Look Sharp


“In ice climbing, as in life, being dull isn’t cool. A dull edge, whether a crampon point or an ice tool pick, takes more effort to drive into the ice. Blunt tools also feel considerably less secure and shatter more ice, sending debris down upon your belayer. If you find your climbing plagued by these traits, it could be time to sharpen your points or pony up for new gear. Either way, tools and crampons—and subsequently your ice climbing—can benefit from some tuning.”-Ian Osteyee.

Check out his article in Climbing.com to make sure you are ready for the season!  And thanks for the shout-out!  We are quite “ice-centric” here at NEice.

Ian Osteyee is a mountain and climbing guide based out of the Adirondacks and is the owner of Adirondack Mountain Guides.


Ian looking sharp

The Expected and Unexpected of Early Season

Splashing through the rushing water currents on the trail did not invoke confidence that anything would be frozen up higher.  Still, my climbing partner and I did not slow our pace into King Ravine.  We climbed over the countless snow covered boulders trying not to slip into the human eating crevasses as we picked our way towards Great Gully.  It was warm and wet.  By the time we started our final approach to the drainage in low visibility, I had already resigned to the fact that we would be just out for a hike inside the low lying cloud bank.  To no surprise, Great Gully was a mess of rushing water and soft snow.

The floor of the ravine in the clouds. (photo by Joel Dashnaw)

If you are like me, you can’t choose your days to go climbing.  I’m chained to a desk Monday through Friday and on some weekends I’m working my second job as a photographer.  This particular weekend, I only had Sunday free. So despite the rain on Saturday and rising temperatures, I found myself clinging to the desperate hope that the ice that existed a few days before would still be hanging on. It was a tradition for me to get out and climb ice on Halloween weekend.  Rather, get out and attempt to climb ice.

Related Post:  Chronicles of the Overly Motivated

I love everything that goes along with being back inside winter’s grip. Although nothing is as good as having your mind and body back on some frozen water for the first time, there’s always more to it.  It’s time spent with your climbing partners, or time spent solo.  It’s time spent preparing and getting the psych up.  It’s about throwing yourself back out into harsh elements.  It’s about being in the mountains.  On this day, we post-holed through upwards of three feet of blown-in snow as we neared the lip of the ravine. (The type of snow that has that layer of crust that may or may not hold your weight.) We stumbled, stammered and literally crawled our way upwards.  We weren’t going to climb an ice-choked gully that day, but we were determined to reach the top regardless.  As we were about halfway up the headwall, the clouds began to fade and a brilliant blue sky revealed itself.

Leaving the clouds behind us. (photo by Courtney Ley)

Any thought of ice I had was left below me inside the cloud bank.  We weren’t out there anymore to find ice to climb, or lamenting it didn’t exist that day.  We were thrilled to experience one of the most outstanding undercasts I’ve ever seen.  Most years, my early season tradition of just ‘going out there anyway’ finds a reward for me. Some years it’s ice to climb.  Other years, it becomes something completely unexpected.

Photographs by Joel Dashnaw and Courtney Ley

The Dike – She GO! 10-26-16

The Black Dike

Cannon Cliff, Franconia State Park NH
October 26, 2016

Peter Doucette and Keith Sidle found just enough winter on Cannon cliff today to climb “The Black Dike”. They found thin, wet and bonded ice with just enough gear to get up the climb. Peter always seems to be in the right place, at the right time. October ascents are so sweet. Great work guys!

This is believed to be the first ascent of the season, and Pinnacle was climbed yesterday. Let the games begin!

*Photos by Doug Millen – Click to enlarge

The Black Dike 10-26-16

Peter approaching the 2nd belay

The Black Dike 2

Keith belays Peter on the 2nd pitch

The 1st pitch

The 1st pitch

The Dike 3

Keith leaving the 1st belay

Approaching the 2nd belay

Keith approaching the 2nd belay

Keith on the last pitch of the dike

Keith leading the last pitch

More on Peter Doucette, and The Black Dike

Peter Doucette
AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide
[email protected]

Pinnacle – 10-25-16

And here we go!

Pinnacle Gully 10-25-16

“Thin ice, delicate climbing, and the nastiest spin drift I’ve ever experienced made for a decent October solo of Pinnacle. Have at it folks. Just bring some fancy footwork.”

– Zac St. Jules

Source: Facebook,  Instagram

Still a few copies left! An Ice Climbers Guide to Northern New England

The Last Printing Ever!

* October 24, 2016 – I was just in IME and there are still a few copies left.

