Another busy weekend under wraps! A whole new crew of climbers visited us this past weekend and although chilly, it was another great weekend that spilled into the weekdays. While I was relaxing on my weekend off for the winter, Brett was working his butt off!
On Friday we ran an Ice Course, Skills Course, and a successful Summit of Madison. Saturday brought a Mt. Washington Climb with all 6 climbers making it to the summit, an intro to ice course, and a one day ice climbing course. On Sunday we kept it going with a bunch of different Ice programs!
I got to see some action come Tuesday when I took Tyler, a repeat client, on an alpine gully climb in Crawford Notch. After running through some options we decided on Shoestring Gully on Mt. Webster. Shoestring is an excellent first alpine climb requiring travel on steep snow, and moderate ice. It took us about an hour or so to get up the snow gully to the start of the ice. We roped up and climbed the first little ice bulge followed by some snow. We set up our first anchor and climbed our first real ice section. The route was in great shape although a bit brittle and the bitter cold kept us moving fast. After 2 more pitches of steep snow and ice, we had a decision to make. Climb some moderate snow for two rope-lengths to the top, or go for the steeper WI3 ice finish. Tyler was pretty dialed in and willing to follow anything I led. I took a good look at the ice in the WI3 finish and it looked thin. I looked some more. It seemed to me that as long as I could get passed the beginning chimney, I could get a screw or two in the slightly thicker ice above. We decided to go for it. I hadn’t put in any protection up to that point and the beginning of the WI3 finish really had very little ice in it, so I placed a nut into some very suspect rock. I climbed some snow covered rock to get onto the thin ice. The first 10 ft or so was super thin. Once I got above the start though I started looking to place a screw. Everywhere I looked seemed to be much thinner than it seemed from below. I kept climbing. 15 ft from the top I placed my first screw and felt better about the decision to finish this way. I got a second screw in just below the tight exit chimney and then topped out. Tyler followed without a hitch and we enjoyed the well deserved views of Crawford Notch and sipped some hot chocolate and coffee from my thermos.
We moved well throughout the day and we were back to the bunkhouse around 4PM. The other group of three guided by Jamie also climbed Shoestring with us although they were a larger group and graciously let us take the lead. They also had a successful day and returned by 5PM.
We are looking forward to our busiest weekend to date! We still have space on our Intro to ice course on Saturday! Come and climb with us!