Saturday, August 29, 2015

Whitney Gilman Ridge 2015 – Multi Pitch Rock Climb

Whitney Gilman Ridge - check!

Whitney-Gilman Ridge (5.7)
5 pitches, 600 feet
Trad, Alpine, Grade II
Cannon Cliff
Franconia Notch, NH

Whitney Gilman Revenge! This was our mantra for the most popular alpine rock climb in New England! Last May we attempted WGR but had to bail after 2 pitches due to getting a late start. Today it was busy, we were the 5th group (out of 7) in line, but we completed the route! I’m not gonna give a pitch description since you can already find that info online and in guidebooks. So I’m just gonna post our photos….yes, we’re happy and smiling in all our photos. We have good reason to! :)

Go up this way from the paved bike path

Whitney Gilman Ridge, multi pitch rock climb

Up through the talus field with the prominent ridge of Whitney Gilman in sight!

Long scramble up the talus field to the mountain base
means you get a good warmup before your climb. :)
Below, I-93 winds through Franconia Notch

Last May we started up the regular start and then rapped down the alternate start at the right side of the buttress. Today we climbed the alternate start as our first pitch.

Here's Tom making his way up the start of P2

Making my way up P2
I'm just a tiny speck on a big mountain!
What I love about climbing Cannon mountain is the exposure!
 But the exposure doesn't bother me one bit because I'm too busy
focusing on climbing and making certain I can get to all the holds.  :D
multi pitch rock climb

P2 done!
Background, I-93 winds through Franconia Notch

Sean's POV up the start of P3, the Pipe Pitch

P3 - The Pipe Pitch! 
I have to admit, when I first started up this steep, double crack wall, I was trembling. Sean had tied off Tom's rope (yellow) in case I needed to use it. I grabbed the yellow rope but quickly abandoned that idea once I found that pulling on a floppy rope felt awkward and made me feel insecure!

After clearing the steep, double cracks and stepping onto the pedestal, I saw all this protection (right) and felt so much better. Especially after seeing all the wonderful features available that weren't "reachy." That exposure over to the right into the Black Dike corner was amazing! It gets better! ;)

Looking down at the section of fixed pitons just above The Pipe. After getting onto the blocky ledge with "The Pipe", I looked up and saw the old pitons that Sean had warned us about. He sewed that up that section really well! My rope was clipped into pro above and below the fixed pitons. "Good" I thought. Tom's rope was clipped into all the pitons, so I don't have to touch any one of them! I placed my right foot onto the top of The Pipe and yelled up to Sean that I was standing on it.

Zeee Pipe, oh la la!
Cannon Mountain, multi pitch rock climb

My view of the Black Dike from the Pipe Pitch

I thought I would have a tough time at the section above The Pipe, but surprisingly, it wasn't difficult. There were good blocks to get my feet up to the climb above The Pipe. I stemmed 2-3 moves with my feet and couldn't believe how juggy the holds were! First my right hand, and then my left...really?! That easy! 

On the section just above The Pipe, to the right I found a flat slab block and remembered reading online beta that said that it looks like you wanna step onto it, but don't! Instead, look to the left and you'll be facing the right side of the arete. So I looked around the arete and not only were there holds, they were good and not "reachy." (see a theme here?) I cleaned a piece that I was clipped into before making my way around and up the arete.

 After you go around the arete, you come onto this large ramp (left). See how happy I am! Then its a walk up the ramp, around a corner to the left, then up a bulge to a large, flat belay ledge!

Cannon Mountain, multi pitch rock climb

The Pipe Pitch completed! 
After I completed this pitch, Sean high-fived me. He also told me that he thought I might have trouble at this section of the pitch and was surprised and happy to see me come up and around to him so quickly. Both Tom and I agreed that there is a lot of exposure on the Pipe Pitch, but it isn't difficult. 

For me, there was one section on our 1st, 2nd and 4th pitches that I found really reachy and had to step back to think about. I had to make some intermediate moves - where Sean and Tom had just gone up in 1-2 moves to get up, say, onto a ledge, it would take me 3-4 moves.

Tom's turn at The Pipe Pitch

I had the honor of giving beta and belaying Tom while he climbed
the Pipe pitch. Tom is only 14 years old but he climbed it like a boss!
Cannon Mountain, multi pitch rock climb

Happy Lead!

Sean leading P4

From the belay station of P4

Tom coming up P4

Good day indeed!
5th and final pitch

Shaka from the top of Whitney Gilman Ridge!

Cannon Mountain

Our route
(I got this photo off of Mountain Project)

Yellow dashed lines = our route.
Blue dots = belay stations

Last May we started up the regular start and then rapped 
down the alternate start at the right side of the buttress.
Today we climbed the alternate start as our first pitch.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Another Classroom

Another Classroom

Another Classroom
Cathedral Ledge
North Conway, NH

After bagging the summit of Iron Mountain, I drove over to the top of Cathedral Ledge to visit a new crag that George Hurley found and developed called "Another Classroom". It was really easy to find – just drive to the parking lot at the top of Cathedral Ledge. Just before reaching the parking circle, about 100 feet on the left side of the road, is a wide, flat, white granite slab. From here, follow the trail that leads to the climber's descent trail. Follow the trail to the left and down onto the Thin Air trail. At the bottom where Thin Air goes to the right, take a left and follow a small path along a large gray wall and you will see the "Another Classroom" wall. You can't miss's bolted! ;)

**No, I didn't get to climb any of the routes.

Another Classroom is the wall facing you as you make your way down this small path along a large gray wall on your left.

