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Archive for the ‘Ice Climbing News’ Category



An eye in the sky for NEice

Meet our newest team members..King Kong (right) and WooKong.

I designed and built the WooKong to be light and simple so we can bring it where we like to go, UP! The King Kong is the heavy lifter and ready for anything.

I was inspired by the Mammut video celebrating 150 years.   The use of RC helicopters for photography quickly became my newest addiction.

I want to show the ice climbing in the Northeast the same way, from a perspective we are not use to.  I look forward to flying all winter to bring you the most spectacular images and movies I can capture.

We will be at the MountainFest Jan. 18-21, 2013 in the Adirondack’s for the grand unavailing of our efforts. Hope to see you there.

Doug Millen

PS…I want to send special thanks to team member Courtney Ley for all her help and enthusiasm. This project would not be the same without her.


Photos by Joel Dashnaw and Doug Millen

Harvard Cabin Update – Celebrating 50 Years!

To The Many Friends of Harvard Cabin,

Seasons Greetings!

The cabin is open for another season.

The cabin has been a busy place this Fall. Beginning in August with a small gathering brought together by Ted Carman, HMC President 1962-1963 and prime mover in the construction of Harvard Cabin, the club began to address a few routine maintenance related issues with the cabin in hopes of keeping it operational for another 50 years! In addition to regular maintenance, the club is also going through several stages of planning, permitting, and fund-raising for some larger maintenance needs along with some major improvements and safety upgrades. Of course, all changes will be subtle as to not disturb the look, feel, and operation of the Harvard Cabin we all know and love.


Having taken much longer then expected this Fall, the renovation of the Caretaker’s Den has kept caretakers from the past and present along with many club members and other volunteers busy for much of the Fall. Situated above the cabin entrance, many of you know the den was a cold, damp and dormant area that had been deteriorating over the last several years. Work began in Mid-August with the demolition of the existing framing, flooring, and insulation (think 30 years of mouse infestation!). Of course, all unusable debris had to find its way downhill and new materials uphill. I lost count of how many trips up the Tux Trail I personally made this Fall, never mind the countless trip made by other volunteers. Whatever the number, Future caretaker’s are in for a real treat thanks to the effort of so many!

After the demo-work was done, the supporting infrastructure was cleaned, disinfected, sanded, and sealed.. The existing fiberglass insulation was replaced with rigid foam insulation which helped with the elimination of rodent friendly gaps and cracks. We even added a new double-pane window to the loft! There is still a little work to be done before the project is complete, but it would suffice to say that we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to keep the warm air in and the rodents out! Click Herefor some more photos of work being done at the cabin over the last few months!

Once again, It is a great privilege to to be serving as Harvard Cabin Caretaker again this season! Thanks to HMC for having me back for yet another season! I’m looking forward to seeing many of you back at the cabin again this year. We’re setting-up better then we did last year, weather-wise. I am happy to see the persistent signs of the coming winter on the rock pile. Folks have really been getting after the early season ice over the last few weeks. Personally, I’ve been so busy with renovations, I haven’t made it past the cabin yet this season! Surely, that will change in the coming days.

Staying at the cabin…

Finally, I’d like to remind everyone that the Harvard Cabin is a public-use cabin operated by the Harvard Mountaineering Club on a first-come, first-serve basis. Everyone wishing to stay at the cabin must register at Pinkham Notch before heading uphill. The Harvard Cabin Register can be found at the Trail Information Desk at the Visitor Center during business hours and downstairs in the pack-up room after hours. The cabin sleeps 16 people per night. There is also room for 16 additional campers outside at the Harvard Tent Sites. Rates are $15.00 per person, per night inside, $10 per person, per night outside. US Currency Only. Be sure to read ALL instructions when signing-in so that you arrive prepared and able to fully enjoy your time at the cabin!

If you have any questions you can e-mail or speak to a Trail Information Specialist at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.

Let’s hope for a safe and snowy season! I look forward to seeing you soon!


Rich Palatino
Harvard Cabin Caretaker

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 April 1st each year. Specific instructions for staying at the cabin can be found online at

Early Season Luck On Katahdin

Game ON! – October 13, 2012

Alfonzo enjoying great early season ice on “Piggy-Wiggy”, Katahdin, ME


You never know when it will happen….so be ready!

And we were! Alfonzo made reservations over a month ago knowing it is hard to get camp sites over consecutive days this time of year. We were planning to rock climb, but with the forecast calling for cold weather, the ice tools were packed along with the rock gear. You never know when you might need your ice tools.

We arrived Friday night to light snow showers. Rock climbing still seemed possible to some with the forecast . Our friends Mike & Cassy packed for the Armadillo. Alfonzo and I packed for ice. We had a good feeling about the conditions leading up to Saturday.  And with the forecast calling for low teens at 4000′ overnight we committed to ice climbing and packed light to move fast.

We were greeted with clear sky’s and temps in the 20’s Saturday morning. As we walked up the trail, the ground became more frozen and signs of solid ice were everywhere…our pace quickened for we knew climbable ice would be found.

As we walked into the Chimney pond area, the grandness of the South Basin with a winter look welcomed us. There was ice everywhere. Better than we expected and better than last years trip in early December. And the Cilley-Barber was in! All the planets had aligned. With pure luck we had impeccable timing, creating the perfect early season situation.

After checking in with Mark the ranger at chimney pond we headed UP! We chose the biggest moderate line we could see. This was the start of the “Chauvin-Cole” route up to “Piggy-Wiggy” and then to the ridge. The gift of early season ice was given again, for in the winter most of this climb would be a snow slog. We had water ice, tail to tip.

