Winter is Here!

Sharpen your tools and get ready

Adams- Nov-29-2009-011

Lowe’s path on the way to Mt. Adams 11/29/09
Photo: Doug Millen

After a good start in mid October the ice conditions have gone continually down hill. But over Thanksgiving the higher elevations got hammered with snow. King-Ravive-nov-29-09-1Gray knob received almost 3 feet, in less than 24 hours and the cold weather has moved in. Mount Washington has been well below freezing since the front passed and the extended forecast is for continued cold weather. 6-10 day temperature forecast. …..DougKing-Ravine-nov-29-09

“General mountain travel will be challenging with new snow over rocks and ice. The ice climbing season is very young so expect thin ice conditions that will make rock gear more appealing than ice screws. If Wednesday night’s precipitation event does result in an inch of rain as the valley forecast’s state the thin ice will likely be wiped out again” more at …..USFS Avalanche Bulletin

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service

Photos: King Ravine Mt. Adams NH / Alfonzo

Current snow depth

More weather information

New winter rules for Katahdin

Baxter State Park, Maine

Baxter_south_basin-AOCSolo climbers allowed, no minimum group size

Great news! I am packed and ready to go. Maybe I can find some ice up there.

See the park web site for more information. winter rules and regs and the NEice forum for discussion.

Source: post by greenmtnboy

Photo: South Basin from Chimney Pond by AOC

More info from apaulcalypse:

I just got off the phone with Baxter State Park (not sure if it was a ranger, just whoever picks up the 207.723.5140 phone line). According to the woman I spoke with,

a) There is no ‘gear inspection’ on arrival. You do not need to, say, have every item on a checklist, and the rangers will not deny you climbing based on what’s in your pack.

b) Climbing on Katahdin CAN still be closed down in bad weather. I asked for some examples of what constitutes ‘bad weather,’ and she listed wind chills significantly below 0, whiteouts, high avalanche danger, “things of that nature.”

c) Yes, you can climb any route as a party of two. There is no longer a minimum team size.

d) As far as she was aware, there were no designated start / end times for climbs; that is, you can climb whenever you want. She did caution that is inadvisable to be out climbing after the sun goes down, though.

e) Ropeless, technical, free-solo climbing IS allowed. If you want to hike or climb alone, there is a winter solo camping and climbing form to fill out, along with an itinerary. You can climb ropeless alone or with partners. There is no specific hardware rack required, just gear appropriate to the terrain.

– Also see the article By Steve Prettyman Winter Climbing on Mt. Katahdin

Where is the ICE?

What a difference a year makes

I can’t remember a Thanksgiving that I could not climb ice, at least on Mt. Washington. It may happen this year. The ice season has continually gone down hill since mid October 🙁

I wanted to see what last year was like at the this time so I pulled some photos from the NEice Gallery. I wish I had a time machine…..Doug

[nggallery id=6]

Adirondack News

The Bivy, Keene, NY

cell towerThe Bivy has been overtaken by the ever expanding influence of technology. The Bivy now has cell service, 3 bars! What will this mean? Only time will tell.

"Power of Light"


Petzl, the originator of the modern headlamp, today announced the launch of a global “Power of Light” Photo/Video contest, in line with the launch of the new series of Tikka2 and Zipka2 headlamps.

A jury of international filmmakers and photographers, along with the viewing public, will weigh in on the best photos and videos created on one of two themes: “Illustrate the Power of Light”, or, “What Do You Do with Your Headlamp?”

Entries will be accepted beginning November 1st through December 31st, 2009, and the grand prize winner will receive their weight in Petzl gear – a package worth over $10,000. Loads of runner-up prizes are also up for grabs.

Here’s How It Works

• Participants submit one photograph or one video no longer than 2 minutes maximum on one of two topics:

“Illustrate the Power of Light” or “What Do You Do With Your Headlamp?”.

• A Grand Prize will be awarded for the best video and the best photograph. Each grand prize winner will receive their weight in Petzl gear.

• Runner-up prizes include a full selection of gear for a specified activity, the entire range of TIKKA2/ZIPKA2 headlamps, and more

• Rights-free music will be made available on for entrants to download for use in videos.

• Awards will be based on criteria of originality, humor, quality and aesthetics.

• Winners will be announced in early 2010.

