Conditions 12-15-16

Winter is HERE! Big Time.

A few photos that caught my eye this week.

CMG guide Alexa Siegel digging deep

Cathedral Mountain Guide Alexa Siegel digging deep for an early season glimpse at the Mt Washington snow pack. We’re already miles ahead of last year. — Bayard Russell Jr. and Alexa Siegel.

No Parasol, and very little ice, in Parasol Gully. - Matty Bowman 12-14-16

No Parasol, and very little ice, in Parasol Gully. – Matty Bowman 12-14-16

Black Dike 12-13-16

New crux on the Black Dike, Silas Rossi plowing up the last 200′ to the base. We used the rope and rock gear to mitigate the avalanche hazard on that last 200 feet. – Marc Chauvin / Chauvin Guides 12-13-16

Roaring Brook 12-15-16

First blood and first trip of the season, up the not so “in” classic, Roaring Brook falls today. -12f temps tonight and cold temps tomorrow should help. Lots of running water and chandeliers on the first pitch, and shell over most of the route. Still fun only different:) Matt Horner 12-15-16


Karen handles -40 wind chills at tree line on Mount Washington today - David Lottmann 12-15-16

Karen handles -40 wind chills at tree line on Mount Washington today –  Northeast Mountaineering Guide David Lottmann 12-14-16

DEC Ranger ADK

Two lost hikers found just below the summit of Algonquin Peak in the Adirondacks this week. Photo: A DEC Forest Ranger hikes through three-foot deep snow on Algonquin Peak during the search. Wright Peak can be seen in the background. – NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

Yeah, the powder isn't too bad in the Vermont backcountry right now. ;) #petracliffs,

Yeah, the powder isn’t too bad in the Vermont back country right now. 😉 Alden Pellett with Stephen Charest of Petra Cliffs 12-14-16

The 2017 Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest poster is complete!

The 2017 Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest poster is complete!





Central Buttress – Mt. Washington NH

Cental butress

Michael Wejchert climbing on the Central Buttress , Mt. Washington NH – Photo: Bayard Russell

Just thought I’d fire a cool shot your way to get the early season psych up.

That’s a new route on Central Buttress that Ryan Driscoll starting working on last year. He, Michael Wejchert and I went up there yesterday (12-4-16) and had another go. Ryan is killing it. We all took turns getting the gear in, but Ryan took it to the ledge on the top of the pitch. Fucking cold up there! He had to hang and warm his fingers up, otherwise he’d a done it. Guess we’ll just have to go back.


Ryan Driscoll – EMS  / Michael Wejchert – IMCS

Cathedral Mt Guids Logo Amb

CATHEDRAL MOUNTAIN GUIDES is a New Hampshire based climbing guiding service founded in 2008 by American Mountain Guide Association certified instructor Bayard Russell, Jr. and now run in partnership with local guide, accomplished alpinist and Piolet d’Or Recipient, Freddie Wilkinson. 

It’s about Time, Where have you Been?

Winter is finally headed our way

Last weeks warm weather took it’s toll. On Saturday conditions looked worse than the week before. But on Sunday, with a night of below freezing temps the ice is starting to form again. There is plenty of water flowing and a dusting of snow to feed it. The forecast calls for below freezing temps all week and mostly cloudy weather with snow showers. The perfect conditions for forming ice. The water is cold and the climbs should build fast. This next weekend should provide some of the best conditions to date. Not fat by any means, but it should be better than anything we have seen so far this season.

The Forecast

7 Day Forecast for Latitude 44.15°N and Longitude 71.69°W Elev. 3720 ft

More Weather links here:

Crawford Notch NH – 12-4-16

It does not look like much now, but give it a week! Nothing builds ice like Cloudy, Snowy weather below freezing.

[supsystic-gallery id=1 position=center]

Photos by Doug Millen

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 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.

[singlepic id=731 w= h= float=center]

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.

[singlepic id=740 w= h= float=center]

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 Black Dike 10-26-16

“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

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 /

Ice Climbers Guide to Nova Scotia

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: and

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