Saturday, September 24, 2016

The West Chimney - Multi Pitch Rock Climb

tabletop, small, summit, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing
Sean and I on the Eaglet Spire summit


The West Chimney (5.7)
Trad, 3 Pitches, 200 feet
Eaglet Spire
Greenleaf & Climbers Trails
Franconia Notch, NH

Cool temps are perfect for a hike and a climb in Franconia Notch! Sean and I met up with his son Tom and a few other Boy Scout troop members at the Lafayette Campground parking lot. We hiked up to Lonesome Lake to lunch and enjoy the views. After about an hour, Tom and the scouts went on their way to the Cannon summit. They had a long day ahead with plans to continue onto the Cannon summit, the Cannonballs, an overnight stay at the Kinsman Pond shelter, and then a second day bagging the north and south Kinsman peaks. 

Sean and I headed up to Exit 34B and parked on the side of the off-ramp at the Greenleaf Trailhead. We hiked up the Greenleaf Trail and took the "climbers trail" to the Eaglet Spire. Sean had climbed the Eaglet Spire 16 years ago and had been wanting to get back to climbing it again, so I was really looking forward to this climb. At the base of the route I felt that same excitement I always get when I'm about to ride a really cool roller coaster. Only thing, today I was going to climb a spire! I was stoked! Enjoy some photos of our day at Franconia Notch.


Lonesome Lake
Photos Lovena Harwood and Eric Reitter




On our way up to the Spire there were 5 parties ahead of us, some already making their way down. At the trailhead parking lot we bumped into Jay, Katlyn and little Bella who were on their way up. Making their way down from a hike were Will and his 3 kids. It's a popular place, and one I hope to visit again! 


The final push up the talus field


Gearing up at the base of the route
Profile Lake down behind me


Sean ready to go at the start of P1




Making my way up P1



Making my way up the 'chimney' of P2. Both Sean and I were cussing and laughing while climbing the Chimney of P2. It was both challenging and fun to climb. Stem it.


Another use for the selfie stick!

Sean's viewpoint as he makes his way up P3

P3 the traditional way. 
That bolt is reachy and the Mountain Project beta is spot on!
And yes, I grabbed it to get onto the ledge above it.



Eagle Cliff


Making my way up P3



Some old pins


At the summit!
Left to right: Anchors, rap rings, Profile Lake


Twilight rappel
(there are a couple of overhanging sections on this steep rappel)

Franconia Notch at twilight

Hike out in the darkness



I am thankful that Alexa told me about the Sterling Hollowblock (shown below) during my private ice lead lesson this past winter. Afterwards I went straight over to IME and bought one, it's just $12! Today this "$12 piece  of gear" saved my ass! That first step off of the Eaglet Spire is known to be notorious. As I was going over the edge to rappel, both my feet slipped out under me. I only fell a few inches and into the wall, but it was enough to make me let go of the rope and a sling that I was holding onto. That HollowBlock caught me - always back up your rappels! And I had to leave the sling. It was attached to the bolts above the rap rings and I couldn't reach it. So I flung the sling over onto the top in order for it to not get tangled in the rope when we pulled it. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

End Crags, Crow Hill - Rock Climbing

Mid State Trail to the top of the ledges

Great day for some mellow climbing! Never been to the End Crags of Crow Hill in Leominster State Forest. So Nuno, Nancy, David and I headed there for a day of top roping.


At the base of End Crags

Nancy on Pine Tree
It was Nancy's second day of climbing outdoors!

Beginner's Blessing

End Route

Monday, September 5, 2016

Beginners Route - Multi Pitch Rock Climb



North Conway, NH

Beginners Route (5.5)
Trad
Whitehorse Ledge
North Conway, NH

We were both were surprised when we pulled into the parking lot. We expected the parking lot to be packed, but it wasn't. When we got to the base of the Slabs, Sean and I were the only climbers there. But after finishing up the second pitch, a group of three showed up at the base of the C-M route to set up top rope at the pine tree. And a 3rd party of two climbers showed up for Sliding Board just as we were finishing up our 3rd pitch. 










I was stoked to be back climbing with Sean again. He had injured his foot earlier in the season and only now was getting back to climbing. Since he was still experiencing a bit of pain when walking, we decided to cut the route short to rappel down instead of topping off and walking down the trail. We only climbed the first 5 pitches (490ft) but I got to lead the first 3 pitches. It was so much fun, especially that 2nd pitch. 
I was also stoked that we had no one behind us on the route. I didn't feel rushed and I was able to focus on looking for pro placements. 





