Winter Climbing 101 Course, Frankenstein Cliffs

This summer I got to meet 16 year old Harry for a very rainy day of rock climbing. Most of the day was spent indoors covering rope skills, which he was keen to acquire. He would later climb with EMS Guide Ryan and was following 5.9 routes his second day out. Soon after he started leading traditional climbs. This kid is getting good fast! He returned today and was joined by Wildcat Ski Instructor Marissa for an introduction to winter climbing.

We pulled into Frankenstein around 9:30am. The upper parking lot was full and cars on the side of the road almost reached the lower lot. I wondered if Lost In The Forest would be swarmed.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Ice Pack

Crossing the trestle at Frankenstein Cliff- sweet pack review coming soon! #hyperlitemountaingear

We saw one party on Chia and later heard parties climbed Smear, Hobbit, Pegasus Rock Finish, The Blobs, and Bob’s Delight… all looking quite good. There was no one in the Trestle Cut or at the Trestle Slab. When we arrived below Lost In The Forest we could easily see a large group, probably 10+, around Walk in The Woods/Lost In The Forest. On we walked…

My back-up plan was the slab to the right of The Hanging Gardens… we got there after passing a very busy Standard Route.

Standard Route, Frankenstein Cliff

Standard Route, Frankenstein Cliff

We had the slab to ourselves and had lessons in crampon technique, ice axe use, and belaying.

Ice Climbing Frankenstein Cliffs

Marissa prepared for her very first ever climbing experience while Harry provides a solid belay

Ice Climbing Frankenstein Cliffs

Marissa crushing our first route of the day

Ice Climbing Frankenstein Cliffs

Harry getting after it

After a couple of laps here we ate some lunch and moved down and over to Standard Route right as a few parties were finishing. We opted for a quick climb up the center to the cave and rappelled.

Ice Climbing Frankenstein Cliffs

Harry reaches the cave at the top of the first pitch of Standard Route

On our way out we had a quick lesson in ice screw placement and building V-thread anchors. Marissa seemed to enjoy her first experience in the vertical world of ice climbing and Harry is chomping at the bit to learn more. He’s heading out tomorrow with another EMS guide for some longer multi-pitch type climbing and I’m sure he’ll do well. At this rate I expect to see him climbing up a storm in the next few years. Get after it Harry!

I’m heading out again tomorrow with another group, so stay tuned and see you in the mountains!



About David Lottmann

David grew up skiing in the Whites and started climbing at a summer camp just north of Mt. Washington when he was 16. Those first couple of years solidified climbing as a lifetime passion. From 1996-2000 he served in the USMC, and spent the better part of those years traveling the globe (18 countries). After returning to civilian life he moved to North Conway to focus on climbing and was hired in 2004 as a Rock and Ice Instructor. Since then Dave has taken numerous AMGA courses, most recently attaining a Single Pitch Instructor. He has completed a Level 3 AIARE avalanche course, is a Level 2 Course Leader, holds a valid Wilderness First Responder and is a member of Mountain Rescue Service. When David isn't out guiding he enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, backcountry skiing, trying to cook something new once a week and sampling new micro-brews. He lives in Conway, NH with his wife Michelle, son Alex, and daughter Madalena.
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