Ice Climber Guide to Northern New England

The last and final printing of the “An Ice Climbers Guide to Northern New England” by S. Peter Lewis and Rick Wilcox.
Don’t miss out on this essential guide. A must have for any serious Ice climber. It has been out of print for many years and copies from $600 to $1,800 have been reported on Amazon and eBay.

Only while supplies last.  $35.00 per book.

Sold only at International Mountain Equipment

Address: 2733 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH 03860
Phone:(603) 356-6316

An Ice Climbers Guide to Northern New England

Authors: S. Peter Lewis and Rick Wilcox
Softcover; 320 pages; black-and-white photographs and route maps. Over 900 routes described, 14 fine art maps. This guide covers winter technical routes in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.



2017 – UIAA Ice Climbing Calendar

The UIAA is delighted to announce the final event dates for the 2017 UIAA Ice Climbing season.


UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup
16-17 December, Durango, Colorado (USA)
7-8 January, Beijing (China)
14-15 January, Cheongsong (South Korea)
20-21 January, Saas Fee (Switzerland)
27-29 January, Rabenstein (Italy)

UIAA Ice Climbing World Championships
4-5 February, Champagny-en-Vanoise (France)

Youth Event
14-15 December, Durango, Colorado (USA)

UIAA Ice Climbing World Youth Championships
10-11 February, Champagny-en-Vanoise (France)

More Information can be found here

Source: UIAA News Release / theuiaa.org

Nova Scotia Ice Guide – 2nd Edition

Available online for Free!

Ice Climbers Guide to Nova Scotia

Roger Fage has refined and updated his Nova Scotia Ice Climbing Guide and has generously put it online for free! You can download it here in PDF form. This guide will help you find the more than 200 routes in Nova Scotia and it documents Nova Scotia’s rich ice climbing history. It is the most extensive ice guide for this area to date.


““In the winter of 2010, I put together a first edition of an ice guide to Nova Scotia. It was produced in very limited quantities for the winter of 2010. It was rushed, lacked appropriate research, and desperately needed more. This is a subsequent more satisfying end product. With considerable updates and additional original route information from the original ice guide to Nova Scotia put together by A.Parson in 1994. The A.Parsons guide (or the Allan Parson’s Project as I’ve come to call it) is referred to extensively and often quoted directly in this guide.”

Source: Gripped.com and sponsormeow.files.wordpress.com

Cover Photo: Marty Theriault on the first ascent of New Brunswick Pillar in Moose River, NS. Photo by of Max Fisher.

Harvard Cabin – Work Weekend

October 14-16, 2016

You’re Invited! – Click Here to Sign-Up

Harvard Cabin Mountaineers,

Hope everyone had fun and safe summer season. Marcia and I are currently traveling east towards New Hampshire. Having left Moab, Utah a few days ago we are on course for a just-in-time arrival to the 2016 Harvard Cabin Work Weekend set to kick-off on Friday Night, October 14th. If you are in the area and feel like a some Fall tramping on the rock pile and seeing the cabin in another season you are invited to stop-by, say hi, and lend a hand.

If you are interested in joining us for the weekend you can sign-up using the form linked above. Enter your name on the lower portion of the the form to let the club know how many to expect. You can ignore the travel/carpooling logistics info pertaining to club members traveling from Cambridge. That said, If you are in the Boston Area and are interested in carpooling, you may be in luck. Alternatively, you can reply here and let me know. Keep in mind, I’ll be at the cabin Friday Night and away from e-mail.

Sorry for the short notice. I really should have sent out this e-mail weeks ago. It’s looking like it will be a fun and very productive weekend. If we get to see some of you it will only add to the fun. Marcia and I will be around the cabin off and on throughout the remainder of the Fall, so if you can’t make it this weekend because you already have sending plans, we might need some more help in the coming weeks. Please let me know if you are interested.

That’s all for now from a congested interstate somewhere near Columbus, OH….this 4G stuff is really cool and really fast….like, 65 MPH all day!!! 14 more hours to the trail head! Hope to see some of you. If not, get psyched for snow and ice and we’ll see you this Winter!

As always, thanks for reading and keeping the Harvard Cabin warm and well!

