Mt Washington NH
Finally springtime has made the appearance in the lower elevation areas of the White Mountains and most climbers are ready to put on the rock shoes in search of a warm dry climb. Mt Washington on the other hand is Easing the Grip ever so slightly. The snow pack is melting out at the parking lots (2000 ft) and the temperatures on the mountain have moderated but even so once you venture onto the mountain its a snowy white world all the way to the summit and its May 1.
Kelly has a Rainier climbed planned for this July. She has been working hard at fine tuning her skills in the mountains. This trip was planned for additional work improving overall fitness on long tough climbs, to refine footwork on snow and to gain comfort on the steep descents.
Conditions for Kelly’s goals were perfect on the mountain.
We planned for overcast the entire day – but the skies opened just enough for great views of mountains and the valleys below.
The summit cone was entered encased in snow.
Quite casual on the summit with a slight breeze and 25 degrees.
Kelly’s 2nd time on top of Mt Washington – Congrats to her for a great climb.
The descent was steep and slick. Kelly worked on the plunge steep and other moves to gain comfort while facing the downhill line. The following day Kelly and I climbed Cannon in under three hours and our descent was less than and hour. Kelly improved in all areas on this two day trip – she was able to Ease her Grip in the mountains.
Alex and Erik just had what may have been the course of their winter. Ski guiding is a relatively small segment of our business, and that of the NH guiding business in general, so when we get a day of this work, let alone a long weekend of it we’re excited. We’re currently trying to expand our ski programming to get more folks introduced to the world of back country skiing. The skiing and techniques required is not overly burdensome, but getting instruction for your first day out will greatly quicken the learning curve. As you get into the world of Ski Mountaineering their is a a slew of technical skills that need to be refined in order to participate safely.
This group of three was curious about getting into the world of back country and ski mountaineering, so we designed a three day curriculum to introduce them to the techniques and skills required. On day one we went over gear and clothing requirements for being in the backcountry. We practiced transitions ( moving up hill to downhill, which requires a number of equipment changes) and beacon searches in case of an avalanche burial. On day two we practiced moving as a rope team, dug a snow pit and experimented with a number of stability tests, and what these testes tell us about the relative avalanche safety. On day three we combined many of the formerly learned skills to ski Hillmans Highway in Tuckermans Ravine! The weather kept us from covering all that we wanted, but that in its self is a great learning experience, and gave us ample opportunity to address not only surviving but thriving in those conditions.
If you’re getting tired of shredding groomers and riding lifts, or want to take your skiing to the next level, get in touch with us to book a custom back country ski day. NH is blessed with a wide range of terrain from historical backcountry ski trails at lower elevations, to big mountain lines in alpine terrain. The prime season for the bigger objectives is fast approaching!
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Twice a year Mooney Mountain guides offer’s and exceptional trip, ascending Mt Washington with an overnight in the observatory. This trip is great for those who want to summit Washington and aren’t sure if they can do it in a day, or those who have already done it and are looking for something new.
We get a late start from Pinkahm Notch after going over clothing and equipment needs. This puts on on the summit mid afternoon. After the obligatory pictures and high fives we head inside to prepared coffee and snacks! After settling in and getting comfortable the head of the Observatory staff gives us a brief tour and intro to the building and the scientific work going on in the Observatory. We then have dinner with the whole crew, chatting up the volunteers and scientists and getting great stories. After dinner they were nice enough to open up the museum for us to learn more about the science and history behind Mt Washington. The next day we wake up at a reasonable hour, have a grand breakfast and mosey on down the mountain.
Doing the trip this way certainly lessens the technical demands of a usual day hiking up and down Washington. Despite that, its still an awesome accomplishment and an exceptional experience. We book these days far in advance each winter and spots frequently go fast. if you’re interested in joining us next year for one of our two over night Observatory trips ( 1 in Feb, 1 in March) get in touch early!
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The Mooney Mountain Guides were out in force this past weekend. below you’ll find a couple of snippets of what went on.
Lynn and Mike visited us from South Carolina for their third attempt on Mt Washington. In the past, bad weather has thwarted their attempts. This past Friday looked like the best weather window of the long weekend, so we made hasty plans and changed our schedule around to get them the best shot of success.
Sure enough the forecasts delivered. Fog and steady snow hampered visibility, but coupled with 15mph winds at worst, created an eerily calm atmosphere while on the belly of the beast.
