Sunday, July 30, 2017

Weissner's Dike - Multi Pitch Summer Rock Climb




Weissner's Dike (5.6)
Trad, Alpine, 6 Pitches, 650 feet Grade II
Cannon Cliff, Cannon Mtn.
Franconia Notch, NH

This route is 6 pitches but we climbed the second pitch in two pitches because it was super windy. There was a group of 3 on Consolation Prize, props to the lead climber who climbed the runout slabs in this wind. Kept an eye out on the weather but it never turned bad all day. Cold in the morning with lots of wind on the lower pitches. But it was calm at the last top pitches.

I really love that first pitch. The "Dike" is super fun. There's a stuck grey cam on this pitch, of course we used it! 

Lots of loose rock along our second, third and fourth pitches, but no rockfall during today's climb.

Last pitch - Graded as  a 5.6 - this must be for tall climbers. Sean had no problems getting up this flake. But for short, old folks like me, this is a lot harder than a 5.6...ain't gonna lie! 3 years ago, when we climbed Lakeview, I barely got up it. Today, given the long day, I aid climbed it. Yes, it can be aid climbed. Once at the top of the flake, Sean set an Alien with a 3 foot sling and draped the sling over the flake. Once at the flake, I hooked a locking biner to the end of the sling. Then connected a 6 foot sling and put two knots in it for my steps! This makeshift aider was enough to get me up and over that flake. Next time I climb up this pitch, I will definitely bring my Black Diamond Alpine Aider to try out.

Fantastic leading by Sean - excellent pro all the way to the top!


Enjoy a few photos of our day in Franconia Notch, NH!


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sliding Board - Multi Pitch Summer Rock Climb

Shaka from Pitch 2 Belay of Sliding Board


Sliding Board (5.7R)
Trad, 9 Pitches, 1000 feet
Whitehorse Ledge
North Conway, NH

I love climbing The Slabs of Whitehorse Ledge. But today I couldn't wait to get off of it! When the lead climber (of the group of 4 in front of us) starting shrieking, my only thought then was that Sean and I had to get the fuck off Whitehorse......

Although I was eager to lead, I was nervous because I had never climbed Sliding Board. I was also nervous watching the group in front of us. It was obvious that no one in this group knew where they were going. One of their lead climbers, who was about 20 feet above the second bolt of the second pitch, turned to a guide who was anchored in the "crystal pocket" and asked him where the anchor was. He answered, "10 feet to your left, or 100 feet above you." She traversed to her left and found the anchor. Lots of places to put pro in cracks, but she didn't put any between that second bolt and the anchor.

I was also worried that I wouldn't be able to place enough gear along the way to the anchor. The good thing about the pitch just off the Launch Pad is that Sean would be able to see me the entire pitch and could call out to me if necessary. The group of 4 in front of us went straight up from the Launch Pad and placed one piece of pro to the anchor. We didn't follow them. Instead Sean had me go up diagonally to the left. I placed 4 pieces (including a bolt) and headed off to a bunch of flakes with cracks near the section of bushes on the left. I thought Sean meant for me to place a piece of pro at these cracks before heading up to the anchor. I was just about to kneel down to place a piece in the crack, when Sean asked me where I was going. I had gone too far left so I ended up setting up an anchor at a small tree. It had a couple of worn grey webbing and two rap rings and is used to sling for the Wedge routeFrom there Sean lead up to the anchor of the second pitch. From where I was anchored at the small tree, I couldn't see him at the next anchor. That's when I heard Sean talking to the group in front of us. 

From the belay station of the 4th pitch you can't see the lead climber once they cross over the dike. But from the belay station of the 3rd pitch, Sean could see the lead climber and asked him if he was okay. He told Sean that he couldn't find any place for pro and that he couldn't find the anchor. (I suspect he was looking for a bolted anchor.) Sean told him that he was 30 feet past his anchor and asked him where his last piece of pro was. It was an Alien 30 feet below him and it was his second piece with his first piece near the beginning of the dike....no pro in the left facing corner cracks. Sean told him he had to downclimb and build an anchor. The lead climber started downclimbing but his belayer couldn't see him and kept taking in slack almost pulling him off the wall and that's when the shrieking started. 

At that point I wanted to get down. As soon as I was on belay, I made my way up, crossing over some lichen and cussing the entire time. I got up to clean the piece of pro off of the anchor of P2, I yelled up to Sean that as soon as I got up to him at the anchor, we were going to rap down - fuck this shit! He told me that he agreed with me but that I needed to calm down. We still needed to climb to the next anchor in order to rap off its rap rings. More cussing. But Sean was right. I also needed to calm down and focus on climbing that steep ramp section. I did calm down and really enjoyed that section of the pitch! I don't think I'd have any problems leading up to that first bolt. But that second bolt.....  And Sean did a great job protecting between the second bolt and the anchor with 4 pieces....several flake cracks perfect for a couple of C4's and a C3. And a bomber tricam just before the anchor!

As soon as the anchor belay at the end of pitch 3 was clear, I belayed Sean up and then I followed. I felt worn out. Almost 4 hours to climb just 3 pitches and lots of waiting around - we did a lot more waiting than climbing. I couldn't wait to get down. I was supposed to lead that 4th pitch as well. But Sean and I would have had to wait for the anchor station below the headwall to clear. Plus, knowing that the lead climber almost had an 'epic' on that pitch was such a killjoy. 

