Everyone comes out for this fest! And for good reason. This year’s Ice Fest was a huge success. Saturday night for the main presentation, the Theater in the Wood was at capacity. The biggest Ice Festival in the Northeast keeps getting bigger and better. Around 245 people were there for the Friday evening events, 420 folks came to the Saturday evening events, 310 guided ice climbing clients, 39 guides, around 25 sponsors, a live band performance!.. not to mention a burrito truck.. Need I say more?!
This was a full three day weekend with clinics and demos happening all day Friday as well as Saturday and Sunday. It brought out the big names of both guest guides and local guides. The major climbing gear and clothing manufacturers were there and they all converged at the after-clinic party which was held at the mothership, IME, in the evenings before the slideshows. NEice supplied the hot soup, Tuckerman Brewing Company supplied the beer, the American Alpine Club supplied the wine and everyone was already well stocked on good conversation and good times.
Friday night was Barry Blanchard’s presentation and as Bernie Mailhot puts it, it was a great retrospective presentation with gusto, spicy anecdotes, and good humor (with great microphone sound effects). He is always humble and giving much deserved praise and gratitude to his climbing partners. Opening that act was Jeff Longcor talking about his expeditions to Kirgistan.
Climbers, both in clinics and going out on their own, were at the crags, cliffs and alpine nooks and crannies all weekend. Being out there climbing myself, I can’t say enough how awesome the camaraderie is amongst climbers during an event like this. Some people go out of town when there’s an ice festival, thinking all the ice routes will be packed with people and climbing will be a miserable experience of waiting in line. But from what I experienced, there was plenty of ice to go around and everyone was friendly and accommodating. People were just stoked to be out! And to top it off, the weather was really pleasant all weekend.
Saturday night, Majka Burhardt gave props to New Hampshire climbing during a refreshingly lively presentation. I think the ice climbing community is psyched to have her as a NH resident. She opened for Tim Emmett, who is a someone that needs no introduction. From his crazy base jumping, wing suit flying, and WI11 climbing, there wasn’t a dull moment.
On Sunday, Cathedral Ledge was busy. Repentance and Remission were in great shape and were being climbed. Tim Emmett, Jason Kruk and the usual suspects, Bayard Russell and Kevin Mahoney were making work of the thin ice smears that were found all over the cliff.
The NEice choppers took to the air this weekend and took some of the best and most stable footage so far. At year two of this project, it’s exciting to be able to see the product of all the hard work that’s been put in. We decided to take some long and high flights to capture some of the big picture of northeast ice. Here it is!
Cathedral Ledge has had some good conditions lately and the visiting climbers took full advantage. Below are a few photos taken at the ledge Sunday during the event. Including Tim Emmett (in red) sending “Jack on Ice”.
NEice would like to give many thanks to the group that puts this shindig together. Anne Skidmore Russell, Naomi Risch, Michael Wejchert, Ashley Link and Hanna Lucy on the planning committee. And of course IME, IMCS, all the guides and sponsors. Without them, there would be no Ice Fest. Thank you!
Photos by Doug Millen and Courtney Ley. Cover photo, Andrea Charest on Remission.