Category Archives: Guide Days

Third Time’s the Charm

The saying rang true For Khanitha. She originally joined us with a group over presidents day weekend. As some may recall that weekend had some of the harshest winter weather NH has seen in years. Due to bitter cold and hard winds that group had to turn back at tree line ( Write up here ). Then Khanitha came back with a friend to try it again. A combination of fatigue and weather once again turned us back, but not before making it to the lakes of the clouds hut above tree line ( Write up here). Somewhat last minute, Khanitha saw a weather window for this past sunday and booked a day for a third and final attempt of the season. The weather cooperated so we just went slow and steady making our way to the summit! before flying bak back down. It was a gorgeous day to be up there with many unique things to see due to the recent weather pattern of spring one day and winter the next! Congrats Khanitha!

Wait a Minute

There’s a saying in New England about the weather, especially in spring. If you don’t like it, wait a minute. Today proved that point wonderfully! Yesterday we were out skiing corn in 50 degree weather. Today conditions on Washington ramped back up to full on winter. When Ben and I met at the Highland center it was drizzling rain, right at freezing at the base and with winds in the teens. By the time we hit tree line conditions had ramped up to 1″/hr+ snow with zilch for visibility and steady winds between 60-80mph. By the time we got back to Gem Pool the summit was recording gusts near the century mark and a -25 wind chill. Guess we have to wait another minute until spring returns.

Ben joined us, as many do, to train for an upcoming Mt Rainier trip. While the summit wasn’t in the cards today, we had all the conditions to train for the ultimate goal of Rainier. Heavy crampon use, layering and gear choice, and how to protect your self in extreme weather. We even stopped on the decent to practice mountaineering axe use and self arrest, before butt sliding to the finish line.

IMG_1269Blowing snow collecting on bare faces. A good time to don goggles and balaclavas

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Zilch, on the official visibility scale

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Gnarly

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The rarely captured, glissade action pic.

Glorious Summit

Kelly Joined us last year for an intro to mountaineering course. The original plan followed our usual weekend set up, intro day saturday, summit day sunday. Unfortunately that weekend we saw a huge storm that made an attempt on Washington foolhardy, so we ended up on Lafayette instead. After a year of travel and more mountain forays abroad she came back to moan her training again in the white mountains, hoping for a successful bid on Rainer.

On Tuesday we kicked off her 3 day stint with an ascent of Mt Washington in the most hospitable conditions I’ve yet seen on the old rock pile. The winds whispered at a maximum 15 mph gusts, with temps rising to the 20’s and the abundant sun turning my face a crisp tomato red. On top of the incredible weather we had awesome summit guests, from a dog sled team, to an 80 year old couple who had also hike the mountain that day!

Intro To Ski Mountaineering

Alex and I just had what may have been the trip of our winter. Ski guiding is a relatively small segment of our business, and that of the NH guiding business in general, so when we get a day of this work, let alone a long weekend of it we’re excited. We’re currently trying to expand our ski programming to get more folks introduced to the world of back country skiing. The skiing and techniques required is not overly burdensome, but getting instruction for your first day out will greatly quicken the learning curve. As you get into the world of Ski Mountaineering their is a a slew of technical skills that need to be refined in order to participate safely.

This group of three was curious about getting into the world of back country and ski mountaineering, so we designed a three day curriculum to introduce them to the techniques and skills required. On day one we went over gear and clothing requirements for being in the backcountry. We practiced transitions ( moving up hill to downhill, which requires a slew of equipment changes) and beacon searches in case of an avalanche burial. On day two we practiced moving as a rope team, dug a snow pit and experimented with a number of stability tests, and what these testes tell us about the relative avalanche safety. On day three we combined many of the formerly learned skills to ski Hillmans Highway in Tuckermans Ravine! The weather kept us from covering all that we wanted, but that in its self is a great learning experience, and gave us ample opportunity to address not only surviving but thriving in those conditions.

Mt Washington Observatory Overnight

This past Friday-Saturday I got to guide an overnight trip for 10 guests, hiking up the lions head trail on Washington Friday, staying overnight in the observatory, and heading back down the same route Saturday. In the Obs we were treated to great home cooked meals and even better home made deserts and treats, a tour of the observatory and museum, and some great stories of life on top of Washington. Big thanks to the 10 folks who joined for this! Was a great group.

The Hummit

Where ever you go, there you are, and wherever you make it too, there’s your summit. I hope that we all agree that a day in the mountains is more about company, good exercise and experiencing the  mountain conditions, with the summit being cherry on top. This sunday we made it to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut and turned back. That day it was our summit, or perhaps for those who like word play, our hummit