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: newengland@americanalpineclub.org

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.



New Ropes From Petzl

Petzl-Paso+Volta-Guide-RopesPetzl is proud to announce two new additions to its rope line-up, these are the UIAA Guide Dry treated
PASO® GUIDE 7,7 mm (Half & Twin) and VOLTA® GUIDE 9,0 mm (Single, Half & Twin).

Both rope are available now – https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/News/2016-5-27/UIAA-GUIDE-DRY#.V-5OejKZMW8
Ropes with the “Guide” name meet or exceed the UIAA certifications of retaining less than 5% of the rope’s weight in water according to the UIAA testing procedure. Both the VOLTA GUIDE and PASO GUIDE absorb less than 2% of their weight in water. So Petzl’s new ropes easily exceed the new UIAA GUIDE Dry standard.

How does Petzl achieve this?

The manufacturing process for UIAA Guide Dry treatment has two stages: the core is treated before the rope is braided, and then the entire rope is treated in order to minimize water absorption and penetration by fine particles. Petzl’s dry treatment process protects the ropes from abrasion in addition to repelling moisture. Water absorbtion by a rope can increase its weight and make it difficult to use in freezing conditions.

068w0000002dG3tAAEAll of Petzl’s dynamic ropes, including the UIAA Guide Dry treated ropes, bear the bluesign®product label. bluesign® products are manufactured to conform to the independent bluesign®standard.
bluesign® is the strictest textile standard for protection of the environment , the consumer, and the worker.

All aspects of of production related to the environment are critically controlled and optimized: use of materials, energy, wastewater, air emissions, and the use and handling of hazardous chemicals.

Source: Dave Karl, Petzl

The Father of the Harvard Cabin

The Farther of the Harvard Cabin

Ted Carman

Winter is still alive on “The Rock Pile” and I was lucky to meet Ted Carman this weekend (3-26-16). Referred to by some as “The Father of the Harvard Cabin”. Without Ted the cabin as we know it today would not have happened.

He drew up the plans, literally, in his dorm room. Got the required permission, and did the fund-raising. Then Ted went on to recruit volunteer labor to get the supplies up the hill and built the cabin we see today. Thanks Ted, your efforts have been greatly appreciated by many over the years.

– Doug Millen

Click Here for the complete story of how the cabin came to be.

Photo by Lisa Poole: Rich Palatino, Ted Carman and Doug Millen

Harvard Cabin Report 3-17-16

March 17, 2016

Harvard Cabin Mountaineers,

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

In celebration, The white mountains have been turned green! But, don’t worry, there is still plenty of skiing and climbing to be had before we let all the ice fall down. Sure, it’s been raining like the Emerald Isle, but with what little luck we have had this season we are psyched for this weekend’s forecast – SUNNY AND COLD! This might be the last time, if not the first time, you will have felt ol’ jack frost all Winter. So, why not try your luck at a chance for thescreaming barfies? Come defy the winter that wasn’t, grab the fat bastard and file away a seasons worth of anticipation, come climb and ski some of the last snow and ice remaining in the northeast.

With superfluous amounts of water draining from the mountain along with plummeting temps, you might even consider scratching around a buttress or two this weekend. This will be a fun few days on the mountain. Right now, it looks like we could have a 72+ hour reprieve from the persistent melt-out we’ve been dealing with over the last two weeks. We could even pick-up a few inches of snow over the next couple of days, which would help to cover up all of the green decorations.

Snow and Ice Conditions

  • O’Dell, Pinnacle – In
  • South, Escape, Yale/Harvard – Out
  • Damnation, North – Possible with Re-Freeze, but not recommended

With the low snowfall this season and above normal temperatures, Trails on Mt. Washington look like you might expect in May. Tread-way on the lower 1/3’rd of the Tuckerman Ravine trail between the trail-head and Hermit Lake is comprised of mostly mud and rock.

The remaining 2/3’rds is mostly melting ice and snow. TRACTION IS REQUIRED! The ice has become much more manageable in recent days as temps have soared. This is an improvement over the nearly bullet-proof and contiguous sheet of protectable ice that has made the Tux trail a viable water ice adventure for most of March. No exaggeration, V-Thread practice was possible on the the Tux trail some weeks. Think I’m kidding? A couple of weeks ago, Snow Rangers felt the need to perform technical lowers of snow machines in order to get them safely back to their summer berths. It’s been a tough winter, but Spring has sprung and conditions are improving as they degrade. Come enjoy what remains!

