NEice.com is your Ice Climbing Connection for the Northeast and Beyond!

This site is built and maintained by the ice climbing community. NEice is only possible with your help. Donate , Advertise or Contribute

WE Know Good Ice - gearx.com
Mountaineer Web Ad2
Disclaimer

Disclaimer: Participation in ice climbing involves significant risk of personal injury and death. No amount of skill, equipment and experience can make ice climbing safe. NEice.com. is not responsible for the content of this site. The information is provided by the viewers and is not verified. Seek qualified professional instruction, guidance and use your best judgement.

Random Gallery Photos
blind3 dsc_7966 p4200020 UP at BRG5 Ammo Ravine 3 _dsc5745 adam-peter-omega4 _DSC6142 4288551269_173f7b7bf3
Recent Comments
Google Analytics

Archive for the ‘Featured Stories’ Category

Frankensteins South Face

Frankenstein South-Face

Some of the main climbs on the South Face and the New “Odin’s Tiers” – Jan. 11, 2015

Conditions are everything in ice climbing and they happened this past week on the South Face of Frankenstein Cliff. This extended cold spell and cloudy skies have brought in some great ice climbing on the South Face. On Saturday we climbed the rare visitor “Cocaine” in “Fat” conditions and had a grand view of Peter Doucette putting up his new climb “Odin’s Tiers”  NEI 6 – 25 meters, to the right of  “The Wrath of the Valkyrie”. The conditions could not have been better and it was a very busy place with as many as 14 climbers in sight at one time. Everyone wanted to take advantage of these conditions. The lighting, climbing, conditions and scenery were fantastic and I was lucky to be part of it. I felt like a kid in a candy store with my camera. I took as many photos as I could while waiting, belaying and dodging ice from above ;-).  Below are a few of the best photos. Enjoy!

Doug Millen

Click photos to enlarge


Odin’s Tiers

Frankenstein Cliff, South Face, Crawford Notch NH

FA: Peter Doucette with Majka Burhardt

Saturday January 10, 2015
Peter-New-Line

 

“Odin’s Tiers”  NEI6, and 25 meters long was protected with 2 tri-cams (brown and red), ice screws and a couple of slung icicles.  Most of the attachment points were shaded by small roofs or curtains of hanging ice so that was helpful. Like all the routes in the amphitheater it’s super sensitive to sun.

Odens Tier topo

Climb Topo – Peter Doucette

“It was fairly pumpy and technical with a lot of creative rests leaning against curtains and or locking legs behind them” – Peter Doucette

“Back in the NH swing of things” – Majka Burhardt

 

Peter-New-Line4

Peter-New-Line2

Peter-New-Line5

Peter-New-Line-top

 


The Wrath of the Valkyrie

Will-on-The-Wrath3

Will-on-The-Wrath2

Will-on-The-Wrath1a

Will-on-The-Wrath9

Will styling on “The Wrath”


Cocaine

Steve-on-Cocaine-5

Steve-on-Cocaine

Steve-on-Cocaine2

Steve Larson enjoying a fat “Cocaine”.


An Aerial View

The South Face of Frankenstein Cliff, Crawford Notch NH – January 11, 2015

 

Flight by ARDU – Flying and  filming by Doug Millen

More on the South Face


Source: Facebook, Doug Millen & Peter Doucette – Mountain Sense Guides

 

 

Back to Business, Round Two!

Adam-Bidwell on Cocaine, Frankenstein Cliff NH - Photo by Ryan-Driscall

Well things are shaping up, again. It has been two weeks since the major melt down and the ice climbs are forming and there is plenty of great climbing.  We now have more ice to climb than before the meltdown. There is plenty of ground water flowing and things are growing fast. With no warm weather in sight, I expect good to excellent conditions from Maine to the Adirondacks and South for the foreseeable future.

This weather is greatly appreciated as we enter the Ice Festival season. Every year it’s a crap shoot with the weather and we are lucky this year, so far. By next weekend there should be plenty of ice for the the 19th annual Adirondack International Mountainfest. January 16, 17 and 18, 2015.

So dress warm, get out, and get some!

