Monday, December 12, 2011

New Cathedralstyle and Cathedral Mountain Guides Website

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Shell Pond

 Mark Richey on the Hardscrabble Road, 5.12c.

Pat Bagley sending the Sarlac, 5.12b.

 Jed Piat, mid-huck, while onsighting Hardscrable.

Yeah boy..

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ass Kickin' on the Saguenay, part II

I ran out in the dark, rain pounding, wind blowing and stumbled into a shaken Sarah. She yelled through the storm that the tree that almost took out Sam had hit their tent too. She said everyone was OK, but they were headed  over to bivy with us, their tent ruined. Jim was shortly behind her, cool and collected. I mushed my way though the mud and puddles over to Sam's bivy. He was already inside reading and calmly asked me through the tent wall if I thought he was safe. I just reminded him of the obvious and mentioned we were all going to spend some time huddled below the boulder. He joined us shortly.

The storm continued the rest of the night as we huddled together, the pinned down tarp occasionally inflating as it was caught by a gust. Some of us lost interest in the cramped, rocky but protected shelter of the boulder and exchanged it for the flat elbow room of the unprotected tent; some buried deeper beneath the dripping granite roof. I chose both options at different points in the night, finally settling on a boulder bivy after our tent was hit by a second small rock. One of us had a soft cooler for a foam pad, another slept on a towel, inside a trash bag with a t-shirt pillow, another, maintained a claustrophobic dirt-to-rock hip-scum and constantly checked to make sure everyone else was protected, and one just sandwiched herself patiently and cooperatively in the middle. Unsure of what to do next, I drank beer and tried to keep smiling, and finally relaxed when we double checked the guidebook which described a climber's trail back the cars - only a two hour walk away. With a plan for tomorrow hatched, all we had to do was wait - and not get hit by another tree.

 The Sarah-Anne Wrap Bivi. Sarah is in there somewhere...

 At the first usable light we were up, checking on the canoes and assessing the damage. The brunt of the storm had hit at high tide and one of our canoes had been tossed around, the bowstring could be plucked like one string mega-bass, but it was undamaged. The other was fine, but the water was still far too rough to paddle. We needed to get back our static line, so, in a torrent of water cascading off the cliff, Sam jugged the fixed line to retrieve it. Exhausted after five days of climbing and a sleepless night, he pushed the ascender up with the palm of his hand; slowly, five times with his left, then five times with his right, trailing another soaked rope. The rest of us packed up while Jim bundled our gear in a two tarp taco that he said would last a week, but looked to me like 6 months of dry storage. We started hiking in the rain, packs light with little bivy kits.

The hike out was one of the most memorable parts of the trip for me; we scoped an amazing amount of potential for steep crack climbing (the drip line for a three pitch section of cliff was 40 yards out from the cliff base), and witnessed some incredible wind at the Notre-Dame du Saguenay statue at the tip of the cape that Cap Trinite forms. The storm had passed, but the wind at this exposed point was still so strong that I realized we had actually been sheltered from the full force of Irene by the steep granite of the Cap and our semi-subterranean bivy.

Arriving at a locked up and darkened waterside visitor's center, and a parking lot empty but for our two vehicles was a surreal experience. The national park was empty. We discussed the fact that they might have shut the park down due to the storm, but a persistent feeling of it-couldn't-have-been-that-bad convinced me the competing theory of "zombie apocalypse" was more plausible. After a quiet hour alone, just the five of us, we arrived at the park entrance and the backside of a closed gate. The first vehicles we had seen were parked on other side in front of the park headquarters. We went inside and found an English speaking park employee, obviously having a very busy day, who took the time to patiently explain to five American climbers who had the poor judgement to weather a hurricane in a boat accessed campsite below a huge tree lined cliff that the park was shut down, and had been evacuated. Looking for us was on their to-do list. She explained that the main road was washed out, gave us advice on where to find inexpensive lodging for the night and told us to check in with her in the morning. It wasn't even 11 AM.

 After a more traditional, just-the-two-of-us, 1st anniversary dinner at a fine restaurant in Chicoutimi, with a wonderful waitress, and a good night's sleep in a clean and modern hotel room, we headed back to the park. We had since learned how bad the storm had been, seen Facebook photos from home of friends' damaged houses - Sarah and Jim's place was just inches above the high water line - and had plotted our route back to NH to avoid the many closed roads and washed out bridges. We lined up a zodiac ride out to the Cap to clean out our kit, and Jonathan, our English speaker driver, gave us a high speed tour of the Saguenay we could have never gotten in our little canoes, including an up close look at some seals.