The Huntington Fire Road is mostly snow covered and should be so through the weekend and beyond. The fan hasn’t really changed too much from what is has been most of the season. Travel towards your gully of choice remains mostly summer like. Snowfields do still exists on the upper portions of approaches to O’Dell, Pinnacle, Central, and the Yale Buttress.

As far as ice conditions – O’dell and Pinnacle are hanging tough. Ice/snow above the first pitch of Pinnacle has really taken a beating in the last few rain events. There are climber-sized holes in the snow and ice caused by excessive water draining on-top of the ice during monsoon-like events. With the potential for new snow fall tonight, Friday, and Sunday, I would be mindful of possible snow-bridging that could occur in the gully, particularly above initial steep-ice pitch. Slipping into a water-fall thanks to a hidden manhole could be unpleasant.

Portions of Pinnacle above the main ice flow will become more difficult to protect over the next two weeks. Thankfully, I believe melting will slow significantly over the weekend. If you were hoping to climb Pinnacle before the season is out, I would consider doing so in the next week.

Thanks to Eric Winter and Jake Kenealy for the great photos taken earlier today in Pinnacle. Eric and Jake live and work in Vermont and are totally stoked for skiing and climbing in the East. Sure hope to see more of these guys in the future!

Pinnacle Gully - March 16, 2016 - Click to Enlarge

Pinnacle Gully – March 16, 2016 – Click to Enlarge

Spring Skiing

While I’m not definitely not one that welcomes the crowds that come with a spring snowpack, we are definitely in the period of persistent isothermic snow. In other words, the spring corn cycles have begun. Besides the obvious ski lines over in Tuckerman Ravine, there are some manageable turns to be earned in Huntington Ravine at the moment. The forecast return of freezing temps might keep skiers out of the steeps this weekend, but once we begin to warm up again the experienced ski mountaineer might find some worthy turns in the upper stretches of O’Dell, South, and maybe Escape. None of which, are offering top-bottom skiing, unfortunately. As always, there are plenty of turns high-up on the summit cone, but don’t expect to make it down to the ravines without first removing your skis. Better luck next year.

On Wednesday (March 16th), I had the pleasure of making a very vegetated approach into Diagonal Gully (Huntington) for a very nice snow climb followed by a fantastic ski descent. It certainly wasn’t the best conditions I’ve ever experienced in Diagonal, but it skied about the best I can remember as a result of the stable snowpack. It was quite pleasant to charge hard! I was skiing with Sarah, Hermit Lake Caretaker, a super stoked skier and climber! We are looking forward to having Sarah in the drainage again next winter again, for sure!

After some tight turns in Diagonal, it was time to boot back up to the ridge and head over the Tuckerman for a surprise two-ravine day. I wasn’t sure it would happen this season, citing mountains condition and motivation problems. We considered dropping into Right Gully, which has been fun this season, but it never really filled-in the way it normally does. As Sarah pointed-out as we wandered across the Alpine Garden, “Skiing Right Gully would be like voting for Trump; Doing so probably wouldn’t effect the election, but it would be a crappy thing to do.” Coincidentally, we decided to head over to LEFT Gully, where we launched off the top and skied some truly hero snow all the way to the mouth of the ravine. That run alone seemed to make-up for an extremely painful and frustrating season. Not only that, it put a the wrapper on a fantastic day on the mountain! I predict we have only a few more similar days left in the season. It’s already skiing like May, so you better hurry-up and get here. Come prepared and stay safe! Keep an eye on the  avy report for daily condition reports.

Tuckerman Ravine 3-17-16 / Photo by Jake Kenealy

Welcome Back Ted Carman, Cabin Visionary

As a reminder, Ted Carman will be spending the weekend (March 19 & 20) with everyone at the Harvard Cabin. In no uncertain terms, Ted is the Father of the Harvard Cabin. He built the place. He got the permission, he did the fund-raising, he had the itch that had to be scratched. He drew up the plans, literally, in his dorm room. He then went on to recruit volunteer labor and got the supplies uphill. Not bad for a  college kid. Following his time as a Naval Officer, Ted went on to a career in non-profit community development. It’s no surprise that the construction of the Harvard Cabin is still listed on his CV.