Jurors and filmmakers Josh Lowell, Sean White and Guillaume Broust have created and posted videos to inspire entrants (as jurors, the aforementioned will not be qualified to compete or win). The video jury includes Guillaume Broust, Bertrand Delapierre, Josh Lowell, and Shaun White. The photo jury features Stephan Denys, Tony Lamiche and Petzl’s own Laurent de Lafouchardiere and John Evans. To tip the scales, the public will have the opportunity to vote online.

For complete contest details, visit Petzl’s contest page The site features a cool calculator for entrants to estimate their potential winnings by calculating the equivalency of their weight in Petzl gear.


09/10 Ice Season Under Way!

Pinnacle Gully, Mt. Washington NH

pinnacle-gully-10/15/09Broken Spectre approaches the second belay on Pinnacle Gully, Mt. Washington NH. 10/15/09. The route had to cross the open river at that point to continue.

More Photos

Photo by Alden Pellett – Vermont Daily

Site Make Over!

Welcome to the New NEice!

It has taken me many hrs and some big bucks to do this remake but we celebrate 10 years this year and we needed some new tools! ;-). I upgraded the community board, photopost, classified and the front page. This system will take us well into the future. I have put all I have learned over the last 10 years and the latest technology into this new site, I hope you like it. I still have lots of archival content to post, and the eguide & video sections to complete but we still have to wait for the ice so I have some time, but not much. This year we also have a Facebook and Youtube presence. Enjoy!

This starts the Fall Fund Raiser. Help with the expense of this new site and make a Donation today. Thank you.

I hope it’s a banner ice year!

Let the games begin!……Doug

Please report any errors to

Trends and Analysis

Ice Climbing Participation Trends and Analysis

by Tom Stuessy


In the spring of 2005 NEIce was asked to help with an ice climbing
research effort.  The site’s owner, Doug Millen, agreed to assist
and posted the survey on the web page.

The study focused on how perceptions of risk, creativity, and
challenge while at work influenced the way people participated in
ice climbing.  In addition to the correlations between work and ice
climbing, trends in ice climbing were also investigated regarding
gear and type of participation.  Trends investigated included
soloing and leashless climbing.  These two dimensions of climbing
were isolated due to the consequences of making a mistake while
performing one of them.

As can be seen in a recent article written by Will Gadd (2006) in Gripped magazine, climbing is in fact a risky endeavor.  It is
not the focus of this article to argue for or against what Will Gadd
has done to promote or discourage risky climbing, but rather to shed
some light on our current participation trends that increase risk to
the sport of ice climbing such as leashless climbing.

Participation in risk recreation is the act of
intentionally putting oneself in harms way.  The motivations to
engage in high-risk recreation range from social pressure, seeking
an identity, adrenalin, or testing one’s skill (Ewert & Hollenhorst,
1989). Testing one’s mettle is primal. However, society takes great
measures to protect people from danger at all levels. Most of what
is needed for basic survival can be ordered over the phone or
Internet. Humans no longer have to physically fight in order to show
dominance or survive; yet these urges are still present. High-risk
recreation is the most socially accepted and convenient way to
engage with these urges.  To experience risk, employ skill, and to
survive is a primal requirement.

The Sample

The sample was comprised of 67 climbers at “Ice Fest” in North
Conway and those solicited on NEIce during the spring of 2005
(N=358).  Among the sample 92 % were male and the average experience
level was 7.9 years of climbing.  Ages among ranged from 18-65 with
74% falling between 24-49 years of age.

Participation Trends and Data Analysis

The survey asked questions regarding solo and leashless
climbing.  Perception of risk associated with climbing solo or
without leashes was correlated to how confident subjects were
regarding climbing skill.  In addition, measures of control,
freedom, and challenge will be shared.

Subjects that rated their climbing skill as better than
average perceived climbing solo as more dangerous for themselves
than others.  Conversely, risk recreation literature illustrates
that risk recreationists will typically rate their own skill as
superior to others, which would have resulted in a perception that
climbing solo for others is more dangerous than for themselves.
This finding is encouraging as it lends some support to the notion
that ice climbers can effectively decipher their own skill base and
can choose appropriate challenges while ice climbing.

In addition to rating the risk associated with solo climbing,
perceptions of leashless climbers were also collected and analyzed.
Those climbers among the sample that rated their own climbing skill
above average did not perceive leashless climbing as being easier or
more liberating to movement while climbing, nor was it perceived as
being more dangerous.

