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Ouray Ice Festival – 2014

The Biggest Ice Festival in North America is happening this weekend, January 9th – 12th, 2014! Start making your plans now for the 19th annual Ouray Ice Festival!

Schedule of Events

The Ouray Ice Park is one of the premier ice climbing destinations in the world. But the amazing walls of ice are not just the work of Mother Nature. The Park is a non-profit organization that relies solely on memberships, sponsorships, and donations to exist. It is home to more than 200 man-made ice and mixed climbs and, despite the high cost of operation, remains free and open for public use. Join the Ice Park team by visiting the Membership page at ourayicepark.com/about/membership.

Thank you for supporting the Ouray Ice Park.

 

Ouray Ice Park: Behind the Ice

Ouray Ice Park: Behind the Ice from Outside Adventure Media on Vimeo.Video created by Barry Stevenson, OutsideAdventureMedia.com.

“Ice”, presented by the Ouray Ice Park

Video produced, directed, photographed and edited by Barry Stevenson, Outside Adventure Media. Visit Outside Adventure Media  for more information, or contact him at bsvideo@gmx.com.

Stingray and a new climb at Poko “Ruination” WI6 X

 by Ian Osteyee

Stingray

Ian Osteyee on “Stingray” 12-27-2013

Mark Meschinelli and I had a good day at Poko on Friday the 27th. Things looked to be shaping up a bit when I was there on Thursday, so I brought in a substitute guide and played hooky with Mark. We looked at “Stingray” from the road and it looked intriguing, so we went for a look. It still didn’t look certain from the ground, it seemed less formed than when I did the second ascent with Chris Fey years earlier. I climbed up and across the “Sting” ledge and down to the belay. Once Mark came up, I went up to take a look, and although thin, the ice quality was good and attached.
The ice formed a bit left of where it had before, and reaching the “Sting” anchor was difficult. No gear, and 50′ above the “Sting” ledge, I took care getting to that anchor with an off balance kind of iron cross move. 30 seconds of awkward, careful chipping allowed me to clip and have a piece of gear. It gets a little steeper right after that anchor, but the ice also got a little better. The last time I did this route I climbed from that spot all the way to the dike ledge with no more gear. On this ascent I was able to avoid the 150′ run out, finding a bolt frozen in the left side of the smear about 40′ up from the “Sting” anchor. Mark had told me the general whereabouts of the bolt – a good partner indeed. This time I used a set of Blue Water 70m doubles and easily reached the anchor point, better than the scary rope stretching super stubby/bad rock anchor of the last ascent. Mark came up and we headed up the upper pitch. The upper pitch was fun, sticky ice through the small roof above and to the big tree/rappel anchor.

Ruination

Ian on “Ruination”

That would have been a great day all by itself, but as we rappelled down we couldn’t help looking over at another smear that had formed from the middle of the “Sting” ledge straight up between the rock routes “Easy Street” and “Unforgiven.” We rapped and Mark and I discussed our options. Mark cautioned that it looked much thinner than “Stingray.” I agreed, but the ice was climbing well that day, and I decided to have a look. I climbed back up the “Sting” ledge, tucking the ropes behind the ledge as “gear”, and shimmied toward the smear. I could see an overlap about 50′ up, that might take a TCU placement. The start was very thin, and crampon purchase had to be carefully managed. Already being up on the “Sting” ledge created a substantial distance above the ground. The new Cassin Blade Runner’s shined. I reached the overlap, and was disappointed. I fiddled with a blue TCU, but I should have brought the little purple one. I left it, but it was as useful as a Christmas ornament. I knew the “Unforgiving” anchor was up there somewhere. At about 100′ I saw a red sling frozen in, and 30 seconds of chipping revealed the top bolt of the “Unforgiving” rock anchor. That was good timing as it steepened right there. Having Mark Meschinelli as my partner can’t be underestimated. DSC_4052
Mark is a calm, cool guy, and he neither incites this kind of mischief, nor denies it. He simply inspires calm, and that is a great climbing vibe. Another thing Mark is good for is telling you where hidden bolts may be, as he’s spent a lifetime climbing at Poko. Another 40′ up above that anchor clip and I remembered Mark had said “keep your eyes open, there are a few bolts up there,” and there was a bolt. A little chipping, clip, and my mood improved markedly. Another 40′ and the angle decreased, I placed a 10cm screw just before the ledge, but the ice still wasn’t quite thick enough. From there it just links up with the same upper pitch of “Stingray.” The new pitch is a hair longer than the “Stingray” pitch, but the line is narrower, and the ice thinner. We both thought it a bit pumpier. The name is Meschinelli’s favorite new brew, which we enjoyed curbside. “Ruination” WI 6- X

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Happy Holidays from the Harvard Cabin

HArvidCabinChristmas

Happy Holidays!

