Sunday, May 3, 2015

Wavelength – Multi-pitch Rock Climbing

multi pitch rock climb, Whitehorse Ledge

Wavelength (5.8)
1,080 feet, 10 pitches
Whitehorse Ledge
North Conway, NH

May 2nd brought a fabulous day for a first multi-pitch rock climb of the season!

Counting the ‘walk-up’ to the Launch Pad, Sean, Tom and I did 10 pitches today of The Slabs, Center of Whitehorse Ledge. We had blue skies the entire day, climbed the 5.8 pitch listening to Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ outdoor convention speech and met a “totally blind” climber on his very first multi-pitch climb.

Our climbing plan; start on the Standard Route’s direct route (Quartz pocket) and if it was dry, onto Wavelength, linking up with the Sliding Board and finishing up on the Standard Route. Sean would lead and Tom and I would second several of the pitches together. 

Enjoy photos taken of our climb!

White Mountain Hotel & Resort with Whitehorse Ledge in the backgound

A little bit of snow at the base of the ledge

Sean leading up to "The Toilet Bowl"
multi pitch rock climb, Whitehorse Ledge

Me on Sean's belay at the "Launch Pad"

Tom and I making our way up from the Launch Pad to the Toilet Bowl
multi pitch rock climb, Whitehorse Ledge

A Piton at the "Quartz Pocket"

Tom finishing up the 4th pitch to the thread
anchor in the main arch. Sean on his belay.
multi pitch rock climb, Whitehorse Ledge

Sean leading the 5.8 pitch!
multi pitch rock climb, Whitehorse Ledge






Tricky pocket section! Great moves for a tall climber, as Sean demonstrates! My short-climber beta; right foot on base. Right hand on small nub. Left hand in lower pocket. All in one move: Step up with left foot to meet left hand in lower pocket. As you push off with right hand and step up onto left foot, bump left hand up to higher, bigger pocket. Match hands and bump right foot up to higher nub. Step up to a bolt.







Happy belayer!

Tom's turn on the 5.8!
Making his way up the face of the brown bulge.

Past the crux and on the dike to the anchor of the 5.8

You damn right I'm happy to be climbing Wavelength!
multi pitch rock climb, Whitehorse Ledge

Making my way up to the anchor just
below the steep headwall of The Sliding Board

Tom's turn to make his way up to the anchor!

Protection along the steep dike through the headwall of The Sliding Board.

Removing pro


Final pitch


Also topping out - safe and sound (left to right) Copp, Tom & Paul
These guys went off route a bit and Sean let them know.
They made the route tougher than it really was and it was
pretty scary watching their lead climber taking a couple of falls.
George Hurley, who was at the base, yelled up
directions to where they were supposed to be. 

Our belay and anchor stations along the route (yellow stars)
Photo: North Conway Rock Climbs Guidebook

Monday, April 13, 2015

Huntington Ravine “The Fan” - Solo Spring Hike

winter, hiking, white mountains, Pinnacle, Central, Damnation, Yale, North, South

Huntington Ravine Floor (4,100ft)
Elevation Gain: 2,100ft
Distance: 5.2 miles roundtrip
Trails: Tuckerman Ravine, Huntington Ravine, Fire/Service Road

Not my usual hike to a summit, but above 4000 feet for sure. The Huntington Ravine floor, commonly known as “The Fan” was my destination for this morning. I had originally planned to hike this yesterday but today the forecast called for a sunny, deep blue sky day. 'The Fan' is a huge open boulder field below the headwall that spreads out like one of those old hand fans.  Normally you would have to navigate around, over, and in between some huge boulders in the scrub to get to the Fan. But the snow and ice make it easier to get around.

