Black Dike Ice Climb – Art Mooney AMGA guide
The entire week was cold and wintry, I knew the Black Dike Ice Climb would be in shape. Todd came through for a Friday outing the day after Thanksgiving. At 4:30am I was at his house – why the early start? I always feel better being above others on this ice climb. The 4:30 meet up was an honest effort to be first in the lot. Sure enough it paid off, an empty parking lot greeted us.
We took our time readying ourselves and them hiked the trail in the dark. Our bright headlamps gave us the needed vision to find the wandering approach trail up the snow covered talus field. These early morning starts right when daylight lights up the wall are so amazing.
I love showing this place, Cannon around to friends and guests. Todd a great friend, has climbed here many times but this would be his first winter outing. Well Todd – Its time to Alpine Climb – Todd did and very well indeed!!!
There are sections with lots of exposed rock on this route. This picture is about half way up and I would say the good ice was finally reached.
The final pitch was in pretty fine shape. Steep walls of ice and sections of mixed climbing took us to the top. A great morning session with Todd – the rust is off.
Day 2 – with Mike
Mike Slattery is always eager to climb but when I mentioned meeting at 4:30am for our Black Dike ice climb I wondered. Mike never questioned, he drove up the night before and was outside packed and ready to hop in the truck. We greeted and headed up for a morning on Cannon and the Black Dike.
Once again the early start paid off. We had the place to ourselves, which was so surprising to us. This is a classic ice climb, a holiday, and the only game in New Hampshire with the exception of Mt Washington.
This was Mikes first winter climb on Cannon and it was also just after his 50th birthday. What a great way to enter his fabulous 50’s.
The first pitch was un eventful for both of us. Easy sticky ice for 190 feet put us at the belay. The next section of mixed climbing was the crux of the route. Mike watched carefully as I lead through. This would be a high point for Mike’s climbing, the scratchy rock, thin ice, snow covered ledges would test his skills.
Mike figured out the crux area and now is working into the golden ice runnel pitch.
The final pitch can be somewhat of a sleeper – this pitch can appear easy. Beware, steep technical ice headwalls and a snow packed final groove keeps the action going until the very end. The Black Dike now completed for Mike – this was a fantastic day in the mountains with a long time friend.
Thanks to Todd and Mike for these days. What could be better than good times and exciting climbing on Cannon’s Black Dike Ice Climb.
Art Mooney – Mooney Mountain Guides