I was hoping the mountain would be more winter-like for Ted’s return. Luckily, it does seem like the forecast calls for the most winter-like weather we’ve seen in weeks. You can help fill-in the gaps by bringing along a rope, rack, a partner, and your love for the Harvard Cabin. Please consider coming up and spending the weekend with Ted. If you can’t make the overnight but are on the mountain – Please stop-in and introduce yourself to the guy we all owe a great deal of gratitude, if you don’t mind my saying. As you might have guessed, he’s a pretty interesting and lively fellow. Click Here for the complete story of how the cabin came to be.

Hope to see you this weekend,

Rich Palatino

Harvard Cabin Caretaker


Rich and Marcia – Cabin Caretakers 2015/16

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

Blue Lines 2


New Ice Climbing Guide for the Adirondacks in the Works.

The guide is scheduled to be available for the Fall of 2016.

As the final touches of the new Ice Climbing Guide nears completion, a few photos are needed. Here is the list of areas where overall cliff photos are needed (with ice if possible).

Photos wanted for the following:

Crane Mt
Barton Mt
West Canada
Deer Leap
Silver Lake
Exit 30
Knob Lock
Moss Cliff – we do have a photo, but no ice routes visible
Pitchoff North Face

Photos should be sent for review to:

vmcclelland51@gmail.com and adkannhough@gmail.com

Thanks for your help!

Harvard Cabin Report 3-3-16

March 3, 2016

The Harvard Cabin, Huntington Ravine, Mt. Washington NH

Harvard Cabin Mountaineers,

How’s everybody doing? I’m sure you’re all equally as frustrated with the yoyo-like weather we’ve been dealing with here in eastern North America. It seems like there have been more storms in Texas this winter then here in New Hampshire. No, that wasn’t a political statement, but damn near reality. But, before you just give up and wait for the warm, dry rock to return let me just say; While snow and trail conditions are stuck in December, the ice conditions in Huntington Ravine are already looking like April. The ice climbing right now is phenomenal! No sense in waiting for it to get better, don’t take the chance. Not this year.

Trust me when I say it, the climbing is really good right now. So much so, we’ve been having tons of fun swinging tools in the “back yard”. The lack of snow this season might have a lot to do with my increased joy and pleasure in climbing waterfall ice. Also, I realized I can stop waiting for the fan to “fill-in”. Three quarters through the season, it’s probably not happening this year! But, If not for the lack of snow or deciding not to be lazy, it could simply be the great ice conditions that have gotten me into steep terrainwithout my skis!

Pinnacle is so fat and plasticky right now, that “stick, stick, kick, kick” is as joyful and efficient as skiing a thousand feet of beautifully linked powder turns. My point is I think you should come to Huntington Ravine soon. More importantly, you should spend some time at the Harvard Cabin! It’s good up here!

As odd as it may sound, we just enjoyed our first weather event of the 2015-2016 season that I would categorize as a snow storm. Tuesday into WednesdayMt. Washington collected about 8″ (20cm) of new snow. At times, it fell with the intensity of the multiple super-soaker type events we’ve dealt with this season. It was hope-inducing for sure. We dodged rain for just enough time, that I was able to make it to Hermit Lake for a top-to-bottom run on the Sherburne Ski Trail, my first of the season! It was thick and sticky and not so much fun for making turns, but the snow was over our boot-tops and a desperate bunch of powder-hungry skiers and riders were happy just believing winter was happening, even if it was just for a moment. By the time we made it to Pinkham, precipitation began to switch over to snow/rain mix. A couple of hours later temperatures plummeted, winds began to rage, and the heavy, wet, tracked-out Sherburne would become an ugly two-miles of nasty, frozen mashed potatoes.