Mike and Lynn finally got their white whale.
After a day to rest up on Saturday they rejoined us for a sunny morning of ice climbing on Newfound Lake
On Saturday, good friends Connor and Yaffe joined us for a bitterly cold and bitterly awesome day of ice climbing in Crawford Notch. Connor has climbed ice before, but not in a while, and Yaffe was a first timer.
We chose the Trestle slabs as our starting location. This is an ideal classroom for ice climbing, with a 100′ slab of low angle ice, and a wall of low ice bulges to practice swinging and kicking on, with a particularly fluffy crash pad at the moment.
Connor on the North Face of Everst. Ok, fine. It’s just a spindrift filled picture of the Trestle slabs, but hardcore nonetheless.
After our warm up there we went to Standard route to finish the day. This meant that Yaffe got in his first ice climbing and his first multi pitch climb in one day. Not bad, Yaffe. Not bad.
While I was on sunny south facing ice Sunday, another group of three was battling brutal winds on Washington. This tough group made the summit on a day when winds reached near 100 mph and the cold was COLD!
Hopefully some pictures to come.
With most of the crew staving off frostbite and hypothermia in what finally feels like winter, two MMG guides traveled to Red Rocks NV where they are staving off sun burn and dehydration!
Derrek and Alex are out there for a week guiding a handful of students from Middlebury College’s outdoor program.
This is the premier destination for winter time rock climbing, and Im sure a welcome reprieve from the cold of a NH winter.
Thanks to all our guests and students who joined us this weekend! We look forward to hopefully seeing you in the mountains again soon.
The Mooney Mountain Guide Crew
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.
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.
Saturday brought on the entire range of winter conditions. I was surely surprised at the 39 degree temp outside our morning meet up at the Highland Center. Somewhat overdressed for the deep trail breaking mission that lay ahead Danny, Cindy and I entered the forest and began our ascent of Mt Washington on the Ammo Trail. The snow was as deep as expected, our only advantage was the MRS snowshoes we were footed with kept us afloat. We climbed steadily with shoes all the way to Lakes of the Clouds.
Once above the trees the winds picked up and the temps started dropping. The forecast was coming true with high winds and wind chill warnings for late in the day. With micro spikes now on our pace quickened on the supportive snowpack. Our moves were like those of a drunken person as we wavered to maintain balance in the high winds.
After a tough push on the summit cone the peak was reached just after the noon hour.
The weather gods gave us a break this time. Our upper mountain descent was uneventful and the temps and winds maintained a moderate level. We enjoyed our travels down the summit cone to Lakes of the Clouds with good views towards Vermont and New York.
Our final descent was a blast – the deep snow the Ammo Trail gave us the green light for the luge run of the year.
Thanks to Danny and Cindy for this fun Mt Rainier training day on Mt Washington.
Nick. Doing what he is supposed to be doing. On a frozen alpine lake in the White Mountains
This week, Nick, a long time guest came back to New Hampshire for his annual Mt. Washington week. Each February for some time now Nick returns to Mt. Washington. Nick has climbed around the world and continues to set lofty climbing goals at home and abroad. Yet the one mountain he keeps coming back to is New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington. There must be something special about this place.
Taking a moment to enjoy the sun.
Nick does not spend the entire week on the mountain. In fact during the week, he only spends one day on the mountain. Instead Nick and I have set smaller goals to help prepare our bodies and minds for the challenges of Mt. Washington and mountains abroad.
Preparing for bigger summits, Nick climbing the steep water ice of New Hampshire.
“Its about the process” Nick often states. Each day out helps me prepare for what lies ahead. “The mountains provide us a unique perspective”. “You are where your supposed to be, doing what your supposed to be doing” are other sayings Nick seems to live by. One thing I am certain of, Nick loves the mountains, he loves the people he goes there with, and the summit is secondary to the process.
The big picture.
It is inspiring to spend time with a climber who’s ego does not interfere with the enjoyment of each moment. To spend time with a climber who elation for simply being where he is matches the elation reaching the summit. Every climber could learn from Nick. What is it that keeps us coming back to the hills anyhow? Is it the summit? Or is it the process of getting there?
Documenting one of the views his process affords him.
Thank you Nick for an amazing week in the hills. Good luck this weekend on Mt. Washington.
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.
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.