Overall, the climbing on the 3 pitches that I lead was easy. It's finding places for pro that was challenging. And being such a newbie, I know I took long when placing pro. I wanted to make certain that all 4 lobes of the cam were in contact with the rock surface. Also, I need to work on looking for spots to place pro before I leave the belay station. On all 3 pitches that I lead I found that I didn't see the good spots ahead of time and ended up going past them. So I'd downclimb a couple steps in order to get a good stance and to place pro. 

But most times I did guess the right pieces of pro to place on the first try. Selecting which piece and what size pro to place reminded me of my (much younger) days as an aircraft Pneudraulics systems mechanic in the U.S. military. It's very similar to determining which tools to use in assembly and disassembly of aircraft parts.

Sean was super great in pointing out the route - just what a newbie like me needs! He also critiqued my pro placements. 

Trad lead is addicting. Besides the mechanical aspect of the sport, I love that it involves problem-solving and climbing/risk management - it's totally fun! Looking forward to more trad climbing!

I didn't get a chance to take a lot of photos, so here are a few. Too busy climbing! ;D


Looking up at P2 from the belay

Belaying Sean up P2







Looking up at P3 from the belay

I was tempted not to place any pro
on this pitch since the climb was so
easy,  but I did end up placing 3 pieces; a cam, a pink tricam and then another cam.






Little pedestal at the end of P4


Piton just above the P5 belay


Sean at the end of P5




Views from the Smile Belay




Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ueli Steck 2016 Tour - Boston



swiss machine, alpinist, climbing, solo, ice climbing, mountaineering

Got the chance to meet "The Swiss Machine" in person! Watching videos of Ueli Steck run, yes run, up mountains without a rope is jaw dropping. So to see him in person, be in the same room, shake his hand, thank him and tell him how much I enjoyed his presentation, was just as amazing for me!! Just a few photos of his presentation, Q&A, and autograph signing and photo taking.





The Man, the Legend, The Swiss Machine!




Presentation, Q&A, autograph signing
(3rd photo is Brian of MetroRock)


I wished I had brought my ice axes for Ueli to autograph....I could've fit them both in my day pack! There was a smart dude who brought a poster as well as his copies of The American Alpine Journal 2014 (88, Vol 56). Also, during his presentation he did mention sore/bad knees 4 times!

Organizing Your Gear



Saturday, August 20, 2016

Black & White Rocks - Rock Climbing

anchors, static rope, top rope, middlesex fells, black and white rocks, pinnacle, rock climbing


Wonderful afternoon with Noreen, Boomer, Nuno, Nancy and David at Crag 1 (Pinnacle) at Black & White Rocks! Wanted to make sure that the hike wouldn't be too strenuous for my old buddy Boomer, so I suggested Black & White Rocks to Noreen. With its super short approach, Boomer had no problems! David and I were able to lead the very easy, very short Fern route. Then we spent the next several hours top roping. 




Nancy's first time climbing outdoors!

Noreen

David

Nuno


Easy Lead


Boston Horizon

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sport Climbing



I caught myself daydreaming....it was hard not to. It was starting to warm up and felt slightly humid......I was wishing for winter. I looked at the routes I had climbed and the more I imagined climbing them without bolts and placing ice pro, the more they looked yummy!

I hadn't climbed at Rumney for a good while. One of the meetup groups I belong to had an event out to the popular sport climbing destination. It was great to get outside to climb. But  I did more hiking than climbing - I guess I shouldn't be surprised given the many crags at Rumney and the amount of climbers enjoying them this weekend. 

And as the day went on, I realized that sport climbing no longer has the same appeal as it once used to. Don't get me wrong, I'll still go sport climbing. But now that I've gotten a taste of ice and trad climbing, I appreciate and enjoy those styles of climbing overall.

I also love multi pitch climbing. No matter how easy the route, or if folks have climbed the route without a rope, it doesn't matter. I love everything about multi pitch climbing; leading, seconding, swapping leads, placing and removing pro, building and breaking down anchors, rope and gear management. But most of all, I love that multi pitch climbing is about the camaraderie between two climbers tied in together on several long pitches.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Three Falls for Boomer - Waterfalls & Hiking



Spent overnight at my friend's vacation rental. Conveniently located right off of Route 16 in North Conway but super quiet and comfy! We had plans to hike to Arethusa Falls making a loop along the Frankenstein Cliff trail. But my old  buddy Boomer was a bit sore so we backtracked to the trailhead stopping off at Bemis Falls for lunch, and then Coliseum Falls. As you can see by my photos, Boomer absolutely loved all 3 beautiful falls!


Along the Arethusa Trail