Rock Climbing the Whitney Gilman Ridge!!!

I have traveled to climb in many beautiful places and what I have found is that New Hampshire is one of the finest around. NH is my home, and I am psyched to be here.

Aubrey and I have climbed for many years together at Cannon, Cathedral and Rumney. We both are always amazed with the quality of climbing, the spectacular scenery at all the venues. Cannon is one place we both truly enjoy, its the big cliff, with spectacular positions, wild exposure, thoughtful climbing, and a variety of exciting and challenging routes.

The Whitney Gilman is a route I have climbed many times over the years. The experience never gets old, its always a fun and exciting for me. Aubrey asked, if I get tired of climbing the same routes and to be perfectly honest I replied no. I love all the places I work, the people I climb with, and the ones we met along the way. The guiding work/life is a fantastic path!!!

This was the scene for Aubrey and I. Clouds floated above Cannon and the Whitney Gilman Ridge creating this beautiful image on the approach. Aubrey and I were both psyched for another day on Cannon.

The approach talus field is extensive, one can feel lost in a sea of boulders. It provides an effective warm up routine before the real climbing begins.

Aubrey enjoying the exposure and thoughtful climbing. The Whitney Gilman Ridge has many options, route finding can be a challenge, rock quality is varied, it is a stout 5.7/5.8 route depending on the chosen climbing line.

A one of a kind alpine rock ridge. The routes weaves back an forth along the 600 foot ridge.

Aubrey working through the pipe pitch crux area.  He is enjoying the exposure climbing on the north wall, the steep technical moves, this is what we come for!!!

High on the wall Aubrey and I truly enjoyed the climb. It is a climb we have both done many times but it never gets old.

A beauty for sure Cannon Cliff New Hampshire.

Posted in Art Mooney, Mammut, NH Rock Climbs | Tagged , , | 4,752 Comments

Lieda, Chullila, Costa Blanca, Spain

In May Terry and I traveled to Spain. We arrived into Barcelona then traveled southwest in the country side and along the coast.  With so many climbing areas we had to narrowed it down, four venues made the list Montserrat, Lieda, Chullila, and Costa Blanca.  Our journey ended in the beautiful seaside city of Valencia.

Where it all began. I do remember climbing at an early age, mostly trees. I never imagined I would travel the world in search of the best climbing areas.

Our first venue was Montserrat.  Plugs of cobblestone conglomerate rock dotted the landscape here. Slick stone, runouts, airy summits, this was a unique and challenging area to climb.

Cavell Bernat is pictured above with our route in view.

Our first summit Cavell Bernat.

Onto the Lieda area. The actual climbing area was called Camarasa. Located in gorge, with a loud river in a deep canyon, the limestone cliffs ran for miles along both sides. The routes were single pitch at 30 meters or so. Sun or shade it was easy to find a suitable place to spend the day.

Hiking into the Camarasa Climbs.

Beautiful spring time poppy blooms along our travels.

We found nice Air B & B’s in each area. This is our favored way to travel. One of the best parts is local foods cooked at home. Fresh veggies were abundant.

Traveling in style with our bright Kia Stonic.

Chullila was our favorite area. Beautiful location in a small Spanish village, with easy access to all the cliffs. There is an amazing amount of fantastic rock routes.

Tufas, ribs, drips of stone keep the climbing fun and engaging.

Getting our psyche on!!!

Chullila a quaint village in the countryside of Spain.

Our final days took us to the beaches and cliffs around Valencia Spain.

Spain has always been on my list and this trip was absolutely a winner. We both enjoyed the travels, people, climbing and we will be back.

Terry on a final route called Tai Chi – one of the most photographed climbs in the area. Situated on a hillside above the city of Calpe with the beautiful Mediteranean as our background.

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Sun, Sand, Stone – The Red Rock!!!

Jerry and I find ourselves in the Red Rock area once again.  We have traveled here many times in search of  Sun, Sand, Stone – The Red Rock.  This fantastic area does not disappoint, it keeps on providing.  Highly engaging climbs that brings out the best of  each of us.  The spring rock climbing season has arrived!!!

Red Rock Climbing

Jerry and I planned a 7 day climbing adventure.  Our trip would take us into the canyons to climb the longer traditional routes and also into the Calico Hills area to climb a number of sport routes.  Either way we had plenty of choices to keep us on the go.

