Rock Climbing Instruction, Ice Climbing, and Ski Mountaineering Ice Climbing Conditions
© Chauvin Guides International, P.O. Box 2151, North Conway, NH 03860 Voice: 603-356-8919 • marc@chauvinguides.com
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CGI JOURNAL

Thursday December 13, 2012

Yesterday I went for a drive up to Crawford Notch to take a look at the ice and today I went into Huntington Ravine and climbed Pinnacle Gully and then descended down through Tuckerman Ravine. The bottom line is there is ice in the Ravines to climb, it is still in early season condition and there is very little snow. The lack of snow makes Huntington Ravine a bit difficult but enhances Tuckerman Ravine's climability. In Crawford Willey's and Standard are climbable but in very early season condition. My evaluation is much more positive for this weekend than it was for last, not because the ice is that much better but because the weather is much more conducive for the ice to build so things will be better this weekend than what I saw, not worse. Having said that the ice is still in early season mode so take that as a warning. The one thing I should mention is the trails to the ravines are very icy and some sort of traction like microspikes are really necessary.

I start the pictures with pictures of the gear I carried today on my solo mission up Pinnacle Gully. Here is the gear list of what I carried and wore today if that is of interest to you.

BD Bbee Pack
Patagonia Puff Jacket
Patagonia Puff Pants
Swami Belt from a Harness
Locking Carabiner and Rappel Device
30m Twin Rope
30m 5mm Pull Cord
1 Ice Screw
1 Hook Tool
1 Quickdraw
Petzl Headlamp
Petzl Dart Crampons
Petzl Quark Ice Tools
2 Ski Straps
Helmet
1 Pair BD Punisher Gloves
1 Pair BD Pilot Gloves
Patagonia Guide Pants
Med Weight Crew Neck Top
Marmot Haven Jacket
Microspikes
La Sportiva Prime
Gipron Walking Poles



The gear spread out

All packed up



Standard Route
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Odells, Pinnacle Buttress, Central
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Diagonal Bulge, Harvard Slab, North Gully
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Pinnacle Gully
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Alpine Garden

An artsy photo of the Alpine Garden



Tuckerman Ravine
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Tuckerman Ravine
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Thursday December 6, 2012

Today I wanted to go check out the conditions because after a pretty good warm up early this week it had gotten colder and I wanted to see how the ice faired and if it was building up in this blast of cold. The good news is that there is ice out there and if it stays cold this coming weekend it would be about the same as last. Unfortunately the forecast for the next few days, actually through the weekend, is for another warm-up and it looks like the summit will go above freezing for a substantial period of time and the coldest the summit is forecasted to get is around freezing maybe a bit colder on Sunday. Add to the mix some forecasted precipitation and this weekend is looking pretty poor for ice. Long term the forecast models show some colder temperatures starting Tuesday and it appears the cold will be here for some time. So if we get some moisture this weekend and it does get cold it seems that the ice season will get going for the middle of December. Based on my 30+ years of previous experience this year seems pretty typical to me. After Tuesday what we are going to need is a good snowstorm and then Christmas week will be all set!



Cinema Gully
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Elephant's Head Gully



Smear

Chia



Standard
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Dropline



The Tuckerman Ravine Trail

Odell's Gully
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Central
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Yale Gully
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Yale and North
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Diagonal Slab
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PinnacleGully
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PinnacleGully
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Central
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Tuckerman Ravine
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Sluice in Tuckerman Ravine
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Tuckerman Ravine
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Tuckerman Ravine
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Thursday November 29, 2012

This weekend is the first weekend in December and with that comes the desire to ice climb. Traditionally we are still in early season although in some years there is good climbing, on average we are still in that intermittent period when the ice comes and goes. This year it appears we are in the more normal intermittent type of start. With that in mind, yesterday and today I went out to check out conditions. Yesterday I hiked up to the base of Pinnacle and Central in Huntington Ravine and today I took a drive up to Crawford Notch and walked along the tracks at Frankenstein. I did not get to see Tuckerman Ravine or Franconia Notch so I do not have direct info about those areas. The good news is there is some ice to climb and given the weather forecast for the weekend it should get a bit better over the next few days. The down side id there isn't a lot to climb so if a lot of people show up it will get crowded quickly.

So here are the details, in Huntington, Pinnacle looks pretty good as does Odell's, Yale and North. With the last three it is important to note there is very little snow so where there is no ice it will be brushy and rocky. In Crawford Notch there is a lot less to be had. The only two climbs that look doable were Wiley's and Standard. The gullies on Mount Webster might have some ice but without any snow it would be more of an adventure than an ice climb! Reports are that the Black Dike has climbable ice but I have not heard anything about Tuckerman Ravine.

