Tag Archive for: Conditions

pinnacle gully up close

Conditions Update! 11.10.17

New Hampshire

We had some eyes on the condition of two early season prizes in on Wednesday the 8th!  A close look at Pinnacle Gully revealed some unconsolidated and thin, but hopeful, frost and ice.  No rock pro options that morning led to a ‘No Go’, but with temperatures remaining frigid, it may be climbable soon!  I’m sure the motivated will head into Huntington Ravine this weekend.

Conditions - Pinnacle From Afar (11.8.17) . Photo: Brady

Pinnacle From Afar (11.8.17) . Photo: Gary Reuters


Conditions - Pinnacle Up Close (11.8.17) . Photo: Brady

Pinnacle Up Close (11.8.17) . Photo: Gary Reuters

No doubt Cannon Cliff will get a close inspection as well.  We have a ‘from-the-road zoom in’ to the dike area and Fafnir. Who will be enticed to take a walk up and peer around the corner?

Conditions - Fafnir (11.8.17) . Photo: John Mallery

Fafnir (11.8.17) . Photo: John Mallery


The Black Dike 11-10-17

The second follows the runnel pitch on an early season ascent of the Black Dike. 11-10-17 / www.facebook.com/CannonCliffFranconia/


In Vermont, it’s currently snowing on the higher peaks and I know a few climbers who only need a millimeter of ice on the cliffs of Smuggler’s Notch to make it go.

New York

A look at our Instagram feed shows crampons to ice!  @willclimbz posted a sweet pic of Slide 1 on Whiteface in ‘Thin But In’ conditions.  Right on!

Slide 1, Whiteface. Photo: Will Roth

We certainly had some warm temperatures in October and my usual Halloween ice was far from happening this year. Now temperatures are remaining below freezing up high for a few days leading into the weekend.  Finally!  Hope to see some great photos and reports of ascents coming in.  Have a great weekend!

Matty Bowman on the wet and thin Black Dike Traverse. 2-23-17

Unprecedented February in The Northeast

Where are we and what’s next?

Remind me? What month was that?

February or April? The month started off great! Plenty of snow and ice to climb. But, right after some epic snowfalls and great skiing, things went south. It started to feel more like April than February. A day or two of warmth is normal, but a week and a half of record warmth and rain took its toll. Spring came early and devastated the ice climbing in many areas. Winter temperatures are returning this weekend but it may be too late for most climbs to recover. Keep an eye open for the rare visitors. “Omega” on Cannon cliff has been found in great shape even in April. It’s time to follow the weather, look in the shaded gullies and up high. Be ready! This is the Northeast, and we are not done yet!

Damage Report!


Tendonitis - Feb. 26, 2017 - Uploaded By Brandonian / NEice Photos

Tendonitis – Feb. 26, 2017 – Uploaded By Brandonian / NEice Photos

Ian Osteyee, owner of Adirondack Mountain Guides says, “Everything is so fat; it’s all still there.” The back side of Chapel Pond and the North Face of Pitchoff are both areas that still have ice to climb. Routes like “Chouinard’s Gully”, “Crystal Ice Tower”, and “Tendonitis” are still in. Osteyee did caution climbers about crossing Chapel Pond though, after this warm spell, saying, “areas next to the shoreline may be open or have thin ice where you could break through.” So, even if temps drop to zero, people should check ice thickness before just walking across to climbs on the other side of the pond.


Mountain guide and owner of Alpine Logic, Silas Rossi – “I’m as close to 100% as I can possibly be that there won’t be any ice to climb in the Catskills for the rest of the season. Time to rock climb in the Gunks!”

The White Mountains:

Mountain guide at Northeast Mountaineering, Matty Bowman – “I’m finding ice quality to be very mixed. In places it’s building, like early season, and other spots, it’s dry, brittle and rotten. The bottom of Parasol ice was plastic, while the top was brittle, with lots of channeling from the thaw.”