It is a commonly accepted notion in adventure recreation literature
that feelings of control are a motivating force in participation.
Data analysis determined that those climbers that perceive their
skill as above average had strong correlations with feelings of
control and confidence while ice climbing.  Feelings of control
while ice climbing were highly correlated with perceptions of
confidence while at work.  Feelings of expression and creativity
while ice climbing were also highly correlated with feelings of
freedom and creativity while at work.

These relationships were not inverse, meaning that climbers did not
seek feelings of control and freedom while ice climbing because of
low perceptions of control and freedom while at work.  Instead,
feelings of control and freedom transcend both dimensions of the
subject’s lives.


The data collected as a result of this research effort
supported the notion that ice climbers are a motivated, creative,
and educated group of people.   This research points to ice climbers
having accurate meta-skills (ability to judge one’s own knowledge)
and work lives that allow for expression and freedom.

Leashless climbing will continue to grow given the data
collected here.  Among the sample leashless climbing was not
perceived as more dangerous.  However, it was also not perceived as
being to the climber’s advantage.  This issue will continue to be
controversial among student climbers.  While a student can hang from
a leash and not drop a tool because of a leash, they can ignorantly
commit to a section of ice that will break leaving them connected to
a large fallen piece of ice via the tool’s leash.  The pedagogical
use of leashless tools is still up for debate.

The data presented here lends support to the notion that climbers
can effectively assess the dangers associated with solo climbing,
particularly for themselves.  Future research needs to better
address perceived skills in all areas of climbing such as when
climbers are ready to lead or how different types of climbing
environments influence climbing participation/decisions.

It is obvious that more data collection focused on trends
exclusively is needed.  It is hoped that this collection will take
place in the near future and shared among the greater ice climbing
community.  During data collection subjects emailed the primary
investigator with great suggestions.  These suggestions will help
mold a subsequent data collection process.

Tom Stuessy is a professor at Green Mountain College in Poultney,
Vermont in the Recreation and Outdoor Studies Department.  He would
like to hear your suggestions for future research.  What research do
you think will help the climbing the community the most?  If you
have suggestions please send them to Tom at:


Bridal Veil Falls Re-Opened!

Telluride’s Bridal Veil Falls Re-Opened to Climbing

Standing 365 feet over Telluride’s Box Canyon, Bridal Veil Falls is Colorado’s tallest free falling waterfall, and some would argue, one of the most classic and difficult ice climbs in the country. And it has been closed to climbing for the better part of a few decades, with the exception of a few brief openings.

Following extensive negotiations, ice climbers will once again be able to legally climb the classic Bridal Veil Falls, beginning December 5th of this year. This agreement was reached through negotiations between The Trust for Public Land and the Idarado Mining Company, with support and advocacy from Colorado’s San Miguel County, the Telluride Mountain Club and the Access Fund. It awards a revocable public access license that grants climbers access to this world-class ice climb.

The opening of the key access point to Bridal Veil Falls was managed by The Trust for Public Land, a non-profit land conservation organization dedicated to helping communities all around the country save special places for everyone to enjoy. Their work has made a real difference around Telluride, Ouray and Silverton, where they have protected over 10,000 acres for the public, including other outstanding climbing resources such as Wilson Peak and the Ouray Ice Park.

A climber’s general information meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the county meeting room, Miramonte Building, 333 West Colorado Ave (2nd floor) Telluride, CO. All interested climbers are invited to attend.

The re-opening of Bridal Veil Falls is a big win for the climbing community, but we need your help to ensure its continued access. This area contains a set of innate hazards, which climbers must be aware of to ensure their own safety and mitigate potential access issues.

Topo - Bridal Veil Falls

Topo - Bridal Veil Falls

This new public access license is revocable and is contingent on climber’s awareness and compliance with a number of rules. Climbers must sign in at a kiosk and avoid the Powerhouse area at the top of the falls; all descents must be via rappel. A complete list of rules and topo can be found at

Compliance with these rules is essential to maintain climbing privileges. Please treat this area and its adjacent private land with respect, and help educate others on its proper use. Our combined efforts can help keep this landmark climb open for years to come.

Many thanks to folks at The Trust for Public Land, Idarado Mining Company, San Miguel County, Telluride Mountain Club and many local climbers for coming together to reclaim this Colorado classic. For more information, contact Access Fund Regional Coordinator Steve Johnson at

See also:
Trust for Public Land
Scott Dissel
(303) 837-1414

Telluride Mountain Club
Tor Anderson

San Miguel County
Linda Luther-Broderick
(970) 369-5469

Colorado Avalanche Information Center
(970) 387-5712

Source: Access Fund Press Release