Saturday, January 30, 2016

Auburn Ice Canyon - Ice Climbing

ice climbing, auburn, ice, canyon
A fun vertical!
Auburn Ice Canyon
Auburn, MA

Given the warm temps today, we got lucky to have ice to climb on! I saw photos of the ice there from March 2015 and it was uber fat! But I’ll take whatever ice I can get on, especially with great ice climbing buddies! Steff and I met up with Robb, Dan and Joey at the Westec  approach. Our approach from Westec Drive was a easy and short 15 minute hike, with leveled terrain most of the way. Once we got to the canyon, I was surprised to see my buddies Jeff and Kevin setting up top rope. Originally, I had told Jeff we’d be at Auburn Canyon, but he was going north to climb with Kevin. A change of plans brought him and Kevin down to MA. Other climbing buddies, Chris and Tom showed up a short while later. There were 4 top ropes set up and I got in 6 climbs including a fun vertical and some mixed climbing. It was such a wonderful day for ice climbing! The day was clear, temps moderate in the high 30’s. And there was much laughter throughout the day!

Auburn Ice Canyon is actually a flood-diversion channel for the greater Worcester area. It usually carries a faint smell of sewage in warm weather. In the winter when everything is frozen, the floor is hard and the rock and concrete walls build up with ice flows. The canyon is a short ride from Boston and a great alternative if you’re not up for driving north to ice climb. Also perfect for getting in some quick laps.

Enjoy some photos taken while ice climbing at the Auburn Canyon in Massachusetts!

Our Westec approach took us down a ramp
then a short rappel down to the canyon floor.

Once on the canyon floor, it looks like there isn't much for ice.

But there was enough ice flows for 4 top rope setups.

Canyon Floor Selfie

Steff rocks some ice!

Chris got on some mixed stuff to show me the way!

Good to see Kevin finally on ice!



Dan's first time!


Canyon floor 

Robb and Dan

No one home

POV by Robb Millett - 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

DIY Fleece Leggings

DIY, sewing, Polartec, Power Stretch, Fleece, Leggings
DIY  Fleece Leggings

Cozy, fun fleece leggings for hiking, camping or to be used as a layer for ice climbing and winter hiking! Fabric I used for this project is Polartec Power Stretch purchased at Mill Yardage. Please note that I made myself Leggings using only 1 yard of fabric. I'm petite (5'2") and its just the right amount of fabric for me. If you are taller, a bit more fabric will be needed for this sewing project. Sew easy!

Supplies used:
1 yard Polartec Power Stretch Fleece
3/4" Waistband Elastic
Kwik Sew #K3636 Pattern
1 yard Tracing Material -I use Sew-In Interfacing (Optional)
Ball point pen or marker
Scissors or rotary cutter
Cutting mat (for rotary cutter)
Ruler or Tape measure
Suggested Needle: Schmetz Stretch Needle 90/14
Suggested Thread: Maxi-Lock Stretch Serger Thread
Household Sewing Machine
Zig Zag Foot Attachment

**This DIY project assumes you already know how to use your sewing machine and have basic sewing skills. If you don't, contact a sewing store for basic sewing lessons.

My Sewing Notes:

For this project I used the Kwik Sew #K3636 pattern. It’s really easy to follow the instructions for this pattern.  JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores carries a limited supply of Kwik Sew patterns so I ordered online (see References below).  This pattern is normally $10.99 but was on sale for $5.99. 

Tracing Pattern pieces is optional. I trace pattern pieces because the patterns include different sizes. If I cut out just one pattern size, then I won’t be able to use the pattern pieces in the other sizes. If you don’t plan to use the other pattern sizes, just omit tracing and cut out the pattern piece. This will save you the time from tracing as well as the cost of tracing material. I used a ball-point pen and a marker to trace my pattern onto Sew-In Interfacing. While some seamsters prefer to trace their pattern pieces directly onto the fabric using a tracing wheel and tracing transfer paper, I personally prefer to trace the pattern pieces onto Sew-In Interfacing. I use Sew-In Interfacing for tracing because it’s inexpensive and very easy to see through.  Also, when using a tracing wheel to trace patterns, over time the pattern will tear along the traced lines.

