Jerry and I have been on the ice for the past five days at a variety of areas. Jerry was looking to refine, steep climbing techniques on pillars and corners, climb a new alpine gully, and spend some time taking on the lead end of the rope. We kept our focus for the week and were treated to some fine ice conditions.
The Penguin route.
Dracula Right and Left
Trestle Cut area.
Jerry on lead – Duofold.
Crawford Notch area
The week was sooo good – thanks Jerry much appreciated.
Selsun Blue was the objective for this day. The brutal cold weather steered me to finding an ice line on the warmer sunny ice flows at Rumney Rocks. Ken and I tried Selsun Blue a few years back and now it was time for a rematch. Kens ice kit has been refined with new lighter boots, modern tools and mono points. To prepare Ken has been working on movements skills on the steeper ice flows and today our goal was to put it all together.
We arrived at Selsun Blue and were quite surprised to find much of the ice route laying on the ground in huge ice blocks. The deluge we had over a week ago washed the main portion of the flow completely out. Our plan quickly adjusted to the Cave Route.
MMG Guide Alex joined us for the day an he racked up with gear and led the Cave Route. He climbed brittle hard ice for the first portion then found a wet sticky vein in the cave and took this to the top. It is amazing how and where the water flows on the ice – even on the coldest days of the year. Cave route was climbed and then a top rope was set for a nice series of stacked pillars on Selsun Right. Ken delicately climbed upward enjoying this technical piece of ice.
The Selsun Blue – out of the game.
Ken styling the moves on the thin pillar.
Alex finding a sweet spot on the Cave Route.
Our afternoon led us down to the Meadows area where we chatted about our next routes. Ken wanted to try the Newfound Lake area. We hopped into the cars cranked up the heat and headed that way. Newfound is mostly shaded and the routes have been in great shape this year,
Ken on the long route called Bloodline. We found fantastic conditions on this route.
Newfound Lake – ice above and below.
Thanks to Ken and Alex for a fun day on the ice. We found good ice lines at two areas Rumney and Newfound.
Carolina and David are on a brisk climbing adventure to NH. They left the West Palm Beach area, the 84 degree temps and had to shut down the air conditioning for this trip. The goal to seek out a different type of air conditioning – the type Mt Washington has to offer. Yesterdays weather on the mountain was actually quite pleasant, the Polar Vortex is long gone and we enjoyed above seasonable temperatures with light winds.
Trail conditions were another story – we were greeted with icy trails all the way to the parking lot, wash outs were common from the recent deluge and then above tree line the snow was deep – drifted into all the low spots on the route. Knee deep trail breaking was lots of fun (work) and a good challenge to keep us focused on the goal -Sea to Summit.
Stop here or else!!!
Dave and Carolina fresh, excited and ready for the climb.
Lower mountain trails – like November conditions.
Above treeline travel in the fog and deep snow.
Shot blocks give the needed boost – time to recharge for the summit push.
On the summit – congrats to all!!!
Its was a long day for us – Carolina seeing the light at the end of the path.
Beautiful evening glow as we reached Marshfield Station.
Thank you – Carolina and David for this awesome day on the mountain.
Jerry took the ice on lead today. Mount Willard was the perfect place for this. Hitchcock Gully and the Upper East Face Slabs were in fantastic shape. Jerry was in solid form as he steadily led all the routes. Protection was placed were needed and directionals were adding to keep the rope from freezing up in the running water. It is on days like these that all the hard work comes together and a new zone is entered. The zone is the lead area which requires focus, balance, power and a calm cool head.
Lower Hitchcock Gully.
The guides Jerry and Alex at the first belay .
Jerry on Upper Hitchcock Gully.
Rappelling Upper Hitchcock – to access one more climb.
Going for the summit – Jerry on lead on the East Slabs route.
Jerry – Great job leading today.
The ice climb at Rumney called the Geographic Factor is certainly a prize of an ice line. The climb is guarded by a long steep approach and is hidden from view as it is tucked away in the Giant Man alcove at the Hinterlands Area. You must make the hike to see if the route is in shape or suitable for your climbing day.
Jerry and I cruised the cliffs today with Franky Lee as our warm up then onward to find out if Geo was in condition. Upon our arrival at the base we noticed a substantial overhang of ice at the crux area. Not sure if this would go – we decided to take a further look and climb to the half way point. It would either go or we would descend from there.
A bit of cleaning was needed to remove the fragile daggers of ice that barred the upward moves – once completed it was a go. We were very engaged by the technical and strenuous moves for twenty feet or so. Then is was fat and sticky ice to the top.
You must get out and try, seeing the route is not enough, feeling it is much better. Some days are just right for the climb and today was the right day for Jerry and I on the Geo.
First view of the route.
Wet and sticky ice on the sunny upper half of the route.
Crux overhang – three to four feet to clear.
Great send of the Geographic Factor.
It has been a few years since I have spent time in conditions like last weeks NH deep freeze. Friday was the coldest day with a daytime high temperature of 1 accompanied by high winds which made the air feel much colder. Saturday started with colder morning temps but the air was still making it quite comfortable once moving in the mountains.
Kathryn, Zach and Scott arrived Wednesday evening just in time for the winter storm to hit the New England coast. Weather models were quite varied on the snowfall amounts so we were not sure what was coming. Thursday we climbed Lafayette with light snow falling through the day then in the afternoon the snow really began to amount. By the end over a foot of light and dry powder blanketed the area. Our before the storm timing for Lafayette was good as I had broken trail once this year on the Bridle Path and it was a tough day for sure.
