Sunday, October 23, 2016

Mount Monadnock - Solo Hiking

white cross trail, solo hiking, NH 52 with a view, summit selfie



Elevation: 3,165ft
Trail: White Cross
Elevation Gain: 1,765ft
Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Took a short drive west to hike up Monadnock and it was so refreshing! Originally I wanted to head north but with some overnight snow fall and ice, I didn't feel like driving in the stuff. So Monadnock was a good call for me. At the Poole Road entrance, park rangers said that there were 50 mph winds with reports of ice and snow at the summit. Felt good to get back out and hike the last of Autumn season.....winter will be here soon! 



Summit selfie Video
Along the White Cross Trail
white cross trail, solo hiking, NH 52 with a view,
Snow along the trail

mt. monadnock, white cross trail, solo hiking, NH 52 with a view


mt. monadnock, white cross trail, solo hiking, NH 52 with a view


mt. monadnock, white cross trail, solo hiking, NH 52 with a view


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Cormier-Magness 2016 - Multi Pitch Fall Rock Climb




Cormier-Magness (5.6)
Trad, 8 Pitches, 1150 feet
Whitehorse Ledge
North Conway, NH

No Rope? Wait. What? I yelled back to Sean that I needed more rope and his reply was clearer. "No Rope!" What I thought was insane rope drag, was in fact, the end of our rope. I had gotten onto a small ledge with a tree stump and had 12 feet more to the anchor at the end of the 6th pitch, The Low Beer Light pitch. Down-climbing was my only option. No worries. I had used the tree stump as a hold to get up to it, so it would have to do as a hold to get down. I girth-hitched a cordelette to the stump, then connected my anchor to it. I lowered myself slowly, unclipped my anchor from the cordelette and downclimbed by stemming the holds I stemmed to come up. 8 feet below this stump I had placed a #1 cam and removed it. 25-30 feet below the stump ledge was a ledge with several trees where I set up my anchor and brought Tom and Sean up. 

Sean, Tom and I climbed this route last July, with Sean leading. Like Sean, I had gone past the tree anchor on the short (60') 5th pitch, The Northwest Passage. And that's how I ended up on the "tree stump ledge". Sean said I just had a "lead epic." More like "newbie lead epic" I thought. I told Sean that I had had enough leading for the day and he laughed. We finished out the route with Sean on lead and met several other climbers also topping out before making our way down the hikers trail. 

Amazing views at the top - the fall foliage is coming in beautifully! I enjoyed the route overall and hope to get back. Distractions at the belay, (like that couple from Montreal who didn't know the route and wanted to follow us), as well as not knowing where the next belay station was didn't help my confidence level. So I really want to get back to make P5, The Northwest Passage, right. I will never forget this day. Enjoy a few photos! 

**Although downclimbing is a good skill to have, it could've been prevented today had I read the beta on pitch 5 before leading it, as well as having a more attentive lead belay.


P1, to the pine tree




P2: The Wheat Thin Arete
The "mental crux" pitch

This second pitch wigged me out at first, no lie. It took me a good 5 minutes to get onto the flake. After I got onto the flake and past the little tree in the horizontal crack, I realized that I was making the pitch harder than it really was. The holds got better as I ascended the pitch and I  was able to relax and enjoy the climb. I clipped into the bolts and used the edge of the arete as a hold. I'd definitely lead this pitch again!









Bringing Sean up P2

Tom at the P4 start, The Open Book

Climber Brian on Sea Of Holes with heli in the background

Looking back at the "Sea of Green" on P4




Here's where I ended up setting up anchor after downclimbing. The lead climber (of the Montreal couple) was making his way up as I was downclimbing to this ledge. We laughed as I didn't make the anchor on 60m ropes. And he wasn't sure that his 70m rope would reach the anchor. But it did. 






Tom making his way up P7, The Platinum Slab







Sunday, September 25, 2016

The West Chimney: Eaglet Spire - Multi Pitch Rock Climb

tabletop, small, summit, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing
On the Eaglet Spire summit


The West Chimney (5.7)
Trad, 3 Pitches, 200 feet
Eaglet Spire
Greenleaf & Climbers Trails
Franconia Notch, NH

Cool temps are perfect for a hike and a climb in Franconia Notch! Sean and I met up with his son Tom and a few other Boy Scout troop members at the Lafayette Campground parking lot. We hiked up to Lonesome Lake to lunch and enjoy the views. After about an hour, Tom and the scouts went on their way to the Cannon summit. They had a long day ahead with plans to continue onto the Cannon summit, the Cannonballs, an overnight stay at the Kinsman Pond shelter, and then a second day bagging the north and south Kinsman peaks. 

