Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ice and Mixed Season

For the first time in many years, I have not climbed ice before Christmas. I'm not entirely sure how this happened but due to a number of contributing factors I just haven't gotten out yet. Conditions in the northeast have been slow to come in but things are looking good now and I'm excited to get out next week.

Josh at the Toko Crag

I was able to make it out dry tooling in NH with my friend Josh Worley a couple of weeks ago. Josh is one of the strongest mixed climbers I have climbed with and is in impressive shape right now for the Ouray Ice Fest Competition in a couple of weeks.

Kevin warming up on "Unemployment Line"

We visited the Toko Crag in Madison, NH which houses a small but impressive number of really steep mixed routes. The first time drytooling every season always feels a bit awkward to me and I have a hard time trusting my tools and fruit boots. After a shaky warm-up burn I was psyched to send "Unemployment Line" (M8+) to the ice and then did a couple more training laps on it for the extra pump.

Josh and Kevin Mahoney each took a couple of burns on M.O.G. Country M11? with Josh nearly sending first go!

Kevin on "M.O.G. Country" M11? with Josh's tool stuck above

Hopefully with some free time in the coming weeks I'll have more to report on the ice and mixed side of things!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Sad Year

On Friday a call from my good friend Jim Shimberg delivered the sad news that the legendary Guy Lacelle had been killed in an avalanche while climbing during the Bozeman Ice Festival. Although I had never met Guy, his positive energy and giving personality were renown in the community. Aside from being an amazing person, Guy's accomplishments on the ice were nearly unparalleled. He routinely soloed the hardest routes in the world including an amazing solo link up of Terminator, Sea of Vapors and the Replicant on the Trophy Wall above Banff, Alberta.

So many great climbers have lost their lives this year. I did not know any of these climbers well aside from the chance meeting at the crag but like many I felt connected to them in spirit. All of them lived their lives pursuing their passion for climbing and the for mountains and all of them were known equally for the impact they had on the people around them. I can only hope to live my life in this way.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Back in the Gunks and Ice Season

Last weekend Naomi and I traveled down to the Gunks to climb and hang out with our friend Jamie before he heads out west for the winter. The weather called for snow but we figured it wouldn't be too bad. Turns out we were wrong and after a couple of hours at the crag on Sat it started to dump! I was really psyched to give Survival of the Fittest (13a) a lead go. I been on it a couple of years ago and wanted to finish it up this weekend. The route is definitely a bit spicy to lead in that all of the 4 pieces you place in 70 ft. are critical to keeping you off of the ground and tricky to place. I toproped it a couple of times and was feeling ready to lead and send it when the snow started to come down even heavier and a big drip developed right on the crux holds! Bummer!

Lost City covered in snow

We spent a bit more time there before making the treacherous hike down in worn down approach shoes. We realized that worn out approach shoes are pretty much skis on wet, slippery snow as we took a bunch of feet over head diggers.

Jaime and I talking beta in the blizzard

We headed back to Lost City and Survival on Sunday which turned out to be a beautiful day but found the route to be even wetter than yesterday after all of the snow. We toproped on a beautiful 13b/c route just to the left called Clairevoyance. This is an amazing route with really cool moves. I fell off the last move on my third toprope burn. Definitely going back for this one!

One another note... the winter has finally arrived and I have pulled out the ice gear for this weekend. today is rather wet and warm and then it's supposed to get really cold. Perfect scenario for something cool to form on Cannon Cliff. That's where I'm heading Sat. Psyched to see what we find!