Mt. Willard Multi-Pitch Ice Climbing

Excellent day on Mt. Willard today! Andrew & Matt had quite a bit of experience already so we really were able to cover some ground.

Love New England approaches!
Love New England approaches!

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.

Looking down LHMW
Looking down LHMW

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.

Juicy
Juicy
Andrew belays while Matt crushes
Andrew belays while Matt crushes

After a couple of burns on this route we moved over to Upper Hitchcock and finished up 2 great pitches to the top.

Looking good!
Looking good!
Andrew closing in on the belay
Andrew closing in on the belay

The trail to the summit was not packed out but it only took us 20 minutes to reach the summit.

Mt. Webster looms in the background
Mt. Webster looms in the background

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!

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