I was pretty surprised at the amount of skiers and boarders at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. The parking lot was packed so I ended up parking on the side of the road just outside the entrance. Tuckerman Ravine Trail was packed with folks of all ages with downhill and XC skis, snow boards, sleds and butt sleds. Lots of dogs hike this trail to the ravine as well. Even on my descent there were folks hiking up. It was pretty cool to watch skiers come down the John Sherburne Ski Trail. I used information on Marc Chauvin’s website to plan my solo hike: http://www.chauvinguides.com/hunticeguide.htm

Crystal Cascade Waterfall from Tuckerman Ravine Trail

Tuckerman Ravine from the fire/service road

A peek of the ravine - Central Gully

First Aid cache just below the floor of the ravine

The mouth of Huntington Ravine

Yale and Damnation Gullies

Pinnacle and Central Gullies

Odell's Gully

South Gully

Escape Hatch Gully

Overall this was a great solo hike….well, not so much solo as Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail was packed. The snow was packed well but on my descent, with warm temps, the snow was a slushy and slippery mess.

I was blown away when I got into ‘The Fan’, the views were phenomenal! I was glad to experience the immensity of the ravine. There were climbers making their way up Damnation, Yale, Central and Pinnacle gullies and a few glissading down the Escape Hatch gully. I hiked the entirety in my ice climbing boots and I’m not ever doing that again. They are super stiff and my feet started aching ¾ of the way up. Anyways, hope you enjoyed some photos that I took of my visit to the Huntington Ravine floor! Here’s a short video from the ravine floor.


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. http://toddjburgess.com/

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!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Monkey Wrench & Upper Hitchcock - Spring Ice Climbing

At the base of Upper Hitchcock with Crawford Notch in the background

Left Hand Monkey Wrench (WI3)
Upper Hitchcock (WI3-)
Mount Willard
Crawford Notch, NH

Forecasts called for cloudy skies and some snow. But all that gave way to blue skies and sunshine by the time Jeff S. and I reached the base of the Hitchcock Gully. We pretty much broke trail up Lower Hitchcock, traversing right to Left Hand Monkey Wrench, then onto the base of Upper Hitchcock. It was slow going but we took our time anyways since there were only two other teams in the area climbing.

At the base of Upper Hitchcock






It was my very first time on Upper Hitchcock and it was a lot of fun, except when my calves cramped up. Attributed to, according to Jeff, dehydration and probably due to my just getting over a cold. I have had my calves ‘pumpy’ before but not so much that they cramped up. Had to have Jeff ‘take’ so I could rest.

Left: Looking down Upper Hitchcock from the Rap Station










Jeff and I at the Rap Station above Upper Hitchcock




I wanted to climb this second pitch of Upper Hitchcock. It's a short section just above the rappel station but didn’t want to take any chances with my calves cramping up again. So Jeff and I rapped the entire Hitchcock Gully, right down to the tracks.










Two weeks ago we couldn’t get onto Upper Hitchcock, but today was a different story. We had the climb all to ourselves and when we rapped down, Laura and Chris came up to check it out. They decided not to climb UH but took a couple of photos of Jeff and I before heading off towards The Cleft. 




East Face Slabs Left

I do cartwheels with Jeff's rope and he ends up untangling them. ;D

Jeff rapping down the Lower Hitchcock Gully. 
He stopped at this section to check out a piece of fixed pro.


It got warmer as the day went on and the sun stayed out until we got back to the parking lot. Surely a mellow day of Spring ice climbing up the side of Mount Willard!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cinema Gully, East Face Slabs & The Cleft – Multi-pitch Ice Climbing

Cinema Gully (WI2)
East Face Slabs Left (WI3)
The Cleft (WI2+)
Mount Willard

Crawford Notch, NH
multi pitch ice climb, Mount Willard
I love when Jeff S. takes me ice climbing with him - I get to do some freaking fun climbing on a little alpine playground! Mount Willard is home to some awesome ice and alpine routes. Today I had the opportunity to climb two more of those routes and then finish off on The Cleft.

Cinema Gully(WI2)
It was cool to see a bolt at the belay station of the 1st pitch. Jeff asked if I wanted to set a belay station there or walk up a bit to a thin sheet of ice. Since it would mean one-and-a-half roped pitches, I choose the latter and Jeff and I walked up to the next belay station where the ice was full of screw holes. It was a gorgeous day…see the sun and blue skies in our photos! :)  After topping off we ascended a bit more to sit and eat our lunches and then traversed over towards the Upper Hitchcock route.

