Saturday, March 21, 2015

Monkey Wrench & Upper Hitchcock - Spring Ice Climbing

At the base of Upper Hitchcock with Crawford Notch in the background

Left Hand Monkey Wrench (WI3)
Upper Hitchcock (WI3-)
Mount Willard
Crawford Notch, NH

Forecasts called for cloudy skies and some snow. But all that gave way to blue skies and sunshine by the time Jeff S. and I reached the base of the Hitchcock Gully. We pretty much broke trail up Lower Hitchcock, traversing right to Left Hand Monkey Wrench, then onto the base of Upper Hitchcock. It was slow going but we took our time anyways since there were only two other teams in the area climbing.

At the base of Upper Hitchcock






It was my very first time on Upper Hitchcock and it was a lot of fun, except when my calves cramped up. Attributed to, according to Jeff, dehydration and probably due to my just getting over a cold. I have had my calves ‘pumpy’ before but not so much that they cramped up. Had to have Jeff ‘take’ so I could rest.

Left: Looking down Upper Hitchcock from the Rap Station










Jeff and I at the Rap Station above Upper Hitchcock




I wanted to climb this second pitch of Upper Hitchcock. It's a short section just above the rappel station but didn’t want to take any chances with my calves cramping up again. So Jeff and I rapped the entire Hitchcock Gully, right down to the tracks.










Two weeks ago we couldn’t get onto Upper Hitchcock, but today was a different story. We had the climb all to ourselves and when we rapped down, Laura and Chris came up to check it out. They decided not to climb UH but took a couple of photos of Jeff and I before heading off towards The Cleft. 




East Face Slabs Left

I do cartwheels with Jeff's rope and he ends up untangling them. ;D

Jeff rapping down the Lower Hitchcock Gully. 
He stopped at this section to check out a piece of fixed pro.


It got warmer as the day went on and the sun stayed out until we got back to the parking lot. Surely a mellow day of Spring ice climbing up the side of Mount Willard!


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