Friday we ice climbed at Kinsman Notch – Kathryn was in her element – as she prefers steep and technical over type mountain climbs. Zach was new to the ice – and he adapted his sport techniques to the ice arena quickly, Scott like it all – mountains are full of endurance and the ice requires burst of power which he has both on board.
Our final day was spent on Willys Slide. Base area clinics on multi topics for snow travel, snow anchors and belays, self arrest and structured practice of all. By mid day we were ready for our last climb together so we assaulted the Willys in a party of 4.
Puffy jackets received lots of use the past weekend.
Scott, Kathryn, and Zach descending Willys in deep snow.
This was a varied three day mountain and ice trip – much thanks to the visiting climbers from the Ohio area.
Jackson and Mike have been coming to NH to climb rock and ice with me for many seasons. It has been a rewarding experience being a part of their journey climbing on the vertical rock faces and on the spectacular ice climbs. Jackson loves the climbing world. He is a solid hiker, skier and climber. Jackson is able to keep his focus when climbing, he pays close attention to directions on the routes, and he is able to stop anytime to refine his movements as he ascends the route. A very special young climber and so much fun to be out with him and Mike.
Gearing up at the Highland Center.
Approach to the Trestle Slabs.
The trestle area.
Ready for the action and excitement.
Armed and dangerous – looking for the fun.
Jackson climbed this route multiple times – awesome job.
Lunch break in the mountains – PB and Pretzel!
Great day of climbing fun with these guys.
Annual MMG photo.
Thanks to Jackson and Mike.
Great to climb with you both again looking forward to seeing you in February.
Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year – the weather forecast was grim.
I met three Maryland climbers early in Lincoln. Everyone was fired up to go, to learn, to experience, the Mt Washington climb and effect.
Personally I was very anxious – the weather forecasted rain, freezing rain, and high winds – some of the worst conditions to handle on the mountain – it had hypothermia written all over it.
Ice coated the roads, warm moist air and clouds whipped overhead towards the ridge line. We prepped and entered the forested Ammo trail which was covered in deep sloppy snow. One party of youthful men were ahead doing a great job breaking for us. So thankful after memories of last weekends tough trail break on the Lafayette climb.
Steve, Will and Allen kept right on my tail – I was setting a brisk pace to be ahead of the incoming rain. We arrive at Lakes of the Clouds at 10:30 and on the Mt Washington summit by 12:15. This climb was shaping up nicely – to be a fast ascent of the peak. We were over half way.
After quick break on top with layer changes, food – drinks and photos we put on our gortex – goggles and tighten down our kit. We headed into the 60+ winds down the Crawford path. Our descent was slow and steady, the rains hit us as we reched lakes so we kept the move on. By 3:30 we we back at the cars in a soggy but warm state.
This day was a another great adventure on the mountain – thanks to Steve, Will,and Allen for making the long journey for a weekend in NH.
Steve cruising up the Ammo Trail
Today had this type of weather
The team up high on the Crawford Path
Summit has been reached with no view at all.
Time to refuel and replenish!!!
Back at it – time to descend.
We made it to Happy Hour at Woodstock Station and landed these fine seats right next to the fire. Awesome ending to our climb.
Thanks to all – hope to see you soon.
Oh boy its been quite a week of fun in the mountains. It started off clear, cold and crisp, -10 and now its overcast and in the 30’s. This welcomed warm up is producing some of the finest ice to climb – wet and sticky. This ice ready, the climbers are also ready.
Our team of 5 is geared up with sharp ice tools and crampons. The varied climbing has felt a bit easier – as the placements are sinking into the surface with a welcomed sound of – thunk.
Mt Lafayette, Kinsman Ice, today the Frankenstien and tomorrow Mt Willard – Steve, Adel and Chris are crushing it for sure. One more full day of fun times will end this fabulous week in the mountains of NH.
Mammut Gear – the finest kind.
Lafayette Ridge on a cold crisp day. Click on this image.
Mercury Mitts – total warmth.
On top of the world – in a white out.
Kinsman Notch Icing.
Repman on the steeps.
Team of four – Chris,Steve, Adel, Erik.
Great day on Standard Route in Crawford Notch.
Derek and Steve.
Chris and Adel.
Thanks guys its been a blast again.
The time is here – New Hampshire & Vermont Ice climbs and Mountains are ready for your guided winter ascent. Here at Mooney Mountain Guides we do our part by holding an annual pre -winter guides training day . The theme varies from year to year but one thing is common – frequent meet ups and training with the MMG guides put us all on a similar page when we are working alone or together in the mountains.
New complete anchor
One theme this year was to Yank the Mank on Kinsman Notch Ice Climbs. The guides climbed all of the popular routes at the main area and cut out all the old webbing and replaced with bomber new redundant rope anchors – complete with double links to use when descending the routes.
As always another theme for the guides was to ice climb. This is what we love to do climb and ascend ice routes of all types is what we did.
Todd getting into action!!!
Mike working up the center route – tricky crux at the top.
Jim – MMG’s Mountain Master.
Erik – thank you – for prepping all the anchor material.
No down time today – a technical clinic.
Refresh, Renew, Reboot the mind.
Simple Anchors – the connection to ice and the belay.
Erik and Matt
Efficiency when working the Window Munter and One Handed Clove
Mooney Mountain Guides Team.
Thanks to all for joining in.