“Huntington was in good condition. We found good ice on the first pitch of Pinnacle and great snow climbing up higher. Lots of water channeling on the upper pitches, including some thin eggshell sections over running water and large holes from the thaw. Other gullies looked good. We saw parties in Damnation, Odell’s, etc.”


The Frankenstein Amphitheater last weekend. – Matty Bowman

“”Frankenstein” is pretty much out. I guided there last Saturday and we canceled Sunday. The ice was undermined and top-outs were horrendous. We could not see anything on the walk in, but walking out the amphitheater was completely falling apart. Pretty grim.”

IMCS – International Mountain Climbing School – “We’re getting into my favorite month on Mount Washington: March! Lots of snow up high, milder temperatures, and longer days transforms the little cirque into a skier or alpine climber’s paradise. It seems like March goes quickly and we only get a month of prime conditions. IMCSWe had a great mountaineering course this week; here are daughter Brandi and mother Melissa descending the East Face snowfields. We glissaded to treeline. I’ve got some BIG plans for the rockpile these few fleeting weeks: how’s about you?” – IMCS, Facebook

“This was unlike any other Feb thaws in that it was a full re-set in most areas,” said Doucette, owner of MountainSense Guides in New Hampshire, who described the damage done due to the prolonged warm spell. ““Dracula” and “Standard,” some of the last to go, were not what I would call a safe bet these last few days.” But, he added, “Now it’s cooling off again, I’d go for supported features at elevation on cooler aspects – north and east-facing.” Now that it’s March, the sun will have increasing effect and that‘s something climbers need to keep in mind, emphasized Doucette.

Doucette encouraged people to look at Mount Washington, Smuggs and Cannon as probably the best bets aside from a few north-facing crags for a while. “If folks are mixed climbing, I’d bring a full rock rack and expect to anchor with that, or gun for the trees! There may also be a lot of verglas in cracks, so favoring stoppers, pins, and hexes over cams for their reliability. Any times conditions change rapidlym you have to be that much more prepared for the unexpected.”


Conditions were rough last weekend in Smuggler’s Notch. The rain and 50 degree temperatures this week has that area basically starting over, and it will mostly be dependent on whatever forms in the coming cold snap.

Lake Willoughby flows are hurting, to say the least. Parts of “Mindbender,” WI5+, lay in the ditch by the road Sunday morning.  But, surprisingly by early Tuesday morning, things were starting to look exciting as a couple lines that rarely form, like “Five Musketeers” and “Aurora,” had come in overnight with the cooler temps and lots of water flow.  Unfortunately, they fell down just as quickly as the strong morning sun came over Mount Pisgah, and baked the dark rock.  By that afternoon, the thermometer was at 42F, and I listened to ice and rockfall echoing loudly as I safely skied the woods on Mt. Hor across the valley.

While there is some ice hanging around still on upper parts of Willoughby routes, it’s all detached and dangerous.  After temps drop in the next day or two, who knows? Some cool stuff could form quickly again. If you decide to head there, bring your rock rack, all of your stubbies and a good dose of courage. – Alden Pellett



It may well be worth the drive up if you have time, and are still in the ice-climbing mode. There is still plenty of ice up there to climb. Check out “Climbing a Dream in Newfoundland,” Joe Terravecchia, Will Mayo and Anna Pfaffs’ new mega-ice route.

Also, check out “The Unseen Sun” by Nick Bullock, where he and the b’ys find adventure, friendship, and hospitality in Newfoundland.

Weather Forecast:

Cold weather is headed our way. So cold, it’s going to hurt after these 50 degree days. It may bring in some rare visitors if you can brave the chill. Running water is everywhere, but it may be too late for a lot of climbs. The sun is high and warm this time of year.


March 2017 temperature outlook. Areas not shaded have an equal chance of above- or below-average temperatures. (The Weather Company, an IBM Business)

March 2017 temperature outlook. Areas not shaded have an equal chance of above- or below-average temperatures. (The Weather Company, an IBM Business)

Some Information from Around the Web:

Be careful out there – February 24, 2017

February 27, 2017

February 28, 2017

When all else fails, get ready for rock climbing. Jon Sykes new guide book is out. Pick up a copy and get ready for some rock climbing adventures.

