NH Rock Climbing
Kelly and Bob ventured north from Philadelphia in hopes of climbing in North Conway this Memorial Day weekend; however, the storms soaked the cliffs. With Whitehorse running with water, they drove over to Rumney and found some dry rock, sunny weather, and stellar routes.
Kelly working her way up Beginner’s Route.
Bob nearing the top with someone starting up Bolt Line.
After warming up and getting their feet underneath them, we headed over to the Parking Lot Wall to find that Glory Jeans was open. We were able to climb a little more before the skies opened up with an afternoon shower.
Bob on the ledge ready to step over the void.
Thanks to Kelly and Bob for their positive energy and enthusiasm!
Mooney Mountain Guides calls this blog posted trip the New Hampshire sampler – a day of sport climbing, a mountain adventure, and an alpine rock day on Cannon Cliff. This three day action packed event is not one for a week heart or mind.
Steve is a motivated man, when he sets his sights on a climb, a goal, a project he gives it 100+ percent. This was crystal clear from the beginning. United a not so favorite airline of his canceled his flight earlier this week and within a short time Steve was in the car racing from New York to New Hampshire. The weather pattern was solid, a mid week break from Peppercom was needed, and the body and mind were ready to climb.
Rumney Rocks was the first stop on Tuesday. The skies had cleared from the weekends low pressure and the cliff was drying out fast. A visit to the Jimmy Cliff got us off on the right tune, Bonsai was next with a fine display of sending a project by MMG guide Alex, and then to complete we ventured over to the Main wall for a steep technical face climb that put on the first of many pumps during the week.
A quick cardio workout romping up the Clippidy Do Dah!!!
Main Cliff action as Steve nears the belay.
Off to a good start.
The great weather continued on Wednesday which happened to be our Mt Washington mountain day. To both our surprise the mountain was in late winter condition with snow and ice covered trails from the Cog Station to the summit. There has been over 1 foot of new snow since May first which is quite unusual even for the rock pile. The new snow along with brisk temps and a stiff breeze make us feel like we took a step back in time by a few months.
Thanks to Julbo for keeping our vision in order – excellence with eyewear for mountain travelers and more.
Bluebird skies, wild rime ice, all in all a spectacular day.
The summit cone was tough – bear down and keep on trucking.
The prize Steve’s 13th time on the summit
The base area – four thousand feet lower – in spring time condition.
Our third day – time to ramp it up!!!
Cannon Cliff is New Hampshires finest alpine rock area. Our 1 hour approach to the Whitney Gilman wanders up the steep talus field to the base of the serpentine ridge. The WG ridge is a classic old school 5.7 route first completed in 1929. This was our last day objective and we were set to take it to the top.
All the movement skills are put to the test climbing on Cannon. Cracks, faces, loose shattered rock, wildy exposed moves as one works back and forth along the 600ft ridge climb. The Whitney Gilman Ridge can make one feel like they are climbing in the Alps.
The final pitch – Steve jamming and liebacking the final corner to the top.
The descent – snow and ice again?
Micro spikes on the Guide Tennies was the ticket home.
Steve and MMG guide Alex blasting home on the return.
Steve has come to New Hampshire many times to climb with MMG. This trip was one of the finest, it was
full of SERF – Surprises, Educational, Rewards, Fun time for all.
Thanks to Steve – for this amazing three day sampler.
Early season is tough. With the improved weather, excitement fills the air and climbers get anxious not only to get out but also to send. Attacking a project too high too soon often results in injury, putting the kibosh on training until you heal. Dialing down routes can help maximize your training early season (and throughout the year).
Several years ago, I was climbing with a friend of mine at Rumney, and we were warming up before heading off to our respective projects. After completing a route that I enjoyed but did not climb smoothly, I muttered, “That was sloppy.” I had wished I felt more comfortable on the route.
“Don’t untie,” he said. “Dial it down.” So I climbed it again, much more smoothly. When I reached the ground the second time, he smiled. “Don’t untie. You’re not done.” I sighed but started again. I moved more fluidly than the previous times and anticipated the next handhold and my feet found the footholds. The fourth time…yes, he made me climb it four times…I felt solid.
