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Archive for the ‘Featured Stories’ Category

Smuggs Ice Bash 2014 – Recap

Smugglers Notch Ice Bash kicked off with an awesome evening at Petra Cliffs!  There was an great line up of competitors ready to crush the route set by Matt McCormick and Peter Kamitses. There’s no where else in the Northeast you can go to see this kind of show!

The winners of the 2014 Smuggs Ice Bash Indoor Comp. at Petra Clif

The winners of the 2014 Smuggs Ice Bash Dry Tool Competition at Petra Cliffs

The Dry Tool Competition Winners

Womens

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1st – Alexa Siegel

2nd – Andrea Charest

3rd – Lindsay Fixmer

Mens

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1st – Whit Magro

2nd – Will Mayo

3rd – Roy Quanstrom

The-Competors

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Will-Mayo

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Photos: 1.The competitors  2.Alexa Siegel 3.Will Mayo 4.Andrea Charest


Video Recap of the Competition


 

There for the festivities was the American Alpine ClubFurnace IndustriesUS SherpaOutdoor Gear Exchange and Health Warrior. Before and after the comp, Dry Ice Tools and tools from Black Diamond and Cassin were available for demos on the climbing wall.  To top it off, raffle prizes were given away, sponsored by Crag-VT!

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Hot beverages and hot soup!
Courtesy of NEice and Outdoor Gear Exchange

NEice was proud to sponsor a women’s beginner clinic on Saturday led by Andrea Charest.  The clinic was free to all participants and judging by this photo, it looks like everyone had a blast!  And of course, hot soup was waiting for everyone who came down from the notch after a day of climbing.  There were great clinics offered all weekend from Steep Ice and Mix climbing to Alpine Climbing to Double Rope Techniques by guides including Tim Farr, Steve Charest, Mike Bauman, Matt Bressler, Mark Puleio and Michael Wejchert.  Guest guides this year were Whit Magro and Lindsay Fixmer!  Demo gear from all the major manufacturers were there and Smuggler’s Notch Inn was packed with people checking out the gear.  By the end of the morning on Saturday, -all- the ice tools on -every- table were headed out for the day.

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Michael Wejchert gives some mix climbing tips during Sunday’s clinic.

Once the demo gear was out, the reps and guides were psyched to get out and climb.  Kevin Mahoney and Michael Wejchert spent their Saturday on Dominatrix (WI4+/5 M6), put up by local hardmen Alden Pellett and Dave Furman in 1998.  It was one of the hardest mix routes during the late 90′s and sent with straight shafted tools at the time.  Hats off.  Lindsay got her first taste of Vermont ice with Steve Charest as her tour guide while Matt McCormick and I decided to head to the Blue Room. When we reached the top of the notch, we were greeted by strong wind gusts and snow.  It was definitely a full-on day!  It was great to see everyone out, climbing or snowshoeing and skiing the road and embracing the Vermont winter.

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Kevin Mahoney on the Dominatrix.
Photo by Michael Wejchert

Saturday night, Lindsay Fixmer showcased a little of her singer/songwriter talent and entertained the crowd with a song about women in climbing and the guiding world accompanied by photographs.  It’s not often the guest presenter brings a guitar!  That was followed up by Whit Magro.  He presented a slide show about climbing at home, traveling to bigger places, then heading back home to climb after those experiences.. and then doing it all over again.  More great raffle prizes were handed out and Smuggs Bash teeshirts thrown into the crowd.  We all love free swag!

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Lindsay Fixmer and her guitar Saturday night

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Climbing clinic at the Mystery Wall.

On Sunday, the temperatures plummeted, but mere -7 degrees wouldn’t stop this festival.  I headed up the notch with Lindsay for a women’s clinic along with Jess Jablonski.  Despite the cold temperatures, these women spent the day laughing, climbing and learning.  It was a great group of gals and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to teach and climb with them. This year was big!  And it will only get better and better with Andrea and Stephen Charest running the show!  With that said, NEice extends the biggest of thanks to Andrea and Steve for all they do, not just for the Vermont climbers but the entire northeast climbing community and making the Annual Smugglers Notch Ice Bash a huge success.  We love being apart of it!