Snow and Ice Conditions

In case my intro didn’t make things obvious, the ice is in and well-worth climbing even if the approaches are less then ideal. Without being crass, travel through the “bowels” of the ravine can be described accordingly. Still, things have much improved. Despite still following the summer hiking trail for much of the way, the trail is well-packed. Some pretty dense, wet-slab debris that cleared out all gullies during the last rain event (1.75″ Rain on Feb 24/25) has settled between many of the large boulder fields that still sprinkle much of the fan. This has helped to fill-in the ravine a bit and provide better “catch” for the snow that followed. Point is, while wide-spread slope stability concerns are absent across much of the lower ravine area, crampons are still useful and provide somewhat speedy movement towards your intended climb.

Snowfield development is still severely delayed down low. However, slopes are starting to come into season in the upper stretches of gullies, particular those with a northern aspect (Escape Hatch, South, Odell, (Hillmans Highway, Left Gully in Tuckerman Ravine). This past week, such gullies have begun to offer the possibility of a descent option other then Lion Head. While many climbers have made the bushwhack necessary to climb these routes, there is much better climbing to be had elsewhere in the ravines.

Central and Diagonal Gullies have also made fantastic descent options given proper conditions. They have also been pretty scary to even look at some days. Central was awarded a danger rating of High only yesterday. I’m sure today’s wind event will have cleaned central bringing it back into condition for the weekend. Come on up, the weekend weather outlook is favorable. Bundle-up and stay attached, it’s going to be windy!

Love For Landen

Truth be told, this has been a tough season for Marcia and I. Besides the lack of winter, our 8 year-old nephew started experiencing unexplained seizures on December 1st. Long story short, symptoms persisted which led to the the discovery and resection of a 4.5 cm tumor from his brain on Jan 11. Two days later, we received just about the worst cancer diagnosis one could get – Stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme. After reaching out to cancer centers around the country, Landen began receiving radiation therapy in Hartford, CT. He is now into his fourth week of a 6.5 week course.

I’ve spent an abnormal amount of time away from the cabin this winter. I spent my birthday moving Landen’s medical records around New England only to realize how overwhelmed with pediatric patients cancer treatment centers are. Talk about depressing. At a glance, it can seem like gaining treatment for certain types of cancer becomes competitive. This whole experience has been surreal. News and nervous phone calls from the fire road. Long walks down the trail in pouring rain so you can help your sister deal with a life-threatening diagnosis. For two months, I’ve been wanting and needing to be in two-places at once. Suffice it to say, it’s been difficult to keep the stoke factor high this winter. Sorry if that has been evident in my updates, caretaking, or cabin life..

Landen, Audrina, and Uncle Rich – March 2013
Thank You….

On a personal note, Marcia and I have been able to balance the needs of the cabin and family life. Thankfully, we’ve been able to maintain our responsibilities at the cabin without interruption. I was uncertain of how the season would unfold. At one point, we were considering the possibility of needing to find a new caretaker in order to be closer to Tina and the kids. It’s been difficult. I can’t imagine how my sister is dealing with all of this. My heart goes out to her and all of those who’ve ever dealt with cancer in any capacity. It’s been really hard to go out and have fun this year realizing more fully that at any given time millions of people are dealing with this terrible disease.

At the same time, it has really made me ever thankful for the Harvard Cabin and the lifestyle and relationships and “struggles” it has brought into my life. All good things. I am forever thankful and never take it for granted. Climbing in general has given me something that I can never stop being thankful for. Appreciating the terrain in which we are able to move and enjoy. The great climbing community of which I feel a part of. I am really fortunate. So much so that I feel guilty at times. Often left searching for ways to make sure I am putting more good into the World then I receive. That is the ultimate struggle.

While I am thankful and appreciative of how my life has evolved, for the first time I am left wishing I had played my cards a little differently so that I could better support my sister at this moment. She is a single mom with two amazing children. She has been a strong example in my life of what is means to persevere, to stay the course, and to always demand excellence of yourself and those around you. She worked hard in college and continued to educate herself as she built her career in early-childhood education. As of late, she is employed as a social worker providing early childhood intervention for families with children with learning disabilities, but she is currently out of work on medical leave. Given the aggressive form of cancer, Landen’s treatment is intense and requires daily hospital visits. Following Radiation, Landen will begin receiving chemo therapeutics as part of a clinical trial at Sloan Kettering on Long Island, NY.