Looking up at Cinema Gully from the train tracks

Jeff and I at the 2nd belay station

Looking up at our last pitch

East Face Slabs Left (WI3)
Our intention was to climb Upper Hitchcock but there were folks already on it. So we climbed the East Face Slabs Left. I thought I was being a good second, all hero and all. I spotted Jeff’s backpack at the base of a tree and thinking we were walking off once at the top, I had the genius idea to haul it up. But when I got to Jeff at the “rap station”, I found out that we were rapping down. I wasn’t paying attention when he mentioned that we were rapping down. 

The base of the East Face Slabs Left

Jeff at the rap station of East Face Slabs Left





It wasn’t easy hauling that backpack up. I hitched one end of a sling to it and the other end to my belay loop on my harness. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. On the vertical areas of the route that backpack became “really heavy.” It was a good workout pushing up on my feet to get up the vertical sections with that backpack dangling below me! And yes, I also had my own backpack with me! **Thinking back on it, I should've just shoved Jeff's backpack into mine. LOL!









The Cleft (WI2+)
Afterwards we traversed to The Cleft which Jeff led in one pitch. The Cleft is a geological gem-of-a-feature. There was more ice and snow in this slot since the last time Jeff and I had climbed it making for an easier ascent. We topped off, packed our gear away and headed to the Mt. Willard Trail. The last 10 minutes of our hike out was done at dusk. 







Definitely a mellow day of ice climbing Mount Willard! We got 5 pitches and a little over 900 feet of climbing in, hooyah!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

My First Ice Lead – Ice Climbing

Willey’s Slide Center (WI2)
Mt. Willey
Crawford Notch, NH

Super stoked! Did my first lead on ice today! The second pitch of Willey's Slide (center) with Geoff N. Didn't go too far....about 40 meters to set up an anchor on the face of a fat bulge. Placed two pieces of pro (very snowy pitch).

The approach (steep uphill) wasn’t what I was looking forward to. But once at the base of the climb, it was all but forgotten. There were rolls and rolls of ice, most of it on the left side. Geoff decided on the center of the Slide.








There was a group of 3 in front of us and Geoff and I quickly set up to come up about 20 feet to the right of them. In the meantime, a group of half dozen showed up, plus two more teams which set up on either side of us. The entire climb went on without a hitch. It was a bit chilly and few periods of sunshine, but hardly any wind. At the first belay station I stayed focus on belaying Geoff, it made me less nervous not to think about leading the 2nd pitch. 



Once at the 2nd belay station Geoff asked me if I wanted to lead the next pitch. There was no pressure to do so. In fact, he told me that I could place a few pieces of protection and lower down if I didn’t want to continue. Or I could continue to a bulge and set up our 3rd belay station. I decided to go for it. We made sure I had all the necessary gear for my lead. At first I was a bit nervous and slightly anxious. But once I left the belay station and started climbing, I was able to focus and relax. 



My ice screws went in easily - love that color-coded handle that makes it so easy to place/remove. I also made use of a couple of my Yates Screamers. At the belay station I set up 3 ice screws for anchors, clove-hitched myself into them and attached the cordelette for the Direct Belay. I didn’t know it then, but I should’ve been much lower than my belay device. It would’ve made it easier for me to take up rope. Once Geoff got up to the belay station, he gave me feedback. He demonstrated how easy it was to take up rope when well below the belay device and he critiqued my belay/anchor system. It was a good day! :)

Geoff's GoPro vid of my lead up the 2nd pitch. 

We ended up climbing the Slide in 4 pitches. That group of 3 (guide and two students) on our left took the “good tree” for an anchor so Geoff set up anchor just slightly right of the middle of our finish. We finished at the very tip-top of the Slide and that last pitch stretched out the 70m ropes to their very ends.

Back in the parking lot I had forgotten to hand Geoff his orange rope.  When I got home I didn’t empty my pack right away. I left Geoff’s rope and all my gear in my pack and weighed it….33 lbs! Didn’t realize I had hauled that weight up and down Willey’s. 



Overall, this was a fun day, but I do have to admit, however, it was tough. I thought climbing the Slide was tougher than climbing Lake Willoughby the week prior

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...