The odds are not in your favor in Las Vegas – the house always wins.
Each morning as we departed the LaQuinta Inn, Jerry and I hoped we would be ahead of the game. This idea begins at the start of each climbing day and continues right up to the end. Planning and preparation are certainly key components but there are times when luck is on your side.
Early start times yield cool temperatures for the long approaches and the views of the Red Rock range can be magnificent.
Leading rock climbs is the ultimates experience for the climber. For those who put in their time and stick with the sport, leading provides the finest moments. Movement comes in first, one must have experience and know how to climb and be solid with the level they are leading. Terrain assessment, this is the art of finding the traveled line. Next is technical systems, the kraft of protection or placing gear, this kraft requires a careful approach as one looks for solid rock, the right piece, and a surface that will secure gear to the wall. The mental focus needed is a huge component – to keep calm and cool only comes with years of practice and training.
Straight Shooter – Jerry is not a gambling man – he sends this piece to the chains.
Physical Graffitti one of the areas finest moderate crack lines – with Jerry on the sharp end.
The Conundrum Crag has three very nice sport routes. The crag is located behind Kraft Mountain and is a long enough approach from the cars that you may likely have the area all to yourself.
Geronimo was the icing on the cake. Throughout the week Jerry refined his skills to put together this masterpiece of a lead. Five pitches of quality rock with the entire route void of bolts put Jerry to work. Finding the line, protecting the route, setting anchors, rope management all add up to a big day on the stone.
Fun climbing on cracks with steep pocketed rock on the sides.
The prize Geronimo in full view.
Red Rocks is one on the best multi pitch areas in the country. These canyon are loaded with climbs in full sun or shade. Climbers come here year round but you will find spring and fall to be the best.
The Green Wave?
That is when you pass through all the traffic lights on the way to the cliff – nice way to start the day.
Thanks Jerry for an amazing week together.
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!
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 🙂
My first climbs at Lake Willoughby were in the mid 1980’s. From then on – year after year I have been venturing to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom in search of ice. The lake as we call it – is home to the longest, steepest water ice climbs in the northeastern US. The amazing setting is set with a southwestern exposure high above the lake on the flank of Mt Piscah. By far the Lake stands by itself as a highly respected ice climbing area.
From the highway Mt Piscah comes into view. It is days like these that bring out the brilliance of the area – clear sky, cold temps, and no wind.
Max and Cheyenne going for the Last Gentleman – another prize route at the Lake.
Jerry reaching high for the sticks into the ice.
Hundreds of feet off the deck – truly amazing exposure on the ice.
The Lake is the place I want to share with good friends – Jerry and I on the top of the Promenade.
Steep exciting rappels down the routes – walk offs are along way from here.
The Gentleman and Promenade Routes rise above.
For me this has been a great year at the Lake and its only mid January.
Looking forward to more exciting climbing at this amazing venue.
Many of the Lake Willoughby climbs are ready for action and there are a few that need another week or two before the ice is fat enough to climb. The route Plug and Chug pictured below could be climbed but the sun was to much and throughout the day large daggers of ice were falling off from the intense heat that gets absorbed by the rock. The morning temps were 5 degrees but the mid day high was thirty two. Ice climbing can turn on frenzy type attitude with climbers – everyone wants first sticks.
Read Ryans blog in the link below and stay safe out there.
Great picture of Plug And Chug – it makes one want to climb it. See the climber at the base.
A smart decision to descend was made by this climber as he decided conditions were not right for this day.
Jerry and I climbed Renormalization on the far right. The route was shaded and far enough away from the daggers hanging above.
This is the easy line in the Mindbender area – just another stout grade 4 route at the Lake.
Pure fun in the afternoon – plastic/ buttery type ice at the tablets.
The end of a perfect day – it was a beauty, calm and warm.
For many sports one suffers along the way, there will be sweating and pain, then the prize comes as one reaches the finish line.
In climbing the ultimate prize is the summit, the peak of the climb. The high fives and cheers are at the end of the route or on the top of the peak.
This Red Rocks trip has been full of suffering, sweating and then cheers. Many of the approaches are long, and for us the routes have been quite challenging. When Terry and I top out together a sigh of relief comes upon us. It is then the smiles come from another amazing route completed together. This is our scene together on the rocks and its been this way for over thirty years.
As you will see in the photos Terry and I very much enjoy the tough challenges along the way.
The high points, the lofty summits, the outstanding views keep us coming back for more!!!
On are way into Black Velvet Canyon.
Terry powering through the cruxes of two very different climbs.
Yoga = Balance, Power, Focus!!!