If you interested to learn more about my sister Tina and my niece and nephew, Audrina and Landen, you can click here.  Thank you for letting me share this part of my life with you.

Welcome Back Ted Carman, Cabin Visionary

To end on a more upbeat note, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been contacted by Mr. Ted Carman, the President of the Harvard Mountaineering Club circa 1962-63. To my great delight, Ted will be spending the weekend of March 19th, 2016 with us at the Harvard Cabin. In no uncertain terms, Ted is the Father of the Harvard Cabin. He built the place. He got the permission, he did the fund-raising, he had the itch that had to be scratched. He drew up the plans, literally, in his dorm room. He then went on to recruit volunteer labor and got the supplies uphill. Not bad for a  college kid. Following his time as a Naval Officer, Ted went on to a career in non-profit community development. It’s no surprise that the construction of the Harvard Cabin is still listed on his CV.   I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ted on a number of occasions. In August 2012, I spent time with with him and members of his family at the Harvard Cabin in celebration of the cabin’s 50th Anniversary.

Cabin Construction

In his words, Ted is looking forward to seeing the cabin in its winter habitat. With a little bit of luck, we’ll be  in the clutches of winter come March 19th. While we can’t control the weather, we can ensure the cabin is full of alpine ice climbers and true winter mountaineers which is when the cabin in full-glory and serving its intended purpose. Let’s help show Ted the great effects and affects his vision and tenacity as a twenty-something have had on the east coast climbing community. Please help show Ted what a great institution the Harvard Cabin has become over the years. Let’s fill the cabin with technical climbing teams!  Come be part of share in the camaraderie that keeps me coming back season after season! Come meet the guy that has made a huge impact on everyone reading. If you never read the store of the cabin construction, you’ll appreciate the article Three Sweaty Months on Mount Washington. The writing, as does the cabin, requires your full attention and appreciation. It is amazing!

Think Snow,

Rich Palatino

Harvard Cabin Caretaker
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Ow0kjRFKsHI/VbrSBKBRUAI/AAAAAAAAeaA/2k3Gp6CnfQs/s288-Ic42/Chautauqua.jpgRich and Marcia
Cabin Caretakers 2015/16

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

The Ala Archa Eco-Leader Project

Spreading New England Outdoor Ethics to Kyrgyzstan

The Ala Archa Eco-Leader Project

As climbers, most of us are shaped by the history, ethics, and geography of a few special places in the climbing world. We are proud of learning to climb on runout North Carolina slabs, placing pro for the first time on sandbagged Poke-o-Moonshine cracks, or taking on our first big wall in Yosemite. From each of those places, we take away certain styles not only for climbing, but also for our relationships with other climbers, with the community, and with the environment. For those of us fortunate enough to travel abroad to far-flung destinations on other continents, we always bring a little of those outlooks with us.
In 2014, I was preparing simultaneously for my first major international climbing trip and working on my graduate studies at the University of Vermont. I had encountered the towering peaks of the Kyrgyz Tian Shan mountains in 2012, en route to a military deployment to Afghanistan, and I had made a promise to myself that I would one day return to Kyrgyzstan to explore the glaciers, ridges, and amazing culture. Two years later, I had the time and finances to return to Kyrgyzstan and was actively making plans to spend my time in a small but rugged glacial cirque within Ala Archa National Park, just an hour south of the capital city of Bishkek. It was during that preparation period that my graduate work in Environment and Natural Resources led me to read a critique on the Kyrgyz National Sustainable Development Strategy, the Kyrgyz government’s attempt to reconcile its need to develop economically with protection of its amazing natural landscape. The Sustainable Development Strategy, the paper observed, failed to reach its full potential due to a lack of education in leadership, conservation, and the skills needed to develop a strong outdoor tourism industry. With no programs teaching these skills, the paper observed, the country would continue to struggle with developing visionary leaders in the outdoor tourism industry. As I continued with my preparation for my Kyrgyz climbing, I couldn’t help but consider how I might be able to make a positive contribution to this issue through my graduate work. Within several months, additional research and some phone calls to universities in Kyrgyzstan had kicked off a seed of an idea – the Ala Archa Ecological Leader Program, the first outdoor adventure and environmental education program for college students in Kyrgyzstan.

