Saturday, January 18, 2014

Railroad Cut, NH – Ice Climbing


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



When I climbed with Tom Sintros' group back in March 2013, I learned a valuable lesson on conserving energy while climbing. I got to put it to good use today and it made a big difference. Why not just check the hold to see if I can get a secure placement without having to swing my axe? And if it's not secure, why swing so hard when a light tap into the hold, will do? And standing in previous pick placements or holds formed by previous climbers, is definitely ideal! *VBG* 

I also got a chance to try out my new ice climbing gear and am extremely happy. Having the right gear made all the difference. I was able to focus on my technique and thus, got in a lot of climbing today! 


This was my second visit to the Railroad Cut and like the year before, I was amazed at the amount of ice in just this one spot! 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 day was overcast and even though a snow storm made a mess of my commute home, it was a great day for ice climbing! What better way for me to start my ice climbing season!




















Sunday, January 5, 2014

Mount Israel - Solo Winter Hike


Mt. Israel (2,630ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,700 feet
Trail: Wentworth Trail
Distance: 4.2 miles roundtrip
Duration: 4.0 hours (include stops along the trail, and at lookouts and summit)
NH 52 With A View 
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Danger: Low  to Medium (Open ledges on trail)

It was good to get out and do some winter hiking. I’ve been spending a lot of time bouldering and rock climbing and will soon be ice climbing. So hiking a moderate mountain was just what I needed. I had no problems finding the trailhead. The Mead Camp parking lot was plowed and there was only one other truck in the lot. I spent a few minutes checking out the trailhead path. I had brought my snowshoes but after looking at how pretty packed down the trail was, I decided to just wear my Hillsound Trail Crampons. I brought 2 liters of hot water to drink, along with the usual snacks, my 3lb DSLR, my survival and first aid kits, emergency Bivy, emergency blanket, stove and extra clothes. Yes, my backpack is heavy, and that’s not usual for a solo winter hike. However, at the end of the hike my lower back was a bit achy. Other than a couple with their dark chocolate Lab named Katahdin, I didn’t meet any other hikers today.

I make a copy of the trail map and put them with the trail description in a ziplock baggie and put it in the front of my jacket so it’s easy for me to get to. I used to just make a copy of the trail description straight out from the AMC White Mountain Guide book, but the print is too small for me to see…getting old! So I typed the trail description out in large font! :D

Photos along the Wentworth Trail







According to the AMC White Mountain Guidebook, “about 100 yards northeast from the summit to ledges there are more views to the north and east.” But I didn’t bother going further. I spent 25 minutes at the summit and most of that time was spent trying to Facebook “check-in.” I made 3 attempts but couldn’t get a network connection. So I just ate my protein bar, drank some more water and took photos with my DSLR. As usual, at the summit I took a moment of silence and still and admired the views!

Photos from the Mount Israel summit