It is starting to feel like Spring in the mountains! This weekend was all about skills courses. On Saturday we had two mountaineering skills courses and one private skills course to prepare the group for a Rainier climb later in the year. We all went to Willey’s Slide in Crawford Notch. Willey’s offers a phenomenal setting for a mountaineering skills course as it offers moderate angled snow and ice to practice self arrest and crampon technique. It also offers great views of the notch. Mike, Brenden, and Jamie had 11 climbers and I had 5 who I was prepping for Rainier. We went through Self arrest, and crampon technique and then the other group headed out for their second part of the day which includes packing, gear, dressing for cold weather activities, self care, hydration and nutrition. My group stayed and practiced team rope travel and snow anchors. It was a great day and the weather was perfect!
On Sunday I was with my same 5 climbers from Saturday and I took them into Huntington Ravine to practice crevasse rescue. I harbored some not so secret plans to climb the Escape Hatch as well. We also had two groups head for the summit of Mt. Washington with Brett, Jamie, Brenden, and Mike. To top it off, we had a father and son team up with Mark for some backcountry skiing in Tuckerman Ravine. Everyone had a fantastic day. The morning clouds gave way to a clear sky and warm temperatures although the wind was quite high early in the day. Mark and his two skiers got some great turns in on the Sluice of Tuckerman Ravine before skiing all the way back to their car. We had 10 climbers reach the summit of Mt. Washington, and we had a fantastic day in Huntington Ravine learning how to haul someone out of a crevasse. We spent a lot of time getting that dialed in so our hopes of climbing the Escape Hatch were shot down, although I wasn’t too excited about that plan after seeing the conditions. We would either have to choose to climb rope-less which is not uncommon on that gully, or put 6 people on a rope team, which is quite dangerous for the conditions. The snow had a solid, bulletproof crust which would turn any slip into a long sliding fall into trees and boulders. Instead, we opted to practice some more rope travel and climb a portion of the fan to the base of Central Gully as a rope team.
‘Tis the season for Backcountry Skiing! The snowpack is starting to consolidate and the warm days soften the top layer for great skiing! We are also launching our Wilderness Navigation Courses as well! Whatever you are looking to do, give us a call!