Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stonehouse Pond - Ice Climbing


Stonehouse Pond
Barrington, NH

What a difference a year makes! 13 months ago I wore a borrowed pair of leather boots and mountaineering crampons and kicked my way to the top on my first ice climb! My blog about that first ice climb can be found here: http://lookwhatididadventures.blogspot.com/2011/01/stonehouse-pond-ice-climbing.html

This year I had my own ice climbing boots and crampons, but I didn't have ice axes or ice climbing gloves. So I met up with Kellie at her place to gear up. I showed her my 'cool find' and her husband noticed how dull the front picks were. So he showed me how to correctly file the front points as well as the second row of points. I sure am glad I bought a package of foot sole warmers! They were 3 pairs in a package on sale at Target. I quickly stuck a pair to the bottom of my wool socks and laced up my boots. The boots were really awkward to walk in but I was sure happy to have my very own pair.

We took my truck to the entrance of the Stonehouse Pond. The gate was closed and locked but the driveway in front of it was clear of snow. We met up with the others, Tom, Dan, Steve and Andy. Also parked was the UNH van. We hiked out to the "Moss Slab" going around the pond. When we arrived at the ice crag, there were about 8 other climbers including the UNH guide already there with two ropes set up. Dan went up around top to set up his rope in the middle route. I didn't climb right away. Instead, I stood back watching the other, more experienced climbers and taking photos.

I got to make two climbs today. The first climb I made 3/4 way to the top and my fingers were freezing. So I had Kellie let me down. The second climb was on the fat ice flow in the middle. It was soft but I still had trouble with weighting the axes in order to get a good hold. When I neared the top I had Tom bring me down because not only were my fingers freezing, they were painful! Especially the fingers on my right hand. During my climb I shook out my left hand often but not my right.

Also, looking at my photos, I should wear a jacket that's long enough to tuck under my harness. This will keep it close to my body and keep the heat in too. With the pull on the belay loop, it kept opening the bottom of my white jacket. Now I know why it felt so drafty! LOL!  The temps were much, much colder than last year. I brought some food and my flask of hot green tea which helped to warm me. I wished it were just a bit warmer so I could have stayed longer. I would have set up my tie-in at the top of the cliff so I could get photos from that angle.

As with my first ice climb, I had a lot of help and encouragement from the experienced climbers. That made all the difference in making the climbs! I know for certain I do love ice climbing! Thanks again Kellie...and thanks too to Tom, Dan, Steve and Andy for helping to make this day another memorable one for me!

 **Click on photos to view larger images

The Moss Slab




 My cool find from the "Consignment" section of the 
Koflach ice climbing boots, $45.
Trango Harpoon Dual Point ice climbing crampons, $50.
Vertical ice, priceless!

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