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February 19, 2004
I don't know about you, but sometimes I get just
a bit jaded with climbing. Don't get me wrong, frankly there's
almost nothing in the world that I'd rather be doing, but let's
get real... Climb Dracula, Pegasus, Fun House, Bombardment or even
Recompense half-dozen or more times a season, and how many times
can you get all excited about it?
That said, being out with someone out who hasn't
climbed before, and especially ice, and I see things with a fresh
When they get excited, I get turned on. When they're nervous,
I feel what they are experiencing. It's a direct conduit of emotion
up that rope. I can see the climbing through their eyes, and
even remember what it was like for me the first time on that
climb. It's a very energizing feeling. For some reason this seems
true with ice climbing. There is something totally exhilarating
about being up on a monster chunk of ice, holding on only by
a collection of wicked pointed objects and protected by nothing
than a bunch of screws. For many it's more exciting that rock.
Even a moderate climb, like Chia or Cave Route, can take their
That's one of the reasons I like to work with
the Boston AMC Mountaineering Committee's Ice Program every winter.
I get to
spend a weekend
working with one or more student climbers, taking them up classic
climbs at places like Frankenstein, Mt. Willard, Trollville
other places. Of course the climbing is fun, but I also get
to feed off those students new-found infatuation with the sport.
It's particularly rewarding and, when we part at the end of
it's great to know that they are very likely to do their best
to get on the ice again as soon as they can. What's particularly
for me is to be wandering around at someplace like Frankenstein,
and actually see one of the students out there climbing on
his or her own. Next time you have the opportunity to take a beginner
out, jump on it. It's a very rewarding thing to do.
Looking for a SALE?
Well this just might be the ONE. IME is making it easy for
you to get into new threads, new boots and new skis BEFORE
the winter is over. Here's the deal:
25% off all clothing - Cloudveil, Mountain Hardware,
Patagonia, Marmot, Mammut and more
25% off all skis
Now THIS is THE REAL DEAL! Sale starts Friday (Feb 13)
and ends Sunday (Feb 22). So, get down there and check
it out. You simply won't find a better deal on the stuff
that you NEED.
International Mountain Equipment
North Conway, NH
That's right, the 11th Annual White Mountain Ice Festival is THIS
weekend folks. While the demos, classes and clinics are always
great, my favorite part is the slideshows. It's always such a source
of inspiration to see the amazing climbers you read about all the
time up front and in person. I get new ideas about how to do things,
find myself getting all inspired and psyched up to climb harder,
and of course I see a ton of people that I don't run into that
often. This year's crop of presenters looks very good. As usual
the presentations will be held at the John Fuller School in North
Here's the schedule and some info:
7:00 PM Craig John: Everest from Tibet - Craig's done Everest twice
and a lot of other big mountain climbs. This should be a very good
8:15 PM Mark Synnott: Scorpion Wall in Guyana
- Join Mark for an evening of stories and slides recounting an
amazing adventure in
the heart of the Amazon Jungle. In March and April of 2003, Mark
Synnott and Jared Ogden, accompanied by a National Geographic Film
Crew, established a first ascent on the "Prow" of Roraima,
a remote sandstone rock tower (known by the local Amerindians as
a tepui) in Guyana. Mark and Jared established a ground-up 5.11+
free climb up the overhanging 1500-foot, tiger-striped wall. Only
six bolts were placed in over 1500 feet of climbing, and those
only at belays. Mark calls the Prow: “Just like a huge jungle
version of the Gunks’ Yellow Wall.” The team spent
five nights in portaledges on the wall, battling with tarantulas,
scorpions, and monsoon rains.
7:00 PM Robert Frost: AutoRoute - This is local filmmaker and videographer,
Robert Frost's, latest effort. It's a full-throttle European climbing
odyssey featuring an all-star New England crew of Dave Graham,
Joe Kinder, Luke Parady, Tim Kenple, Lisa Rand and Swiss native
Stephan Siegris as they test themselves on the most difficult boulders
and cliffs in Switzerland and France.
8:15 PM Steve House: Himalayan
Pilgrimage - Steve traces his personal journey from the Alaska
Range's greatest routes to the summit of
an 8,000 meter peak to lightweight alpine style attempts on the
world's greatest unclimbed Himalayan routes. You will see photographs
from Mount Foraker's inspiring 9,000 foot Infinite Spur, Denali's
Slovak Direct, Cho Oyu (the world's fifth highest mountain),
the great south wall of Nuptse, the unclimbed north pillar of Masherbrum,
and a collection of images from Steve's recent solo climbs on
stunning Karakorum peaks of Haiji Brakk and K7.
7:00 PM Barry Blanchard: "The Global Alpine Meanderings of
a Bubba, What Alpinism Means to Me". - Alpine images and stories
sifted from 25 years of charging at windmills in Alaska, Peru,
the Alps, the Karakorum and Himalaya, and especially at home in
the Canadian Rockies. Also how to convince Hollywood to cough up
coin so that it can be redistributed to mountain people in remote
alpine villages the world over.
8:15 PM Jack Tackle: The Alpine
Bond" - It incorporates stories
from the past 30 years and highlights 4 partners more than just
the climbs. These stories and climbs range from Montana to Canada
to Alaska and The Tetons.
I plan to be at all of the slideshows
myself. Hope to see you there.
Todd Swain corrected me on the first ascent info on this climb.
He pointed out that he and Jim Frangos had climbed it, and the
Trestle Gully, way back in '83. I'd actually had a hard time imagining
that it hadn't been done until 1997, as the new guide book alleges. <grin> Thanks
to Todd for setting me straight.
Interested in taking the next step to
learning about climbing outdoors?
Do you want to learn more about:
How to build Anchors
How to Ascend a Rope
More about Knots
Multi-pitch, traditional climbing
or just some coaching on movement over Rock?
Come join us,
the AMC Boston Chapter Mountaineering Committee, for four
weekends in April in the Blue Hills Reservation
just south of Boston. Instruction will include various
knots, belaying, rappelling, ascending, and building anchors
for top-rope climbing.
Want to know more? Come to the Informational meeting on
Wednesday, March 3, 2004, at the
AMC's Cabot Auditorium at 5 Joy Street, Boston 7:30
Details and and more information on the 2004 Rock Climbing
Program and applications will be accepted after a brief
slide show, or check it out here.
Up on one of the Mount Washington Valley's finest crags and want to know what that climb you're looking at is? Or maybe you're on your way up from Boston and want to check out the Ice Report for your upcoming weekend plans. Or more likely, you're at work just want to daydream about your next adventure. Well if you have a smart phone handy, you can get to NEClimbs from anywhere you have cell service. While it doesn't offer every single feature of the site and it's not an "app", in mobile form, it does do a whole lot and is very useful. Here is the live link to the mobile version of NEClimbs:
Check it out and if you have issues on your specific phone, please feel free to let me know.
Join us and LIKE us on Facebook. I'll try and post some interesting pix every Thursday and the latest Ice Report in the season, tho certainly not the whole Report. Here's where you can check it out:
Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
|My best performances often developed out of depression when I used climbing as a tool to forestall suicide rather than a method of achieving it. Dispair inspired three years of 'crazy' soloing.|