Rich Palatino
Harvard Cabin Caretaker

Trail Adoption

A bit earlier this year the Harvard Mountaineering Club became the official trail adopter of the Huntington Ravine Fire Road. Trail Adopters are utilized across the country by the US Forest Service as a way to address trail maintenance issues that might come up from time to time. Becoming a trail adopter gives volunteer groups and/or individuals the permission and training necessary to mitigate trail maintenance needs as they arise. In the northeast this likely includes over-growth on lesser used trails and the clearing of the occasional blow-down. Maintenance issues like this are sometimes best dealt with by capable members of the public who are willing and regular users of a particular area. The efficiency of such an arrangement benefits everyone by circumventing the back-log of work and funding issues that forest managers tend to be dealing with.

It is only fitting that the HMC has taken on this role given the fact that Ted Carman and crew cut the fire road as they staked out sites for the construction of the Harvard Cabin in the early 1960’s.

Work Weekend Details

As with everything relating to life at the Harvard Cabin and in the mountains, safety is paramount. If you are planning to help with trail work we are asking you arrive equipped with basic personal protective equipment to include sturdy foot wear, gloves, eye protection and helmet. You will not be excluded if you don’t have such gear, but the more volunteers that bring their own the better. Same goes for hand-tools. If you have your own,please bring along any hand tools that you imagine would be useful given the days work. Simple hand tools should suffice. Please, Please, Please – only bring tools you are familiar with and comfortable using. Thanks.

Friday, October 14th, 2016

08:00 PM – Arrival

Feel free to show up at the Harvard Cabin on Friday Night – It will be later evening – 8 PM or so before the cabin is opened. Of course, bring you sleeping gear and some food. It should be a fun night evicting the summer residents. Cabin was spic-and-span when it was secured last Spring, so it should be a quick turn-around and a fun evening.

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

07:00 AM – PInkham Parking Lot

Snow Ranger and Trails Manager Helon Hoffer will be arriving at the Forest Service Garage located at the North End of the Pinkham Parking Lot. He would appreciate any help hiking up hand-tools that will be used for the day.

09:00 AM – Harvard Cabin

Helon will be meeting volunteers at the Harvard Cabin for a short safety briefing and to go over the plan for the day. In recent years, it has been increasingly difficult to get the Piston Bully (snow cat) above the Dow Cache. HMC Volunteers will be assisting the Forest Service in clearing and widening sections of the fire road where new growth is making access and rescue operations difficult, especially during low snow periods.

10:00 AM – 04:00 PM

Find us on the fire road somewhere above the Dow Cache.

04:00 PM – ???

Various odd-jobs around the cabin before dinner and evening socializing.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

All Day – A bit more relaxed of a day. Various projects and pre-season prep around the cabin. Tasks for all abilities and energy levels.

NOTE – Harvard Cabin is not affiliated with the Appalachian Mountain Club. Harvard Cabin is maintained by Harvard Mountaineering Club for use by the general public. The cabin is operated under a special-use permit granted by the USDA Forest Service. Cabin space and tent-sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis between December 1st and March 31st each year. Specific instructions for staying at the cabin can be found online at http://www.HarvardMountaineering.org/cabin

AAC Fall BBQ 2016


American Alpine Club’s annual Fall BBQ


When: Saturday October 22, 2016
Time: 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Where: The base of Cathedral Ledge at the Picnic Area just opposite the kiosk

NEice is the proud sponsor of this years event! All are welcome. Swing by to say hi to Doug and get psyched for the upcoming ice season! Doug will have some good Soup for us and his latest Drones! And don’t forget, it’s “Fireball” season.

As always it’s BYOB, and a grill item. We’ll provide the grill, side salads and munchies. We will have Plates, forks, cups and napkins on hand.

The New England Section has a long tradition of gathering and bringing climbers together from across multiple generations. Come join us at the annual fall barbecue at Cathedral Ledge in New Hampshire and you’re likely to bump into a mix of climbers, from someone on their first trip to the White Mountains to local legends who have put up some of the area classics.

See you there!

More info here: https://americanalpineclub.org/new-england

Email: [email protected]

2017 – Northeast Ice Festivals

Northeast Ice Festivals 2017

Well the ice season is upon us and the Northeast Ice Festivals will be here before we know it. Here are the latest dates for the 2016-2017 Ice Season. Mark your calendars and sign up early!

Jan.13-15, 2017 – Adirondack International Mountaineering Festival, NY

Jan. 20-22,  2017 – Smuggs Ice Bash, Smugglers Notch, VT

Jan. 27-29,  2017 – VICE Fest, Woodstock, NH

Jan. 27-30, 2017 – Catskill Ice Festival, NY

Feb. 3-5, 2017 – MWV ICE FEST, North Conway, NH

  • Stay tuned to NEice throughout the season for the latest on these events.