 

Doug Millen

Adam Bidwell on Cocaine, Frankenstein Cliff, Crawford Notch NH
Photo by Ryan Driscoll

Frankenstein Cliff NH

You know things are good when the south face of Frankenstein Cliff has ice to climb. Below are a few photos from Adam Bidwell with Ryan Driscoll

Ryan-Driscall---Adam-Bidwell-climbing-Cocaine-Cover-Web2

Adam Bidwell climbing Cocaine

Adam---Ryan-Driscall-climbing-Cocaine2

Ryan Driscoll halfway up Cocaine

Bragg-Pheasant-Adam-Bidwell-2

Second pitch of Bragg-Pheasant. The strongest sun of the day bore down just as I was reaching the thinnest ice.

Bragg-Pheasant-top-Adam-Bidwell-2

Ryan Driscoll on the Final boney pitch of Bragg Pheasant


Beware of  the cold temps

When it’s this cold after a warm up, watch out for ice dams. Both on the climbs and in rivers and streams. Below are two posts that will make you think.

NEice.com – Hydrophobia at “The Lake”

An Ice Dam busting loose at Lake Willoughby Vt in 2010 – Photo by Dave Powers

Careful of that stream crossing!


Assessing Ice Conditions

glace-etude-resistance-13And don’t forget that drastic cooling followed by a period of intense cold leads to strong thermal contractions in the ice. See this great information for assessing ice conditions from Petzl – Waterfall Ice Study


Ice Guide Training

The American Mountain Guides Association Ice guide training course in NH is in full swing. The EMS guides are sending the steep ice routes at Frankenstein which are in good condition and building fast with this cold weather. – Art Mooney

 

Chia Direct 1-7-15 Art Mooney

Chia Direct

Chia 1-7-15 Art Mooney

Chia

Hobit 1-7-15 Art Monney

The Hobbit


Mount Washington

Conditions Update 1-8-15

by Rich Palatino, Harvard Cabin Caretaker

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is nearly completely covered. While it is very hard-packed and slick there is very little water ice to speak of. Light Traction is nice, but not necessary in the least. That being said, full crampons on the trail wouldn’t be unreasonable, just not advised…or enjoyable.

The fire road is still in rather early season condition. However, it is mostly snow until you are above the Dow Rescue Cache where you will find a series of stream crossings. Again, nothing major. Access to the ravine is quick and easy and the rangers have been using snow machines to travel most of the road.

It’s goes without saying, the ice is IN! The Ravine is still filling in for the season. Run-outs are far from being fully-developed and in many cases descending will mean a walk down the Lion Head Summer Trail. The Fan is sporting a variety of snow conditions as you travel from gully to gully. Overall you can expect excellent condition for cramponing. However, along with long sliding falls, spatial variability can present a problem. Don’t travel with a persistent green light in mind even though things seem locked up solid. We’ve been getting nickled and dimed for weeks so you should be on the look-out for protected lee areas, wind slabs of varying strengths, buried weak layers, and I personally have been starting to worry about persistent weak layers. I’m really not sure how valid my concern for persistent layers is, but as a skier I’m suspect of the rapid heating and cooling we’ve seen over the last few weeks. I’m keeping that in mind as I travel in avalanche terrain until we see the next major storm/avalanche cycle. But, you really don’t have to take my word for it. Luckily you can hear what the experts have to say via the Mount Washington Avalanche Center’s website and it’s many social media outlets.


Before the Thaw

By Matt Ritter

matt1

P2-4 of Cannonade Direct (red) Cannonade Direct Direct (yellow)

From the exposed ledges of the Whitney Gilman Ridge it would call to me. I’d snap seemingly random photographs and stare distractedly. I’d remind myself that as a guide I should remain focused. The giant corner system above the Cannonade Buttress is exposed and looms over the talus like an inverted cargo train. The steep face below is split by a series of cracks and seams that I visually kept following back to the base of this massive corner. In the winter, I’d rack up and wonder about the imposing prow which starts as a large corner, briefly evaporates mid cliff, and reasserts itself in steep prominence like a wave threatening to break on the talus beach.

Despite having made five attempts on this route with various partners, I knew that I could put it to rest this time. The source of this confidence being an extra five feet of ice not present during my last lean condition attempt. This ice made me think I wouldn’t need to place gear in the seemingly unprotectable terrain above my highpoint.