The more familiar you are with a route, the greater chance you have to move efficiently, grabbing the holds the best way the first time or finding the right footholds without hanging too much on your arms. Each spring, when I have been off the rock for several months, I gravitate to the routes where my body knows the motions like dialing the number to an old friend. Often times, these routes are either the same grade or harder than the routes that I am trying to onsight. Because I am so familiar with these routes I have dialed down, I am performing challenging moves without wasting too much energy trying to figure out the beta. As a result, I can climb harder for a longer period of time, enabling me to get into climbing shape faster.
This season when you climb a route that you enjoy, don’t rush off too quickly for the next one. Spend the extra time to work through the moves. Dial it down.
Movement – a core skill on the rocks, in the mountains, on the ice.
All climbers strive for exceptional movements on the stone. The precise movements in the vertical realm require a great deal – a calm focused mind, agility and flexibility, a well tuned body and positive mental drive all are needed to advance up the wall. It may sounds easy but I can assure you its not. Hours into days of specific training and practice sessions help one maintain a high level of climbing. To advance into to the next level specialize training sessions are a must.
Motion – a body in motion should remain in motion.
Right now is exciting time spring is here and it the time to rock climb – develop new projects and advance. Motion is needed to keep us on task. Frequent runs and walks are helpful for the cardio and certainly known to be an effective way to start each day. The pace of the day is set with a light and fast tone when I start with a motion exercise in the am.
Guidance – help and advice to reach the higher level.
Whether it be climbing or yoga I need guidance to break through plateaus. Yoga has become a necessary part of life for me. Practice on and off the mat yoga is helping prevent injuries through breathing exercises, flexibility, balance, power and mindfulness.
During this past month Terry and I took on a more focused spring training project. Each day we start with movement in the form of early morning walks and/or runs. The main part of the day is set aside for focused climbing sessions. Then many evenings find us at a variety of yoga studios being guided through Vinyasa sequences of all types.
Alyssa – grace and flexibility on the stone.
Power, Balance, Alignment.
Reaching for the higher ground.
Footwork – standing right upon the front toes using the Five Ten Anasazi.
Ready for the move.
Calico Hills – Red Rocks.
These steep routes require the body to stay in motion. The fore arm pump comes on fast.
Mountain hikes and runs in the desert. Fast and light
Spring time is here – it is time to leave winter behind and get into gear.
Mooney Mountain Guides is excited to offer a spring special. Our crag skills seminars will help you get ready for your best climbing session yet.
Crag Skills Seminar
Choose one of four options:
1) Top-Rope Construction.
2) Introduction to Traditional Climbing.
3) Gym to Crag Transition.
4) Self Rescue
Combine any two for a comprehensive two-day seminar.
Who: Learn from expert guides who not only teach these skills but apply them every single day in the field. Our guides are trained and certified by the AMGA and use the most up-to-date methods in the field. 4:1 guide to guest ratio.
What: You can expect to learn and apply the skills needed to perform independently at the crag with your friends or family.
When: Seminars will be held May 1st – May 20th.
Where: Seminars will be held in four different locations based on interest and availability. These areas include Pawtuckaway State Park, Rumney, Echo Crag, and Crow Hill in Massachusetts.
Why: Climbing can be dangerous, especially if a climber is unprepared and underestimates the risks. Receiving training from experts allows a climber to choose the appropriate technical systems for the situation, make conservative decisions when evaluating risk, and reduce the time to gain independence.
For more information:
Please vist www.mooneymountainguides.com
E-mail at [email protected]
or Call Alex
Chattanooga has become one of our favorite places to recreate in the spring and fall seasons. Terry and I made plans early as we knew we would be ready to escape the wintry march weather of the northeast. This March has been especially brutal in NH with cold temps and stormy weather for much of the month.
Lucky for us our timing was right, we arrived in Chattanooga with a sunny and seasonably warm forecast for our five day trip. The T Wall for trad and the Foster Falls sport routes were on the hit list.
The Tennessee Wall is a perfect place to warm up the fingers, hands, and body on the wide variety of moderate steep jam cracks and corners which are usually capped by a roof of some sort. The area is also south facing and we were on a mission to seek out the sunshine.
Foster falls is another favorite area of mine. The long sandstone wall has a few hundred sport routes – the warm ups start in the 5. 9 and 5’10 range and then its on to the harder testy sport climbs. The Crime Buttress is one of our favorite areas with a bunch of 5.11 and up routes on the steep slightly overhanging wall.