Sean and I headed up to Exit 34B and parked on the side of the off-ramp at the Greenleaf Trailhead. We hiked up the Greenleaf Trail and took the "climbers trail" to the Eaglet Spire. Sean had climbed the Eaglet Spire 16 years ago and had been wanting to get back to climbing it again, so I was really looking forward to this climb. At the base of the route I felt that same excitement I always get when I'm about to ride a really cool roller coaster. Only thing, today I was going to climb a spire! I was stoked! Enjoy some photos of our day at Franconia Notch.


Lonesome Lake
Photos Lovena Harwood and Eric Reitter




On our way up to the Spire there were 5 parties ahead of us, some already making their way down. At the trailhead parking lot we bumped into Jay, Katlyn and little Bella who were on their way up. Making their way down from a hike were Will and his 3 kids. It's a popular place, and one I hope to visit again! 


The final push up the talus field
tabletop, small, summit, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing


Gearing up at the base of the route
Profile Lake down behind me




Making my way up P1





Making my way up the 'chimney' of P2. 
chimney, pitch 2, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing


Another use for the selfie stick!

P3

P3 the traditional way. 
That bolt is reachy and the Mountain Project beta is spot on!
And yes, I grabbed it to get onto the ledge above it.



Eagle Cliff


Making my way up P3





Some old pins






At the summit!
Left to right: Anchors, rap rings, Profile Lake





Atop the Eaglet Spire summit
The tiniest summit I've ever been on!
tabletop, small, summit, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing


Twilight rappel
(there are a couple of overhanging sections on this steep rappel)

Franconia Notch at twilight

Hike out in the darkness



I am thankful that Alexa told me about the Sterling Hollowblock (shown below) during my private ice lead lesson this past winter. Afterwards I went straight over to IME and bought one, it's just $12! Today this "$12 piece of gear" saved my ass! That first step off of the Eaglet Spire is known to be notorious. As I was going over the edge to rappel, both my feet slipped out under me. I only fell a few inches and into the wall, but it was enough to make me let go of the rope and a sling that I was holding onto. That HollowBlock caught me - always back up your rappels!  Sterling Rope of Biddeford, Maine, USA. **Next time I climb this, will set up the rap from the rap rings that are higher.


rappel backup

Sunday, September 18, 2016

End Crags, Crow Hill - Rock Climbing

Mid State Trail to the top of the ledges

Great day for some mellow climbing! Never been to the End Crags of Crow Hill in Leominster State Forest. So Nuno, Nancy, David and I headed there for a day of top roping.


At the base of End Crags

Nancy on Pine Tree
It was Nancy's second day of climbing outdoors!

Beginner's Blessing

End Route

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Beginners Route - Multi Pitch Rock Climb



North Conway, NH

Beginners Route (5.5)
Trad
Whitehorse Ledge
North Conway, NH

We were both were surprised when we pulled into the parking lot. We expected the parking lot to be packed, but it wasn't. When we got to the base of the Slabs, Sean and I were the only climbers there. But after finishing up the second pitch, a group of three showed up at the base of the C-M route to set up top rope at the pine tree. And a 3rd party of two climbers showed up for Sliding Board just as we were finishing up our 3rd pitch. 










Back to climbing with Sean again. He had injured his foot earlier in the season and only now was getting back to climbing. Since he was still experiencing a bit of pain when walking, we decided to cut the route short to rappel down instead of topping off and walking down the trail. We only climbed the first 5 pitches (490ft) but I got to lead the first 3 pitches. It was so much fun, especially that 2nd pitch. 
I was also stoked that we had no one behind us on the route. I didn't feel rushed and I was able to focus on looking for pro placements. 





Trad lead is addicting. Besides the mechanical aspect of the sport, I love that it involves problem-solving and climbing/risk management - it's totally fun! Looking forward to more trad climbing!

I didn't get a chance to take a lot of photos, so here are a few. Too busy climbing! ;D


Looking up at P2 from the belay

Bringing Sean up P2







Looking up at P3 from the belay

I was tempted not to place any pro
on this pitch since the climb was so
easy,  but I did end up placing 3 pieces; a cam, a pink tricam, and then another cam.






Little pedestal at the end of P4


Piton just above the P5 belay




Views from the Smile Belay






Cormier Magness (5.6) - Multi pitch Rock Climb

 It was a short, but brutal hot day for us! But still glad to be able to get out and onto a couple of pitches of the Cormier Magness route o...