I also changed the order of sewing by hemming the leggings bottom first, then sewing up the inseam. This made hemming easier than sewing the inseam first, then folding up the hem to stitch.

4 Easy Steps
  1. I finished the bottom hem edge with an overlock stitch. Then folded the bottom hem up 1 inch and using a zigzag stitch, I finished off the bottom hem.
  2. Using an overlock stitch, I sewed up the inseams.
  3. Fold the serger tail up and using a small, narrow zigzag stitch, "tack the tail" making certain to sew on the serger stitches. Trim excess serger thread.
  4. Turn right side out - finished hem.

Since these bottoms are going to be used for ice climbing and winter hiking, I wanted to add a crotch gusset so that I wouldn’t pop any seams. I used the free Gusset pattern and tutorial at EYMM Modern Designs.

The tutorial is super easy to follow! Inserting a gusset into your leggings will change the order of construction from the pattern directions. So if you want to add a gusset into the bottoms, just follow the EYMM Modern Designs tutorial. Then finish off using the Kwik Sew pattern directions for the waistband and pant leg hem. If you don’t want a gusset, then just follow the Kwik Sew pattern directions. 

Maxi-Lock Stretch Serger Thread
Works perfectly with Fleece and knits. It’s stretchy and will have more “give” in stretchy and knit fabric than polyester threads. If you don’t have a serger/overlock machine, you can still use this thread. Just buy one cone and wind some thread on a bobbin to use in your regular sewing machine. If you’re finishing off the hem edge with double stitch, then wind the thread onto two bobbins.

Suppliers/Resources & Notes:
Polartec Power Stretch Fleece: Mill Yardage (New Hampshire)

Kwik Sew #K3636 Pattern: Kwik Sew (Kansas)

Waistband Elastic and Apparel Sew-In Interfacing:  Joann’s Fabric & Craft

Crotch Gusset Pattern & Tutorial

My Sewing History
I spent many years sewing my own clothes….that’s what you did after your mom sent you to sewing lessons for the summer when you’re 14 years old. Over the years I handmade Halloween costumes for my daughters as well as prom dresses and figure skating costumes complete with beadwork all done by hand. Living just 12 miles from Malden Mills, I outfitted my family with handmade polar fleece jackets, pullovers, hats, mittens and pants. We still use polar fleece blankets that I had made years ago! And I even had a small biz selling Polar Fleece Skatewear to figure skating teams – I contracted a small manufacturing company in New Hampshire do to all the sewing in order for me to focus on the sales end of the business. I stopped sewing for several years but now am back at it again. This time for making my own outdoor gear to be used while out climbing and hiking!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Kinsman Notch - Ice Climbing

ice climbing, kinsman notch, shamrock

Kinsman Notch
Woodstock,  NH

It was my first ice climb of the season and it felt good to finally be out and climbing. It was Ken's first climb of the season as well. Today was Steff's second time out climbing and she totally loved it. And Archit had never ice climbed before today, but is now hooked! Today's climbing event was part of the Mountaineering, Climbing &Backpacking of New England meetup. We set up ropes on Pot o' Gold (WI4), Kilarney (WI2+), Shamrock (WI4-). A rope was also set up on the climb at the far left but I don’t know the name of the route. Enjoy some photos taken of our day of climbing. 

Pot o' Gold, Shamrock and Kilarney.
Thanks for the belay Jeff!

Archit's first time ice climbing
He killed Pot o' Gold!

Steff enjoying Pot o' Gold and Shamrock

I love to practice climbing with no ice tools!
Fun and challenging!

All smiles and loving ice climbing!


Climb With Aloha!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Stinson Mountain - Winter Hiking

Stinson Mountain (2,850ft)

Elevation Gain: 1,300 ft
Trails: Stinson Mountain, Snowmobile

Another great hike with the Nature Girls! 
Enjoy some photos taken along our hike.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Mt. Wachusett - New Year Hike

Spent the 2nd day of the New Year hiking Mt. Wachusett with the Nature Girls!! Enjoy some photos taken of our hike!