MWV Ice Fest

This weekend come up and check out the showcase of the place, and the community, I call home at the 18th Annual MWV Ice Fest.

I’ll be teaching two mixed climbing clinics, one Friday, and one Saturday, followed by a steep ice clinic Sunday. Come on up and hang out for the day, we can talk climbing, laugh a lot and finish the day off with the free apres climbing beer and refreshments back at IME, IMCS’s website is here. All this comes before the main festivities Friday and Saturday night at the Cranmore Gym – a film fest followed by the popular drytooling comp Friday, and Kelly Cordes’s presentation followed by a DJ’ed party Saturday – all with beer and food.

Endangered Species

Endangered Species TopoWhen Matt McCormick, Matt Horner and I went to Poke-O-Moonshine on the Friday before the Mountain Fest, there were a couple of things that we did do, and a couple of things that we didn’t do; here’s the deal.

We did climb the corner system that is the first part of Gorrillas in the Mist. The ice was formed right of Gorillas in a beautiful, narrow and thin streak. We climbed it for two pitches, one of which being the most intense lead I have ever had, and then belayed. The ice continued above, but “dead ended” below an awesome roof. We took a right from the belay and climbed up into a dihedral, and around that roof, to a good ledge, and rapped off a tree.

We did not do the third ascent of Gorrilas, or even the third ascent of the “big wall” section of Poko. We rapped a pitch below the cliff top, and that pitch would not have been trivial.

Matt, Matt and I all feel good about what we did. Our climb felt complete enough and significant enough to warrent a name, at least as a variation. We climbed some really beautiful pitches, ones that you don’t get many chances in life to climb, but there is room for improvement. There is potentially some really bad-ass looking climbing above our second pitch for a complete and really hard route. Where we decided to rap was an obvious break, the terrain above looked slow and time consuming and we decided to head down and proceed with the Mountain Fest festivities, instead of scrapping our way around another roof, in the dark, with one headlight.

I have read a little bit about our ascent online and it seems like there is a bit of confusion about it. I just want to make sure we are getting credit for what we did do, not what we didn’t.

Hanging Gardens

Its like the North End of Cathedral, but tilted up side down. They are both on the far right, in shady little, protected nooks that you have to walk right past on your way down from most routes at the crag. As a guide who spends a lot of his winter days cragging on the world class ice at Frankenstein, you tend to know know the conditions at the Hanging Gardens intimately; seeing the wild daggers and pillars that form here after every trip up Standard or Dracula.

I’ve been busy guiding over the past two weeks, and have been watching this one pillar grow, and grow and… It just looks really cool, coming out of a Jared Ogden route called Something About You Makes Me Wild, begging for an ascent that ended on a massive free hanger on the top of Joe Josephson’s hard classic, Within Reason.

My wife Anne is making a short film with local ice climber, alpinist and all around great guy, Kevin Mahoney. Kevin keeps pulling the right size straw when it comes time to leading the goods this season, the next time I loose rock paper scissors I’m gonna have to throw some elbows and grab the rack first and go!

Anyway, courtesy of Anne Skidmore Photography, here are some stills pulled from yesterday’s footage. Enjoy! See more of Anne’s outdoor photography at and