The Black Dike – Ice Climb.

Its December 30th and the ice climbing game is on in NH – finally that is.

This season to say the least has been unusual. Weather conditions in NH for November and December reminded me of what is expect for October. The ice did form up for a day or two at a time. The melt outs were quick with the next rains and warm flow. Some folks were quick and ascents were grabbed but for me the ice eluded my tools until now.

The Black Dike is my kick off route for the season and this years climb is the latest date I have climbed the Black Dike in the past 20 years. Lets hope the temperature stay below freezing so the ice can build up into thick and stable ice conditions.

IMG_8670Alex and I on our second attempt at the Dike. The first attempt was to lean so we bailed. This time we were ready and the Black Dike was also. IMG_8674Pitch one was varied  with mostly good ice but a couple of thin spots in the middle. Ice screws did bottom out in the few places we tried.IMG_5961The ice runnel looked amazing!!! I opted for this line which leads into a direct route right up the ice hose. The climbing was thin and technical. IMG_8677The amazing ice view mid way up the second pitch. Soft sticky ice the climbing here is awesome. The narrow flow makes one twist and turn, stack tools one over the other, and reach out for stemming moves on the rock.IMG_8681Alex heading up for the third and final pitch. Alex choose the left side all the way to the top. A very nice lead. IMG_8683Thanks to Alex for giving it a go and meeting up for our second time.

Art Mooney

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