Welcome to Northeast Alpine Start

What is an “Alpine Start”?

North East Alpine Start

North East Alpine Start

Essentially it means getting up early to reach a goal while objective danger is lower. Many mountains require pre-dawn starts so climbers can move through areas that would be more exposed to rockfall or avalanches during the warmest parts of the day. As such, an “alpine start” is simply a strategy of maximizing your chance of success while managing the inherent risks of climbing mountains. I’ve always found this motivating ideal a worthwhile concept in all walks of life, whether during my military service, climbing, business, or personal. Get up early. Get it done. Get home safe.

Why a blog?

Originally this blog started in 2009 as a simple way to share photos of clients from hundreds of days teaching rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, back-county skiing, and avalanche safety courses for the largest climbing school in the East, Eastern Mountain Sports Schools. These brief trip reports are now found in the Trip Report section. Over time it also became a platform for showcasing some of the best outdoor gear related to those pursuits through product reviews in the “Review Zone“. It has grown to now include a “Skill Zone” featuring some of the best mountain skill advice around. The “Lectures & Courses Zone” highlights the specific skills I teach. A “Supporter Zone” highlights some great outdoor gear companies that have supported this blog in one way or another, and a “Useful Websites Zone” highlights some great resources for planning your next North East mountain adventure.

3 things motivate this blog;

  1. My desire to share the days I have introducing guests from all walks of life to the benefits of climbing and skiing in the mountains.
  2. Knowing people like to see and read about our adventures (consider subscribing at the top right!)
  3. Testing quality outdoor gear in some of the harshest conditions on a regular basis, and sharing what works (and what doesn’t) with my readers. Gear companies that produce items designed for all aspects of mountaineering can contact me at nealpinestart@gmail.com.


I thank both my clients who continue to climb with me and the companies who have been supporting my gear review section for this growth.


You can follow Northeast Alpine Start on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Strava


David grew up skiing in the White Mountains 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 US Marines 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 AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Certification. 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 the “A” team of Mountain Rescue Service, and an expert instructor at Wilderness Navigation holding seminars for MRS, AMC, TMC, and EMS.

When Dave isn’t out climbing or guiding people on the cliffs, he enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, cooking, blogging, and sampling craft beer. He lives in Conway, NH with his wife Michelle, son Alexander, and daughter Madalena.


You can reach me at nealpinestart@gmail.com.

David Lottmann is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


8 Responses to Welcome to Northeast Alpine Start

  1. Hey Dave,
    I had a great time with you Wednesday. Dani and I were psyched we didn’t get an ego for an instructor! You were patient, encouraging, informative and FUN. I look forward to taking another class from you, possibly working on technique.? Justin and I try to come up 4-5 days a month all year round so maybe we’ll run into each other. I don’t know if you’re on FB but I’ll have some pics on my page and the EMS-Hyannis page. Thanks again Dave. I’ll highly recommend that people request you although I can’t promise they’ll be as awesome as us:)!


    • davidlottmann says:

      Thanks Danielle,
      You ladies were a pleasure to climb with as well. Seems like you’ve known each other for way longer than a month! I am on Facebook, I’ll look for you there. Thank you for the future referrals and I hope I see you and Justin out on the cliffs soon. Be well, -Dave


  2. Edward Matt says:

    Hi Dave:
    I did an ice class with you in Febuary. I like the cleaner look of your blog. I was hoping to do an outdoor class with you in September but I think that’s on hold. I dislocated my right shoulder mountain biking…hit a deer…well she hit me. Anyway… now I’m aiming to heal up. I’ll be intouch in the winter for more ice.


    • davidlottmann says:

      Hey Edward,
      Glad you like the new look. I don’t have too much time to format the blog but wordpress makes it pretty easy to post quickly. Sorry to hear about your shoulder. Did you take the deer to court? Get well soon and looking forward to getting back on the ice with you. If we continue to have this much precip it may be a banner ice year as long as it gets cold!


      • Edward Matt says:

        Thankfully deers are not as litigious as humans. This has been a very wet year. I have a buddy who’s itching to get me up on Whitehorse for some slab time..not alot of shoulder work so maybe in a couple weeks…if it stops raining !


  3. Scott & Fanny says:


    my girlfriend Fanny (french) and I had a great time with you in early september. I’ll never forget the feeling of satisfaction from completing the hardest climb (the one with the Brain). Talking with you about life was really just as great. You made it a special experience.

    Is there a chance you can post/send pics somehow?



    • davidlottmann says:

      Hello Scott,

      I remember you and Fanny, and the good day we had, but I am afraid I did not remember to take my camera with me that day. I am very sorry I did not get any pictures from that trip! Please accept my apologies, and if we ever climb together again I promise to be on the ball with the photography!

      – Sincerely, Dave


  4. Jaime White says:

    Hey Dave!!! Thank you so much for my first time rock climbing. You were an awesome instructor, very patient and professional. I want to go again!!! I think I’m hooked….I’m spreading the word to everyone I know🙂


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