Mike Pelchat on the wet and thin Black Dike Traverse. 2-23-17

Featured image: Matty Bowman finding wet rock and just enough ice on the traverse of the Black Dike, Franconia Notch NH – Photo: Mike Pelchat

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: https://www.neice.com/weather/

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.

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Photos by Doug Millen

Floods and Deep Snow

Spring is coming!

And with spring weather comes certain opportunities …..get ready!

Heavy rains hit hard in the south and deep snow (2-3 ft) in north west of our region. More heavy rain on the way, even on Mt. Washington. The ice will take a heavy hit. But the good news is that the  forecast is for much below normal temperatures to follow.


-North West Vermont

Heavy snow conditions on the beginning of the South Ridge Traverse, TD,II,15M, Aid was used to reach the lower ridgeline. Third ascent this winter. – Rockytop


-Catskills New York

“Buttermilk… maybe more like Chocolate milk?” – Cramp!

La Loutre & La Pomme d'Or 3/5/11

La Loutre_2nd Pitch

La Loutre_2nd Pitch


La_Loutre and La_Pomme_d_Or - 3/5/11

La_Loutre and La_Pomme_d_Or

Malbaie, Quebec – La Loutre & La Pomme d’Or are still in great condition as of March 5th, 2011.


December 7, 2010

Winter! Here it comes…

Mike Garity on an icy Pinnacle Gully, Huntington Ravine, Mt. Washington NH - Alan Cattabriga

Mike Garity topping out on Pinnacle Gully, Huntington Ravine, Mt. Washington NH 12-05-10 - Alan Cattabriga

After the last thaw, most of the good climbing has been up high. That is about to change. After torrential rains last week the cold is back with  a vengeance. A temperature of -4 is forecast for Lake Willoughby VT Thursday night. Look for perfect ice making conditions over the next week.


It's Back!

The Ice has Returned to the usual Early Season Locations

After a week +  of warm weather, which took it’s toll on what little ice we had, the cold temps have returned! Climbable ice was found in the Adirondacks & Northern New Hampshire over the weekend.

Rowdy Dowdy on the thin start of 'Screw and Climbaxe'. A few worthless stubby screws halfway up. Half a dozen parties climbing the two routes that were 'in'. - rockytop

Rowdy Dowdy on the thin start of 'Screw and Climbaxe'. A few worthless stubby screws halfway up. Half a dozen parties climbing the two routes that were 'in'. - 11/21/10 North Face of Pitchoff, Adirondacks NY - Rockytop

Huge Transition Underway

Real Winter Pattern Coming!

All indications point to Major Cold and very stormy weather over the next 15 days

ted_odellsdec-6-09Ted Hammond enjoying the start of this weather change.  Odell’s Gully – Huntington Ravine, Mt. Washington NH  12/06/09
Photo by Alfonzo

All long term and short term indicators (NAO, EPO, EL Nino etc…) have been pointing to cold and stormy (For weeks). Well that is now coming to full realization for Dec to Jan. The last two storms were the beginning of the pattern change. We have one last one (Dec 7/8) to complete the transition and lock the NE into below to well below average temps and a very active storm track as well. Blind fate-Smuggs

What Ice if any survives this weeks storm should rapidly start building by the end of this week into the weekend. (Even in the southern sections to some extent) Next week should only continue to reinforce the ice building.

Blue ice Buldge-smuggsSnow Cover:

Check out the massive and rapid snow cover buildup over the US in just over the last 6 days ( Today –  December 1).  This is why the cold push will be so much stronger over the next 10 days, as the fresh snowpack will help in keeping the arctic air from moderating.

Source: Smike – NEice Weather Outlook

Photos by Rockytop
Blind Fate and Blue Ice Buldge Smugglers Notch VT 12/07/09

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

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