Dream of Wild Turkeys – a three star route on some very fine rock.
Overview of the Red Rock Canyons from fossil ridge.
The Great Red Book.
Frogland and Black Velvet.
Terry guiding me for the day on Frogland.
High on the wall – friction moves and thin cracks.
Another day in paradise.
Hanging belay stations – high on a route called Unimpeachable Groping.
The cheers after a long day on the rock – we are at the base of the routes just completed.
Next March and April MMG will be back in Red Rocks – join us for your spring fling on the rock!!!
Mammut has produced top quality climbing ropes for almost 150 years!!!
The set of Revelation ropes pictured are my personal top choice of ropes for high end multi pitch rock or ice routes. I have used these ropes for well over ten years and my reasons are clear – the Revelation is a high quality lightweight rope with outstanding handling for climbing and belaying. The super dry treatment has a couple of benefits. The ropes are resistant to dirt and water and the slick finish provides exceptional glide and friction properties on the rock. When used as a set – two of these ropes slide with ease through the direct belay device with two climbers in action.
These Mammut Ropes have many features that set them as a leader in the industry and make a big difference for climbers and guides on the rock, ice and alpine routes.
Colorful sheath twines of the Revelation in Ocean and Duodess.
Revelations in action – two ropes used like one.
Grib and Bill climbing Kurts Corner – I am using a direct belay with a self locking belay plate off the master point of the anchor. This allows the two climbers to move together – efficiency and speed is achieved over a long route.
Cannon Cliff – New Hampshire.
Cannon is a high end alpine rock and ice climbing area which stands alone in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire. Cannon is known for longer complex multi pitch routes, unpredictable fractured rock and unstable mountain weather. This adds up to high end excitement in the mountains.
Finger of Fate – the above shark fin feature is hanging on by a thread!!!
Bill, Grib and I climbed the Whitney Gilman last spring. We had an such an amazing day on Cannon we planned this climbing trip – the ascent of Moby Grape.
Moby Grape 5.8 – Grade III
May seem like a simple undertaking when viewed from the guide book.
Actually Moby Grape is one of the longest 5.8 crack routes in the area. There are many difficult cruxes, the route finding is complex, and the length just keep on coming. Nine pitches of quality climbing set you on top of the world – views below of the Pemi Valley and across to the summit of Lafayette.
The striking Whitney Gilman Ridge.
Bill climbing the sharp cracks leading up to the stout triangle roof moves.
Committed to the Core
Mammut USA – – Bill (CEO) and Gribbin (Marketing Manager) at work in the mountains.
Personally I am very proud to be included as one of the sponsored Mammut Athletes and my commitment stands strong. For over ten years I have put Mammut products to the test at my work while guiding and at play pushing the grades climbing on the rock and ice routes. The exceptional quality, innovative design, functionality have made these clothing and technical products stand out as the best in the industry.
Yesterday was a blast – it was a pleasure to get out and climb with Bill and Grib. Another day is in the works for the ice – which is coming fast. Yesterdays cool morning showed a taste to come of the flavor of winter.
Much Thanks to Bill and Grib for believing in Mooney Mountain Guides and myself.
Kavu – Klear Above Visibility Unlimited!!!
Yes it was that type of day. For Jerry and I this meant revisiting a few of the local test pieces at Cathedral Ledge. We found ourselves at the Barber Wall in the early morning for a run on the steep slanting route named Chicken Delight. This is a delight of a crack for sure as we found out in a short time!!!
Our move from here took us down to Diedre – a classic 5.9 route. Cracks, corners, chimney moves and a roof or two – this route keeps on giving right up to the last move. Jerry was on fire as he sent each pitch, by mid afternoon we were on top. Our hands and arms were feeling the punch for sure.
A bit to early to call it a day so we opted for one final pitch on They Died Laughing. We certainly laughed during this day, tons of good moves and lots of fun was had!!!
Jerry lay backing on the Chicken Delight.
A bit of scrappy 5.6 to start Diedre.
A problematic roof for many, unlocking a tricky sequence will get you across.
Jerry completing the final roof moves onto the belay ledge.
This is the sustained classic 5.8/9 corner. Beautiful rock, great moves, a steep pitch – this one is a gem.
Jerry pulling into the final move to the top.
Steep moves lead to a jam – then a scrappy mantle to top out.
Taped hands did the trick.
They Died Laughing – North End Cracks.
Awesome day on the granite cracks!!!
The adventure begins – here is the entire Cody, Barr and Hall team on top of the summit of Welsh and Dickey.
