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Archive for the ‘Ice Climbing News’ Category

Road Warrior – FA, Lake Willoughby, VT

Road Warrior – M8

Lake Willoughby, VT

FA: 01-25-12  Ryan Brooks and Josh Hurst

 “Road Warrior is hands down the best mixed route I’ve been on at Lake Willoughby” – Josh

Rack: Standard rock rack including two #3 Camalots and three ½” cams, no pins, 5 screws: including 2x 10cm and 3x 13 cm.

The Route ascends a large corner 200 meters to the north of Twenty Below Zero Gully.

P1: NEI 4 50m Climb the left most ice flow, pull the overlap onto thin ice and a good stance. Foot traverse left and up easy mixed to the base of the big corner.

P2: M6 25m Up the big corner. Do not rap off the tree, your ropes will get stuck.

P3: M8 35m Traverse up and right following flakes to the ice. When the ice ends at the big roof, traverse right around the roof to a belay back left. If the ice smear extends to the overlap midpitch, the second crux can be avoided, lowering the grade half a notch.

P4: NEI 4- 20m Climb thickening ice to the trees.

Descent: Walk off or rap the route from anchors at the top of P3 and P1.

Josh’s notes:

Road Warrior is hands down the best mixed route I’ve been on at Lake Willoughby. It’s a modern mixed route with a very traditional feel requiring a full rack. The name comes from the absurd amount of driving it took to complete this route, 50+ hours over 6 days, and the apocalyptic setting at the base of the large rock fall. (Who doesn’t have a crush on Mel Gibson anyway?) It should be noted that the route is clean and is on some of the best rock at Willoughby. The route forms every year, this year being the smallest I’ve seen it.

The Back Story by Josh Hurst

Source: Josh Hurst

Note: This pair also put up “TINY DANCER” at The Lake last year.


Jake List – Climbing to Win!

Slide Show

Jake List of Hinesburg Vermont takes 1st place for the Men at the 2nd Annual Drytooling Comp. This event was held at Petra Cliffs during the 2012 Smuggs Ice Bash.

Many thanks to Petra Cliffs for hosting the dry tooling comp and to all the sponsors that make this event happen.

21st Annual Polartec® Challenge Grant Recipients Announced

(Lawrence, Mass.) – Polartec is pleased to announce the recipients of its 21st annual Polartec® Challenge Grant. Six separate expeditions will receive funding and support from Polartec for 2012: a first ascent attempt in the Indian Karakoram, an attempt of a climbing double header in Pakistan, a first descent attempt in Alaska, a new route attempt in Alaska, a first ascent attempt in Alaska, and first ascent attempts in Antarctica.

“The Polartec Challenge encourages the spirit and practice of outdoor adventure,” states Polartec North American Marketing Manager, Allon Cohne. “The 2012 Polartec Challenge Grant recipients exemplify Polartec’s commitment to expanding our perception of what’s possible, and we’re proud to help them.”

 Northeast Climbers score BIG!

  • Peter Doucette and Silas Rossi will attempt a new route on the southeast face of Mt. Bradley in Alaska. On their proposted route, the two-man team expects to find significant mixed climbing for the duration of the 4,500′ ascent.
  • Freddie Wilkinson and Mike Libecki will travel to an area in Antarctica previously unexplored by climbers to climb first ascents on the Earth’s southernmost and most remote spires and big walls. Wilkinson and Libecki will take advantage of the continuous daylight during the winter solstice and attempt first ascents of as many spires as possible during the expedition. Libecki also recieved a Polartec Challenge Grant in 2011 for a climbing expedition to Franz Josef Land in Russia, which has been extended to 2012.


Source: Facebook,, Polartec

Smuggs Ice Bash 2012 – Drytooling Comp WINNERS!

WINNERS of the Drytooling Comp

Friday night at Petra Cliffs, Burlington VT!

Jake List of Hinesburg Vermont takes 1st in the Men’s division

Jake clipping to win the 2012 Mens drytooling comp

Jake clipping to win the 2012 Mens drytooling comp during the Smuggs Ice Bash held at Petra Cliffs, Burlington VT – Photo by Doug Millen

Jake ListClimbing to Win! (slide show)

Andrea Charest takes 1st in the Women’s division

Andrea Charest stretching for the log

Andrea Charest stretching for the log, to go on and win the women’s division – Photo by Doug Millen

 Click photos to enlarge



1st – Jake List

2nd – Ivan Tish

3rd – Kevin Ryan


1st – Andrea Charest

2nd – Janet Bergman

3rd – Melisa McNeill

Many thanks to Petra Cliffs for hosting the dry tooling comp, Bert Severin of  Sunrise Adventure Sports  for putting this event together and for the great food and beer at the comp. Sterling Rope & La Sportiva put up the prize money of $250 for the men’s and women’s winners of the indoor drytooling comp.

More on this event coming soon…….

Report and photos by Doug Millen



Harvard Cabin Update – Happy Holidays!

Santa Claus FA. "Tinsel & Mistletoe" WI 4 Somewhere Near the North Pole – Photo by Cramp!, NEice Photo Gallery

Seasons Greetings,

Just a quick holiday greeting as Marcia and I are about to head back up the trail with our annual Christmas Ham. Cabin visitors over the next few days may get to enjoy some left-overs! Sorry, no guarantees!

General Conditions

Conditions are improving ever so slightly. Weather is still extremely variable. For example, I enjoyed the my first frosty beard in O’Dells on Friday while climbing with HMC President Peter McCarthy. Then on Wednesday, it was a glove-less day in Pinnacle Gully. Even still, it was about the best ice I’ve climbed this season!

So, without getting into too much detail, it is slowly but surely starting to look and feel like winter on the Rockpile. Hermit Lake Caretaker Dave Weston and I were able to make about 30 linked turns on a powdery summit cone on Sunday, December 17th. As is normal, South-Easterly aspects make for nice catch, even when snow-fall is minimal. Of course, not too long after that we saw temperatures rise again along with the return of mixed and liquid precipitation.

Of course, the precipitation and relatively thin snow-pack,  is making for some interesting conditions on higher-angle terrain, thus prompting the season’s first General Advisory to be posted for Tuckerman Ravine. You can read the Advisory and see recent photos taken in the Ravines at

Traction Required

As you’ve probably guessed, the unstable weather has made for some interesting trail conditions. Just short of needing to pitch-out the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, for now traction is REQUIRED!  Of course, crampons will work but lighter forms of traction like Micro-spikes, Yak-Traks, Stabilicers, etc would be ideal. To be clear, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is locked in Ice from Pinkham to Hermit Lake, so please be careful, especially with heavy packs. Exercise extra caution if you are using your crampons while traveling on hiking trails.

Harvard Cabin Registration

Just a reminder, if you are planning on staying at Harvard Cabin, registration is first come, first serve. The Harvard Cabin Register can be found at the Front-Desk at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center from 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM. After hours, 9:00 PM – 6:30 AM, you’ll find the register downstairs in the Pack-up room. Please take time to read all instructions and information and to complete the registration process. This will ensure everyone’s stay at Harvard Cabin is comfortable and enjoyable!

I’m hoping for a busy holiday week. If you’re coming up for New Years…..bring a tent, just in case it gets a little too “hot” in the cabin!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year and Happy Climbing!

Time to get this pig up the trail. See you soon,

Rich Palatino
Harvard Cabin Caretaker
Rich@powder-hound.comNOTE – 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
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