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Photo by Michael Wejchert

More photos of the event on the Smuggs Ice Bash facebook page.  LIKE them to make sure you are ready for next year!

- Courtney Ley / NEice.com

Featured story cover photo by Sam Simon Imaging. Competition photos by Doug Millen. Other photos by Courtney Ley and as noted.

 

The Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest 2014

Coming This Weekend!

The Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest

North Conway, NH

Jan. 31st-Feb. 2nd, 2014!

A weekend filled with clinics, demos, guest guides, apres climbing party, evening presentations, live music and MORE!

This is the biggest Ice Festival in the Northeast! No where else can you find so many top guides in one place. Truly the cream of the crop. So come up, have some fun and learn from the best. NEice will be at IME on Friday and Saturday for the apres climbing party with hot soup and our latest Helicopter. We look forward to seeing you there.

It’s Not too Late to Sign Up for Clinics!

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* Click to Enlarge

The weather forecast could not be better, some real cold to bring in the ice and mild weather to climb in with a little snow.

Weather Ice Fest

 

Clinics include: Ice Climbing 101, Ice Climbing For Rock Climbers, Thin Ice, Mixed Climbing with Tim Emmett, Snow & Alpine Skills & MORE!
And don’t forget about the killer evening presentations that are hosted just 4 miles from IME at Theater In The Wood!

Friday evening will be opened up by Jeff Longcor and the featured presenter is legendary, Barry Blanchard.

Saturday evening has Majka Burhardt opening up the evening and the featured presentation is by the infectiously energetic Tim Emmett!
Don’t miss it, spread the word, and we hope to see you there!

More information can be found here www.mwv-icefest.com

and the latest news here on NEice. MWV-ICE-FEST-North-Conway-New-Hampshire

Paradox Sports Returns to North Conway

The Third Annual Adaptive Ice Climbing Event

Its called Paradox Ice – we’re taking 20 athletes with physical disabilities ice climbing at Cathedral Ledge.

Dates: Friday, Feb 7 to Sunday Feb 9, 2014

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Photo by Claudia Lopez

Boulder, CO – Paradox Sports is pleased to announce that the third annual Paradox Ice event in North Conway, New Hampshire February 7-9, 2014. Throughout the weekend, 20 adaptive athletes will learn about the specialized equipment and adaptive techniques needed to climb vertical walls of ice.

Participants range from wounded warriors with PTSD to amputees, paraplegics and  visually impaired athletes. Registration includes meals, lodging, equipment rental and professional guide services.

Co-founder and below-the-knee amputee, Malcolm Daly, launched Paradox Ice in 2008: “Ice is the great equalizer. None of us can climb it without adaptive equipment. We just go one step further.”

Paradox Ice is open to people with physical disabilities, their families or caretakers and military veterans. This is event is made possible by the guides at Ascent Climbing and Alpine Inspirations.

For more information or to register for the upcoming climbs, please visit http://paradoxsports.org/programs/paradox-ice.

Scholarships and financial assistance are available.

Program Coordinator and guide Nate McKenzie of Ascent Climbing: “Weʼ re
excited to bring Paradox Sports adaptive climbing programs to the north east. Its
the only event of its kind in the region and the community really steps up to
support Paradox and our athletes.”

We still have a few spots left and we’re looking for more participants. We can provide full scholarships and tuition assistance for folks that need it.

If folks want to help support our trip by making a small donation to Paradox Sports, they should visit our CrowdRise fundraiser at http://www.crowdrise.com/ParadoxIce

Mark Synnott is giving a free slideshow at the Flatbread / Eastern Slope Inn conference room at 7:30pm on Saturday, February 8. Open to the public.

More Here..

Paradox Sports is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that improves peopleʼ s lives by creating adaptive sport communities built to inspire.

Photos by Claudia Lopez

The Heretic

 

Heresy: An unorthodox practice, publicly avowed, and obstinately defended.

Heretic: One who carries out the above; traditionally burned alive as penalty for sins.

 

THE HERETIC

article by Patrick Cooke
 

*****

There’s a particular dogma within our community that drives us and binds us together: get out every chance you can. Our season is short, and we need to make the most of it. Last year I climbed 55 days. I could have gotten out more, but I feel pretty good about the fact that I managed to get out so much in a season that didn’t begin for me until the week before Christmas, a full month after Doug, Court, Alan, and the rest of the gang had broken out the tools for first swings.

