Mooney Mountain Guides
Each week is so different in the guiding I do. I move around NH and Vermont climbing on the ice climbs, different peaks and all over the rock faces. It is a very challenging and exciting line of work that I love. This past weekend after a week on the ice I met up with a great group of new climbers and headed to the peaks to learn and practice skills for a couple of winter ascents. Our prep led us to climb NH’s big one – Mt Washington.
Ten of us summited the mountain in whiteout conditions. Being on top with this group was a fantastic experience for sure. We were able to climb efficiently and safely up and down – and all came home with great memories of a weekend adventure that will last a while.
Enjoy the trip photos of our Mt Washington climb.
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.
This past weekend Rodger and Steve, college roommates, came to New Hampshire to try their hand at ice climbing. Although one now lives in Colorado and the other in Virginia, the two make an effort to go on trips together a couple times a year.
Steve working a slab at Kinsman
Their adventure began at Kinsman Notch, a primer climbing area that typically has beautiful blue ice, even when other areas don’t. The guys climbed slabs, steep ice, thin ice and fat ice. Running the gambit of conditions, learning to read the ice like a book helping them climb more efficiently.
Many climbs to be had at Rumney
Day two it was time for Rumney, and its south facing cliffs perfect for a cold day. At this time of year, Rumney offers a variety of excellent climbs from the moderate, to the difficult. Rodger and Steve took multiple laps each on the steep ice employing the skills they learned the day before. After a full day of climbing, everyone went home happy to have had such a great weekend on the ice.
Rodger putting an ! on the weekend.
Thank you Steve & Rodger for a great weekend.
Last week I was lucky enough to get out with a large portion of the Egger family, Rod and 3 of his sons, Sean Keith and Evan. The boys came with no ice climbing experience, varying levels of experience rock climbing, but a generally adventurous background. They were well prepared for the challenges both of weather, and of pushing ones self physically and mentally. It was great to see all four of them attack this new expereince with lots of determination and a fair amount of natural ability. Within a couple of laps they were on the steeps and running up lower angle ice without tools, building confidence in their footwork. By the end of the day many of them were running laps on the steepest ice Kinsman had to offer. Lucky for me, impending darkness called an end to our day. I don’t think I would’ve been able to tire them out to the point of quitting otherwise!
A family affair, and a not so rare, Art Mooney sighting at Kinsman Notch
Never enough steeps for the Egger Family
Some of them even decided to run laps on this steep pillar to finish the day!
Thanks for the visit guys! I hope to see you again soon, hear of your adventures and share another!
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.
Moderate Temps on Sunday Morning- Game on!
Last Sunday Matthew and I caught a break from the recent frigid temps and spent the day climbing some Smuggler’s Notch classics. On holiday from Australia, Matthew had plans to sample some Vermont ice, and the weather couldn’t have been better. We decided to head to the South Wall, which tends to serve up a great selection of consistently well-formed single and multi-pitch ice routes. Today was no exception, and we found plenty of ice.
The agenda for the day was to expand on some technical skills, explore some interesting terrain and get in as many ice pitches possible. Matthew has a solid climbing background, and was hungry both to climb and to learn. During the day we were able to cover a bunch of topics including ice evaluation and basic screw placements, belaying techniques and efficient movement skills.
We began on the steep and wet Blue Room, a great challenge with varying ice conditions. Great place to hone movement skills.
Matthew midway on Blue Room
After descending a dripping Blue Room, we continued along the South Wall to climb a two pitch moderate flow. The view from the top was brilliant, and we were able to practice some V-threads on the way down.
One thing I’ve learned living in New England is that a splitter day during the winter months is a gift!
! Thank you Matthew for a great and enjoyable outing. It’s always awesome spending a day climbing in the Notch, especially with good company and good weather.
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.