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Archive for the ‘Conditions’ Category

September rime ice!

It was an excellent day above tree line on Sunday.  Cool temps with a bluebird sky above and an undercast below.  Not to mention, evidence of the first overnight freeze of the season!

There’s nothing like a little rime ice to feed the psych!

(click on thumbnails to enlarge)

Photos by Courtney Ley

 

 

 

 

Adirondack Ice: Back On the Mend

By Courtney Ley

Alex Wakeman

Alex Wakeman

I decided to head to the Adirondacks over the weekend to see how things were fairing after the recent thaw.  I wanted to do a lot of climbing, so it only made sense to hire Alex Wakeman as my climbing partner.  A young buck from Saratoga, he climbs night and day.  When you are done blowing your arms out all day on steep ice, it’s never time to relax for Alex.  It’s time to go blow out your legs on a nighttime alpine route.  Even after you’ve warmed up and had a good meal and a beer.  I’ve never spent time with anyone else that has his motivation to climb and I knew it would be tough to keep up with him.  There was no question that I’d have a great time with his company.  The question was, what would we find for ice conditions after a few days of temperatures the 40′s and 50′s.

Chouinard's Gully

Chouinard’s Gully

I arrived at the Chapel Pond parking lot at 5pm on Friday evening and caught a glimpse across the lake before darkness set in.  The pond was open water and the cliffs no doubt had seen some warm temperatures.  Once Alex pulled up, we wasted no time.  Ten minutes later with headlamps donned, we were on our way to Chouinard’s Gully.  The ice was great in the gully and the evening was warm and comfortable.

Jeremy Haas joined us the next day and we headed over to Cascade Pass, but unfortunately the Sisters were too lean and the Quarry was looking too wet and detached.  (Sorry, I didn’t take any photos!)  So back at Chapel Pond, we climbed Lions on the Beach center, left of center, right of center, left of left and every which way.

jeremy1 800x600    alex2 800x600  jeremy3 800x600

The scene was quiet, fun and relaxed with only a few of the seasoned locals and friends out for the day.  After awhile, it was my time to pull some weight, so we headed over to Crystal Ice Tower and I led some steep ice for the first time this season.  Crystal Ice Tower was good, as were the pitches above.

Photo by Alex Wakeman

Photo by Alex Wakeman

The evening rolled in, we said goodbye to Jeremy and it was time for dinner and a beer. I knew I shouldn’t get too comfortable because before long, Alex was plotting our next objective.  A nighttime ascent of The Cascade.  Even with a good burger in our stomachs and the fireplace roaring in the Ausable Inn, I found us later in the parking lot back at the cold and windy Cascade Pass ready to roll.  The prospect of a long WI2 ice line up a drainage, through clefts, slots and wooded ridges that all led to a summit tugged at my alpine heart and I couldn’t refuse.   Unfortunately, the route needed more time to refreeze and after climbing the initial step, we ran into a gushing waterfall at the top of the first pitch.

But things are on the mend and on Sunday as we drove through the Pass, I saw some climbers on the route and it looked much better than the previous night.  Even Roaring Brook on Friday was open water, but by the time I was driving home on Sunday, it was a lot quieter and slower.

Looking up at the first pitch of Cascade

Time to abort mission The aborted mission on The Cascade

It was 8pm when we were back at the car and it took some arm twisting to convince Alex -not- to climb any more that night.  I knew laps on Chouinards until midnight was on his mind.  Instead, we settled in for an early start on Sunday.  I was hoping Multiplication Gully was in decent shape so we went to check it out first thing the next morning.  But it wasn’t quite there yet so I just snapped a conditions photo and Alex drove us to the North Face of Pitchoff.  I haven’t spent much time climbing ice in the Adirondacks.  I grew up and spent the first 20 years of my life in New York, but I wasn’t introduced to climbing until I landed in New Hampshire.  I consider New York as my hometown still, and was psyched to get the tour and go to some ADK ice venues for the first time.  This included the North Face of Pitchoff.  We opted for Weeping Winds, which was in fine shape with a lot of options.

