Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ice Climbing JSC

 It's that time a year I am out instructing courses for the local college, Johnson State.  We spend three days climbing flows in Smugglers Notch and enjoying the unique alpine landscape of Mt Mansfield and Sterling mountain.  Here is the crew ready to get after it on a super warm day for their first day on the ice.
 This is the wonderful view of the beaver pond and down the valley towards the village of Jeffersonville from our practice slabs area.
                            Matt livin' the dream while enjoying some good sticks in the warm ice.
                                           Sam sending on his first of many days to come...

                                                  North wall amphitheater in fine nick
                                                  Ally enjoying some fine water ice
                                                 Yeah Ryan nice international stance
                                               The off piste skiing of Smugglers Notch

                                                      Enjoying a rare view of the Notch
                                                            Sam playin' some Coltrane
                                      Yeah Molly and Ally sharing the camaraderie of the cord
                                               Town Line Wall very enjoyable this season

Always a pleasure to introduce folks onto a new way to enjoy the winter mountain environment because it sure is a beautiful out there.  Thanks JSC ers for an awesome weekend!

Skiing in the Northern mountains of Vermont

 Enjoying a fine tour in the Norther mountains of Vermont home to lots of hard woods, well preserved snow and cold temps.  The woods are finally getting filled in after a very slow start to the season.  This is one of those classic New England ice flows up in the woods of some Northerly crags hanging gardens winter home.  More than likely only climbed by two people and I can't help ponder how nice that is to have unscripted ventures so close to home.  The beauty of the hardwoods is hard to see for the beauty of the spaces is why we've come this bitter cold morning.  Looking forward to the next storm cycle coming in to fill in the drainages and sub surface hazards, until then lets be light on our feet. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

White Mountains

Beautiful Day up on the Lions Head trail on a blue bird powder day this past week. Great to finally see the mountains blanketed in white. I was working my annual UVM alpine climbing course though we were shut down on gully climbing in Huntington's ravine but were blessed with a windless warm sunny day on the summit. I kept asking "where are we?" I assured the students this was an anomaly for sure! After spending a day in a blizzard on Willy's slide, a bitter New England day on blue ice at Frankenstein crag we were due for the goods for sure. Many thanks to the UVMers and Silas Rosi for a great week.

Summer Guiding in the Alps

Enjoying the sun and splitter orange granite on the South face of the Aiguille du Midi during a day off with fellow guides Mike Bromberg and Keith Garvey. I have been guiding 13 out of the last 15 days and loving every minute. Clients are always asking me "so what do you do on your days off ?" Well we go climbing naturally! With so many world class routes that are so accessible it's hard to take a day of rest in the Chamonix valley.


Here I am hanging out in Chamonix enjoying alpine sport routes under the Brevant lift. This particular route the Fin Du Babylon 6c (5.10+) began with a 4,000 foot tram ride to a 20 minute downhill walk to access this well equipped 8 pitch route which we began at 2:00 in the afternoon while enjoying a live band jamming from the mid station you see in the background. You literally top out at the top station and simply ride the lift down to the valley where fine cuisine awaits! This is just one of the many amazing activities one can enjoy while in this Alpine Disney World of Chamonix, France.

So I slept in the next day as well (recovering from jet-lag mind you) and literally have a couple thousand sport climbs to choose from down valley in the Val D' Arve. I love pulling down on Limestone sport routes especially in the forest on a hot day. Top it off with a little ice cream and beers and voilla another amazing day in Chamonix.

I am using today to catch up on some computer work, logistics and rest. It's a bit overwhelming to plan the next day here with so many world class objectives. I am drooling over the Contamine route on the South face of the Ag. du Midi. It achieves my objective to get some altitude as well as splitter orange granite. Imagine being in the States and riding a lift to the top of the Diamond on Longs peak, rapping the face and climbing back to the lift, now that's civilized!

My guiding work starts in two days and I am getting fired up to get up on the Blanc, once again! Stay tuned for more notes from the Alps.....