We climbed about 1500 ft of good and sometimes challenging water ice on a spectacular day. This was the best early season ice I have ever climbed. We were so lucky!


Many thanks to Baxter State Park,  a great park with excellent hospitality. And special thanks to Ranger Rob and Mark for being so excited about ice climbing.

~ Doug Millen

Photos by Doug Millen & Alan Cattabriga


Harvard Cabin – Your Help is Needed – October 13th and 14th, 2012

Greetings Harvard Cabin Mountaineers

We hope everyone had a great summer and is enjoying the Fall. Bonne Action de grâce’ to all of our friends in Quebec! September was fantastic with lots of warm, dry rock for all to enjoy. A relatively dry Summer and early Fall left the foliage looking tired. However, the last couple of weeks have been very wet and the foliage is rebounding nicely. The explosion of colors is peaking this week and it looks like we might see the sun soon! Of course, all of this rain has us thinking about the aquifers that will be helping to grow the early season ice!

Your Help is Needed – October 13th and 14th, 2012 – Please Read Solar Electric Upgrade Below

In case you didn’t hear me say it last season, this coming winter marks fifty years at Harvard Cabin! The construction of Harvard Cabin alone makes for an interesting story. Let us not forget the historical significance it hold here in the White Mountains and the role it played in the pursuit of modern technical ice climbing! Most importantly, we can’t forget the memories we’ve all made at the Harvard Cabin. It is a special place for sure -an experience you’d be hard-pressed to match anywhere in the World!

I had the privilege of spending a weekend at the cabin this summer with Former HMC President Ted Carman (Harvard Class of 1963) and some of his family members. Mr. Carman was the prime mover in the construction of the cabin following the demise of the Spur Cabin, which was located on the John Sherburne Ski Trail. Ted had the great vision, the proper sense of urgency, the tenacity, and the resourcefulness to get the job done! It’s no surprise that following his service in the United States Navy, Ted went on to become a pioneer in running non-profit community development companies. He focused on affordable housing and revitalization projects throughout New England. The construction of Harvard Cabin is still listed on his resume in a long list of projects he has lead. Click Here for a photo of Ted visiting the cabin this August!


In conjunction with our 50th Anniversary, we have been working on a number of cabin renovations. Marcia, myself, and a handful of other volunteers have enjoyed many a pack-board trips up the Tux Trail over the last couple of months with new materials. Click Here for some photos of recent changes at Harvard Cabin.

Caretaker’s Den

The Caretaker’s Den has been gutted and will soon be reconstructed with all new framing, plywood, rigid-foam insulation, and a new window. The renovations will help to keep warm-air in and rodents out! The Caretakers Den has been an unusable, unhealthy space for the last few seasons due to high-moisture levels that lead to mold. Renovations will hopefully resolve these issues by reducing moisture and keeping warm-air in and rodents out!

Solar Electric Upgrade

Click Here or the link below to Volunteer to Haul!

In other exciting news, the club is planning an upgrade to our Solar Electric System. The purpose of this project is largely to increase cabin safety by increasing emergency radio time and allowing the club to replace the gas lights we all know and love. Besides being expensive and not very user-friendly, the lights produce Carbon Monoxide (CO) and present a burn hazard. The plan is to retrofit the gas fixtures with ultra-soft LED Lighting. We are hoping to maintain a color temperature that will mimic the soft glow of the gas lights.

As part of this upgrade, we need to build a mast to mount our new panels. The mast will be set in concrete…about 2000 Pounds of concrete to be exact. We need to set the foundation within the next three weeks, but first the cement mix must be brought uphill. This is where you can help. By volunteering to haul a 40 pound bag of concrete up hill, you can help get this job done quickly. The Annual Harvard Cabin work weekend is October 13th-14th. This year we are asking for some help from outside the club. We are calling for help from all people who know and love the Harvard Cabin! Come be part of preparing the cabin for another 50 years!

If you are available to help next weekend, October 13th or 14th, please take a minute to fill out this form. That way we can know approximately how many bags of concrete to have on-hand. We will be meeting in the Pinkham Parking lot at 10 AM on Saturday and Sunday. Volunteers are asked to bring a backpack suitable for carrying a 40 pound (18 Kilogram) bag of cement mix. Lining your pack with a plastic trash bag wouldn’t be a bad idea. Don’t forget food and water!

Sorry, our permit will not allow use to accommodate overnight guests, but feel free to spend the day at the cabin!

If you can’t make our work weekend, but will be in the vicinity of the cabin anytime in the next couple of weeks. Feel free to hike up a bag of cement mix. 40 pound bags of Quikrete are available at your local hardware store for about $3.00! Thanks for your help!!!

Thanks everyone and please let us know if you are interesting in lending a helping hand at the cabin. We could really use help hanging new windows and someone who is good with DC lighting. Perhaps someone who is familiar with marine lighting and circuitry.

Thanks again. Get after it and stay safe! As always, Think Snow! Hope to see you next weekend! Bring your friends!

Rich Palatino
Harvard Cabin Caretaker

NEice – The Mobile Edition

We are proud to bring you on your Smart Phone.

It doesn’t matter if you have an Android or Apple, and no App. required…just go to on your mobile device and you will be taken the mobile version of Easy navigation and all the articles are formatted to your device for easy viewing. You have access to all the stories, climbs and articles in real time. No more clutter, zooming or moving around the page. You get just the information you are looking for in an easy to view and use form.

Coming soon!……The Mobile hookup to the NEice Forum.


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