Multi Gully.  Not yet.

Multi Gully. Not yet.

Overall, things are looking up for late this week and into next weekend.  The weather is calling for cold temperatures and snow showers every day.  For the Keene Valley area, check out Ian’s latest condition post HERE and other NEice members reports on the conditions page and photo page.

P3 of Weeping Winds Photo by Alex Wakeman

P3 of Weeping Winds
Photo by Alex Wakeman

After I left Alex for the drive home at 5pm, I wondered if in ten minutes he’d be putting on his headlamp and going after the next piece of ice.

 

Photos by Courtney and Alex.  Click on thumbnails to enlarge.  Do it!

 

 

 

Get Ready for a Thanksgiving Ice Feast!

(Featured image by rockytop)

Climbers are getting out there and posting ice condition reports and photos.  Here’s a quick recap of the latest from all over the Northeast.  Ice routes in the upper elevations are doing well and things down low are thin, but building fast.  Thanks to all the NEice members for sharing their experiences!

New Hampshire

Huntington Ravine

from 11.21.13 (mlynchdogger):

“Climbed O’Dells on Thursday 11/21. Found soft hero ice. The crux of the main flow looked thin on top and was open with running water but very doable to the right and was done by other parties just before me. Skirted up a thin snow gully right of the main flow and the steeper flow to the right. Atop of the ice went left. Plenty of snow to a few hundred feet to the top. Finished on a 5.5 crack. Parties in Pinnacle. Yale looked sun baked and thin down low. Damnation thin but possibly doable.”

yale

Yale Gully
Photo by leaf

 

 

from 11.23.13 (leaf):

“Yale Slab, a bit thin.  Middle of Yale Gully, the lower half after the slab is nice.  Then you’d need to work your way around the big dry rock ledges. No ice there.  Next up, there’s a ton of ice to enjoy after the gully constriction.  Very top, knee deep loose snow.  The deli counter was open taking numbers for all those wanting to wait around for Pinnacle!”

 

 

 

Tuckerman Ravine

from 11.17.13 (ajcormier):

“Got up to the headwall and decided to go straight up. “The Book”, to the right, was pouring water. We solo’d the first 1/2 pitch and roped up for the next two. Lots of undermining and more like late spring climbing.”

from 11.22.13 (mlynchdogger):

“Climbed the left ice flow high up left of left gully with DG yesterday. The separate flow to the right looked fun but thinner. Broke the climb up into two pitches but could be done as one. The first being fat with great ice. took up to 19′s. The second being short but steeper – stayed left. Found fat blue hero ice. Walked off and down into left gully.”

from 11.23.13 (JGassel):

“Hiked in to check out conditions and ended up at the Open Book pitch, which looked like the fattest from a distance. Up close, things didn’t look that good imo. There was lots of water running down behind a small amount of ice that was formed on it.”

2013-11-23 tucks

Tuckerman Ravine Headwall
Photo by JGassel

Frankenstein

from 11.24.13 (JGassel):

There was some ice on Frankenstein on Sunday 11/24, making a few of the routes climbable. I wouldn’t say anything is in by most people’s estimation though.”

2013-11-24_dracula

Dracula
Photo by JGassel

2013-11-24_standard

Standard Route
Photo by JGassel

The Black Dike

from 11.25.13 (Adventure Spirit)

“With the exception of a few chances to sink a 16 or 19cm, it was mainly 10-13cm territory. The mixed middle pitch was mainly dry and went on gear up to 0.75 and used no pins.”  

11.25 black dike            pitch 3

Photos of Pitch 1 and 3 by Adventure Spirit.

Vermont

Lake Willoughby

from 11.24.13 (Broken Spectre):

“The tablets are taking screws (stubs) at the 100′ level. before that you get nothing. Found some nice steeper pillars high on the tablets that almost felt fat at times. Otherwise nice plastic 1-3″ thick ice. Building very fast. 20 below may be in shape by tomorrow.”

