Climbing with Casi and Kate

It’s always a fun time climbing with Casi and Kate. They bring their tickets and we climb very interesting things. The sheer athleticism they bring to the table in addition to their climbing skill means we get to push a little harder.

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Late Spring! Always Jammin’

We finished late May with a bang!  A bunch of days on the local Traprock, tied in with a number of days at the Gunks led us to the Cascades.

During this time, Phil came down from the Adirondack Park.  He is the Editor for the Adirondack Explorer Magazine.  He’s been enjoying some of Fritz Wiessner’s routes in the Dacks, and decided to explore down here.  Rumor is Phil mentioned these Ragged Mountain climbs to a guide up there in the Dacks and the reply was “you gotta call this guy Shove”.  You can read about our day on the steep wide cracks here: 

After this I was off to the Cascades to do some training for my upcoming AMGA Alpine Guide Exam.  Mike joined me for the first 5 days, where we climbed Mt Rainier, the Leuthod Coulior on Mt Hood, and did some rest day cragging at Smith Rock.

Then, back up Mt Rainier with Joanna and Kevin! Needless to say the weather had still not improved.

All in all, it was a fin way to start the month of June!


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Vertical Mind

Dr. Don McGrath, author of Vertical Mind, will be joining us for a mental training clinic on September 17 in Central Connecticut.

Join us for a fun and educational day on the crags!

Call or email to reserve your space!

(most climbers taking this clinic are leading sport climbs in the 5.9-5.11 range)

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Spring has SPRUNG

I don’t have a ton of time to write- I have to go to the Orthopedist to get my knee checked out, and then I have 15 days of work strait.

Spring has arrived .  Over the past few weeks, we’ve transitioned to rock climbing season.  Gunks, Ragged Mountain, North Conway, and a 3 day fun trip Red Rocks with Nate from Ascent Climbing.

We have 3 of 6 spaces open in May 13th’s Practical Self Rescue for Climbers. $140pp, Ragged area, Connecticut.

Book your Gunks days now.  Things are looking busy and before you know it, it’ll be too late.

Also, it’s Teton Training Season.  Get your training in so you can just scoot up the Grand when you get there.

View from sunrise on the CMC Route, Mt Moran, GTNP, WY


Today’s Musical Whip:

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Pinnacle Gully III WI3-3+, 700′, Mt Washington, NH

Pinnacle Gully is a favorite classic climb.  Generations of climbers have tested their skill and resilience while climbing this modern day moderate.  I can’t recall how many times I’ve climbed Pinnacle, but I do know that it has become a favorite.

After many multi day attempts by the regions best and most accomplished climbers, Samuel A. Scoville and Julian Whittlesey finally climbed the route in February, 1930.  This marked the end of the Golden Era of climbing on Mt Washington.  Consider the days equipment of 80cm piolet to cut the steps, crampons with out front points (these wouldn’t be available for another 35 years), wool knickers, leather boots, and surplus US Military mittens.

The Objective

Fast forward to the early 1970s……Jim McCarthy leads a team up Pinnacle Gully without cutting steps, using modern crampons with front points and alpine hammers. They managed the route in a single day!

Each season I am lucky enough to take climbers up this historic route.  Yesterday, I climbed it with Tim and Gina.  We met at 6:30a at the Frontside.  We chatted about the plan and headed up to Pinkham Notch where we packed beacons, shovels and probes, and headed up the 2 mile walk to the Harvard Cabin.  After a colorful visit with Rich and Marcia, we quickly roped up and headed up through the fan into the gully and it’s rope stretching crux first pitch. A quick belay off of ice screws here gives great view of your team, and makes communication easier if it’s windy.

Above the first pitch, a snowfield of firm neve snow leads to a bulge and a belay off decent pins and some rock gear.  Pitch 2 is about 50m and ends in a protected alcove with a good view of your partner.  Pitch 3 Leads up low angle ice ramps ad bulges to the top of the gully.  Again, belay off rock gear in solid rock.  This pitch stretches a 60m rope out.  A good anchor is important here as there can be some funky snow in this start zone.  I’ve seen an impressive crown here on 2 occasions over the years.  Sometime there is no snow, sometimes there is a lot.  Take a belay and put the gear in. Scramble to the boulders and belay up your team.  Congrats! The technical climbing is complete!

Rack Beta:

Some parties leading at the grade will likely pack a lot more, but what I bring is fairly conservative. I generally bring 8 screws, 4 small wires, and 4-5 small-medium cams, and a small repair kit (toe bail, linking bar, wrenches).  After countless ascents, I have found this to be just about right and provides a good amount of versatility.  It also gives options if there is a huge cue at the start of the route.

The rack

Add a 60m Sterling Nano Rope

Don’t forget to check the wx and avalanche advisory.


Avalanche Bulletin

Today’s Noise:

Historic jams for historic routes.





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