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.


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


Exposed climber on the Whitney Gilman Ridge.


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.


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.


The wall – Cannon Cliff!!!


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