Chattanooga – the city is mid sized with plenty to do. Yoga is plentiful – we found an excellent studio called the Yoga Landing that offers a great variety of classes. There are lots of hikers, runners, bikers, climbers around – you can tell this is one of the better outdoor designations in the south east. Restaurants – we found excellent places to eat such as Sluggos, the Boathouse, and Mojo Burritos.
If you are looking for a quick three or four day adventure – I would say put this place – Chattanooga on the list
Foster Falls – in springtime condition.
Terry – first lead on the season – Golden Locks 5.8!!!
Terry sorting out the gear and the hand jams on Passages another 5.8 gem at the T Wall.
The T Wall is a shared area – copy this info you are planning a trip.
High Point Climbing Gym – brand new in downtown Chattanooga. Indoor and outdoor walls and a large bouldering section. We did not climb here as the weather was to nice – we opted for the outdoor fun.
Side walk activities.
Chattanooga has four bridges across the Tennessee River. We walked over the bridges in circuits each morning. The bridge in the photos has been closed to motor traffic and is now only a foot bridge for walkers, runners, and bikers
Our good friend Tim was spending the winter here. We met up and he showed us a quiet crag that is just being developed. Terry is seconding a very nice 5.11b route.
Tim D giving me a proper blue point belay.
The steep climbs at Foster Falls.
I’ve got to say we are now refreshed from all this southern fun.
Margie and Dylan were up for an unusual adventure. They both enjoy trying new sports and do like to push their limits. Margie is an avid runner and Dylan is in season playing hockey. Both were very fit and up for the task of a steep mountain approach to start the day. Once we accessed the ice climbs the ball was rolling and we climbed and climbed!!!
Usually a family outing is learning the moves on the slab route and climbing it a few times, then maybe the gully on the left for a finnish of the day. Dylan was not ready he kept asking for something steeper and harder. Our finale was the center route where both Dylan and Margie climb a line right up the steeper headwall.
It was an awesome day with two very energetic climbers.
Margie learning the ropes right away while Dylan climbs above.
Ready for the ice – Petzl Quarks in hand.
Time to replenish – the engines are running low.
Dylan on the ice, ready to climb inside the cave, and icicles to take away.
Thank you Margie and Dylan
This past weekend, MMG Guide Phil, and myself, had the pleasure of introducing 7 never-ever’s to the sport of Ice Climbing. We we’re lucky to have great weather, great ice, and great group dynamics! Day one was at our secret spot (Shhh!), a short flow that allows for lots of laps and easy coaching. For day two we went to Kinsman notch to test the groups strength on the steeps, as well as their footwork, sending them up lower angled terrain with no tools. Below are some pictures from both days.
Thanks for an awesome weekend gang!
Let me start by saying I’m a bit of a gear geek. I love knowing my gear, learning about new gear and what makes certain items better. Additionally, as with many people, there is immense satisfaction settling on a piece of gear that makes you happy when previous iterations have left you wanting more. I ordered the Mammut Togir Click harness this summer and have put it through many a trial over the last 6+ months climbing about 5 days a week for work and pleasure. I have been thrilled with the harness, and being the gear geek that I am, revel in the little things that make it unique.
My friends and I have had many a discussion on how to manage harnesses. Some like ultra lightweight harnesses for sport and more tricked out ones for trad and ice. Others like a simple trimmed down design for ice in particular. Many have two harnesses to cover all of their needs. For my purposes, I like the simplicity of one harness. This makes it easier on me, and harder on the harness, as it has more roles in which it has to please me. The Togir Click appeared to fit the bill, and thus far has proven its self worthy. I’ll break the review down by section from here on out to make it easier for me to organize my thoughts, and for you to follow them!
All of the standard features we’ve come to expect in high end harnesses are present in the Togir Click. Adequate padding, wider waist belt and leg loops for comfort. Four stiff, supported gear loops, and 4 well placed ice clipper locations as well as “speed” buckles, the kind that cinch down and are automatically doubled back. In addition this harness has 3 little quirks that are big plusses to me.
