Saturday, May 2, 2015

Wavelength – Multi-pitch Rock Climbing


Wavelength (5.8)
1,080 feet, 10 pitches
Whitehorse Ledge
North Conway, NH

May 2nd brought a fabulous day for a first multi-pitch rock climb of the season!

Counting the ‘walk-up’ to the Launch Pad, Sean, Tom and I did 10 pitches today of The Slabs, Center of Whitehorse Ledge. We had blue skies the entire day, climbed the 5.8 pitch listening to Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ outdoor convention speech and met a “totally blind” climber on his very first multi-pitch climb.

Our climbing plan; start on the Standard Route’s direct route (Quartz pocket) and if it was dry, onto Wavelength, linking up with the Sliding Board and finishing up on the Standard Route. Sean would lead and Tom and I would second several of the pitches together. 

Enjoy photos taken of our climb!

White Mountain Hotel & Resort with Whitehorse Ledge in the backgound

A little bit of snow at the base of the ledge

Sean leading up to "The Toilet Bowl"

Me on Sean's belay at the "Launch Pad"

Tom and I making our way up from the Launch Pad to the Toilet Bowl

A Piton at the "Quartz Pocket"

Tom finishing up the 4th pitch to the thread
anchor in the main arch. Sean on his belay.

Sean did an impressive job of leading the 5.8 pitch!






Tricky pocket section! Great moves for a tall climber, as Sean demonstrates! My short-climber beta; right foot on base. Right hand on small nub. Left hand in lower pocket. All in one move: Step up with left foot to meet left hand in lower pocket. As you push off with right hand and step up onto left foot, bump left hand up to higher, bigger pocket. Match hands and bump right foot up to higher nub. Step up to a bolt.







Happy belayer!

Tom's turn on the 5.8!
Making his way up the face of the brown bulge.

Past the crux and on the dike to the anchor of the 5.8

You damn right I'm happy to be climbing Wavelength!

Making my way up to the anchor just
below the steep headwall of The Sliding Board

Tom's turn to make his way up to the anchor!

Protection along the steep dike through the headwall of The Sliding Board.

Removing pro

Sean on the final pitch with snow-topped Mt. Washington in the background

Final pitch


Also topping out (left to right) Copp, Tom & Paul

Our belay and anchor stations along the route (yellow stars)
Photo: North Conway Rock Climbs Guidebook

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rose Ledges- Rock Climbing



Rose Ledges
Erving, MA

First day of top rope climbing of the season! Combined AMC Berkshire and the Mountaineering, Climbing & Backpacking of New England Meetup.  11 ropes set up on the Main wall, Overhanging Buttress and the Ampitheater (short wall). 

More photos: http://www.meetup.com/MountaineeringNewEngland/photos/26074336/

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Farewell Ice!


Huntington Ravine
Trails: Tuckerman Ravine, Fire/Service Road

I had a phenomenal ice season and I owe it to several lead ice climbers; Jeff Stone, Geoff Nichols and Sean Bowen. I've benefited greatly from and am inspired by their experience and patience. Thank you!

This was supposed to be a multi-pitch ice climb and my last of the season, but it was not meant to be. I met Jeff and Maggie in the gear room at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. We headed up the Tuckerman’s Ravine trail along with a large crowd headed toward Tuckerman Ravine. Once at the floor of Huntington Ravine, Maggie headed back down to the trailhead and Jeff and I made our way up to Yale.

“Oh crap!” I thought to myself! I couldn’t believe it! I got cramps in both calves just before Jeff and I got to the base of Yale. Not.good.at.all! I shook it off, stretched out, took in fluids and a couple of bites of my protein bar. We got up to Yale and so far so good, the cramps had subsided. From the base the right side of Yale was running water. In fact, so was Harvard’s Garden. It sounded like someone turned on a water faucet in Huntington Ravine! 


So we headed over to the base of Central Gully where Jeff told me that once we were on the climb, we should commit to it and stay on it. So I decided not to climb. I was really bummed but had to consider that I may cramp up again while on the climb. Jeff would head up Central and over Washington to descend down the Jewell Trail. I would head back down to the trailhead and we both agreed to text one another once back down at the trailheads. Looking up at it and watching Jeff solo climb it as well as another ice climber and 4 skiers, it was hard to imagine just January of last year that a soft slab avalanche occurred taking 3 roped teams down along with it.

Jeff and I making our way to Central Gully with Pinnacle Gully in the background





I descended towards the ravine floor but not before stopping at the base of Pinnacle and snapping a couple photos of folks going up the Pinnacle Gully.



















Here (left to right) is Amanda Stern, Peter Columbia and Jay Beaudoin (on lead).















They made their bad-ass way up the Pinnacle Gully to watch the sunset from atop Mt. Washington! Way to go folks!




