Smugglers Notch

from 11.23.13 (tfarr3):

“Conditions up by EHG are coming along. O of I is almost there for early season, Watership Down is trying to come in. EHG is probably good but thin. Ragnarock – 1st pitch goes, 2nd would go. 3rd not yet. EHG South Face could be a scratchy adventure.”

Ragnarock
Photo by tfarr3

from 11.23.13 (rockytop):

“Blind Fate amphitheater. All climbable but no real gear on lower parts, maybe an occasional stubby? Not really “in” yet. The top column on Blind Fate was a wild wind-blown formation. The left-hand line with the free-hanger is about as good as it ever gets.”

“Grand Confusion in somewhat thin conditions. Climbable but rotten, narrow and detached in spots, fresh plastic in others. Crux up high would be protectable with stubbies.”

“Jeff Slide – Good recovery after the warm spell. Would probably take stubbies in places.”

Blind Fate Amphitheater
Photo by rockytop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maine

Grafton Notch

from 11.21.13 (suunto):

“Drove by Grafton Notch for a short hike today.  The ice is coming pretty well.”

 Mt. Katadin, South Basin

from 11.22.13 (lukecushman):

“The stars aligned for a one-day car to car ascent of the Cilley-Barber. Four of us took Friday and the opportunity to see if there was any ice up on Katahdin yet this year, and found C-B to be in pretty ideal conditions. All ice sans about 10 meters at the start of the crux pitch and the hike off the top. Could not have asked for a better day!”

Cilley-Barber Route
Photo by lukecushman

New York

Trap Dike

from 11.22.13 (TrevorK):

“Went up and climbed the trap dike yesterday. Its amazing how little snow there is everywhere up in the high peaks. The climb was in but thin. There was a bit of water running but much less than I expected. Compared to later in the season, when it is mainly snow, the dike is mostly all ice. The upper slabs were very thin and basically snow free. As for protection, there’s not much yet. If you wanted pro, I’d say bring some rock gear.”

______________________

With this new onslaught of freezing rain, sleet and snow, I’d get ready for a great Thanksgiving weekend of ice climbing!

And I heard rumors of a photo contest in the near future.. so get your cameras out and continue to post photos and condition reports.

Make sure to check the Conditions Page and Photo Page for more.

 (As always, click on images to enlarge)

 

 

By Courtney Ley / NEice.com

 

 

There’s Still Ice!

By Courtney Ley

Did the recent warm up get you down? Did you think about rock climbing?  Did you… actually rock climb? Once I get in my first ice of the season, there’s no turning back!  And no small rise in temperature is going to stop this alpine train!

All aboard!

It was high noon on Mt. Lafayette’s Escadrille route by the time I finished the long approach.  The sun was baking everything, including me!, but the ice was still hanging in!  It’s a beautiful alpine route that leads directly to the summit.

IMG_3529a

An excellent mini-guide to the high routes on Mt. Lafayette and Mt. Lincoln can be found here:

The Spirit of Adventure

Enjoy the ride and these photos!

Photographs by Courtney Ley

 

 

Driving up Hillman’s Highway

by Doug Millen

Fred-Hillmans-2

Ever since Irene,  Alfonzo and I have been wanting to catch this drainage, in that perfect moment. We’ve scrambled up Hillman’s in the summer,using it to access the rock ridges of the Boott Spur.  The movement of earth and boulders caused by that massive rain event were impressive. We wondered what it would be like frozen and finally last  Saturday we were given that moment. The climbing was excellent.  A ribbon of ice with steeper steps running for 1000′. Winter is coming and the ice was building during the day…I look for more building during the week and good early season ice climbing this weekend,  in the high ravines. Here are a few photos of our “Drive up Hillmans Highway” on Saturday November 9th 2013.

 

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