Now, nearly two years and a trip to Kyrgyzstan later, the Ecological Leader Program (ELP), is gaining momentum towards its August 2016 debut. Styled after US programs such as NOLS or Outward Bound, the ELP is a two week program for 14 Kyrgyz college students from the American University of Central Asia (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) that will cover lessons in three key topic areas: outdoor hard skills (backpacking, rock climbing, glacier travel), ecology (with a special focus on glaciology and human interaction with natural systems), and leadership. The curriculum, written especially for the ELP as part of my graduate work, is designed to build leaders who demonstrate responsible environmental behavior in their respective career fields and to inspire a vision for a sustainable future in Kyrgyzstan. The prospects for the project are exciting – as the first outdoor adventure education model in a country that is increasingly looking towards activities such as ski mountaineering and alpinism to build its economy in a sustainable manner, the ELP’s lessons can have truly strategic effects on how Kyrgyzstan crafts its tourism economy towards responsible and socially beneficial activities.

However, being first also has its drawbacks – namely, the Ecological Leadership Program is a completely grassroots effort with little support from outside organizations. As with most outdoor programs, the ELP has a critical need for items such as tents, sleeping bags, stoves, and other outdoor gear to provide its students with a quality backcountry experience. As the I and the other ELP instructors work diligently to secure grant funding to cover many of our startup costs, we are also reaching out to the local outdoor community to assist us in bringing our Northeastern outdoor ethics to a new group of people living and playing in the mountains a world away. As the winter draws to an end and you begin sorting through your gear room and replacing old gear with newer models, please consider donating gently used and functional gear to assist the Ecological Leader Program with having a successful inaugural year. We all understand what a special place our home in the ‘Daks, Green Mountains, or White Mountains is to us, largely based on the environmental ethics that they inspire. Help us share those ethics with the communities of the Tian Shan. And, if you’re looking to plan your next climbing or skiing trip, give some thought to heading over to Bishkek!

Please follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EcoLdrProj/, take a look at the ELP video at https://vimeo.com/141578430, or visit https://www.gofundme.com/ecoldrproject to provide monetary support. You can contact Nathan Fry, the project leader, at nathan.fry13@gmail.com for more information.
Nathan Fry is currently a graduate student at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, a company commander for a mountain infantry company in the Vermont Army National Guard, and a part-time guide for Adventure Spirit Guides of Burlington, VT.

The Ala Archa Ecological Leader Program is in most need of the equipment listed below. If shipping cost is a problem, we can cover associated shipping expenses! Simply contact Nathan to discuss options.

Items / Quantity

3-season tents
3x three-person tents / 4x two-person tents
Backpacks (45-50 liter)
Canister stoves
Sleeping bags (at least 15 degree)
Foam pad (closed or open cell)
Microspikes or similar hiking crampons
We also accept any down/synthetic layers, hard or soft shells, fleece jackets or pullovers!

Kevin Mahoney

The Robert and Miriam Underhill Award 2016

AAC_Logo_Block-01January 15, 2016, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club (AAC) announced its 2016 award recipients.

Every year the AAC recognizes outstanding achievements in conservation, climbing, and service to the climbing community. This year the awards were presented during the AAC’s Annual Benefit Dinner weekend, February 26–27, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

Local Northeast Hard Man Kevin Mahoney was given the The Robert and Miriam Underhill Award for 2016. His name now resides with such great climbers as, Yvon Chouinard, Jeff Lowe, Fred Beckey, Henry Barber and Steve House. Way to go Kevin!


Kevin with an empty glass after receiving his award. Someone give this man a refill. Wait, is this Matt Horner? 😉 – Photo: Matt Horner,  Face Book

The Robert and Miriam Underhill Award is given annually to that person who, in the opinion of the selection committee, has demonstrated the highest level of skill in the mountaineering arts and who, through the application of this skill, courage, and perseverance, has achieved outstanding success in various fields of mountaineering. This year’s winner, Kevin Mahoney is a lifelong climber and mountain guide with a wealth of experience in Alaska, the Indian Himalaya and Europe. He was nominated for the Piolet d’Or for his new route, Arctic Rage on the East Face of Moose’s Tooth in Alaska which he completed with Ben Gilmore.