The day before I stopped at IME in North Conway to drop off some consignment items. I also bought a pair of La Sportiva Nepal EVO on sale for 20% off! My current Boreal boots were giving me problems. Bigger, too loose in the ankles and way too stiff for me. I did everything to pad them in order to fit but nothing worked. Love the Nepal Evo and they stood up to their reputation of fitting without problems straight out of the box. I had no hot spots and the boots were plenty stiff for me. But today wasn't the day I'd be kicking in them.  :(


Forgot my camera at home so used my iPhone for picture taking today.

Farewell ice…..until next winter!

Huntington Ravine with the Wildcats in the distance

Yale & Damnation Gullies in the background - also a skier making his way up

Jeff and I at the base of Central Gully

Pinnacle (left) and Central (right) Gullies





Sunday, April 12, 2015

Huntington Ravine “The Fan” - Solo Spring Hike


Huntington Ravine Floor (4,100ft)
Elevation Gain: 2,100ft
Distance: 5.2 miles roundtrip
Trails: Tuckerman Ravine, Huntington Ravine, Fire/Service Road

Not my usual hike to a summit, but above 4000 feet for sure. The Huntington Ravine floor, commonly known as “The Fan” was my destination for this morning. I had originally planned to hike this yesterday but today the forecast called for a sunny, deep blue sky day. 'The Fan' is a huge open boulder field below the headwall that spreads out like one of those old hand fans.  Normally you would have to navigate around, over, and in between some huge boulders in the scrub to get to the Fan. But the snow and ice make it easier to get around.

I was pretty surprised at the amount of skiers and boarders at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. The parking lot was packed so I ended up parking on the side of the road just outside the entrance. Tuckerman Ravine Trail was packed with folks of all ages with downhill and XC skis, snow boards, sleds and butt sleds. Lots of dogs hike this trail to the ravine as well. Even on my descent there were folks hiking up. It was pretty cool to watch skiers come down the John Sherburne Ski Trail. I used information on Marc Chauvin’s website to plan my solo hike: http://www.chauvinguides.com/hunticeguide.htm

Crystal Cascade Waterfall from Tuckerman Ravine Trail

Tuckerman Ravine from the fire/service road

A peek of the ravine - Central Gully

First Aid cache just below the floor of the ravine

The mouth of Huntington Ravine

Yale and Damnation Gullies

Pinnacle and Central Gullies

Odell's Gully

South Gully

Escape Hatch Gully

Overall this was a great solo hike….well, not so much solo as Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail was packed. The snow was packed well but on my descent, with warm temps, the snow was a slushy and slippery mess.

I was blown away when I got into ‘The Fan’, the views were phenomenal! I was glad to experience the immensity of the ravine. There were climbers making their way up Damnation, Yale, Central and Pinnacle gullies and a few glissading down the Escape Hatch gully. I hiked the entirety in my ice climbing boots and I’m not ever doing that again. They are super stiff and my feet started aching ¾ of the way up. Anyways, hope you enjoyed some photos that I took of my visit to the Huntington Ravine floor! Here’s a short video from the ravine floor.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Drone Camera - Standard Route - Multi pitch Ice Climbing



Standard Route  (WI3+)
Frankenstein Cliffs
Crawford Notch, NH

All last winter I had been asking him to go out ice climbing and he kept declining. So when I got Jeff B ’s email last week about ice climbing, I thought it was a joke and had to I read it several times. Jeff’s son Todd is a professional photographer/videographer and he needed some ice climbing shots/vids via GoPro Drone. http://toddjburgess.com/

I contacted Jeff S. and made sure to check the weather - Sunday was the better of the two. Originally I had chosen Cinema Gully but was told that it would be too thin. So when Frankenstein Cliffs was suggested, I choose the Standard Route because of its short approach and exposure. And I thought Todd should have no problems piloting his Drone for shots. Plus, it was “still in.” But I chose Standard Route mainly because it’s a very recognizable route at the cliffs. So Jeff S. lead both Jeff B. and I up the Standard Route. We had a perfectly beautiful day for ice climbing. The sun was out, temps warm and for the sake of the Drone camera, hardly any wind. Enjoy some photos taken of our climb.

At the tracks of the Standard Route

Gearing Up

Jeff S. on lead - 1st pitch

Jeff S. exiting the ice cave - 2nd pitch

Exiting the ice cave

Me at the 3rd belay station belaying Jeff S. up our last pitch

If we hadn’t been told that it was noisy, I would’ve thought that Todd’s Drone camera was a swarm of bees because that’s exactly what his drone sounded like. Yup, at time 0:37 our ropes are intertwined. But no worries, Jeff and I navigated around one another with no problems. It ain’t sketchy until it gets sketchy, right? :) 

Jeff S. (green jacket) on lead. With Jeff B. in dark blue jacket and me (light blue jacket & white helmet) cleaning pro. Here's the YouTube video!