Red Rock Climbing

The weather for our week was clear with bright sunshine.  The temperatures varied with daytime highs ranging from 70 to 90.  Mid week one wind event came through which kept us from climbing high, instead we found a warm sheltered area in the Calico Basin area.

Red Rock Climbing

Climbers in a silhouete up on the TOP of a route called Unimpeachable Groping.  This was our final route of the week, a multi sport climb with multiple challenging pitches.  The difficulty was not in the grade but tended to be in the route finding as the climb wanders back and forth on the face.  If you followed the wrong path it led into much harder climbing.

Red Rock Climbing

Partners for many seasons, Jerry and I truly enjoy our times together.  It was 8 seasons ago that we had our first trip to Red Rocks.  Highlights at that time were the classic climbs called Birdland and Frogland. With many seasons under the belt, training sessions all winter, we now found ourselves searching out the less traveled climbs of Community Pillar, La Cierta Edad, Unimpeachable Groping, Slot Machine, Risky Business. A high powered week that pushed us both into new higher ground.

Red Rock Climbing

Mammut and Mooney partnered up for this trip.  so much Mammut gear was put to the test once again. Twilight Ropes, the Serenity Rope, Smart Belay Device, Trion Zip 28 pack, Wall Rider Helmet, were just a few of the favored items.

Red Rock ClimbingThank you Jerry for this wonderful trip.  Very nice climbing times. Terry and I very much enjoyed our week together in the Red Rock with you.

Art Mooney

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Mastering the Guiding Craft

Through out each year I seek balance in the vertical world.  The balance is between three activities, personal climbing, private guiding, and instructional courses.

My work with the AMGA falls into the instructional course category.  This course work is two fold, first it is a passion of mine to help other guides raise the bar.  I really enjoy seeing young climbers/guides develop into solid movers on the terrain and become expert technicians with skills and techniques they apply during their guiding days. Secondly these instructional course  days keep me sharp and are a major part of my continued growth and development as a guide as well.

NH Ice Climbing Guides Course

A huge benefit for me is being a member of the AMGA Instructor Team and working together with highly trained guides from different areas of the country.  AMGA instructor Joey Thompson of Colorado Mountain School is teaching a clinic on ice protection on the NH Ice Instructor Course.

NH Ice Climbing Guides Course

Eric Whewell head guide at Colorado Mountain School and an AMGA IT member joined up with the NH team.  Eric is starting a clinic on ice anchors at the trestle area of Frankenstein Cliff.  Eric presented a demonstration with instructions then the student followed by building a variety on ice anchors for discussion and critiques.

AMGA Ice Climbing Guides Course

Silas Rossi of Alpine Logic Guide Service is demonstrating sound and efficient ice climbing skills.  Silas is a strong and gifted alpinist and ice climber who is motivated and well suited to train up younger guides.  Movement is a core skill in the mountains, on the ice and rock.  All guides must certainly have solid climbing skills ones that inspire confidence and build trust from the guests.

NH AMGA Ice Climbing Guides Course

Getting started for a team ascent of Willeys Slide.  A grade 2 multi pitch ice climb requiring a different set of skills.  Skills for the alpine guide are utilized to ascend this classic NH climb.

NH AMGA Ice Climbing Guides Course

Chia a suitable ice route for setting up the split rope system.  The guide climbs with two ropes set gear in one belayed rope draping the other ropes with a few directional screws.  If set up correctly two climber move up at the same time minimizing the wait and climbing together with out any ice fall hazard.

NH AMGA Ice Climbing Guides Exam

Doug Ferguson of Mountain Skills Guide Service owner on the first AMGA Ice Instructor Certification exam.  This new exam is five days in length where students showcase their ice guiding skills on multi pitch ice climbs.

NH AMGA Ice Climbing Guides Exam

The ice climb Great Madness is pictured above. Tim Farr of Petra Cliff Climbing School guided this test piece during the AMGA Ice Instructor Exam.  Application is a skill a guide must have on board, pulling out the right technique at the right time. Tim recognized this and applied a one rope system to mitigate the risk for himself and the guest. Great work Tim!!!

