Walking into the Halls of Valhalla–3 Day Comprehensive Mountaineering

To quote Judas Priest’s Halls of Valhalla, “Fierce is the gale”.

Jason sent me an email many months ago.  He, Seth, Daniel, and Dan have some upcoming ascents and they decided to take the early steps to gain some technical know how.  I’ve been offering a 3 Day Comprehensive Mountaineering Course for years, and every time we do it, we have a successful trip.  We don’t always summit a bigger objective, but this time we did, and we crushed it. We prepared for alpine battle.

Day 1: Crampon and boot use, ice axe basics, knots, belaying, rappelling, and 5 pitches of single pitch ice climbing at Cathedral Ledge.  This was new for everyone, and we had a ton of success.

Ben Carlson, president of Furnace Industries, loaded me a pair of his Kronos Ice tools.  They are a beautiful wooden ice axe, and they work pretty darn well!  I was honestly surprised when this crew opted for the Kronos and passed over my Nomics, every single time.  Ben, do you hear that?

Day 2:  Alpine Style Climb; multi pitch skills, snow climbing skills

Willies Slide is the classic mountaineering training climb.  Nate McKenzie joined us to help share the load, and we all climbed up to the top of Willies and then complete a technical descent via V-Threads and rappelling. We also spent a fair amount of time perfecting footwork on steeper snow and ice.  Self arrest skills became a focus of our morning session.  It rained pretty hard in the afternoon, but we got outta there just in time!

Day 3: Mt Washington Ascent via the Lion Head Winter Route. We chose this route as the posted avalanche hazard was Considerable: Natural Avalanches possible, Human Triggered Avalanches Probable.

We put all of our skills on the table this day.  Our route covered 8 miles and 4000′ of elevation gain, a mixed rock/snow/ice step that we roped up for, sustained 50-60mph winds and 50-100 visibility above treeline.

This was a crew of troopers and they kept up with what Nate called an ‘efficient’ pace. I’m glad Nate was able to tag along as well. Many thanks to Jason, Daniel, Seth, and Dan, and to Nate for his expert help on day #2.

While El NiÑo has been an ass kicker for those of us who are ice climbers, mountaineering conditions have been pretty good.  Please call if you would like to join us on a 2 or 3 day mountaineering adventure.  We’re happy to help you achieve your goals. Talk a Walk Into the Halls of Valhalla.

“Valhalla, you are calling
Valhalla, you are calling me home
Valhalla, new day dawning
Valhalla, this is where I belong, I belong’


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