Ice Climbing Fast Track

To start my winter guiding season off I got to climb with Andrew, Jeff, and Caleb during the last two days in our “Ice Climbing Fast Track” program. Andrew had taken an avalanche course with us last winter and having ticked off a bunch of winter ascents around the White Mountains was ready to try something a bit more technical. Jeff and Caleb had some solid multi-pitch rock climbing experience from a few years ago but were relatively new to the ice climbing scene.

Mother Nature joined us yesterday bringing a size-able snow storm that dumped almost a foot of snow in the valley and kept us in full winter conditions though-out the day. I chose the Walk in the Forest area of Frankenstein to give us some shelter from the winds that day.

Hiking up to the climbing area...
Hiking up to the climbing area…
Practicing ice axe placement...
Practicing ice axe placement…
Caleb nears the top
Caleb nears the top
Caleb checks out the strength of a V-thread
Caleb checks out the strength of a V-thread
Jeff eyes the steeper line...
Jeff eyes the steeper line…

Day 2 dawned clear, sunny, and much less windy. We set our sights on Standard Route at Frankenstein, and found the right side in good early season condition.

Andrew nears the top of pitch 1
Andrew nears the top of pitch 1
Caleb almost to the cave on Standard Route
Caleb almost to the cave on Standard Route
A slightly crowded cave...
A slightly crowded cave…

We continued up to the top following the less traveled right variation and enjoyed a short rappel during our descent. It was a fine two day start to the season, with a good group of guys, good early season ice, and good weather. Tomorrow brings the first avalanche course of the season and we have quite a bit of snow on the ground compared to last year. I couldn’t be more psyched!

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