The Robert and Miriam Underhill Award—Robert L. M. and Miriam O’Brien Underhill are recognized as two of the great pioneers in American mountaineering. In their memory, The American Alpine Club has established the Robert and Miriam Underhill Award for outstanding mountaineering achievement.

Past Recipients:

Kim Schmitz Awarded : 2015
Steve House Awarded : 2014
Tom Frost Awarded: 2013
Mark Richey Awarded: 2012
Fred Beckey Awarded: 2011
Royal Robbins Awarded: 2010
Layton Kor Awarded: 2009
John Gill Awarded: 2008
Carlos Buhler Awarded: 2007
Henry Barber Awarded: 2006
Mark Wilford Awarded: 2005
Charlie Fowler Awarded: 2004
Jay Smith Awarded: 2003
Conrad Anker & Nancy Feagin Awarded: 2002
Annie Whitehouse Awarded: 2000
Jim Bridwell Awarded: 2000
Jack Tackle Awarded: 1999
Jim Donini Awarded: 1999
Allen Steck Awarded: 1998
Steven J. Swenson Awarded: 1997
Greg Child Awarded: 1996
Robyn Erbesfield Awarded: 1996
Stewart Alexander (Alex) Lowe (Deceased) Awarded: 1995
Alison Keith Osius Awarded: 1994
Michael P. Kennedy Awarded: 1994
Louis F. Reichardt Awarded: 1993
Terrance Manbeck Mugs Stump (posthumously) (Deceased) Awarded: 1992
Catherine Calhoun Grisson Awarded: 1991
Peter Croft Awarded: 1991
George Lowe Awarded: 1990
Yvon Chouinard Awarded: 1989
Todd Skinner Awarded: 1988
Paul Piana Awarded: 1988
Catherine M. Freer (posthumously) Awarded: 1987
Jeff Lowe Awarded: 1986
David Finlay Breashears Awarded: 1985
Lynn Marie Hill Awarded: 1984
John Roskelley Awarded: 1983
John Bachar Awarded: 1983

Kevin Mahoney

Kevin MahoneyKevin resides in Richmond Vermont with his wife Claire and two daughters Annika and Eliza.

Kevin worked rock climbing and mountaineering courses for the National Outdoor Leadership School for six years averaging 30-40 weeks a year in the field. So after college where Kevin had discovered his new passion for rock and ice climbing, he was now living his dream of spending more time in the backcountry than not. This is where Kevin became a teacher. Experiential education was the name of the game at NOLS and facilitating individuals’ learning experiences was as important as the technical skills being taught. This is where Kevin was the example. His leadership skills, his judgment, and his knowledge of the mountains were all scrutinized everyday, all day.

2010 Copp/Dash Inspired Award (Inaugural Grant) for Nupste in Nepal
2010 Lyman Spitzer Award (team member) for Nupste in Nepal
2009 Hans Saari Memorial Fund Ski Exploration Grant (team member) for Denali, AK
2008 Mugs Stump Award for Kangtega in Nepal
2004 Mugs Stump Award for the Mooses Tooth, AK
2004 Nominee, Piolet d’or Award for the first ascent of Arctic Rage on the Mooses Tooth, Alaska
2004 Golden Piton Award for the first ascent of Arctic Rage on the Mooses Tooth
2002 Lyman Spitzer Award, American Alpine Club for Thalay Sagar in India
2002 Alpinist B-team Award (Inaugural Grant) for Thalay Sagar in India
IFMGA/UIAGM Certified Guide
AMGA Rock Guide Certified
AMGA Alpine Guide Certified
AMGA Ski Mountaineering Certified
AMGA Alpine Instructor
NOLS Senior instructor
Exum Mountain Guides senior guide
AIRE level III avalanche training
Wilderness First Responder




To support our shared passion for climbing and respect for the places we climb.


A united community of competent climbers and healthy climbing landscapes.


Everyone who loves climbing.


Authoritative climbing information, knowledge and resources benefit and inspire us and future generations.
Advocacy and leadership advance our climbing interests and promote conservation.
Community and competency strengthen and embolden us to push our limits.

Source: The American Alpine Club, Facebook, Mahoney Alpine Adventures