Sunday, March 3, 2013

Railroad Cut – Ice Climbing

Railroad Cut – Ice Climbing
SW4-Cheshire North Rail Trail
Keene, NH
AMC-NH Mountaineering Group
AMC-NH Ice Climbing Clinic 

You learn something new everyday 
I always thought that you must kick! I was wrong! Today’s ice climbing clinic was full of info including gear info. I had the chance to try out some Petzl Quark Ice Axes and they proved to be a good choice for me. But the most exciting bit of key info I took home with me today was technique - don’t kick if you really don’t need to! This technique enabled me to climb without tiring out so quickly, thus climbing more efficiently. Being efficient means you won’t fatigue as quickly and you’re less likely to fall. I was stoked when it all came together: use existing hand holds so you don’t have to swing so hard, look for holds to place your feet so you don’t have to kick, and above all, trust your feet when/where you place them! It made for an easy climb where I didn’t look like I was flailing and desperate for holds. It also made for a more relaxing and enjoyable climb. 

Where’d ya go? 
I took the ice climbing clinic with Tom Sintros (amC Leader) of the AMC-NH Mountaineering Group. I’ve been an AMC member for two years now and this was my first AMC-NH clinic that I joined up for. It  was my first visit to the Railroad Cut and I was amazed at the amount of fat ice in just this one spot….glorious! Railroad Cut is just that….a cut in the hill for a railroad passage. It’s part of the Cheshire Rail Trail located just off of Route 12 in Keene, NH. There are several railroad cuts throughout New Hampshire, but this particular cut has consistent ice.

The area is in total shade and very cold so hot tea and a warm, down jacket (as well as chocolate) can add to the day’s fun. Top ropes were set up on 4 flows and I was able to make several climbs on 3 flows. It was a fantastic day and I met other AMC members and got tons of info from Tom as well as his co-leader George. George, by the way, is a wealth of information and put up all the existing anchors and bolts along The Cut. For more information on the AMC-NH Mountaineering Group, visit their website at 

Enjoy some photos I took of ice climbing the Railroad Cut! 

The Ramp (on the right)

Nick with Tom on his belay
 Jon with Don on his belay - George looking on

Ever wonder what the railroad construction crew
did with all the rock removed from the cut?
A lot of it went into a cut stone retaining wall
between the Railroad Cut and the Rt. 12 bridge.

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