Showing posts with label #SheAdventures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #SheAdventures. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Private Lead Ice Climbing Lesson - Day 2

first ice lead, lesson, thresher, cathedral ledge
On the sharp end! Thresher (WI3)
Cathedral Ledge, NH

Today I had my second private lesson with Alexa Siegel of Cathedral Mountain Guides. We headed out to Cathedral Ledge for the day. It was warm and we didn't know if it would be good for me to start leading, but there were cold temps for several nights providing some good enough ice. So when we got there, we found that the conditions of the ice were ideal for learning to lead. I had good sticks and feet all day! I ended up leading two easy short routes at Cathedral; the North End slab (WI2) & Thresher (WI3).

At the North End Pillars I did a warm up climb on top rope, then a mock lead climb on top rope. On my warm-up climb I got to try out Alexa's Nomic Ice Tools and they were definitely aggressive and weighed differently from my Quarks. She also had pick weights on her tools. Following my warm-ups, I got a lesson in building an anchor with one ice screw and a v-thread.


After a quick snack and a lesson about "Harness Organization", we were off to the nearby North End Slab (WI2) to do my first lead. We turned the climb into a 2-pitch climb so I could lead, bring Alexa up and swap leads to finish. 

Leading up the North End Slab

My anchor. Oops, that rope is supposed to be in the right side of my belay device! I did have a bit of trouble with the v-thread.  At first, the two holes didn't quiet match up - the right side was just a wee bit higher than the left. After several unsuccessful attempts to thread it, I realized I should just take that extra 30 seconds and re-do the hole. Sure enough it worked. Alexa said I shouldn't rush. Also, once I clove-hitch into my anchor, I should let my second know that I'm "off belay".... forgot to do this on both my leads and kept Alexa waiting on my belay.

Happy lead!

Coming up on the second pitch

Hauling & Lowering
After our lunch, Alexa set up an anchor on a nearby tree and we went over more skills sets. We went over Lowering and Hauling again, but this time I really had to lower and then haul her up. Alexa set up an anchor onto one of the trees and we both tied in. We were on an incline and I had to lower her and then haul her up. And Alexa didn’t let up either….she put all of her weight onto the rope and made me haul her – it was a lot of work, even for just a couple of feet!

I have never liked extending my rappels and always attached my “third hand” to my leg loop. But Alexa said that setup allowed for possible tipping if stopped suddenly. And it was also possible for the leg loop to come undone. I learned how to extend my rappel with a Nylon (not Dynema) tether, and to connect my “third hand” onto my belay loop - especially handy/quick for multi-pitch raps. 

I got onto Thresher (WI3) for my second lead. By that time of the day there was so much water running. Alexa advised me to place a second piece of pro as high up and directly above my first piece of pro. If the ice is questionable, back up the first piece of pro in case it fails. I continued on and placed my 3rd piece of pro just below the bulge. Once over the bulge and on the ledge, I brushed away the snow looking to place another piece of pro, but all the ice underneath was baked. So I ended up running it out and set up an anchor on the tree in the back. Then I brought Alexa up, and we both rapped down. Such a mellow day of learning and climbing!

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New Gear
On my last lesson I got the op to try out some OR gloves. Using the discount Alexa gave me, I purchased a pair of OR Women's Stormsensor Gloves which I received in time to use them in today's lesson. They are fabulous! They fit well, I don't have to remove them when using my iPhone, they are the perfect "lead gloves"! I also bought a Sterling Hollow Block 6.8mm to use in place of my Prussik cord. Faster for setting up Autoblocks for rapping, hauling and lowering! Yup! 

V-Thread Tool
I also bought a new v-thread tool. Practicing threading the cordllette made me realize that the Candela v-thread tool wasn't for me. It couldn't catch the cordlette like the one that Alexa had. Her's had a pointy hook on it and catching just one thread on the cordlette was enough to pull it through to set up the v-thread. So I ended up getting the Cassin Scoprio V-Thread Tool. 

I don't know what I don't know
Which is why I took private lessons from a AMGA Guide for learning how to lead ice. I learned a lot in my two days of lessons with Alexa - she was patient, positive and clearly loves to teach! There was no "winging it".... I was confident that not only would I learn the skills necessary in order to lead, but learn the most current skills used in the industry. Alexa's services as a guide are invaluable and the one-on-one professional instruction was perfect for me. Not once did I feel overwhelmed, afraid or unsafe. I was indeed nervous when it came time to actually lead, but it was partly because I really wanted to do well at leading and hoping I wouldn't forget anything.

Like my first Private Lead Ice climbing lesson, I also got an outline of everything that was covered so that I can practice the new skills.

Thank you Alexa for an awesome two days of lessons, it was fun and gratifying to learn new skills for ice climbing. These private lessons were a milestone for me. I have been ice climbing for 5 years and seconding (both ice & rock) for 3 years. I wanted to be a "strong second" before learning to lead ice. And a final thanks to my husband for his love and support - these private lead ice climbing lessons were his Christmas (2015) gift to me!

Alexa Siegel works year round as a climbing guide for Cathedral Mountain Guides, Mooney Mountain Guides, The White Mountain Climbing Camp and The Kismet Rock Foundation. She is an AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor and Wilderness First Responder. Along with Janet Wilkinson, Alexa started a Ladies Only Climbing Series with Cathedral Mountain Guides teaching women of all abilities ice climbing and mountaineering skills. She is a grassroots athlete for Outdoor Research and a member of Mountain Rescue Service.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Railroad Cut, NH – Ice Climbing

cut, rr, keene, ice climbing, low temps, frigid cold

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

So here we go again....another single digit day, but the addiction is strong and I couldn’t resist, yet again! Was supposed to be climbing the Auburn Ice Canyon but that got cancelled because the floor wasn't hard enough and there was only one flow up compared to the 4 we climbed on two weeks ago. So Kevin and I drove up to Keene, meeting Jeff on the way. Nuno and his son David was in the parking lot when we pulled in. Later George Adams came by and climbed with us. The low temps were really tough on my asthma and breathing. It went from 13 to 7 degrees in 3 hours. Plus, The Cut is like a wind tunnel and as the temps dropped, it got harder for me to climb. At the end of our day I felt exhausted, like I had felt when I hiked to Lion's Head the weekend before. But my exhaustion was due to the low temps. I did get in 4 climbs but could only finish the first two, my hands were so cold. Just a few photos of our day at “The RR Cut”.

Jeff checking out the climbs
Climbs are in, but it's gonna be brutal!

Jeff gearing up

Nuno setting up

Jeff up top, Kevin & George looking on


Nuno with David on is belay



Jeff did a fine job on this flow but near the top, lost his right crampon

Kevin and I's too cold to smile!


George leading some real nice, thin stuff!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Mt. Pemigewasset - Summer Hiking

Tree pose atop Mt. Pemigewasset

Mt. Pemigewasset (2,557ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,557ft
Trail: Mt. Pemigewasset
Distance: 3.6 miles roundtrip
NH 52 With A View
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Starting off the Labor Day weekend hiking Mt. Pemigewasset with Boomer and his mom, Noreen. The weather was incredible! A bit hot and humid, but sunny for the day! Lots of others hiking up and down the trail as well. Enjoy some photos that we took of our hike today!

Boomer takes the lead

Eh, shaka!

The Indian Head Rock Profile from Route 3

Friday, August 28, 2015

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. 

Sunday, August 23, 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

YouTube Channel - Hawaii Girl Adventures

Check out my YouTube channel at:  Hawaii Girl Adventures I will eventually be phasing out blog posts and be posting videos of my climbing, h...