I needed to get out those 55 days. For me, every day out was a session in vertical therapy. Throwing myself at the ice, day in and day out, let me work through everything else that I couldn’t control in my life. I was the poster-child of the addicted ice climber – I couldn’t climb enough.

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But how many of those days were truly good days? How many were days where I walked away as the sun set, thinking “damn, that was a great day of climbing!”?  The truth is, although I climbed a ton last winter, it wasn’t really my best season of ice climbing. For every great day I had where I’d climb something noteworthy for me, there’d be another day of cruising up moderates because that’s all my mind could handle. Sure, moderate ice is fun, but climbing it because you feel like you should instead of because you want to isn’t necessarily inspiring. In fact, on many of those days, I probably would have been better off skiing, running, reading, sleeping in, or hanging out with friends.

I won’t be climbing 55 days this winter. Having a full-time job made that a foregone conclusion before the season even began. But 40 days would be possible. 30 would be easy. I doubt I’ll get 25 days out this winter. And I’m fine with that.

An Unorthodox Practice:

Two weekends ago, I passed up the opportunity to go ice climbing. Not moderate gully cruising or anything of that like… a day at the Lake taking advantage of hero ice on steep lines I either haven’t done before or would usually jump at the chance of doing again. I stayed home, took a yoga class, climbed some with friends at the local gym, saw my extended family.

I’ve gotten picky in when I’m willing to go out… I’m bailing if it’s too cold, too rainy, or the offerings not inspiring enough. Instead I’m climbing in a gym, reading, writing, doing yoga, running, pursuing relationships, hanging out with friends, and everything else I’ve swept aside in my dogmatic pursuit of ice week in and week out.

Publicly Avowed:

I don’t know how many days I’ve climbed so far this winter. I started counting at the beginning of the winter, but don’t really care to bother at this point. Maybe it’s 12 or 13 days… it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is how I’m climbing. Despite going two weeks between swings of the tools at times, I’m climbing better than I ever have.

This season I haven’t been getting out much, but every day has been a quality day. There haven’t been any of the “why am I here?” moments that seemed to happen so frequently when I was forcing getting on the ice. I’ve led pitches this winter I’d have been too chicken-shit to lead last winter, all with a cool, calm head and none of the overwhelming feelings of panic that lead to this.

I’m more relaxed, calmer, and climbing better. Replacing a single-minded obsession with a more balanced approach to life is reaping dividends for me. In three days of climbing in the Daks last weekend, I led more hard pitches and with greater ease than I did in 10 days in the Canadian Rockies last winter. Climbing the first pitch of PowerPlay Sunday as a pretty much dry, seriously runout line that required every trick I knew might have been the best lead I’ve ever done.

I have no regrets over bailing on that day at the Lake.

Obstinately Defended:

I’m not sure most people on this site agree with my stance. But I’m standing by it. I’ll climb less if that means I climb better.

The Heretic beginning his easiest lead of the Mountainfest Weekend

The Heretic beginning his easiest lead of the Mountainfest Weekend

 

There’s a heretic among us… Light your torches!

 

Mountainfest 2014 Wrap-Up

Mountainfest-2013-037Another Adirondack Mountainfest has come and gone.  As always, it started with a joke from Vinny and ended with many things to toast to with some good bourbon.  What happened in between?  Well, all weekend, clinics were going on, gear was being demo’ed, ice, snow and rock was climbed and kegs were tapped.

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Photo by Andrea Charest

There were an array of classes going on from an Avalanche Intro Course with Chuck Boyd, Slide Climbing with Jeremy Haas, Colin Loher and Chad Kennedy to Climbing a 1,000 Feet of Ice with Jesse Williams to Snowshoe Mountaineering with Carl Heilman.  And of course there was learning steep ice, thin ice, hard ice and every kind of ice with great guides and overall great people like Ian Osteyee, Don Mellor, Matt Horner, Matt McCormick, Jim Pitarresi.. need I say more?  We were excited to welcome Vermont’s Andrea Charest, fresh out of Ouray to attend her first Mountainfest!  She took both beginner and advanced climbers out for clinics on both days. I’m sure she will be back!