 Seals taking a break the day after Hurricane Irene.

In the zodiac on our way back to the quay the wind was finally abating and we were provided with some comic relief when one of the towed canoes all but capsized and the three trash bags on board floated away. All was recovered with the exception of a shirt and some sun glasses, far less than many people lost to Hurricane Irene. We were fortunate, I later saw the crushed metal water bottle that had been between Sarah and Jim's heads when their tent was hit and shredded, but all we really had to endure was the shell shock of a near-miss and one uncomfortable night. Many others homes' were lost entirely or severely damaged, including an entire community here in North Conway and many more in devastated parts of Vermont and New York.

Despite the tribulations and the flaky rock,  I did love the place. The effect of the water, the paddle approach, the careful and crumbly gear placements, the steep compelling crack lines and the amazingly friendly locals all combine to make a long weekend here feel like a far flung, and far more expensive, expedition.

Cap Trinite got under my skin and I can't wait to go back - and with any luck, actually climb something next time.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ass Kickin on the Saguenay, part I

Cap Trinite on Bay Eternite in the Saguenay Fjord, Quebec.

From our tent I heard two loud crashes of thunder and found myself trying to grab Anne's hand as she scrambled out of the tent to get below the boulder. She tore away, her better instincts telling her the thunder I had heard was actually something - big - falling off the cliff. Once out of the tent, it was obvious we were really in some weather. The tropical storm that had been forming as we headed north almost a week before had apparently turned into something. The tarp was flying high like a single wing, then crashing down, rain was blowing everywhere and we soon discovered that the "thunder" I had heard had almost crushed three of my best friends.


My wife Anne and I rolled north, across the border, with Sam Bendroth packed into the jump seat in the back of my pick-up. It was freshly retrofitted with a cap that didn't fit, a 2x4 canoe rack and a silicon slathered and re-riveted plex-iglas back window.  Sarah Garlick and Jim Surette were a couple of days behind us, canoe lashed to the roof of their Matrix. The weather was beautiful. It was the end of my summer guiding season and Anne had taken a break from her busy schedule so we could celebrate out 1st anniversary together - just us, and three of our friends.

After a relatively easy drive, a few minor language issues and a good sleep we got our first load in the canoe at the Bay Eterinite boat launch - about three hours north of Quebec city and in a peaceful bay carved into the mountains which line the Saguenay Fjord - around noon. We were rolling heavy, it was our anniversary after all, and after a couple of trips all the kit was in place at a our bivi site below the stunning 800'+ Grand Galets on Cap Trinite.


The first couple of days were slow. We had all been working a lot and this adventure, was as for me, as much vacation as climbing trip.

After a warm-up pitch that first afternoon, a rain day allowed us to paddle back and get provisioned for a week; fresh ice for the cooler, more beer, that kind of thing. The forecast for the next few days was good, a chance of rain a few days out, so we figured we would just get hunkered in and climb. As we paddled our loaded canoe back to the Cap though, the Fjord gave us our first little taste of it's constantly changing conditions. It started with the occasional gust we would watch travel across the otherwise glassy bay, one gust plucking up the flat water for spray. Further out, from the back of the canoe, I could just make out what looked like a wall of white caps out in the main channel. As we approached the bigger water below the cliff we could see clearly it was a wall of waves headed our way. We made a dash for it, but pretty soon we were being blown backwards; the gunnels of our provision laden canoe just inches above the water line. 

Still barely out ahead of the changing conditions we managed to get our boat unloaded and up onto a rocky beach just before the real wind - and waves - hit. From the shore we watched a defined line of rough water overtake the calm surface we had paddled out in.

The coastline here is lined with ledge and boulders, the steep spruce and fir forest comes right down to the high tide line in an amazingly abrupt and continuous line. I scrambled down the little cliffs lining the coast, out of site of Anne, ecstatically relishing the isolation, the grey water's calming surface - and the taste of Molsen's Export. After a 1/2 hour conditions had mellowed, and we got it all loaded back up and Anne and I paddled back to camp, singing, in a soaking rain.


