Ice Climbing 201

Today I had the pleasure of taking former AIARE student Ben, and new climbers Ian and Brian out for a day of multi-pitch ice climbing as part of their 3 Day Accelerated Mountaineering Program. Knowing popular routes would be a bit crowded with the ongoing Ice Fest in town I choose a slab route on Willard just to the right of the recently popular Left Hand Monkey Wrench. This slab is just over 200 feet in length and is probably 3-. The first half was lower angled bullet proof ice but the 2nd half was steeper growing plastic ice.

East side of Willard

East side of Willard

In the above photo you can see Left Hand Monkey Wrench on the left side, and the slab we climbed is right in the center, directly under The Cleft. This climb deserves way more traffic than it sees, and is actually more aesthetic and interesting than Left Hand Monkey Wrench. It has the added bonus of being fed directly from run-off of the amazing “Cleft” climb, and in the current low snow conditions you could pretty much follow water ice from the slab all the way to the start of the Cleft, with a couple bulges just before the gully proper. It isn’t that hard to find either. During our hike up from the tracks I had to grab a photo of some of the 5mm Surface Hoar growing around some rocks. Those who know me understand why 5mm SH is kinda a big deal 😉

Surface Hoar

Surface Hoar

Ian and Brian on the unnamed slab

Ian and Brian on the unnamed slab

A climber from an AMC group pulling the crux of the Cleft

A climber from an AMC group pulling the crux of the Cleft

Looking down the geologically impressive Cleft

Looking down the geologically impressive Cleft

Brain and Ian on the summit of Willard

Brain and Ian on the summit of Willard

Brian, Ben, and Ian at the top, Mt. Webster in the background

Brian, Ben, and Ian at the top, Mt. Webster in the background

Tomorrow these three are heading up Mount Washington for their final day and while I will not be joining them I am optimistic that they are well prepared with very favorable weather and I’m certain they’ll have a great day. I hope to climb with all three of them again soon!

About David Lottmann

David has devoted his entire adult life to climbing - pushing his grade on recreational objectives and working as a professional mountain guide. After a stint in the United States Marine Corp, he was hired as a rock and ice instructor and since has expanded his repertoire to include alpine, skiing and avalanche education. David is an aspirant Rock Guide through the American Mountain Guide Association [AMGA], an American Institute for Avalanche Awareness and Education [AIARE] Course Leader, holds a Wilderness First Responder [WFR] and is a volunteer member of Mountain Rescue Service [MRS] and Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue [AVSAR]. In his free time, you will find David blogging, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, skiing, sharing micro-brews with friends or in the kitchen working on a new recipe in his home town of Conway, New Hampshire. He resides there with his wife, Michelle, his son, Alex and daughter, Madalena.
This entry was posted in Ice Climbing, Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s