2 Day Private Ice Climbing

A couple years ago I introduced brothers Greg and Chris to ice climbing during a 2 Day Winter Mountaineering course. That trip report is here. Two weeks later Greg came back and climbed Hitchcock Gully with me, trip report here. After almost a two year hiatus Greg has come back for two days of climbing with goals of learning to lead and bagging the classic East coast route, Pinnacle Gully. Insanely warm temps (and rain) kept us away from the ice yesterday, so we focused on some self-rescue and glacier skills on the top of Cathedral. Namely;

1) Belay Escape

2) Ascending fixed rope

3) Canadian Drop-Loop

4) 3:1 Improvised Pulley

5) 5:1 Improvised Pulley

Along with looking at some of the advantages and disadvantages of various belay methods. To finish the day we rappelled the Book of Solemnity and Lower Refuse, 450 feet of steep exposed rappelling in wet conditions…

Rapping the Book

Rapping the Book

Bench anchor on the Book

Bench anchor on the Book

Rapping Lower Refuse

Rapping Lower Refuse

Short clip finishing the rappel:

Day 2 was the start of the Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest so we knew climbs would be busy. Being a private 1v1 kind of day I suggested we meet at 7am to get ahead of the crowds, and off we went to the most popular climb at Frankenstein Cliffs, Standard Rt. Pulling up to the parking lot we were greeted by two good size foxes enjoying some food that a careless hiker/climber had lost on the road. One was quite unafraid as we drove by slowly:

http://youtu.be/6TLdZQmDMR0

We were the 2nd car in the parking lot and the 2nd party on route. Since the first party started up the middle we climbed up to the cave via the right hand start.

Close to the top of pitch 1

Close to the top of pitch 1

In the cave, Standard Route

In the cave, Standard Route

After waiting for the bombardment of dinner plates on P2 we headed up to the 2nd comfy belay ledge.

Finishing 2nd pitch

Finishing 2nd pitch

Lots of people behind us

Lots of people behind us

Greg finishes the route in style:  http://youtu.be/4cGT8E95NTc

We headed down to the slab to the right of the Hanging Gardens and worked on some technique while running a couple top-ropes, then returned to the base of the climb.

Standard Route? Check!

Standard Route? Check!

Greg is amped to get on Pinnacle. While high avalanche danger kept us away this trip, I’m thinking next time I see him we’ll be making tracks for Huntington after a quick warm-up day. Now to get ready for 3 more days of guiding ice before heading to Lake Placid next week!

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About David Lottmann

David grew up skiing in the Whites and started climbing at a summer camp just north of Mt. Washington when he was 16. Those first couple of years solidified climbing as a lifetime passion. From 1996-2000 he served in the USMC, and spent the better part of those years traveling the globe (18 countries). After returning to civilian life he moved to North Conway to focus on climbing and was hired in 2004 as a Rock and Ice Instructor. Since then Dave has taken numerous AMGA courses, most recently attaining a Single Pitch Instructor. He has completed a Level 3 AIARE avalanche course, is a Level 2 Course Leader, holds a valid Wilderness First Responder and is a member of Mountain Rescue Service. When David isn't out guiding he enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, backcountry skiing, trying to cook something new once a week and sampling new micro-brews. He lives in Conway, NH with his wife Michelle and son Alex.
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