NH AMGA Ice Climbing Guides Course

This attachment is used for a stability anchor any where you have a solid tree or post. The tree hitch is quick and very easy to undo.

 In all of our training programs simple solutions are sought for guiding problems. Here is a simple anchor utilizing a v thread then adding a screw to create some additional strength. Less gear is required and again its a fast solution to anchoring the team.

Canada AMGA Ice Climbing Guides Course

Managing the stress is one very real problem for students. Demonstrating skills under watchful eyes can be difficult. On our first day the instructors can set the course tone. The first day starts with instruction then we get to the ice movement. An afternoon session out with the team leading or top roping steep ice climbs in a relaxed setting to ease the overall stress of the course.
Canada AMGA Ice Climbing Guides Course

This photo is of a student Evan taking on a challenging lead. This grade 5 ice pitch is on a Canadian Classic called Carlesburg.  Evan guided two of us up this pitch in fine spit rope style. The pitch has excellent movement on steep ice.

Canada AMGA Ice Climbing Guides Course

On our final day in Canada we opted for a big alpine ice objective. Murchison Fall is a climb ranging in difficulty from grade 4 to 5. Set in a remote mountain cirque one is  away from the crowds of the busier roadside crags. A fantastic final route for the program.

I feel so fortunate to have spent the past 18 years working for the American Mountain Guides. This past work has opened up countless friendships, create exciting work opportunities, challenged my abilities.  Above all the ice environment is a place that I truly enjoyed and feel at home.  A huge Thank You goes out to my wife Terry and all the students for keeping me on track with continue enthusiasm and psych to continue along in the cold ice and mountain enviromnment.

Posted in AMGA1979, Art Mooney, Canadian Rockies Ice Climbs, Mammut, NH Ice Climbs | Tagged , , , , , | 2,776 Comments

Route de Balines!!!

The Cote Nord borders the St Lawrence for 1250 kilometres (775 miles), from Tadoussac to Blanc-Sablon Quebec. The coastline of this region has been designated the Whale Route, since 13 different species of whales, including the blue whale, can be found in the waters of the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, very close to the shore.

As the temperatures in NH heated up to over 60 degrees Jerry and I made plans for a quick exit to the north. We drove north to Quebec City then traveled along the Whale Route. The route is a wild land, full of extremes, long distances, big rivers, and vast forests.  We felt out in the middle of nowhere!!!

The highway stopped, no bridge to cross the huge Saquaney River.  To our surprise one must take the ferry to continue up the Route de Balines  The 12.5 hour drive went by quick, we arrived at  Sept Iles and checked into the Voyager Hotel, which would serve as our base camp.

Talk about snow – Sept Iles is buried under meters of snow right now. With the first crux (the drive) out of the way we moved onto the next.

Renting the snow machine from the Harley Dealer in town was another puzzle. The guys assured me they would hook me up when I arrived and hook up they did. A trailer with wide track snow machine was waiting along with shiney new helmets to keep us safe. As it turned out this was a solid sled that fit the two of us and our climbing gear.  Jerry and I were on our way.

The Monster Ice Climbs we had heard about are nearby up the Sainte Margarite River. The headwall is a truly spectacular wall 6 miles up the river. As we rounded a bend the magnificent wall came into view with grey and orange rock and numerous wild looking golden ice climbs!!!

Le Pilier Simon-Prouix is a beautiful ice climb. This climb rates as the easiest line on the Margarite Headwall. It is a big route with thick golden ice that gets steeper as you climb. The upper part has a couple of corners systems with small ledges to gain some rest on. A fabulous climb for Jerry and I!!!

You can feel the size once you locate me climbing the first pitch. These routes rival any in western Canada but are seldom climbed due to the remote location.

Jerry enjoying steep sticky ice on Le Pilier Simon-Prouix.

I landed in this cool cave on our descent. Finding shelter from above is key when rappelling down these ice climbs. Caves provide a floor, interesting ice formations, and a reprieve from the exposure.

This ice route is called Speedy Gonzales WI 6+. Sure looked beautiful and difficult from the ground.

Another big ice route called La Mulot. Multiple ice and mixed lines grace this wall. La Mulot proper is on the left side.

Sept Iles is a 12 hour drive from central NH. Its a good size city with all one needs for comfort and rest. Bring all your technical gear, the city is pretty lacking in that area. Be ready for an amazing adventure into the wilds of northeastern Quebec.