I hope this message finds you well and in good position to share the holiday with Friends and Family. Marcia and I send our warmest wishes for you and yours this holiday season and our hope for the very best in 2014! Thanks so much for being part of our family over the last 4 years. It’s sure has been fun. We’re are looking forward another awesome winter filled with our Harvard Cabin Friends!

Mountain Conditions – A Winter/Spring Mix!

Well, what can I say? Despite this past weekends weather, it has been a great start to the season! While being a bit less mobile then normal, so far this month I’ve been able to enjoy a great day climbing the Tuckerman Headwall, another day in Pinnacle Gully, and a few fantastic powder days! It was full-on winter for about a week….super cold too! It was so good to have winter back again! But, don’t take my word for it. Check out this sweet little trip report authored by Harvard Mountaineering Club Member and grit stone climbing extraordinaire Dr. Dave Leonard. He very eloquently summarizes the wintry weekend of December 14-15, 2013!

It really should come as no surprise What a difference a week can make. It can be discouraging at times, but I’ve learned to appreciate my time at the cabin no matter what the weather brings. In the last 36 hours we’ve seen over an inch of rain combined with the mid-mountain warming layer that seems to be haunting us winter after winter. The combination of the two sent the ravines into Considerable avalanche danger rating across the board all the way back down to Low. Over this past weekend outside air temperatures at the cabin hugged the 40 degree mark at night while the lower elevations stayed at or below the freezing mark. Given the amount of rain and warm temps I’d say the trails did okay. However, for the near future you can expect very slick conditions on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail as the mercury heads back towards more seasonal temperatures.

Visibility hasn’t allowed for a recent glimpse into the ravine. Despite being only days away from our first avalanche cycle of the season, I’d expect lots of bare rock and very little snow left in the fan and gullies. Still, I’m sure the ice will be doing quite well and is going to continue to grow throughout the week. Once we dry out up here and get some well deserved Christmas sunshine, the ice climbing should be outstanding! Come willing to chop for good ice placements and be aware of the potential for ice dams to form in the immediacy of such a substantial rain event.

The John Sherburne is still skiable but you’ll expect late spring conditions for the time being. If it’s any indication, I hiked down to Pinkham today. With that said, I wouldn’t anticipate much uphill ski travel this week either. There is only some light snow in the forecast this week with the most potential not expected until Friday. Of course, we’ve been surprised before….keep your finger crossed, your skis waxed, and traction on your feet! One things fore sure, Christmas is looking like a Bluebird day!

Roof Avalanche – What Can We Learn?

Well, the warm-up did allow me to take care of some chimney repairs on the cabin over the weekend. Of course, this was after both sides of the metal roof avalanched within a few minutes of each other. It was a hazard made known to all guest and thankfully the super-saturated death slab that covered the cabin roof came down early on Saturday. Indoors, away from the perpetual rain, looking through the windows everyone took pleasure in observing the incredibly quick pace at which the slab crept over the eaves. With the steep pitch of the cabin roof, it was amazing to observe how far from the eve the overhanging sheet of saturated, cohesive slab could creep before failing. I have to say, I’ve seen this every season I’ve been at the cabin, but this time it was different because of the speed at which instability progressed, measuring from only a few hours prior when we had a very cold, relatively stable snowpack. While we were enjoying the observation of avalanche phenomena far from avalanche terrain on Saturday, it turns out that Lead Snow Ranger/Avalanche Forecaster Mr. Chris Joosen was doing the very same thing down in the valley. Of course Chris could offer-up color-commentary in addition to a wee bit more technical analysis. You can check out his expert review and summary, including video, by clicking here. Very Interesting!

