Mooney Mountain Guides
Ridge running has always been one of my favorite workout activities. Putting on the trail shoes, carrying a small pack with the essentials, and moving light and fast gives a feeling of a free spirit in the mountains. Lightweight travel and quick moves over boulder strewn trails leave the miles behind as one runs along the trails and ridges in the high peaks.
The Whitney Gilman Ridge is another type of ridge running adventure. The vertical 5th class kind! The game is played in a similar way, lightweight gear, efficient movements, and quick transitions all add up to topping out on the ridge in a short amount of time. The Whitney Gilman Ridge route is positioned along an exposed knife edge of stone, the route wanders back and forth with moments of exceptional exposure over the dark north wall. The route is somewhat committing as descending is not an easy task – there is certainly an excitement factor on this climb. This is Cannon and getting to the top in a timely way is the common goal.
The Whitney Gilman – 600ft of technical 5th class climbing.
Bill – happy to be back on Cannon!!!
Today we had a slight breeze and light cloud cover – this kept conditions quite nice on this hazy, hot, and humid day.
Team Mammut in action – Grib coming over the exposed pipe pitch, great vistas of the Lafayette Ridge from this spacious belay ledge, and Grib on the final corner pitch.
Pitch 5 has a steep corner system – excellent climbing high on Cannon.
The pitch 5 exposed belay station perch.
Great times – back in action on Cannon.
What a fantastic climbing area – right in our backyard of NH.
After a long winter, rock season seems to be developing some momentum here in Vermont. Time to shake off the cobwebs. Last Sunday Heidi and I went to the crag to do some climbing and dial in some technical skills. The venue was Bolton, Vermont, home to some of the best schist climbing in New England. The goal was not only to refresh some older skills, but to also work on some current techniques and learn some new ways to add more safety and efficiency while climbing
We began the day at Lower West Bolton, a popular and easily accessible cliff with plenty of route options for every level. Both Heidi and I were psyched to have most of the crag to ourselves. Here we reviewed multiple belay techniques, focusing on the finer points of belaying with the GriGri. After some climbing and Facebook shots with the Iphone, we got more serious and moved on to cleaning sport anchors and rappelling with the use of the autoblock and extension.
To wrap up the day we hit The Quarry, another Bolton crag with a variety of sport climbing options (and awesome ice in the winter). Some of the routes were damp, but we finessed through the wetness and Heidi got to practice some of her new skills.
Awesome job Heidi, thanks for a great day of at one of my favorite local Vermont climbing areas!
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
While Terry and I are in the west managing the sun and 85 degree temps Steve and Dave are getting it done on Mt Washington. This past weekend was definitely a winter type experience on Mt Washington complete with howling winds and 3 inches of new snow. Steve and Dave ventured into the Gulf of Slides area and skied 5 runs in the south bowl and a few numbered gullys. The skiing was very good and from the smiles on there faces it looks tike a very fun time.
MMG guide Steve enjoying the spring skiing!!!
Views out of the gulf area.
Dave getting ready for some turns!!!
Skinning, climbing and switchbacks all lead to the perfect run.
Thanks to Dave and Steve.
Our good friend Margie and niece Alyssa made time to visit Terry and I in the Red Rock Canyon area. There is so much to do in the Red Rock area so we did not have any idle time on our hands. Right off the planes we ventured out into the canyons to hike, to climb on the soft sandstone and to bask in the desert sun.
Margie arrived first – coming from the long winter in the Seattle area she was ready for the warm weather activities. Terry and Margie had a lot to catch up on as its been two years since our last get together. Boy how time flys.
Alyssa came in next and turned us on to Yoga on the Rocks. As an advanced yogi shen was able to demonstrate advanced inversion poses both on a rope and on the smooth slabs on rock at the base of the climbs. We in turn gave her some guidance on the stone. Alyssa picked up the transitions from ground yoga poses to the rock movements on a vertical wall with ease.
The coolness of the morning air drew us out to the desert for hikes. The early morning light, long shadows, brought a beautiful beginning to each day .
Margie, Terry and I at the Bellagio Resort viewing the fabulous display of spring flowers.
Margie getting reaquainted with the sandstone climbs – Red Rocks.
Alyssa starting off with ease on a 5.9 route at Conundrum Crag.