Thanks to Jerry for this last minute trip. It was quite the experience for the two of us!!!

Posted in Art Mooney, Quebec Ice Climbs | Tagged , | 2,551 Comments

The Magic of Omega!!!

Omega!!!

Omega had been climbed a week ago by numerous teams. Andrew and I made the approach and attempt but backed of due to brittle ice and cold conditions.

It was one week later and I wanted it bad, my mind was focused on Omega and this was the perfect time. Tomorrow was lining up, Jerry was coming over, todays weather prediction was for an inch of rain, and the arctic blast was arriving by mid day tomorrow. I thought we could possibly climb Omega before the news was out.

We met at 8am in the Cannon Lot. Our first crux done, the lot was empty, no climbers, no rush. Omega looked great from the road with a yellow line of ice from bottom to top. We approached the route.

My mind was buzzing with wonderment and excitement. Would the first pitch be ok, would the thin runnel be bonded to the rock, would the ice be fresh, would it be thick enough for protection, could I launch up on this pitch?

Omega Ice Climb 5+ Cannon Cliff NH

We arrived at the base of Omega, a wind whipped environment. I took a look at the route and decided it was the time, the feeling came from the gut, this was the day.

Omega Ice Climb 5+ Cannon Cliff NH

Pitch one is a long pitch that links together a variety of runnels of ice. The ice was in excellent condition, it was well bonded and sticky. Thickness was as expected verglas on rock to an 1 or 2 for much of the pitch. A couple of old pins, stubbies and one sawed off was the gear. Just enough to keep my mind in a forward direction.

Omega Ice Climb 5+ Cannon Cliff NH

The ice above looked good, the thin pitch completed, we were good to go. Jerry arrived at the belay, he was cold, his hands and feet were numb. It was time to fuel him up, a couple of gu gel,s, Terrys homemade energy balls, topped of with a hot drink. We took enough time to bring the feeling back. Jerry was now ready as I climbed upward onto the steep ice.

Omega Ice Climb 5+ Cannon Cliff NH

Water ran down the ice dripping over the roof. I was showered as I moved through this section, ropes, clothing, screws,  slings, gear all encased in ice. Omega was fighting back. A mid pitch belay station was necessary, my gear was gone, ropes were heavy, a visual to Jerry was needed.

Omega Ice Climb 5+ Cannon Cliff NH

Anchored to the wall with three screws I called off belay. It was Jerrys time, he fired the pitch, climbing through the overhanging section with ease. He was now in force, fully recovered and climbing strong. I looked up, one short pitch to the top and Omega would be completed!!!

Omega Ice Climb 5+ Cannon Cliff NH

Just a sampling of the icing on gear.

Omega Ice Climb 5+ Cannon Cliff NH

Emotions ran through me as I topped out. It had been over twenty years since I climbed this route.  Today was a fantastic day of climbing, pushing myself to the edge. Being able to share this day, this route with Jerry was something I had only imagined. We were both psyched to reach the top of Omega together.

Omega Ice Climb 5+ Cannon Cliff NH

Jerry and I at the top of a spectacular climb, on a brilliant day, Omega came together in fine style for us.

Art Mooney

Posted in Art Mooney, Mammut, NH Ice Climbs | Tagged , , , , , , | 3,980 Comments

Friends, Family, Highlights 2017

Memories of a fantastic year with so many wonderful people. Thank you all for the time spent together on these days on the rock, ice, mountains. Its 2018 and I am ready to do it again – enjoy!!!

Lake Willoughby with MMG guide Mike Leathem.

 

Cannon – Fafnir with Mike Slattery and Red Bull.

Canadian Rockies with Jerry – Pilsner Pillar to the top a superb 7 pitch. climb

Todd & Masia joining Terry and I for our spring rock trip in Chattanogga Tennessee

So happy to be with Rapha.  Gearing up for the climbs in Saffres France.

Terry and Jerry – Crack climbing on the South Buttress of Whitehorse.

A beating was had – the before photos of the Black Crack – Cathedral Ledge.

Han Chen high above the desert – Blade runner caught our attention a fine climb on a striking arete.

Our Community Ed, Gary, John, Tucker on top of the Community Pillar in Red Rocks.

