Day 2 started at 7:30 in the morning. I got up and loaded up my pack and headed downstairs for the great breakfast I had mentioned yesterday. We all headed over to the EMS to get the rest of the technical gear then we were on our way.
This time I was not with the same group of people (Amanda, Mike, and Noble) I was with a couple in their 30’s from the DC area. They were a nice couple, but I could tell the guy had kind of dragged the girl along…anyways today our guide was Paul. Paul was one of the older guides in the pack, but he has been climbing since he was 15 so I could trust anything he said related to climbing.
The climbing today was on a mixed snow and ice slope that was about 50 – 60 degrees in pitch. The area we were in was in Crawford Notch State Park. This spot is referred to as Willy’s slide. A slide is an area where there are no trees or soil left just bedrock. This makes it a perfect place to practice mixed snow and ice climbing. Here is picture of what Crawford Notch looked like from partway up the hike to the slide.
This was looking from the railroad bed that snakes through the notch. This railroad is closed during the winter. At this point we stopped to put our crampons on for the rest of the climb up to the base of the slide. Here is a picture of the base of the slide.
As you can see it is very steep with no trees and some small ice structures. We stopped for a short break before we started the climb to talk about how the climbing was going to work. The first thing was we were each going to be attached to each other by ropes. We used the same double figure 8 loop (I mentioned the first time I went ice climbing) to attach the rope to the harness. I snapped a picture of myself with Crawford Notch in the background while we were taking our break.
There were 4 people in the group including myself and the guide Paul. Paul was at the front and I was made the caboose. Paul started out climbing and placing ice screws along the route for protection against falls. He was being belayed by the person who was attached to him. After Paul had hit the end of the rope he placed several ice screws to anchor himself and eventually the rest of the group. I should probably show and tell you what an ice screw is. An ice screw is a tool that is placed into the ice to protect the climber from falling or to anchor themselves to complete multi-pitch climbs.
Part of my job being the caboose was to take out all of the ice screws, carabiner and quick draws. A quick draw is used by rock and ice climbers to allow the climbing rope to run freely through bolt anchors or other protection while leading. (Wikipedia) Quickdraw
After the remaining 3 of us climbed to the spot where Paul had set up the anchor I snapped a few pictures of the setup.
On the left are the ice screws in the ice with all 3 of use attached to them. On the right is the rope that I am at the end of. You have to keep tension on rope so it can be nicely draped over itself. This is so it will unwind once the person in front of you starts to climb. We repeated this several times and on the last pitch of the climb, the guides had a little race. This was between Paul and another guide Keith who was with Noble, Amanda, and Mike. He was my guide on the Mt.Washington climb on the 3rd day.
Here are some pictures from the climb that I thought you might enjoy. Also one of myself because this is about me after all…
After we had all reached the top we went down around the slide through the trees down a much safer route that did not require the same amount of attention.
Per the guides recommendation for dinner we (Noble, Amanda, and Mike) went to the Moat mountain smoke house & brewing co. We were told the food was great with reasonable prices also in house brewed beer. Not that I could actually have any… only a few more months. The food was great, I had a BBQ pork burrito and it was delicious. The portion size was also just right for me because I finished everything and felt just full enough.
This was another early night. Falling asleep around 10 that night in order to be at EMS at 7 the next morning Sunday the 29th of January. Day 3 the climb! will come tomorrow.