NH Ice Climbing
Mooney Mountain Guides and Mammut teamed up for the very successful Mammut Alpine School ice climbing trip. This was MMG’s and MAS’s first trip with more to come. Each of our guests joined in for this weekend of instruction, followed by experience and mileage on the ice climbs. By the end of the weekend we all had climbed over 1000 ft of ice at Frankenstein Cliff and on Mt Willard in Crawford Notch NH. The Highland Center Lodge was fabulous, the food was delicious, our rooms were quiet, our meeting space was spacious and private and the staff was super friendly.
Join us for our next MAS trip on Mt Washington Weekend climb over St Patty’s Day weekend March 17 – 19, 2017.
Our MAS team of Art, Laurie, Jodi, Andrew, Sarah and in front MMG guide Mike. Smiles of enjoyment from the rewards of our first ice climbing day. each of us reached new heights on this warm and sunny day at Frankenstein Cliffs
Jodi and Laurie working together for Jodi’s first ascent the Trestle Slab ice climb. This was Jodi’s first experience on the ice and Laurie came with miles of mountain and ice climbing experience. This mix created a perfect situation for both ladies to empower and climb to the top.
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Jodi climbing the steeper ice on the Standard Route at Frankenstein. Jodi learned the basic moves then she was able to turn on her focus and determination to ascend each ice climb with power and grace.
The AMC Highland Center – our meeting and lodging location.
The Highland Center nestled in Crawford Notch is a perfect location for easy access to a variety of ice climbs.
Laurie setting up anchors and the belay as she guides Jodi on the ice. MMG guide Mike is nearby coaching and giving advise as needed.
Beautiful ice on the East Slabs right on Mt Willard. We all climbed to the top then rappelled back down for another route nearby.
Andrew gaining comfort in this new vertical ice environment. Andrew learned how to place solid ice tools, how to place the feet by finding the small ledges to kick good steps into and also the importance of flexibility and balance.
Sarah having a blast, high on the ice above the roadway on the East Slabs area of Mt Willard.
Jodi and Laurie climbing side by side on the East Slabs right. Mike set up a parallel rope system so the ladies could climb together. This technique is faster, guests stay warmer, and its tons of fun for all.
Standard Route in the afternoon, one more ice pitch to complete our first day. Sarah and Andrew coming into the cave area belay station on Standard Route.
A very successful Mammut Alpine School weekend on the ice. The conditions were fantastic, the crew was awesome, all in all a very fun weekend full of excitement and challenge.
Thank you all!!!
Mooney Mountain Guides has a new ice climbing course which I termed the Mileage Plus+. This is a specialized course for ice and rock climbers seeking to fast track their movement and technical skills. Under the mentorship of Art, Laurie has developed a plan with a mutual commitment of time and energy. The Mileage Plus+ days are full of education followed by mileage which equates to experience. This winter Laurie and I have immersed ourselves together into the finer aspects of the ice world. Our instructional topics include movement skills, ice protection, ice anchoring, belay techniques, v threads and once again Mileage Plus+. Over regular intervals Laurie is quickly advancing, with a solid understanding of the many intricacies of the ice.
Kinsman Notch, a fabulous area for moving into ice leading. Laurie has set off on Lepricuans Lament NEI2. This route is perfect for Laurie to sharpen her mental focus to lead, to place ice screws at regular intervals,and then set up the anchor at the top.
The ice climber can never take a casual approach, stay connected to the tools, to the gear, to the ice. Laurie has three solid points of contact to free up her right hand to place ice screw protection on the pitch.
As Laurie approaches the top she is deciding where to place her top out ice screw. It is the rounded out bulges with thin ice above that may look easy but climb quite hard, thus need the extra attention and protection.
Laurie is climbing on Shamrock NEI3. Pictured is the lower crux which a very steep corner leading to a rest. Laurie is keeping her cool knowing that once on the above ice ledge she can rest and re energize for the remainder of the climb.
Laurie brought along these tasty home made energy bars of dates, walnuts, and cacao.
The Beast at Kinsman – here Laurie is testing her movement skills on a steep NEI4+
Multi pitch transitions is where the technical action takes place. Being able to swap leads with efficiency is key to keeping the flow, staying warm, reducing the time and risk on the climb.
A backed up V thread – a recommended technique before committing the entire team to this tunnel into the ice.
Last week was a huge break through for Laurie and I. We logged in many hours on the ice together, Laurie took on the task on leading the routes and we worked on fine tuning skills along the way. This all happened in the White Mountains of NH, one of the finest ice climbing venues in the world.
Thank you Laurie for this amazing experience.
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
Jackson and I have climbed together since the summer of 2010. It all started on the warm sunny rocks of Rumney, then led to bigger routes at Whitehorse. As the years went by Jackson decided he could not wait until the summer anymore. He was determined to get out in winter which meant he was in for a try on a mountain/ice climb in NH.
The NH mountains and ice climbs are no easy task. The winter environment is harsh and the terrain is usually very rough, this all adds up to pretty tough conditions for anyone. Jackson is 10 years of age and for most kids this would not be a fun time. Jackson keeps focused as he climbs up the mountain while maintaining a steady pace. On the ice he climbs like a champ, he overcomes each difficult section one at a time and always going for the top.
Yesterday was a huge achievement for Jackson, Mike and I as we ascended the Cleft on a very cold winter day. Jackson never voiced one complaint, he just kept moving up the mountain one kick, one stick at a time.
For me it is totally awesome to have this opportunity to work with Jackson – a young climber/skier with a huge Quest for Adventure!!!
Three is good company – a fine day in the mountains.
On approach to the Cleft on Mt Willard.
Jackson equipped and ready for ice climbing in the mountains
The Cleft – a deep chasm choked with ice – amazing!!!
Jackson and Mike climbing together up the narrow Cleft.
The Final top out onto level ground – time for a recharge with hot drinks and food.
On our way in to the Cleft we passed a beautiful climb – the Rocket in Crawford Notch.
Thanks to Jackson and Mike for closing out 2014 with this exciting day in the mountains.
Margie and Dylan were up for an unusual adventure. They both enjoy trying new sports and do like to push their limits. Margie is an avid runner and Dylan is in season playing hockey. Both were very fit and up for the task of a steep mountain approach to start the day. Once we accessed the ice climbs the ball was rolling and we climbed and climbed!!!
Usually a family outing is learning the moves on the slab route and climbing it a few times, then maybe the gully on the left for a finnish of the day. Dylan was not ready he kept asking for something steeper and harder. Our finale was the center route where both Dylan and Margie climb a line right up the steeper headwall.
It was an awesome day with two very energetic climbers.
Margie learning the ropes right away while Dylan climbs above.
Ready for the ice – Petzl Quarks in hand.
Time to replenish – the engines are running low.
Dylan on the ice, ready to climb inside the cave, and icicles to take away.
Thank you Margie and Dylan
Had a great day climbing with my brother Mike and Nephew Emmett at Kinsman Notch. Emmett recently saw some of my ice photos on Facebook and he really wanted to give ice climbing a try. I think he’s hooked on the sport and will be back again. We had an excellent day climbing, exploring, and sliding in the snow. It was a fantastic winter adventure for all.
Emmett – armed and dangerous!
Emmett learning the craft.
Time to climb
Emmett reaching the top on the Shamrock route.
Mike back on the ice – its been awhile but he got right into the swing of things.
Mike again on the steep pillar of ice – nice job on this one.
Kinsman ice caves – very cool place.
The Mooney’s – Mike, Emmett, Art
Happy ending the glissade.
Smiles all around – thanks to Mike and Emmett for making the long journey to NH.
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.
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.
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.