Showing posts with label Frankenstein Cliffs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frankenstein Cliffs. Show all posts

Monday, March 27, 2017

Arethusa Falls (WI3-4) - Ice Climbing

ice climbing, winter, arethusa falls
Pano photo of Arethusa Falls

Arethusa Falls (WI3-4)
Crawford Notch, NH

Beautiful bluebird day for some spring ice climbing! John and I checked out Walk In The Forest and it wasn't looking good. Most of it was in full sun and looking really baked (scary). I suggested we check out Arethusa Falls so we back-tracked along the railroad tracks and headed up the Arethusa Falls Trail. The 1.5 mile trail was well-packed and there were some hikers already coming down. They confirmed solid ice and no flowing water like John and Phil had encountered couple weeks prior. Like Waterfall (WI3) the week before, we had the falls all to ourselves. But there were many photographers, hikers and their dogs who came to the falls while we were climbing. John did a fantastic job leading up the left-center. At the start the ice was solid. But at the middle there was a lot of snow and about 3/4 way the ice was pretty bad, but under it was solid. The flowing water in the center definitely caught my attention. At the top and off to the right, is a tree with a large red webbing  around it. John set up anchor and we rapped down from here. 

Great job sending Arethusa Falls John and thanks for another mellow day of ice climbing!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Waterfall (WI3) - Ice Climbing

Waterfall (WI3)
Frankenstein Cliffs, Crawford Notch, NH

Great conditions, mild temps, no wind makes for a great climbing the last day of winter! John and I climbed the Waterfall route - had this area all to ourselves. Mellow day of climbing for sure!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Lost In The Forest - Ice Climbing

ice climbing, top rope, crawford notch

Lost In The Forest
Frankenstein Cliffs

A frigid cold, but fun day at Lost In The Forest! Met Ken, Zarina and Tim for a cold day of cragging.  - 4 in the parking lot at the start of our day. I got in a couple of top rope laps; some solo-climbing on short, low-angle ice; some downclimbing practice; and some anchor building. So good to be back climbing at Frankenstein Cliffs and looking forward to coming back during the ice season!

We think think that's Art Mooney at the top of Chia

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.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Private Lead Ice Climbing Lesson - Day 1

Crawford notch, ice climbing, trestle

A "technical" day on ice today! My lesson with Alexa Siegel of Cathedral Mountain Guides today was fantastic!! We spent the day at the "Slabs" area of Frankenstein Cliffs, an the area just past the trestle working on skills for leading ice. Alexa understood from the get-go what my goals were and what I wanted out of my private lesson with her. I wanted to learn new ice climbing skills such as leading ice and we covered everything on my list! I got to try out some Outdoor Research gloves...I really liked the OR Stormtracker gloves for leading! And I got an outline of what we covered in my lesson so I can practice these new skills every day. Thank you so much Alexa for an amazing lesson! Didn't get very many photos, just a few....

Learned how to read ice!
candling, baked, delaminated

Practiced placing pro with both my left and right hands

Also built anchors, learned to belaying a second as well as haul/lower a second. Went over Rope management at the belay station, Swing leads and Building V-threads.

I also did some mock leading, and my climbing technique
 was honed as both a follower and as a lead climber. 

At our lunch break, we got a little visitor. He isn't at all shy! He was trying to get into Alexa's backpack. He has probably been hand-fed.

At the end of the day I got some cool stuffs - couple
CMG posters, a cute pink beanie cap and a camp knife.
Put both posters in a frame and hung it up in my gear room/office.
ice climbing lessons

We couldn't cover everything in one day, so I've signed up for a second day with Alexa. Read here about my Day 2 of Private Lead Ice Climbing Lessons.

Alexa Siegel works year round as a climbing guide for Cathedral Mountain GuidesMooney 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.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Drone Camera - Standard Route - Multi pitch Ice Climbing

Standard Route  (WI3+)
Frankenstein Cliffs
Crawford Notch, NH

All last winter I had been asking him to go out ice climbing and he kept declining. So when I got Jeff B ’s email last week about ice climbing, I thought it was a joke and had to I read it several times. Jeff’s son Todd is a professional photographer/videographer and he needed some ice climbing shots/vids via GoPro Drone.

I contacted Jeff S. and made sure to check the weather - Sunday was the better of the two. Originally I had chosen Cinema Gully but was told that it would be too thin. So when Frankenstein Cliffs was suggested, I choose the Standard Route because of its short approach and exposure. And I thought Todd should have no problems piloting his Drone for shots. Plus, it was “still in.” But I chose Standard Route mainly because it’s a very recognizable route at the cliffs. So Jeff S. lead both Jeff B. and I up the Standard Route. We had a perfectly beautiful day for ice climbing. The sun was out, temps warm and for the sake of the Drone camera, hardly any wind. Enjoy some photos taken of our climb.

At the tracks of the Standard Route

Gearing Up

Jeff S. on lead - 1st pitch

Jeff S. exiting the ice cave - 2nd pitch

Exiting the ice cave

Me at the 3rd belay station belaying Jeff S. up our last pitch

If we hadn’t been told that it was noisy, I would’ve thought that Todd’s Drone camera was a swarm of bees because that’s exactly what his drone sounded like. Yup, at time 0:37 our ropes are intertwined. But no worries, Jeff and I navigated around one another with no problems. It ain’t sketchy until it gets sketchy, right? :) 

Jeff S. (green jacket) on lead. With Jeff B. in dark blue jacket and me (light blue jacket & white helmet) cleaning pro. Here's the YouTube video!

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...