Sarah and Jim arrived in the sunny afternoon of our third day, with a beautiful breeze blowing, while Sam and I were in the shade enjoying our second pitch of the trip; the first lead of Maree Houte. It is a beautiful piece of rugged architecture: a 100m section of overhanging rock that comes right down to just above the high tide line - where this section of cliff meets an accessible ledge which is only partly submerged at the highest tides. If there was ever a place to dry out after a rain day, this was it. Maree's gorgeous and steep 5.12a first pitch is variety pack of good climbing and good rock; it has a hard bolt protected boulder problem, a great finger crack in a corner and a splitter little off-width.

The lowest sections of steep rock seem to be weathered by the tide and waves, but after about a pitch the protected (overhanging) sections of granite are covered in a persistent flaky chunder; and the 5 pitch 5.12b, Maree Haute, was no exception. Luckily, my climbing partner Sam Bendroth and I are no strangers to choss farming after spending much of the past decade developing the cliffs of the bastard Notch of the White Mountains. While Sarah and Jim got right to work on a long and dirty 5.11+ called La Vire du cure Dallaire, Sam layed into the second pitch of Maree, pulling through here and there, sending down small flakes and generally getting it done on a scary lead. We fixed a rope to facilitate cleaning and photography, and retreated for a team briefing.

Sam Bendroth mid-briefing.


Jugging up to clean some chunder.

After a morning spent cleaning the second pitch we were finally ready to try a little free climbing. Sam headed up the 1st 12a pitch of Maree, and crushed it. I followed and headed out on the second lead, making fairly quick work of the less steep stemming and liebacking of the gently overhanging lower half - gear still in from the previous day's effort and the morning's cleaning. Then it got hard. It's steepening stemming ends in with a powerful and crumbly move followed by a crumbly traverse out to the lip of a roof; all protected by small gear in the flaky cracks. It is a head-game that made for a careful attempt with many takes. The final jug haul up to the belay is a classic and exposed bit of glory climbing. The gear is hidden below the roof, the jugs are all on the same hollow sounding, but solid, flake and it is right out over the high tide line 50m below. Sam followed the lead, arriving at the belay in full freak out mode after tearing through the crux first go, only one hang before the business, excitedly spurting between breaths about how hard it was. Funny, from the belay he made it seem easy. What a crusher.

Can you take a picture while climbing? Only if you're hanging on the rope..
The gorgeous 2nd pitch of Maree Haute.

He made his way up the next pitch, more chunder raining down on the belay, finger jamming, off-widthing and taking up the steep wet crack. A burly little roof move and we were up to what would turn out to be our highpoint; a little hole of a stance half way up the route.  I kept telling Sam the rock would get better as we got higher - being more exposed to rain and weather - but after three pitches, apparently, we still weren't high enough. Above was an off-width lined with more of those loose flakes, but at least it was overhanging.

We headed down from there, after all it was the day before my anniversary and Anne is a lot more attractive that Sammy.


The 1st and 2nd pitches of The Beluga Belly.

On our anniversary, Sarah, Jim and Sam started up the straight-out-of-the-water, 3 pitch and wide Beluga Belly (5.11+), at low tide, while Anne and I took a quiet rest day together. By the time they finished and rapped the route the access ledge was partially underwater - no problem; through careful planning they had packed a 6 pack "bivy kit" giving Anne and I some more high tide enforced quality time together. While they sat marooned, the clouds that had been building all day finally started a steady rain and the increasing wind began to pick up white capped chop on the bay.

Just an hour or two after they polished off their kit, Sarah, Jim and Sam were able to make it back across the traverse ledge in good Bandaloop style, rigging a high anchor and using two different ropes to get across the incredibly slippery, rain soaked black rock.

That night we all had dinner together sheltered below a camo tarp strung between our tent and a boulder (a spot we would later become all too familiar with). After Sarah and Jim went to bed, Anne, Sam and I hopped in our tent for one last beer and a game of the classic southern NH card game, 45's. Now it was pouring. Sammy won and got up to walk back to his tent, the wind had just started to really blow. A few minutes later he was almost crushed by a tree ending it's 850' free fall just a few feet away from him. All we heard was two loud thundering crashes, and Anne was out the tent door to get shelter below the boulder.

Stay tuned for part II...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Cycle Continues

Spring time can rush pass with so many wonderful days out climbing in near perfect conditions that I can forget about the rest of the world. Right through April, and into May, rock climbing is so fresh, everything, from the warm sun on your arms to the grippy dry air, just feels so good. Routes and areas that may feel worn by October, are old friends and familiar benchmarks to check in with as the world opens up and comes alive.

