Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ice Climbing Clinic 2013

2013 Mt. Washington Valley Ice Fest
Feb 1-3, 2013
International Mountain Climbing School
North Conway, NH

It’s over, but the memories of my very first Mt.Washington Valley Ice Fest will always be with me. It was on a whim that I signed up for a clinic. I happened to click on the link for IMCS Ice Fest and the Outdoor Research’s Introduction to Ice Climbing for Rock Climbers clinic called to me! So I contacted IME and I filled the very last spot for the Saturday clinic!

The day of the clinic I checked into the packed IME store. Registration meant filling out a waiver and checking in to get geared up. The guides for this clinic were Art Mooney of Mooney Mountain Guides and Emilie Drinkwater of Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides. I had to meet up at the Mammut table and I immediately got handed a pair of Cassin ice axes. Art Mooney showed me to the La Sportiva table to get fitted for mountaineering boots and crampons. I didn’t like the fit of that brand of boots so I switched to Scarpa brand and got fitted for Petzl crampons.  I brought my own gloves, helmet and harness, so didn’t need to demo any of that stuff. Our group met up just outside the front door to make sure we had rides to the crag and we caravanned after Art and Emilie to the Barking Dog Crag (WI3), just down the street from Cathedral Ledge.

It’s a  10/15 minute hike from the street side parking up to the crag. Art and Emilie set up top rope on two routes to start. Don’t bother trying to look up any of these routes in the An Ice Climber’s Guide to Northern New England book. The crag is fairly new and the book is 10 years old so it won’t be listed. I made a total of 5 climbs and was totally stoked! One climb was on very thin, mixed ice which Emilie instructed everyone to tap and kick lightly. And my last climb was with only one tool. It looks easier than it is and I fell off the ice twice (thanks to Ned for catching me), but I finally kicked my way to the top! My boots kept loosening on me and it was annoying walking around while my feet moved around in my boots. But thanks to Ed for tying my boots really tight for me, sure made climbing easier! :) And a big thanks to some wonderful guides, Emilie and Art! I really enjoyed this clinic and the others in the group were a blast to climb with….looking forward to next year!
 Barking Dog
Thin, mixed stuff
 Art Mooney (3)
Emilie and Art

Thank you Brian for snapping me! (4)
Madeline (foreground) and Pippa

Ned (foreground) and Ed
 Sam on the thin stuff
Emilie (foreground), and Hillary. Ed on belay.
Photo taken by Art Mooney
Left to right: Emilie Drinkwater, Ned, Brian, Pippa,
Ed (in the back), Hillary, Madeline, me and Sam.

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