I have climbed on this route with some of the greatest members of our climbing community. Today was no exception, Jim Shimberg owner of Rhino Guides kept telling me I was “grilled” as we made upward progression. The icy cracks of the first pitch felt heavenly and went quickly. Snow conditions were perfect which made the technical pitch two traverse a sidewalk.

“In what felt like the boldest moment of my career, I forged upward. Now, too far above my gear to not hurt myself, perched on an overhanging arete above the talus, on a pitch I’ve lusted over for three seasons.”
matt2

Pitch One

Pitch three is where the business begins. Off the piton anchor, I clip a nest of gear and situate myself at the first crux where a splendid vertical slab becomes slightly overhanging. With both tools over my shoulder, I side pull crimp an edge, step my front points high onto nothing, and at full extension I virtually kiss my ice tool ‘goodbye’ to wrangle a solid matchable edge. Committed, a fall from here would land me below the belayer in a big swinging arc. Better not to fall. A couple solid tool placements and strenuous lock offs allows me to clip a great piton and bust some layback moves on a flake to gain a rest beneath a small roof.

matt3

Pitch Three

Reaching out over my left shoulder, I pull through the roof and high step into the next crux which feels like muckling a greased refrigerator with an iced up rattly hand crack on the left and an equally slick rattly finger crack on the right. Surmounting this block feels monumental.  After some steep cranking, I gain a good stemming rest and a short flaring corner that becomes an in-cut, kinda sidepull rail with good hooks and some tiny gear. Stellar, exposed climbing gains a tiny ledge which, with a micro wire, and a tiny fixed pecker a body length beneath my feet, provided much spice to mantle. Placing a great piton awkwardly at my knees, I was just a few moves from mantling onto the icy sloping ledge above. I’ve always said I was gonna kiss this ledge when I got there. Tough to describe the exuberance I felt from finally reaching this point. The rest of the pitch isn’t easy but comparatively its a walk in the park. I knew it was in the bag.

matt4

Yikes!

 

matt5

Pitch Three During a Previous Attempt

 

Topping out Cannonade Direct. Pitch 4 is a wonderful rock finish with good gear and cracks! Photo by Steve Robitshek

Topping out Cannonade Direct. Pitch 4 is a wonderful rock finish with good gear and cracks! Photo by Steve Robitshek

Michael Wejchert, and I met at Cannon Cliff the next day. I wanted to climb a variation to Cannonade Direct that would allow me to climb the entirety of the monstrous upper corner. Being a little sore from the previous three days of strenuous climbing, I slurped multiple infusions of Mate and blasted Rage Against the Machine. Another warm day. At the base of Cannonade Direct I racked up. Having climbed this amazing pitch five times, I have it rather dialed. I torqued iced up cracks, stemmed familiarly, and sloppily sped up the 65 meter pitch. Now for the variation! I situated myself under the first crux and placed a couple bomber knifeblades.  A right arching seam catered minuscule technical edges and tenuous high steps. The rock is bomber but I enjoyed a handful of whippers due to exploding micro flakes. Making these technical face moves earned me some awe-inspiring hooks and the most elegant horizontal finger crack which welcomed the necessary gear and an adequate rest before the next crux of gaining the ice.

I tapped my battered picks into the snowy little ledge. The ¼ inch space between ice and granite dispelled any myth of security. Wet snow pressed heavily on this precarious substrate. The rock beneath my ice tools was overhanging. I hoisted my front points up to my elbows placing them on perfect ⅜ inch edges. Finally some large footholds!! Here, with my ass in space and my ice tool moving to more secure rotten worthless ice, the ledge and ice curtain detach indifferently. Taking a big clean fall onto a bomber Lost Arrow I come tight on the rope before reaching terminal velocity. My head was down and I could see Michael looking at me as generously plump chunks of aerated ice pummeled me. Without lifting my head, Michael and I made eye contact. “I guess you’ll have to wait for a colder day.” Michael is smarter than I am. “I’m making it to that belay. I think it just got easier.”