Alyssa – Shredding all Fear!!!
These poses requires focus, balance, power, and grace.
Early morning wake up hike.
Terry – Art
Great times with good friends and family.
Thanks Margie and Alyssa for putting some extra spring into our trip.
Art & Terry
For many of the visitors to Red Rocks the desert can be viewed afar as a bleak, dusty, barren area. It takes more than a drive through to fully appreciate what is out there just a short distance from the paved roads. On all our rock climbing trips there comes a time when we need a break from pulling down on the stone. These are the times we explore new areas and see what other activities are around. Today we took a hike in an area called Fossil Ridge that I have drove by many times – it was a short three mile circuit. Viewed from the road I never saw the beauty that lay up on this hillside – after all it was over by the gypsum mining area which we always avoided. The hike was amazing and we were treated with a beautiful display of desert flora.
Enjoy these amazing photos of the desert in spring bloom!!!
This is the road side view most visitors see of the desert.
As you leave the road the scene changes. Here the Mojave Yucca stands behind the blooming Globe Mallows.
Desert orchids in bloom.
Fish hook Cactus
Fossils from the past.
Barrel growing out of the rock.
This spring rock climbing trip was Derek’s and my third one running for the Peppercom Team and friends in Red Rocks of Las Vegas. Steve, Chris, Adel, Mark and Deivis were quite overdue for this warm weather vacation/break. The long lasting northeastern winter had certainly taken its affect on many of us and by now it was time to escape and have some fun climbing and adventuring in the desert.
The goals were set on day one by the team. It was decided that we have full days with lots of challenging rock climbing. Steep and technical sport routes, a few traditional lines with a mid week type break ascending Mt Wilson would keep us occupied for the five days. Right away the Wake Up wall kicked us into gear with a variety of climbing on slabs, cracks and overhangs. The Sunny and Steep Wall was next with a few burns on the steep climbs there and then a session on a little known route called the sport chimney which took on a sleeper type role for a 5.8 climb. These two days put smiles on everyones face and turned our eyes towards Mt Wilson.
How hard could it be to climb that peak – Mt Wilson? The day was full of bush wacking, route finding, 3rd and 4th class terrain with a spring storm adding some additional excitement. We titled the climb and day the 2014 Suffer fest as the First Creek Wash and overall Mt Wilson climb was no easy undertaking.
A few more days of cragging on the cracks and steeps routes at Cannibal Crag, the Black Corridor, and Physcial Graffiti rounded out the week nicely.
It was another fantastic spring break for us all. The desert is in bloom, the sun was high and warm, and there were lots of climbers around to meet and hang out with.
Enjoy the photos of our 2014 spring trip. If you are interested in a fun time on the sandstone rocks just outside Las Vegas get in touch. We are planning our October fall climbing days and weeks at this tim
Arrival at the wake Up wall.
Chris relaxing at the Sunny And Steep crag
“It was an awesome trip – probably the best yet! And Mount Wilson, aka ‘suffer fest 2014,’ was some legit type 2 fun.”
Deivis pulling down at Sunny and Steep
“Ditto. I can’t wait for the next adventure. These trips just get better every year.”
Chris on a 5.10c – how hard can this be!!!
Steve aka Repman and Chris on Mt Wilson
Margie and terry escaping the spring snow shower on Mt Wilson.
Long arduous climb above the wash.
Just sitting here at my desk, looking out my office window at the lingering snowbanks, and thinking about the warm(er) desert! I really appreciate the continuing opportunities to climb with you all, so thank you once again. I look forward to the next round of team Cody time soon. Until then…
Cheers, Derek – MMG Guide
Adel – Mammut logos on his gear.
Mark silhouetted on Caliban at Cannibal Crag.
“Great times as always everyone. I had a blast. Art and Derek you guys are awesome. I can’t wait till the next adventure! Next time were gonna beat Mt. Wilson’s ass haha.”
Adel raising the bar on a tough 5.10 at Cannibal Crag.
Red Rock Canyons.
Morning warm up on – Turtle Mountain.
Thanks guys it was a great week with you all.
I’m looking ahead to climbing with you this spring and summer in the northeast – at the Gunks, Rumney, North Conway and Acadia.