Anyways, per Al Hospers of update:

The routes, from left to right:
Purgatory Corner (5.3) All traditional gear. FA - George Hurley and Michael Kahn
Desperado Crack (5.4) All traditional gear. FA - George Hurley and Michael Kahn
Hipster (5.6) FA Jeff Lea and Joe Perez
High Moral Ground (5.4) FA Geoff Wilson and George Hurley
What Is Hip? (High Moral Ground Direct Direct) (5.6) FA Al Hospers and Jeff Lea
Hip Hip Hooray (5.5) Judy and Joe
Hippy Hop (5.5) FA Al Hospers and Judy Perez
Bagels + (5.5+) FA - George Hurley and Frank Dahlmeyer
Areted Development (5.5) FA - George Hurley and Michael Kahn

All routes are bolted except Purgatory Corner 
and Desperado Crack which are both trad.

High Moral Ground which is effectively a solo and has no gear at all except for a blue X4 to protect the top-out, 'What Is Hip' uses the same X4 as 'High Moral Ground' and 'Bagels +' which requires using a sling to thread in the tenuous flake on the right. 

Top view of Another Classroom

Another view from the top

Just around the corner of Another Classroom is this wall

Photos of couple other walls at the top of Cathedral Ledge

Thanks to George Hurley and Michael Khan in finding and developing this crag!

Iron Mountain - Solo Hike

Shaka from the Iron Mountain summit

Iron Mountain (2,726 ft)
Elevation Gain: 800 ft
Miles: 1.6 roundtrip
Duration: 1hr, 15min (includes stops along the trail and at the summit)
NH 52 With A View
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Another fine day to bag a NH 52 With A View summit! Although not much views at the summit, but there were views on the way to the summit.

A side path (0.6 mile) lead to a great outlook up the Rocky Branch Valley

While a ledge on the left of the trail at 0.7 mile, provided some eastward views.

Some photos along the Iron Mountain trail
(yes, I love photo collages!)

I didn't have time to check out the Mine or the south ledges beyond the summit. 
But I hope to be able to return to check those out when I can get a clearer day. 


Fire tower remnants at the summit

Clouds over the Presidential Range

After bagging the summit, I hurried back down to the trailhead and headed over to Cathedral Ledge to check out some newly bolted routes on a new rock climbing crag called Another Classoom. 4 other hikers and a dog headed up while I was coming down. And a group of 5 were out strolling up the dirt road past the trailhead parking lot as I was coming off the trail. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Glen Boulder - Solo Hike

Shaka from Glen Boulder above Pinkham Notch!

Glen Boulder  (3,700ft)
Trail: Glen Boulder
Elevation Gain: 1,750 feet
Mile: 3.2 roundtrip
Duration: 3hrs, 20 minutes (includes stop along the trail and at the boulder)
Difficulty: Easy to moderately strenuous
Danger: Low to High (there are several water crossings, very slippery rocks, steep section, exposed rock scrambling, loose rocks along trail)

I almost didn't leave my house today because it was raining over it! LOL!

But I figured I’d just drive up north and check it out anyways. And I might as well since I was already packed. As I headed to North Conway, the skies gave way to sunshine and fluffy white clouds. I couldn’t believe how clear it was - weatherman wrong again! As I passed the Glen Ellis Falls trailhead I looked up and got a good view of the Glen Boulder and decided to give it a go. I had been curious about this glacial erratic for some time and wanted to see what it was all about. This would be a perfect short, steep hike to get in some rock scrambling and catch some good views. I banged a ‘u’ and pulled into the parking lot, almost full but with most folks heading to the Glen Ellis Falls.

Heading up the trail I was glad it wasn’t humid. I stopped often to take photos and to admire the trail below treeline. This may well be the trail I’d be traveling to summit Mt. Isolation one day.  Not too many folks on the trail as I made my way up. But once I got to the boulder, others started showing up. I spent about 40 minutes at the boulder eating lunch and taking photos and chatting with folks also eating their lunches at the boulder. On my way back down to the trailhead I passed more folks on their way up including a family of 4 with no hiking gear and lugging a gallon of Market Basket spring water. Near the trailhead it started to get really humid and sticky which momentarily annoyed me. But once I got to the trailhead and out from under the trees, it was less humid. So glad I finally made the hike to Glen Boulder…..a good day for it, I’d say!

**After my hike to the Glen Boulder, I decide to stop by the Iron Mountain trailhead just to make certain I could find it as I was planning to hike it in another week. Near the trailhead and at the fork, I had taken the wrong turn onto FR 325 instead of FR 119. So when I got to the end of FR 325,  I turned around. Back at the fork, I was just about to turn onto FR 119 and a large black bear came running out of the woods and across the street just 50 feet in front of me! So glad I always carry a can of bear spray! 

Enjoy some photos taken on my hike to the Glen Boulder!

Along the Glen Boulder Trail

There are several beautiful waterfalls along this trail. 
But I stopped at this one to try out my waterproof camera.
This "display model" cost me $30. I stuck it under water and it works!

Yay, the Alpine Zone, finally!! This is the part the trail leaves the trees and 
climbs over open rocks. The photo on the right shows a section of rock that 
might be a tad sketchy for those afraid of heights or not used to scrambling.

Yay, more rock scrambling!

Sitting behind the boulder overlooking Pinkham Notch.

Looking towards Gulf of Slides, Tuckerman & Huntington Ravines

Looking up at the open ridge crest from the boulder

Route 16 from Glen Boulder

Looking back down the Glen Boulder Trail

The Wildcats

A little better view of the Gulf of Slides

My chocolate zucchini cupcake

Side of the boulder that faces the Pinkham Notch