Upcoming Events

New England Ice Festivals
Mountain Fest: January 18-20, 2014 – Keene Valley, NY
Smuggs Ice Bash: January 24-26, 2014 – Smuggler’s Notch, VT
Vice Fest: January 24-26, 2014 – Franconia Notch, VT
Mt. Washington Valley Ice Fest: January 31- February 2, 2014 – North Conway, NH

Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop – Continuing Education Series
A new program offered by the USFS Mount Washington Valley Avalanche Center and the Friends of MWAC. Free and open to the public the talks are geared towards recreational backcountry users who’ve already taken an avalanche course or who have significant experience traveling in avalanche terrain. Held monthly at IME and spearheaded by USFS Snow Ranger Jeff Lane. For more details Click here for a flyer .
We Hope everyone has a safe and happy new year!

Rich Palatino & Marcia Steger
Harvard Cabin Caretakers

 

NOTE – Harvard Cabin is not affiliated with the Appalachian Mountain Club. Harvard Cabin is maintained by Harvard Mountaineering Club for use by the general public. The cabin is operated under a special-use permit granted by the USDA Forest Service. Cabin space and tent-sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis between December 1st and March 31st each year. Specific instructions for staying at the cabin can be found online at http://www.HarvardMountaineering.org

 

We need a New Roof!

 

The Hut

You know, I run the whole show here, on my own, after work with the
help of a few trusted friends. NEice is not some large company with
huge budgets and resources. This is NEice.com, a community-based web
site built by Ice Climbers for Ice Climbers. But you know, as a group,
we Kick Ass!

I am often asked, “Do you make your living of NEice now?” Not even
close. If it were not for my real job, NEice would not exist. I pour
hundreds of my own dollars and hours into the site every year to make
it better and keep it going. I make the online space and the tools,
while everyone contributes information to the site. It is a great
system that I have refined over the years and is used by thousands of
Ice Climbers everyday. We are the biggest Ice climbing web site in
North America.

As the use of the site has grown, so have the costs. Now it is not
only server fees, but also software upgrades and consultants to keep
the server running and fix the myriad problems that come up each
season.

Well this year we were hit badly. First a cyber attack took the whole
site down. Next, we have been in upgrade hell. Every update (for
security purposes) breaks something else. And now, just the other day,
we blew up the server with all of the site traffic. NEice is a complex
platform with lots of data, and it takes a lot to keep it running
smoothly.

So I am asking for donations to pay the bills and update the site’s
infrastructure.

Look at it this way – I am the caretaker of this virtual Ice climbing
hut where we all gather to tell our stories and report on what we have
seen. Well our mountain hut has a problem: We need a New Roof.

It only works when everyone contributes.

If you can’t afford to donate, please contribute photos, conditions,
and information. This helps to generate page views for Google Ads,
which increases the funds we receive. Also clicking on ads never
hurts.

So be thankful for this great resource we have and Donate Today!

You can click the donation logo below to make a payment using PayPal. PayPal is secure and easy to use system for online payments.

Or you can also send a check payable to NEice.com to the address below

NEice.com

PO Box 360

Bartlett, NH 03812-0360

___________________________________________

A little incentive!

dust

Everyone that donates during the Fund Drive will be entered into a
raffle for a pair of Julbo Dust sun glasses with the Zebra lens. These
are the best sun glasses I have ever worn – you never need to take
them off, they adjust to all light conditions. They are perfect for
Ice Climbing!

Retail value – $160

Thank you for your continuing help and support of our online community.

~Doug Millen

Note: The photo above was taken from the internet,

it is not the NEice home base, which is my home.

Fund Drive – 2013

What would the ice climbing season be like without NEice?

Think about it!

It’s time for the year end Fund Drive.

December 18, 2013 – January 1, 2014

NEice is a community web site run by volunteers, but we still have hard costs to run and maintain the server and the related costs.  While sponsors and Google ads help,  it’s the viewer donations that make the difference and keep the site going.

If you like what we are doing and want us to expand our efforts and bring you the best there is in Northeast Ice Climbing. Contribute to the site and make a donation today.

 

Donate!

$10.00 / $15.00 / $20.00 or $25.00.  Or what ever you can afford.  More is greatly appreciated. Your donation will go towards the hard costs that keep the site going.

It’s Easy!

1. You can click the donation logo below to make a payment using PayPal. PayPal is secure and easy to use system for online payments.

2.You can also send a check payable to NEice.com to the address below

NEice.com

PO Box 360

Bartlett, NH 03812-0360

 I would like to thank this seasons sponsors and supporters

The American Alpine Club

Dry Ice Tools

The Mountaineer

Alpine Web

Black Diamond

Google

Members Donations

Thanks for your support!

~ Doug Millen

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