Not Yet…

Looks like a slow start this ice season, but warm temps, some rain and a good amount of sun have been great for late season yard work. We’ll just have to consider tonight’s forecast, a blast of wind and 1-2 inches of rain, money in the bank. Its supposed to begin to cool down over the next few days – maybe even some snow over the weekend and early next week.

I’m beginning to hope for my early season favorite, a good old fashioned rainstorm and a cold snap – the formula for the best adventure around. We’ll see if it gets cold enough to make Cannon go off, then I’ll see if I can find my crampons. That first early morning mission to scrape around in the cold after scrambling all night to put together a full winter kit is priceless. All the annoyances are quickly forgotten at first light on a clear morning. Especially a first light that reveals long, thin drips of yellow, twisted Cannon ice where you had been debating there might be. It often reveals something that makes for a change of plan, sometimes even a change of venue.

I’ve admired Cannon’s medieval, green masonry from random belays all over the cliff. Sometimes those long, cold belays were enough to make me promise to quit climbing and ponder getting a real job. But it never took much; a sip of tea, a look from a partner, or the sudden shift to an engaging lead to straighten out those misguided thoughts. Each December unknown drips, torquing picks, turf shots, pitons, bright cold moons and pitch black drives across the Kanc reenergize and refresh me. If its not this one, maybe the next storm.

What’s Next?

There is a taste of winter on these cold, clear mornings, only to be erased by the 50 degree sun come afternoon. Its the perfect time for late season rock climbing; getting tucked away at a south facing crag and enjoying the relative quiet in the low, direct sun.

I can’t remember a year when there hasn’t been some good ice climbing in December, although it seems unimaginable right now, but a shift of just a few degrees and, boom – put away the chalk bag and find the v-thread tool.

Here’s some shots to help get psyche up…

Cathedral Ledge

Snow for Sloggin'

Toko Crag

Busy February

The middle of February is when most of New England gets time off, and that’s when we get really busy, and thankfully so! There have been a few days on Mt Washington and a bunch of days guiding around the ice crags of New Hampshire.

Eugene Kwan on Supergoofers, Cathdral Ledge, NH, NEI 5

Euegene on Dropline, Frankenstein Cliffs, NEI 5

Amos Beninga on an unnamed mixed route in Madison NH, M6-ish

Champney Ice Bouldering

Aurthor from Cincinatti ice bouldering on a beautiful day in Chamapney Falls

Its been a beautiful year. Right now the north facing routes are growing fatter with the current freeze-thaw cycle, but the sunny routes are starting to get blasted. The truly fun spring mountaineering and skiing season is just ahead, and Mt Washington has tons of snow. Should be a great spring of sunny sport climbing and skiing on the mountian, but winter is not over yet!