Kolab Canyon – The Namaste Wall!!!

Desert Towers with Jerry Gale – Castleton in Moab.

 

Dark Crystal – fine conditions for this test piece on Cannon – with Jerry.

Jackson focused on the steep ice at Rumney – an excellent outing at Rumney in extremely cold conditions.

Art Mooney

Posted in Art Mooney, Canadian Rockies Ice Climbs, Lake Willoughby Ice Climbs, Mammut, NH Ice Climbs, NH Rock Climbs, Red Rocks Guided Climbs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3,689 Comments

A Cold Cold World!!!

Mike and Jackson were both psyched for a NH ice climbing trip. We had planned the date over a month ago, our schedule was set. With the current arctic air mass locked into place I knew the day would be extreme, we were in for a very cold and windy day. Staying warm would be the key for a fun event, outside for the day!!!

A ski tour in the morning followed by ice climbs in the afternoon would keep us on the go. Movement would help us overcome the frigid temperatures along with layers upon layers, buffs, goggles, mercury mittens, hand and toe warmers, what else could we add to our kit?

Mike and I met up a decade ago with ski touring being our main event. Since that time Mike took on the steeps and now he is hooked on the vertical world. Jackson joined in for the climbs too, ice or rock its all good, these two are always game for a full day in the mountains.

Today we started our combo ski tour and ice climb event at Tenney Mountain. Close to Rumney, Tenney would be good for a quick 1500 foot ski workout. It was -6 when we arrive in the parking lot, the ski area is closed but trails were packed out by the groomers last week. This was the place for us to ski, avoiding the breakable ice crust through out the backcountry in central NH right now.

We topped out on Tenney, then after a warm up at the coffee shop we geared up for the Rumney Ice Climbs. Rumney is south facing and finding a sunny corner would keep us comfortable and might even soften the ice a bit. Cave route was the climb.

Jackson upgraded his boots and crampons today. With this solid boot set up with a mono point crampon he flew up the climb. A steep start lead to a really cool cave area with ice continuing in a thin vein to the top.

Mike grabbing a lap on the Cave Route. Equipped with the finest Nomics, Darts, and Sportiva Batura Boots, Mike is a gear junkie for sure.

Jackson enjoying the afternoon on steep ice. This is what its all about, swinging tools into the ice, placing feet onto the ice ledges, unlocking the sequence ahead and taking time to looking around at the magical ice formations that surround you.

Keeping the psyche high was key to enjoying this frigid time. We did just that, kept it going with the internal fire burning all day long.

Thanks to Mike and Jackson for a great day.

Art Mooney

Posted in Art Mooney, NH Ice Climbs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2,562 Comments

Northeast Mentorship Event – Ice Climbing Guides!!!

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.

Art Mooney

Posted in AMGA1979, Art Mooney, Mammut, NH Ice Climbs | Tagged , , , , , | 2,631 Comments

Irish Drool

Kinsman Notch is a small ice climbing area located in a sheltered forested location minutes away from Lincoln NH. The routes are all single pitch with one exception the Beast. The small size of the area does not reflect the true quality one finds on many of the routes. Kinsman has always been a favorite area, one that I frequent when the weather turns bad or very cold. This weekend Han joined me for two days, our first at Mt Willard and our second day at Kinsman Notch.

I’ve always known this route as Hanging by a Moment. I posted this photo and Jon Skyes corrected me – the route is called Irish Drool. Climb the pillar then traverse left onto to rock slab then climb another slab up[ to the forest and anchor.

Irish Drool is a favorite ice climb. The pillar is fragile so movement must be delicate. The slab above is thinly covered in ice keeping the leader engaged right to the top. Han and I had a great day at Kinsman with a warm up climb on the center flow followed by a steep bubbly challenge on the Beast. On our way out we stopped at Irish Drool and bagged the first ascent of the season.

Han was psyched, with two really fun days on the ice. Any ice climbing in December is considered a bonus and it really set the stage for a good season ahead.

Thank you Han for a great weekend.

Condition photos below for Kinsman on December 18.

Pot of Gold area.

Route just left of Irish Drool.

Central Pillars.

The Beast Area.

Posted in Art Mooney, Mammut, NH Ice Climbs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3,060 Comments