Every year, each season takes its own shape and form.  This past ice season started earlier than I had expected, and I got in more ice days than I had in previous years.  As the season nears its end, I was psyched to get in a few more enjoyable days with solid people.

I had the pleasure of working with an REI group on President’s Weekend.  This course is listed as an introductory to ice climbing, but most of the individuals had rock climbing experience, so we were able to hit the ground running.


Tori picking a good route

On day one, they pushed themselves on the shorter but stout routes in Franconia Notch in sunny, 40-degree weather.  We left the puffies in the bag, shed the layers, and took out our sunglasses for the day.


Henry starting up


Sehrish getting into the steeper stuff

They climbed so hard on the first day, I wondered how much they would have for day two at Kinsman Notch.  They kept going.  They applied and refined some technique we showed them and they made it up the harder climbs.

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Nav and Meg at the top of their respective climbs


Every group has its own personality and bonds together in its own way.  The individuals connected quickly, and their instant comradery was impressive.  They offered belays without hesitation, took pictures of each other, and offered verbal support the entire weekend.  The purpose of these weekend excursions is two-fold: to introduce/develop the ice climbing skills and knowledge and to have fun.  This group accomplished both.

The next day, I took my two children ice climbing for the first time.  We decided to get an early start at Kinsman to ensure that we would beat the crowds and get the route we wanted.  Unlike the previous two days, the colder Monday temps resulted an icier approach.  Instead of moving quickly up the trail with few layers on, as I did the day before, I moved more deliberately and spotted the kids at the many sections that had become slippery.

Watching my two young children battle both their fear and the ice, I marveled at their persistence and tenacity.  Some of their struggles, like kicking their feet in or pulling the tool from the ice, are different than older climbers, but task of managing of fear remains present in us all.  Seeing the juxtaposition between the two groups and the way each managed his or her own fear and excitement was quite insightful for me as climber, a guide, and a parent.

This recent warm stretch is melting most of the ice, resulting in a canceled trip this weekend and marking the end of my ice season.   Fortunately, the rock season is around the corner.  With more of these warm days, it might arrive early this year as well.

Todd Goodman

MMG Guide

Mooney Mountain Guides and Mammut teamed up for the very successful Mammut Alpine School ice climbing trip. This was MMG’s and MAS’s first trip with more to come.  Each of our guests joined in for this weekend of instruction, followed by experience and mileage on the ice climbs. By the end of the weekend we all had climbed over 1000 ft of ice at Frankenstein Cliff and on Mt Willard in Crawford Notch NH. The Highland Center Lodge was fabulous, the food was delicious, our rooms were quiet,  our meeting space was spacious and private and the staff was super friendly.

Join us for our next MAS  trip on Mt Washington Weekend climb over St Patty’s Day weekend March 17 – 19, 2017.


 Our MAS team of Art, Laurie, Jodi, Andrew, Sarah and in front MMG guide Mike. Smiles of enjoyment from the rewards of our first ice climbing day. each of us reached new heights on this warm and sunny day at Frankenstein Cliffs


Jodi and Laurie working together for Jodi’s first ascent the Trestle Slab ice climb. This was Jodi’s first experience on the ice and  Laurie came with miles of mountain and ice climbing experience. This mix created a perfect situation for both ladies to empower  and climb to the top.


Mammut, the brand is well known and highly respected. Mammut clothing and equipment is innovative alpine mountain gear that stands up to the rigorous test of day to day use in extreme mountain environments. Mammut is one of  the finest mountain climbing product companies in the outdoor market.


Jodi climbing the steeper ice on the Standard Route at Frankenstein. Jodi learned the basic moves then she was able to turn on her  focus and determination to ascend each ice climb with power and grace.


The AMC Highland Center – our meeting and lodging location.


The Highland Center nestled in Crawford Notch is a perfect location for easy access to a variety of ice climbs.


Laurie setting up anchors and the belay as she guides Jodi on the ice. MMG guide Mike is nearby coaching and giving advise as needed.


Beautiful ice on the East Slabs right on Mt Willard. We all climbed to the top then rappelled back down for another route nearby.


Andrew gaining comfort  in this new vertical ice environment. Andrew learned  how to place solid ice tools, how to place the feet by finding the small ledges to kick good steps into and also the importance of flexibility and balance.


 Sarah having a blast, high on the ice above the roadway on the East Slabs area of Mt Willard.


Jodi and Laurie climbing side by side on the East Slabs right. Mike set up a parallel rope system so the ladies could climb together. This technique is faster, guests stay warmer, and its tons of fun for all.


 Standard Route in the afternoon, one more ice pitch to complete our first day. Sarah and Andrew coming into the cave area belay station on Standard Route.


 A very successful Mammut Alpine School weekend on the ice. The conditions were fantastic, the crew was awesome, all in all a very fun weekend full of excitement  and challenge.

Thank you all!!!

Art Mooney