Excellent day on Mt. Willard today! Andrew & Matt had quite a bit of experience already so we really were able to cover some ground.
We arrived at the base of Hitchcock Gully around 9:30. The lower half had some great water ice so we geared up and short-pitched our way up to the lower cliff band. Here we broke right and made our way over to Left Hand Monkey Wrench. I have always approached LHMW directly from the tracks so I was into checking this option out. The Lower Hitchcock approach is definitely faster, and easier to find, so I don’t think I’ll be bushwhacking up to LHMW ever again. Learning never stops!
LHMW was in great shape, and we climbed the left hand start on mostly plastic wet ice. I was practicing a “para-pillar” rope technique to keep us moving and it worked quite well, though a 70m would have been handy as I was on a bi-pattern 60 and it didn’t quite reach the anchor while doubled.
A short shwack brought us to the base of a very juicy looking East Face Slab Right. The sun was out, the wind was down, and we took a moment to hydrate & eat before I set a rope up on the route so we could work on some steeper ice technique.
After a couple of burns on this route we moved over to Upper Hitchcock and finished up 2 great pitches to the top.
The trail to the summit was not packed out but it only took us 20 minutes to reach the summit.
Definitely an A+ day, we got about 6 pitches in and just about 1,000 feet of climbing, car to car in 6 hours, and it was not as cold as expected. Tomorrow, however, these two brave gents will be attempting Willey’s Slide together. After looking at the forecast for North Conway I advised them to dress quite warm:
Mostly clear, with a low around -17. Wind chill values as low as -36. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
Mount Washington Summit attempt on Friday, stay tuned!