Having moved to Georgia from Washington state, I have been missing the alpine environment quite a bit. Needless to say a trip to my parents home in Massachusetts got me quite stoked to get on some ice for the first time this season.
After trolling through the forums here on NEClimbs I was optimistic that there would be ice to climb up in the White Mountains of NH. Seeing as my father would be my climbing partner for this trip and it would be his first time on ice I figured Shoestring Gully would be a fun climb.
We started off at 4 am from Mass and drove the 4 hours to Mt. Webster. Searching for the pulloff turned out to be easier than expected, one other party was there getting ready for the approach. Soon enough we were off bushwacking to the gully. After nailing the creek crossing we continued up to the beginning of the gully. There were only a few inches of snow on the ground so climbing the loose boulders turned out to take a little bit longer as we were trying not to break our ankles.
Eventually we got to the first pitch of decent ice. As we were getting ready to climb a few more parties showed up, luckily we were first in line and off we went. I lead the first pitch of WI2, scraping the snow off the ice trying to locate good placements for my picks and 'pons. Placed one stubby and made it to the top where I belayed my dad up off a tree. He CRUISED through this step. I was stoked. We continued on, attempting to negotaite the snow covered boulders. I ran out pitch 2 and brought my dad up. He was starting to slow down a little bit so I slowed my pace, got him to eat and drink some and carryed on. At the base of the third pitch, my dad started voicing concerns about not making it up this thing. I thought he wasn't feeling the ice climbing thing, but he said he was starting to tire out (he is an old man :-P haha). Bailing on this route is a bit tough with everyone on the route, and bushwacking on step terrain would not be fine.
After I failed to convince him to continue to the top, we started the bail. At first my tried the bushwacking approach, but I quickly decided that rapping the route would be safer. We set up the rappels and began the journey down. For some reason my dad loves rappelling, he was digging the whole alpine scene, suffering for being tired, cold weather, carrying packs full of gear, and deviating from the plan. We made it down safely and after a nap and some food, the old man felt better. Couldn't ask for a better adventure with dad.
Returned the next day and soloed the route. Had to get it done, as I will be back in GA until the summer, and then hopefully getting after it in Alaska!!!