Michael initiating the techy crux

Michael initiating the techy crux

I know I’ve got one shot. The holidays are upon us. The rain is upon us. My early season project’s ice will not form again. I lower to the ledge and fire the crux, pull gingerly onto the steep ice and build a belay at the base of the mythical corner.

P3 Cannonade Direct. Cannonade Direct Direct climbs into the base of the big brown corner via the ice smear to my right. Photo by Bayard Russell

P3 Cannonade Direct. Cannonade Direct Direct climbs into the base of the big brown corner via the ice smear to my right. Photo by Bayard Russell

Everything had felt pretty safe up to this point. Despite the repeated whips and long fall followed by a heat seeking deluge of frozen water missiles, I was climbing very well and felt invincible. Obviously mixed climbing is dangerous. Nothing about climbing Mean Streak, Prozac, or Daedalus is “safe.” In fact these climbs provide one with many opportunities to get hurt. I firmly believe that in these situations our safety hinges upon our mental state. There will always be objective hazard, but when I’m climbing well, I’m not climbing scared. Surviving one of these climbs by the skin of my teeth does not seem sustainable. No route is worth a broken ankle, face, or spinal cord. With that in mind, I pulled off the ledge and soon found myself with a couple cams a few feet beneath my boots. Cannon does in fact have pockets of very steep terrain. Trust me. I look for it. I was getting pumped and I almost bailed. Casually, I told Michael I might fall as I began to ponder my exit strategy. He didn’t argue but we both knew this wasnt gonna be pretty. Looking down, I saw a small edge. Still in control, I reminded myself that someday I wanted to be a bold climber. I looked up. In what felt like the boldest moment of my career, I forged upward. Now, too far above my gear to not hurt myself, perched on an overhanging arete above the talus, on a pitch I’ve lusted over for 3 seasons. I made one more move to a solid hook and a serendipitous cam placement. The climbing eased up slightly as steep snow filled cracks and an arete composed of gravity defying loose nonsense made me feel at home. Or was it that I wished I was at home? Either way, leaving my last gear behind and pulling around the corner onto featureless slabs covered in ½ inch snice kept my attention for the last 40 feet to the trees. Seriously, do not blow it here…

Cannonade Direct (red) and second to last pitch of Cannonade Direct Direct (yellow) in much leaner conditions.

Cannonade Direct (red) and second to last pitch of Cannonade Direct Direct (yellow) in much leaner conditions.

 

(Click on images to enlarge)

More on Matt

A Dose of Prozac and Some Positive Thinking

Matt Ritter Joins the MWV Ice Fest Team


Poke-O Access

Please respect the owners property rights and don’t trespass. Use the standard trails from the campground to access the cliff. Please see the information below and tell all your climbing friends. Thank You! – Doug Millen

Poko-Featured-Photo

Positive Thinking – Poke-O-Moonshine NY

 

Climbers should be aware that the land in front of the Main Face at Poke-O is private. Climbers need to use the main trail that runs from the [now closed] campground to the Main Face near Discord. Under no circumstances should climbers approach directly from the road. Of course it’s totally fine to scope out your routes from the shoulder of the road.

There have been several incidents where ice climbers have inadvertently wandered into the private property in front of the cliff. The local land owners have no tolerance for this and will close access should climbers continue to trespass. The Access Fund, with funds raised by The Mountaineer, have added signs to help delineate the boundaries and instruct climbers to stay on the cliff-base trail. Please be extra vigilant and stay on the trail that runs along the base of the cliff. -Jim Lawyer

Poko-Map

Poke-O-Moonshine NY

Renormalized at “The Lake”

Ah! The conditions are getting better and I am back to my normal state, once again, at “The Lake”.

The-Lake

 

Below are a few condition photos from our trip to Lake Willoughby VT on Saturday December 13, 2014. Plenty of challenging ice to climb. There is a good snow pack now for easy approaches, unlike years past where leaves covered  the frozen ground with a dusting of snow. The ground is now  insulate and plenty of water is flowing. When some real cold hits this place, it is going to go OFF!

Enjoy the photos!

 

~Doug Millen

Cover photo: Tom Yandon on “Renormalization” WI 4, Lake Willoughby VT.

All photos by Doug Millen

WordPress SEO