Remember that it is early season and ice can be thin, wet, unbonded and difficult if not impossible to protect, given that ice climbing even in good conditions is risky, early season ice is even more risky. This report is just my impression, you should only use it as a resource not some definitive opinion on what you can or should climb. Personally if I had to travel far to get up here and climb I probably would not make that trip for this weekend since what is climbable is scant. Below are some pictures to help you get a better idea of the conditions.



A light dusting of snow on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail

Odell's Gully
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Yale
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Pinnacle


Pinnacle
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Pinnacle
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Pinnacle
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Diagonal Slab
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Central
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The Fan with North and Yale in the background


Elephant's Head Gully
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A very dry Mount Willard



Smear
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Chia
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A climbable Standard Route
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Cathedral Practice Slabs

 

Friday November 23, 2012

Over the last few years I have been adjusting my work over the spring, summer and fall from rock climbing in NH to traveling more and trying to guide more alpine terrain. This year was the culmination of that change with what amounted to a 5 month road trip with a focus on alpine climbing in the Alps and in the North Cascades. The only thing I could add next year to make it even more alpine would be an Alaskan trip in spring. No plans for that but one never knows what opportunities might come around.

I am now home for the ice season and will be starting to make forays out to see what early ice is climbable so check back for reports here or friend me on facebook to get alerts as to when I update the conditions. Enjoy the photos.



Jon on the Petite Aiguille Verte with the Dru behind, Chamonix France

Kathy on the Petite Aiguille Verte with the Aiguille de Chardonnay in the background, Chamonix France



Kathy on the Arete des Cosmiques, Chamonix France

Kids, families and beginners climbing at the Gaillands, a roadside crag in Chamonix France



A warm and sunny summit of Mont Blanc 15,781 feet (4810m) Chamonix France

One of the great things about working in Europe is getting to work with guides from all over. Matteo a fun Italian Guide from Alagna Italy


Nearing the summit of the Wiesmiess 13,179 feet (4017m) near Saas Grund Switzerland

Kevin Mahoney leading one of the rock pitches on the Frendo Spur Chamonix France



Kevin Mahoney on one of the ice pitches of the Frendo Spur, Chamonix France

Jane (my wife) near the top of an easy day up the long Voie Calline with the Chamonix Valley behind



The little (and very nice) buvette at the top of the Voie Calline, what a great way to finish a nice scramble before the one hour hike down to our apartment.

Stacey on the Chapelle de la Gliere in the Aiguille Rouge with Mont Blanc in the background, Chamonix France.



Stacey higher on the route up to the Chapelle de la Gliere, Chamonix France

Stacey on the Arete Des Papillons on our way to the summit of the Aiguille du Peigne, Chamonix France



One of the crux sections of the Arete Des Papillons, Chamonix France

The Triangle du Tacul with the Contamine-Mazeaud route up the center, Chamonix France



Stacey on the Contamine-Mazeaud

Stacey on the direct finish of the Contamine-Mazeaud



Stacey on the Frendo Spur on the Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix France

Stacey on the Frendo Spur on the Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix France



Stacey higher up on the ice section of the Frendo Spur

Near the top of the Frendo Spur



Stacey in the Aiguille Rouge with the three big routes she climbed, the Frendo Spur, Contamine-Mazeaud, and the Arete Des Papillons.

September in the Cascades, our first camp on the north side of Mount Forbidden near Marblemount, WA



Crevasse rescue practice on the Forbidden Glacier

The short knife edge ridge on Concord Spire in Washington Pass near Mazama, WA


A scenic!

Dorado Needle and Early Morning Spire from Marble Creek Cirque near Marblemount, WA



Sunset at our camp in Marble Creek Cirque

Our camp in Marble Creek Cirque with Dorado Needle and Early Morning Spire in the background



Our camp near Winnie's Slide on Mount Shuksan near Glacier, WA

Making our way through some crevasses as we go from the Upper Curtis Glacier to the Crystal Glacier on Mount Shuksan



Descending Mount Shuksan just before sunset with a very smokey horizon.

Finally some rock climbing in Red Rocks near Las Vegas



More desert climbing but now in Joshua Tree with Jane near Palm Springs, CA

Jane and my ride during our little getaway to Joshua Tree



Back to work with a course in Smith Rock with some November snow near Bend, OR

Cold rock at Smith in November to wrap up the season, must be time to head home for some ice climbing.

© Chauvin Guides International, P.O. Box 2151, North Conway, NH 03860 Voice: 603-356-8919 • marc@chauvinguides.com