NH Ice!

To pick up where I left off, I met up with Brian the Hardman again this winter.  We headed over to the Penguin, Bob’s Delight ( a tad thin), and the first pitch of the Hobbit.  It was pretty cold, and my tools were actually bouncing off of the ice from time to time. Day 2 found Brian leading the North End slab, and us sending Goofer’s Delight. It’s as fat as I’d ever seen it.

We headed back to Frankenstien on Wednesday. We sent Smear center, and then Chia.  It was still brutally cold, so we thought a quick lap up The Standard route would keep us warm.  While racking up, a leader on Dropline went huge, breaking his lower leg and talus in the process.  We assisted in the rescue and carry out.  I am fortunate to have had such a strong guest for the day.  Brian acted without hesitation and his strength was noteable.  Thanks to Sean from Synnott Mountain Guides, Karsten Delap and Lindsay Fixmer for their assistance as well.  I checked up on Mike at the hospitol later and he was doing alright.  He was in good hands with some of the best orthopedic’s and one great PA.

Friday found us on our way up into Huntington Ravine to check out Pinnacle Gully.  I climb Pinnacle regularly, and this time, the snow was weird.  I found pencil hard wind slabs, and facets in random places.  Spooky for sure.  The first pitch was excellent with soft ice despite the brutally cold weather.  Pitches 2 and 3 were dry and brittle.  We had horrendous spindrift the whole time.  I felt like I had sandblasted cheeks!  We made a quick jog across the alpine garden and headed down the East Face Direct, then on to Pinkham Notch.  Ice Fest was in full gear.  About 100 participants were upstairs at IME/IMCS demoing the latest gear and sampling a beer from the Tuckerman’s Brewing Co.

On Saturday, I headed to Willey’s Slide as a guest guide for Ice Fest with a group of 3 on an Ice and Alpine Skills day.  We began with a review of crampons and ice axe use.  Built anchors, belays, and v threads.

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We made a technical ascent of the left side of Willey’s, and then a technical descent via v threads all the way back down.  It was a fantastic day day with a capable and funny bunch of guys.

On Sunday, Freddie Wilkinson and I headed over to the Barking Dog crag at Humphrey’s Ledge for an Ice Climbing for Rock Climbers clinic.  With a total of 9 climbers, we had a blast on a warm day.  Good jokes, funny moments, and some great climbing.  What a hoot!

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Hyperlight Mountain Gear hooked me up with a sweet pack that I used during the fest.  It was hyperlight, and a dream to use.  Check them out at www.hyperlightmountaingear.com

Hyperlight Ice Pack

Hyperlight Ice Pack

I always look forward to working the Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest, and I hope to return in 2014!  Thanks to everyone for a great Festival.

I spent the next 5 days participating in the AMGA’s Ice Instructor Course.  I’ll have a seperate post for that. Add in 2 more days of guiding, and it totals 16 days of hard work!  Exhausted is the only word I can find to describe what the last 2 1/2 weeks has been like.  I can’t wait for more!

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