Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pole Dance

Click to enlarge.

Pole Dance, NEI 5-ish, gains the attractive pillar
hanging over the roof in the upper right of the photo.
Kevin Mahoney lead the business on the first ascent
on December 17th.

After an exciting afternoon on the ground dodging missiles in the south facing sun, Poledance went down. This new route at Frankenstein is right of the Bragg-Pheasant in a spot I had never seen any real ice before. The oblique afternoon sun cooled things off and we went for it. We all had a chance to lead the easy first pitch, but it was Kevin Mahoney's turn when we finally had a chance to do the pitch that mattered.

What looked like M7 from the ground revealed itself to be NEI 5 or 5+ up and out a corner/roof and onto a hanging pillar, or pole - the route's namesake. Classy swings into an iced up crack, a good stance right where it mattered and a beautiful upper tube of bubbling, blobby steeper-than-it-looked ice climbing made this thing really fun to climb. I would say, "go and do it", but two days of sun and temps hovering around the freezing mark must have taken a toll.

Fun to break a streak of early season, getting-it-back-together shenanigans on a great new route with two great friends. Here are some shots of Matt McCormick following the business, and one of me up on the route's upper "pole".

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White Mountain Conditions

All that rain did some good things up in the notches here in NH. The rare formers are super fat, while the more reliable routes at Frankenstein are suffering from too much water, and are undermined by the massive flow. This week's forecast of moderate temps hovering around the freezing mark will be great for shady routes, especially higher up where there is still some snow on the ground. I wouldn't expect too much of anything in the sun.

Here are some shots.

Frankenstein's south face.

Standard to Dracula, Frankenstein.

Close up of, from the left and in the sun, Dropline, Last Exit, Welcome to the Machine.


Elephant Head Gully

South Face of Mt. Willard

Diagonal and Mordor, Cathedral Ledge

Monday, December 6, 2010

What's Happening

I couldn't get a good read on what was going on with the ice up in the Notches so Elliot Gaddy and I decided to go check it out, and burn off the previous night's birthday party haze while we were at it. I hadn't expected much, but was surprised to see even less; there was almost no substantial ice at Frankenstein. There was snow on the ground, but nothing just south of the Frankenstein turn off. Should have gotten plenty today, though.

Instead we took a run up Shoestring Gully on Mt Webster and had fun swinging the tools into the sticky, fresh stuff. The right had finish, up a three foot wide runnel, was in great shape.

It seems to me that by next weekend there will be plenty to climb in the White Mountains, and judging by some shots of Lake Willoughby I saw today on NEIce it looks like it'll be good to go in no time.