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Some interesting lines for everyone to learn on!
Photo by Andrea Charest

Friday night kicked off with Aaron Mulkey’s presentation.  He is a Wyoming based climber and Rab athlete.  He is also the owner and author of the website Coldfear.  Check it out and you’d wish you’d been there for the show!

On Saturday, the temperatures warmed up, the sun was out and the winds were calm.  I had grabbed a pair of Altai Hok skis from our friends at The Mountaineer to demo that day and the only decent snow cover I could find was at Whiteface Mountain!  Very un-Adirondack like.  I was really impressed with the skis.  They are a snowshoe/ski hybrid with built in skins.  The universal bindings resemble snowboard bindings and they fit my climbing boots perfectly.  I took a few laps on the bunny hill and was surprised how well I could maneuver them.  They will be great approach skis. The Mountaineer is the only shop on the East Coast of the US where you can try these out before you buy!

Doug took advantage of the calm weather and headed to Cascade Pass to fly the NEice air fleet.  He came with three helicopters and left with two!  Yes, a big crash and his “power model” had disintegrated to a pile of broken electronic parts.  But not before getting some footage!  And with another more reliable chopper in his quiver, we had fun buzzing the ice around the Pass.


 Press Play!

Saturday night was Vince Anderson’s show at the Beaverdome.  After some awesome free stuff was thrown around and raffle prizes given away by The Mountaineer and the sponsors, Vince chatted about his time on the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat with Steve House.  They summited the 8125m peak via a 4,100m route in one single non-stop six-day ascent, followed by another two days of descent. The climb took place in 2005 and they were awarded the Piolet D’or for their ascent.  Badass.

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Eric and Jason ready for the rappel down.
Photo by Naomi Risch.

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Alex laughs through this first experience with screaming barfies

 

After the clinics left to climb on Sunday morning, Outdoor Research guru, Naomi Risch and I had a day out with three other company reps in Green Gully. For the Patagonia rep, Alex, and Marmot rep, Jason, this weekend was their first time ice climbing!   Also joining us was Eric with Scarpa.  Everyone was psyched to get out and despite the scrappy ice conditions, we had a blast climbing a couple of pitches before we had to get back for demo returns.

 

While we had a party of five in Green Gully, Kevin Mahoney returned to Exit 30 crag with Doug Madera to give the Fecalator another go.  The Fecalator in the Adirondacks, possibly the country’s first trad M10 WI6, was put up by Chris Thomas almost ten years ago. As Emilie Drinkwater reports, it’s only seen a few ascents by very talented and very determined climbers.  Kevin and Bayard Russell had spent some time on Saturday flirting with it.  On Kevin’s first try on Sunday and third overall attempt, he fired it!  Yeah Kevin!

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Kevin Mahoney on The Fecalator. Nice work!  Photo by Bayard Russell

Sunday night was Doug’s presentation on the history of this great website, NEice, and appropriately titled “Oh What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been!” Starting from the beginning, through the Festiglace years and to today, Doug’s photos and wild stories had everyone laughing through the whole show.  Thanks to Tom Yandon’s donation, a fresh keg sat at the front door of the Keene Arts Center.  He wanted to thank everyone for “littering”.

Monday morning we woke up to big snowflakes and dropping temperatures.  Yes!  With no snow cover on the ground at the beginning of the weekend, it was great to see it start piling up once again.  Winter was back.

To be noted, Don Mellor and Drew Haas are working on a second addition to Blue Lines and any information or photos should be sent to Don, emailed to Drew  or dropped off at the Mountaineer. They are looking to have it ready for next winter.

NEice would like to thank Ed Palen and all the staff at Rock and River Lodge for their unrivaled hospitality and of course, Vinny and all our friends at the best climbing shop on east of the Mississippi, The Mountaineer.

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Steve and Vin enjoying “a thousand feet of ice” with guide Jesse Williams

Check out some more great photos of the festivities here:

18th Adirondack International Mountainfest – Photo Recap!

 

By Courtney Ley / NEice.com

 

Featured Cover Image: Doug Madera on “The Fecalator”. Photo: Kevin Mahoney – Mahoney Alpine Adventures

 

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