But the world also catches up with me, maybe it's the blackflies, the humidity or just the fact that I've been a total slackass for two months.

Back down on earth looking around, I can see I've got a little catch-up to do, but it was a good run.. I wish I had pictures to share, the camera was in my pack everyday, but as fun as the shots are to have later, simply getting out climbing, and not thinking about anything else, seems to be a necessary part of my yearly mental health schedule. Well I checked that off, time to get back in line.


I've got some exciting programs and trips coming up this summer, including two weeks of climbing with a pair of great teenage climbers from Toronto; we'll be traveling around the area checking out the best we have to offer in New England, hopefully then, a trip to Norway for 10 days of rock climbing out of a boat, sponsored by Outdoor Research and Fjords Norway tourist board (still working out the details on that one, I have my fingers crossed), a few weeks of guiding for the Kismet Rock Foundation, and finally a one year anniversary trip to the Sierras with my wife, Anne, come August.

I have a few weeks in July to still fill in with day guiding in New Hampshire, so if you have any questions you want addressed, if there is something you want to climb, or if you just need a day out of your busy schedule, you can get in touch with me through my guiding website here.


(Anne did take some great shots of our trip to this spring's New River Rendezvous, have a look here. You'll note my conspicuos absence; I was laid up with a terrific cold between the clinics I taught. What a great event.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Ghost

Elliot Gaddy starting up in the sun.
Mahoney Alpine Adventures photo.

There it is, it just happened.. it rained, it got cold and Cannon went off. If you just keep showing up year after year, eventually, you just might run into the conditions of a lifetime. Maybe. I didn't show up. Kevin Mahoney and Elliot Gaddy did though; early on a sunny morning after a ridiculous rain storm.


It literally happened over night. Sunday afternoon was above freezing, but when those guys looked up at the cliff from the parking lot on a cold, clear Monday morning there was ice all the way to the ground; numerous 1000' smears.

Now, there's a little more to it than just showing up, as we all know. These guys were the ones that did though and they looked up again at this ridiculous looking route from the base, packs in the snow, and still decided to give it a go. This can thin out the willing pretty quickly, too. But you gotta try, especially when it might not ever be around again, and you're actually there with a willing partner. It's the same thing pitch by pitch and actually, truthfully, move by move. It can all seem too much when you look at it all at once, but they didn't, and they never a had a good enough reason to turn around.

I have had a
precious few days like this, we all have in our own ways, where pitch by pitch I simply cannot believe what is still happening, is still happening. It is a glorious feeling, flawlessly and safely passing pitches that just shouldn't be there, and didn't seem like they could be climbed. It is the beauty of ice climbing; all the million factors that had to come together to get this fleeting strip of ice where it is and where it probably shouldn't be. I can appreciate how those boys felt up there on the wide open center of the "Big Cliff", banging out pitches that would not be climbable even that afternoon as they rappelled; delaminated and turned to mush by the sun. But they were in a spectacular place I have never been. They were right were New England's best ice climbers have wanted to be for generations, climbing that top to bottom strip of ice up Cannon's Big Wall.

Congratulations guys, you sent the thing that was at the center of all this great climbing that has gone on around here over the years. I keep coming back to the feeling that everything else just seems peripheral.


But there's more, after all that they went back Thursday and sent a line just right of Icarus, also to the top, in windy, snowy condition. Elliot slept for three hours the night before, driving to Franconia Notch after a short trip to central New York, a trip he had begun from the same parking lot three days before. That's what it takes though, the drive to get there (no pun intended) .

It should be noted, however, that all this motivation comes at a price. After climbing Icarus, Elliot, sound asleep in a chair, got his toenails painted by a couple of friends in Madison.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

To the Top!

Kevin Mahoney's blog is up and running again with a post about a memorable couple of days during a winter season I look back fondly on, 2001-2002. There was nothing to climb anywhere but Cannon, I had just gotten dumped, moved to the MWV and my good friend Josh Hurst and I had been climbing up there all season without seeing another person - until we met Kevin and Ben Gilmore one morning, before sunrise, in the parking lot.

I remember those two trying to get up to this out-of-this-world looking smear of ice on the "Big Wall" section of the cliff, and not quite getting there. They blew our minds with the speed they were climbing, the runnouts and their audacity; if they had gotten to it they would have had to try and climb it! My approach was different, I just looked away and wandered off to a turf filled corner with a good Lost Arrow crack in the back.