This was a very special trip – the MMG guides enjoyed showing off the NH climbing areas to Catharine and Nicole who join Team Cody for their first rock and mountain climbing adventure.
This past week Team Cody reached yet another milestone – leading rock climbs!!!
It all took place during the end of summer climbing trip where the main goal was to have a fun time and climb rock and mountains in a variety of areas. We had six days planned so this could easily be achieved if the bodies would do the job – hold up from day after day of climbing.
The other goal planned was to learn the skills to lead rock. Learning the skills is one part then another one comes into play when the sharp end of the rope is taken on – its the focus and the change of mindset that automatically comes on board – it happens to everyone.
We all joked around when Chris tied in for the first lead – the mood immediately took on a serious note – he was Scared Straight!!! Chris did a fine job leading multiple sport routes and Steve took on the challenge too. By days end we all had racked up a few notable leads and we all had a blast of a time.
Team Cody and Barr setting up for the day.
A focused Chris getting some action clipping bolts on lead at Rumney Rocks.
The attentive belay is no easy task – nice work Adel .
Repman alive and feeling the sharp mindset change with the rope hanging below his feet. Fantastic job leading these routes.
Suns out guns out – summer returns to NH.
Cathedral was also on out hit list. It was a hot day so we opted for a fast ascent of the Funhouse and Upper Refuse.
Here I am topping out on the lookout of Cathedral Ledge.
A surprise visit from Alex yielded these great photos. Alex dropped a fixed rope and came down to see and record the action. Here is Steve mid pitch on Funhouse – a three star crack climb!!!
Chris hanging on by a thread – looking casual up high on the granite faces of Cathedral Ledge.
Scared Straight – the vision is clear – more leads and more adventure to come.
Thanks to all of you for an awesome week on the rocks in NH.
This past week my work has been with a group of 4 rock climbing instructors seeking to raise the bar for themselves and their guests. Each of these instructors put themselves and their skills on the line by guiding Alain and myself around Cathedral and Whitehorse. The end goal was certification as a Rock Instructor with the American Mountain Guides Association.
Rock Instructor Certification is designed to apply to most “cragging” style rock climbing areas in the United States. It is meant for guides or aspiring guides who work on routes that are Grade III or shorter. While these routes are multi-pitch, they are relatively straightforward and may involve complex approaches and/or descents. Time factors are important on all of these routes.
The photos below are of the instructors guiding us around last week. Great job to all of you for continuing your education and your commitment to guiding!!!
Whitehorse – a pleasurable day out on the slabs with AMGA guides.
Cathedral Ledge – fantastic steep cracks and flakes.
Diedre – one of the best corner systems around the NH area.
Rock rescue skills in action – mock drills for the instructors tool box.
Solid, efficient,movement – is number one for the climber, instructor, guide.
When choosing your guide look into the guides page. The information in bios will tell you who may be the best fit for your instruction and guiding day.
SPI guides are trained for the single pitch terrain and the RI are trained for multi pitch. Many certified SPI guides are in the process with mentorship and training for the RI. The Rock Guide is trained for the longest, complex routes.
Thanks to all of you for a great week.
It is the middle of the summer rock season and Cannon is in prime condition. Last week I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days up there. The plan is always flexible and it needs to be this way – as routes can be seeping water, other parties are there and weather can change the plan. Our plans were for the VMC but upon arrival the main wall was soaked from the previous days thunderstorms. We opted for two pitches of Union Jack, then Reppy’s to get our day started. By mid day the main wall started to dry and Tom and I were excited for the Lab Wall. We were able to fire 5 pitches. By then it was time to descend. This was the right choice as when we hit the ground the skies opened up in a deluge. Happy to be on the ground we hike out slowly. The change of plans worked out and we had a pretty good sampling of Cannons finer pitches.
Union Jack – Vertigo start.
Tom working the tight finger crack on Union Jack.
Selfie high on Lab Wall.
Tom on the steep headwall pitch of the Lab Wall.
Traverses protected by old bolts are quite exciting for both the leader and follower.
Waterfalls came down the face quickly.
Terry and I have been a bit fixed on the Rumney scene and we both needed a break from the schist. Moby is a long and fun climb and we had not been on this together in some time. Bright sunshine and a warm breeze it was a perfect day for us to be up high on Cannon. The route was completely dry even up into Kurt’s Corner. It was awesome to move fast and light – on a Monday morning.
Terry getting her day going on the lower pitches of Moby Grape.
Triangle roof pitch – jamming through the crux.
Topping out on Kurt’s corner.
Cannon – there are a few more weeks – maybe two months to get out on a dry ice free Cannon. Join me for a tour of this amazing alpine rock playground.