Other climbers, Owen and Steve, were on the Beginners Route and yelled down to the group if they needed any help. They were ready to rap down to them from the Standard Route, if needed. And if the lead climber did fall and injure himself, no doubt Sean and I would also stop to assist in every way possible. Too bad they didn't have a guidebook or a copy of the MountainProject.com beta with them. It's really important to learn as much you can about the route you're climbing, especially if you're leading it. If you fall and injure yourself its not just about you. But it also becomes about your partner(s) and those other climbers and rescuers who come to your aid. And don't lie about your ability/experience. Sean and I were told that the lead climber had climbed this route before.

Seriously, there's so much beta online to take advantage of.  MountainProject.com is a great source of beta and photos! Plus, there are guidebooks for purchase that cover many climbing area/routes as well!

For our rap down, we did get to put into practice the technique that I learned from Marc Chauvin's Transition Clinic. I showed Sean the setup for the Climb-to-Rappel transition. It was fast and simple. And since that clinic I've given up using a sling for an extended rappel and as a PAS. It's so much more faster and easier to just clove hitch into the anchor. For an extended rappel I now use a quickdraw made with a Petzl Dogbone and Black Diamond's VaporLock and RockLock Magnetrons. (thanks Dave Lottman!)

Weekend climbing in North Conway.....

Few photos taken on our climb:
Waiting from the Launch Pad

Blueberries on pitch 1 ledge of Wedge


70m ropes from the tree on the "Wedge" route to
the P2 anchor. Used P1 anchor as pro.


Pitch 4 belay with the left facing corner cracks


Rapping from pitch 4



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Cormier-Magness 2017 - Multi Pitch Summer Rock Climb

wheat thin arete, whitehorse ledge, cormier-magness
Belaying Tom up pitch 2 - Wheat Thin Arete


Cormier-Magness (5.6)
Trad, 8 Pitches, 1150 feet
Whitehorse Ledge
North Conway, NH

Blueberries, run-outs and slabs, oh my! My favorite place to climb is the run-out slabs of Whitehorse Ledge. When we climbed Cormier-Magness late last summer, I didn't lead P5 & P6 like it should have been lead. So today Sean, Tom and I went back to "re-do" the Cormier-Magness route. I took P1, P2, P5 & P6. Sean took P3 & P4. And 16-year old Tom lead the last two pitches, P7 & P8.  Took up way more gear than was needed. But it was a good day, and the wild blueberries were delicious.  This route (MP) is fun and gorgeous - definitely my favorite route on The Slabs! And thank you Chris Magness for the additional beta! :)


Enjoy some photos taken of our day - GoPro's Quik app I'm trying out. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Farley 4th of July Climbing - Rock Climbing


Spent the afternoon climbing several 5.9's at Farley Ledges in Erving, MA. Then capped it off with an easy sport lead. Great group to spend the holiday climbing with! Can't wait to go out climbing with this group again! Check out a few photos of our day.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

2017 U.S. Senior Open



Salem Country Club
Peabody, MA

Not climbing or hiking but had to share this anyways! My husband and I attended Round 2 and the Final Round of the 2017 U.S. Senior Open at Salem Country Club in Peabody, MA. We watched for only a couple of hours on Round 2 day, and followed Fred Couples and Brandt Jobe on the Final Round day. It was so fun and enjoyable to watch. Enjoy a few photos I took of our day.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Transition Clinic - The Mountain Guide Manual



If you're a "hands-on" type of learner like me, I highly recommend this clinic. I purchased a copy of The Mountain Guide Manual by Marc Chauvin and Rob Coppolillo and read over the Transition chapter (chapter 8), but taking the clinic made it much easier for me to understand. Having Marc guide us through the steps of setting up the transitions and being able to ask questions right on the spot is a valuable tool in learning the techniques covered in the manual. He even covered a bit on "Stance Management - Chapter 6" from the manual. As well as "outside, inside, under", a mnemonic coined by Art Mooney. Every topic that was covered in today's clinic, is in the manual. 

Although there were guides in today's clinic, you don't have to be a guide to take this clinic. I'm not a guide, never will be and have no desire to become one. This clinic is also for the recreational climber (that's me!) who wants to learn to be proficient and safe in their climbing. 

On the Climbing to Rappel transition, rope-end equations and the backside of Clove hitches were, at first, pretty mind blowing. But the more we worked on the techniques, the more evident it became - the process is easy. And simple...for me anyways. The simple key that helped me to understand this transition was: "the first climber to rappel down, always stays tied-in."

And I I left my PAS in the truck. (actually, it was more like, 'I purposely hid my PAS from Marc by leaving it my truck'). In today's clinic I learned that Clove-In is so much easier and faster!  Adios PAS! 

I met Marc and the rest of the group (David. Zach, Jeff, Nate, Tom & AJ) at Cathedral Ledge in North Conway, NH. The clinic was held at "The Classroom" area. The clinic is the first of several clinics available on the topic. So stay tuned to Marc's FB (https://www.facebook.com/Chauvin.Guides) and website (http://www.chauvinguides.com/mountain-guide-manual-clinics/) as he will be offering clinics outside of the Mount Washington Valley as well! 

And Dave Lottman also blogged about this clinic. Check it out on his Northeast Alpine Start blog at: https://northeastalpinestart.com/2017/06/30/mountain-guide-manual-clinic/

Thank you Marc for this clinic! Enjoy a few photos I took of our day!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Late Afternoon Rock Climbing at Crow Hill



Some mellow top rope climbing and rappelling late in the afternoon at Crow Hill with Gary Loomis, Dan Zhao, Craig and Abby too!