the Wake Up Wall and then sampled a few nearby classic boulder problems. Potato Chips was a steep one that tested Derek and Art’s  crimps strength and the Poker Chips overhanging hand rail with left heel hooks was dispatched by Mark and Chris. Kraft is an amazing place full of all types of boulder problems.

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Deivis traversing the warm up boulder.

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Mark getting after one of the days high ball problems

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Steve enjoying a well deserved rest after 5 days straight on the rock.

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Here is a re-energized Steve with three great 5.9 runs on the Conundrum Crag routes.

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Chris sending everything that comes his way – 5.10 tomorrow!

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Elbow pain didn’t keep Adel down on this impressive attempt on the 45 degree wall.

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Mark may have gotten a pump today?

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Deivis working the complete loop traverse.

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A Friendly Chuckwalla

 Thanks to the team for a great day at the Kraft and Conundrum crag.

MMG Guides – Art And Derek

It was 4am and the Epinepherine move was on. Coffee was had in the hotel room with PB and J’s for breakfast. Jerry and I new this early start was needed for this long traditional route in the Black Velvet Canyon. The route proper is 1500 feet of technical climbing which leads to 700 ft of 4th and 5th class scrambling with high exposure – total route is 2200ft.

The Main Event of the route is the 300ft of chimney pitches which lead one to the stacked 5.9 corners which continue for another 700 ft or so. We prepared for the route by climbing the previous three days on the routes Group Therapy, Dark Shadows and Sundog. All had a small amount of the wide stuff to get us in the groove. One main goal was to have quick transitions to keep us move fast another was to be lightweight.  We carried minimal gear in our small Mammut Neon Packs and the racks and ropes were on our backs.

The day was excellent, we ended up second in line with another party on our tail. The climbing was very physical in the chimneys and the corners were steep and technical. Over all good fun climbing in a wildly exposed setting.

Enjoy the photos of the Red Rock classic route – Epinephrine.

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First light as we start up pitch one.

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Early morning glow on the wall.

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The Main Event – Chimneys and Corners!!!

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The upper wall comes into view.

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The exposure starts to get good on pitch 7.

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Jerry – focused on the moves high on the wall.

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Early afternoon on the summit of Black Velvet Peak.

Thanks to Jerry for joining me on this spectacular climb.

Art Mooney

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.

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Technical systems galore.

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 Taking the skills up the climb.

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The group still smiling after two long days.

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Did I  mention we saw Fred Beckey!

Thanks Nick, Ethan, Justin and Jenna for a great two days

Jim Gagne – MMG Guide