At some point in the afternoon Josh and I were scratching up Sams Swan Song's crusty first pitch when those two came running, and I mean running, by. Turns out they were calling it quits with the "Big Wall Smear" and headed south to the Omega amphitheater, but they stopped for a few minutes anyway to see what we were up to. Seeing the scrappy mixed pitch we had picked for ourselves they advised us we should go to Alaska - so we did (we figured these guys knew). A year later Josh and I landed on the Kahiltna Glacier, set up camp just like we saw in a Climbing magazine "Tech Tip", and I layed down for my first night, ever, of snow camping. I didn't manage to climb much during my first four weeks of snow camping, but eventually got up Mt. Hunter's West Ridge with a just graduated Freddie Wilkinson and our great friend, and total ringer, Dana "Maddog" Drummond.

Back in the predawn Cannon parking lot, the next day, Kevin and Ben told us how they had tried this awesome new route over by Omega, but had run out of time - it must have been 1 pm when they started climbing - and they were on their way back up to try it again. They did the FA of the still unrepeated Prozac that day. I have no recollection of what Josh and I climbed, I just remember him saying at some point when Kevin and Ben were out of earshot, "Those boys can dance...".

Still can to - check out this video Freddie W put together. That time lapse is Kevin Mahoney doing the first two pitches of Endangered Species in one, long go!

Surf's Up! from Freddie Wilkinson on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

MWV Ice Fest

This weekend come up and check out the showcase of the place, and the community, I call home at the 18th Annual MWV Ice Fest.

I'll be teaching two mixed climbing clinics, one Friday, and one Saturday, followed by a steep ice clinic Sunday. Come on up and hang out for the day, we can talk climbing, laugh a lot and finish the day off with the free apres climbing beer and refreshments back at IME, IMCS's website is here. All this comes before the main festivities Friday and Saturday night at the Cranmore Gym - a film fest followed by the popular drytooling comp Friday, and Kelly Cordes's presentation followed by a DJ'ed party Saturday - all with beer and food.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ice Fest Season

That's me trying to fight off a deep pump. I just barely
managed to win; only on a technicality, and by time.

Two of Northeast's strongest, Josh Worley and Matty McCormick, threw one hell of a party up in Burlington, setting a great route for the Smuggs Ice Bash's first ever drytooling comp sponsored by Alpinist Magazine.

This young buck hadn't even ice climbed before,
he's just strong as an ox and almost won.

The stinger was after a bunch of steepness, trying to hang on while the log you were into, with your leg slung over your arm, just swung back and forth. Petra Cliffs climbing gym was a great site, with a perfectly set-up lead cave and a good and rowdy local crowd.

Only in Vermont.
Ivan Tighe is second from the right, he
put in probably the best performance, but
ultimately got docked for missing a clip.

The next day down in Woodstock, New Hampshire...

Congrats to the VICE Fest (Vertical Ice Climbing Enthusiast) crew for putting together a great event that got dozens of Tufts University folks out for their first taste of ice climbing. This is their second year running the VICE Fest, they were able to get about 80 people out climbing in 5 different area in NH last Saturday, and they still had a waiting list! The apres climbing festivities were a blast, they had me give a presentation about the winter climbing scene in the Northeast to the most receptive audience you could ever hope for, which was followed by a pull up contest, constantly broken up by spontaneous dancing and a gear raffle including donations from Outdoor Research. The psyche level was high.

Thanks to my wife Anne Skidmore for the photos, visit here website

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Endangered Species

When Matt McCormick, Matt Horner and I went to Poke-O-Moonshine on the Friday before the Mountain Fest, there were a couple of things that we did do, and a couple of things that we didn't do; here's the deal.

We did climb the corner system that is the first part of Gorrillas in the Mist. The ice was formed right of Gorillas in a beautiful, narrow and thin streak. We climbed it for two pitches, one of which being the most intense lead I have ever had, and then belayed. The ice continued above, but "dead ended" below an awesome roof. We took a right from the belay and climbed up into a dihedral, and around that roof, to a good ledge, and rapped off a tree.

We did not do the third ascent of Gorrilas, or even the third ascent of the "big wall" section of Poko. We rapped a pitch below the cliff top, and that pitch would not have been trivial.