1.) Belay loop protection: Every harness I’ve worn out has worn out in the belay loop/ tie in area. This happens from the tie in points moving back and forth over the belay loop as you climb, and even more so as you walk. Mammut has developed an ingenious little plastic protector that eliminates that nylon on nylon rubbing, thereby virtually eliminating the most common way of waring out a harness. They have patented this, and no other harness companies have come up with an alternative. Before I had a Mammut harness I use to pad these areas with Ducktape to prolong them. Not only did this look pretty gheto, but the chemicals on the tape probably didn’t do the nylon any favors. In case your harness does wear out here, Mammut has put in an indicator strip, so you see that you a contrasting red layer of fabric under the worn out layer, to warn you (Identified by tabs with red exclamation mark on them).
2.) “5th gear loop” in the back: Many ice climbers will tie some accessory cord between their back two gear loops to add an additional gear loop. A good place to clip things you don’t need quite as quickly. It’s a great spot to clip your belay gloves and/ or puffy, V thread tool, off belay knife, or spare cordalette. Mammut must’ve caught on to this as they put two holes in the bottom outside corner of the back two gear loops. This allows you to attach the accessory cord for your 5th gear loop, while keeping that cord out of the way of carabiners you’re clipping into your back two gear loops. there’s also a sewn in tag line type loop in the back of the harness, a great place for your prussic to take up permanent residence.
3.) “Click” buckles: Alright, the main event. What really sets this harness apart is the “click” buckles. In short, these allow you to quickly pull the buckle apart, opening the leg loops and waist loops completely. This is invaluable for winter climbing when you might put a harness on after crampons, or take it off before your crampons. Gents, it also makes peeing in the winter much easier. Unclick one leg loop, pull the harness to the side and you’ve removed one of far too many obstacle to relief! Some might find this a little gimmicky, thinking about how most harnesses can do this to an extant. What sets it apart in my mind is how versatile this makes the harness as a whole. Basic harnesses, where every buckle has to be threaded and doubled back come apart completely like this, but then are a pain to double back every time, and add one more thing to forget when looking to put a harness on quickly and easily while sport cragging. Even the speed style buckles can be completely taken apart, and re threaded as needed, but its a little to finicky in my experience because of the auto double back buckle. The click buckle is easy to remove and put back on, I’ve been doing it with mittens all winter long, and in the summer it goes on quickly and smoothly with the buckles acting like a normal “speed” buckle. To me this is what makes the harness such a great all around harness.
Over the past six months I’ve obsessively, hang dogged sport projects, spent all day hanging from multi pitch cliffs and worked 5 days a week coaching ice climbing in this harness (+ personal and guiding days). Throughout these experiences it has proven its self worthy, comfortable, durable and versatile. I never felt discomfort in this harness taking short hard falls or longer airy whippers at Rumney.
The true test of comfort came in trying the Prow multiple times this summer. To me, this climb had become infamous for its 5 kidney crunching hanging and semi hanging belays. In former harnesses my discomfort from hanging in my harness rivaled that of cramming my toes into tight shoes and my fingers into tiny cracks by the end of the day. This harness proved to be so comfortable that that internal discomfort was an afterthought. A very welcome change.
Finally, I’ve found this harness to be perfectly tricked out for ice climbing. As I stated before, the click buckles make it a cinch to put on after crampons and take off before. The 5th gear loop, with its out of the way accessory cord adds racking space, often eliminating the need to carry a backpack, and the ice clipper loops are sturdy enough to hold the clippers in place, but not so tight that you can’t easily remove them for a mid winter gym session. It’s the perfect jack of all trades.
Grade V comfort
NEI 5 versatility
Thanks to: Keyan Pishdadian, Geoff Wilson and Andy Neuman for photos, in descending order
Harness photos from Mammut: http://www.mammut.com/en/productDetail/211000891_v_7237/Togir-Click.html
Mountaineering is a term that encompasses many skills that all come together and enable us to climb mountains. There are no set rules and the creative have a clear advantage. Part of getting creative is climbing rock with ice climbing equipment (mixed climbing), and being able to climb ice and rock simultaneously. In the mountains there is no taped routes, it is up to the climber to decipher a route to the top. This route may require these mixed climbing skills. Aubrey and I took to the ice, and rock, to train, climb and have a great time. After climbing eight different routes the sun was setting on an amazing day of mixed climbing.
Fat in the cave.
Rock and Ice
Thanks Aubry for a great day on the rock and ice.