I’m not sure how many of you have gone ice climbing before, but if you haven’t, the best way to describe it, at least the version done in the White Mountains, is cold and difficult. I’m sure those adjectives change as you get better, but it was my first time, so there you go. Cinema Gully (pictured above) is a somewhat easy four pitch climb on Mount Willard in Crawford Notch State Park. I say “somewhat easy” because I didn’t lead a single pitch, and my animal of a college friend/guide, Mark – who will spend the months of June and July on Denali doing Search and Rescue – made sure to keep the rope tight.
After we finished Cinema Gully, we traversed in knee high snow over to Hitchcock (pictured here), where we climbed for several hours until the sun started to show signs it was going down. The only sensible route back to the car was a rappel off of a vertical cliff, where my backpack got stuck on a tree (go figure), and a long, steep glacade down the mountain, through trees and ice the size of a small car. My self arresting skills are sub-par at best, so I ended up at the bottom face first, out of breath from failing to control my slide.
When we finally reached the car, we went straight to the Tuckerman Pale Ales, drove to Wolfeboro to meet my folks for nachos and veggie burgers, then drove back to North Conway and went to bed. I woke up the next morning tired and stiff, ready to do it all again.