Matt, Matt and I all feel good about what we did. Our climb felt complete enough and significant enough to warrent a name, at least as a variation. We climbed some really beautiful pitches, ones that you don't get many chances in life to climb, but there is room for improvement. There is potentially some really bad-ass looking climbing above our second pitch for a complete and really hard route. Where we decided to rap was an obvious break, the terrain above looked slow and time consuming and we decided to head down and proceed with the Mountain Fest festivities, instead of scrapping our way around another roof, in the dark, with one headlight.

I have read a little bit about our ascent online and it seems like there is a bit of confusion about it. I just want to make sure we are getting credit for what we did do, not what we didn't.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hanging Gardens

Its like the North End of Cathedral, but tilted up side down. They are both on the far right, in shady little, protected nooks that you have to walk right past on your way down from most routes at the crag. As a guide who spends a lot of his winter days cragging on the world class ice at Frankenstein, you tend to know know the conditions at the Hanging Gardens intimately; seeing the wild daggers and pillars that form here after every trip up Standard or Dracula.

I've been busy guiding over the past two weeks, and have been watching this one pillar grow, and grow and... It just looks really cool, coming out of a Jared Ogden route called Something About You Makes Me Wild, begging for an ascent that ended on a massive free hanger on the top of Joe Josephson's hard classic, Within Reason.

My wife Anne is making a short film with local ice climber, alpinist and all around great guy, Kevin Mahoney. Kevin keeps pulling the right size straw when it comes time to leading the goods this season, the next time I loose rock paper scissors I'm gonna have to throw some elbows and grab the rack first and go!

Anyway, courtesy of Anne Skidmore Photography, here are some stills pulled from yesterday's footage. Enjoy! See more of Anne's outdoor photography at and

It's all Coming Back Around, Sort of..

Not quite sure how, but all the ice I've seen over the past week up in Crawford Notch has come back around. All the usual stuff is good to go at Frankenstein, including most of the sunny and high water volume routes routes in the amphitheater that got really hammered over the New Year (with the exception of the regular, pillar finish on Pegasus). This past Sunday, I went into the amphitheater for the first time since the melt out with a couple of great clients and did the direct finish to Chia, which I was pleased to find in great condition; including a newly reattached top out. Chia had looked pretty bad since those warm, muddy days around the 1st of the month.

Everything at Texaco, from the amphitheater over to Embargo is growing, something I just can't quite account for because the dry ground doesn't look like it should be capable of feeding anything other than squirrels and turkeys. I have heard from north country local, Paul Cormier, a reliable source if there ever was one, that things were looking really good up in Grafton Notch as well. Lake Willoughby looks to be pretty fat from some photos posted on NEIce recently, so it seems that things are looking good, you just have to get into, or north of, the mountains to enjoy it. Cathedral Ledge is pretty bleak, with the exception of the North End, which can somehow hold ice in it's shadey grip through any mid-winter thaw, and often later than I would like into the spring.

We have up tp 8" of snow forecasted for the valleys in NH on Wednesday, more in the mountains, followed by good, cold temps; so I see a good outlook for continued ice climbing conditions' improvements. Great news, I would love to get some climbing in at Cathedral.

This just in: Eric McCallister, of McCallister Photo, reported doing Remission on Cathedral Ledge this past weekend with Jim Ewing and found it "surprisingly good and wet". He also mentioned that Repentance was not in good shape, calling it, "brittle", "dry" and making it sound scary, a conclusion I have heard repeated a few times in the last few weeks.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Use Your Beater Crampons This Week

I hope somebody out there has been climbing. Between Christmas traveling and some great friends' wedding, Janet Bergman's and Freddie Wilkinson's, I'm feeling like a slob and I'm wishing for snow.

It's a little grim in the NH mountains right now, I'd post a picture but my camera got wrecked at Freddie's bachelor party. The ice got pretty hammered over the mini-mud season that just passed, and it must have rained up in the notches cause the ground is brown. What ice is left though is coming back around and the water seems to still be running. Much of the ice that looks bad has rebonded to the wall since it cooled down. It's 17 degrees in North Conway this morning with mountain snow in the forecast for today and tomorrow. Temps forecasted to be in the upper 20's during the day and the teens at night will make for a good temperature swing to keep the ice growing, just as long as we can keep pulling moisture out of the dry ground.

There's ice to climb, just be careful getting around on the frozen gravel with all those leaves stuck to your crampons!