It was on a September day rock climbing at Whitehorse Ledge that the idea of a Northeast Mentorship Event for Ice Climbing Guides was mentioned by Ted Teegarden. Ted was psyched, as an AMGA guide, an AMGA ambassador, a passionate climber, and an educator this was one excellent way Ted could give back to our community of guides. So it began the first ever Ice Climbing Guides Mentorship Event in the Northeast.
Ted up front Leading the Way. A variety of clinics and discussions were held at Kinsman Notch. Nothing ground breaking introduced, a refresher of techniques and skills used by guides and climbers with a few extras to add to the guides tool box. Above Ted is starting a clinic on ice anchors and the nuances that go with each type of anchor systems used.
Ted – what do you think maybe five will sign up? That was one of our first thoughts. Soon we realized that this event would draw a good size group. In the end 20 guides traveled to NH from Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, New York and the long distance prize went to Kevin Shon from West Virginia.
Short rope work – the Dark Art!!! A skill used to guide our guests through the mountains on approaches and descents of ice climbs. As guides it is quite difficult to find instruction followed with practice using the short rope technique.
Todd is guiding two guests up the trail. Kiwi coil in place and guest are spaced out 8 feet apart with no extra slack in the system. Excellent work shown here!!!
Of note – guides would normally not use this technique on this pictured low angle trail. here this is perfect to practice and refine the skills with out consequence to the guide or guests.
Ice protection comes in a variety of types and sizes. Guides must seek out a good location, assess the quality of ice, then place the ice screw efficiently. Andrea Charest of Petra Cliffs climbing school is instructing the group on the ice screws and the placement of the ice screw using one hand.
Matt Shove of Ragged Mountain Guides is presenting descending techniques used on the ice. V threads, A threads, and zero threads were all demonstrated and then practiced by all.
The zero thread – a tunnel through the ice is backed up with an ice screw above.
Station management on the ice a specialized skill for the ice guide. Location, rope management, rope system, belays for the leader and followers are all components of station management.
Once it all comes together prize ice routes like this one called Irish Drool can be climbed, guided and enjoyed by all.
Ice climbing is spectacular and exciting. Whether you are on an open exposed face or tucked into a narrow runnel of ice the position and the route is always amazing. The ice takes on wild formations, the movements are challenging and creative, and the mind finds peace.
Thank you to all the guides, the instructors, the AMGA, for believing in this event. It was huge success for all.