Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

Whoa~ Long time no Sparky Adventure...
Actually quite the opposite! Admittedly, I've been lazy on the writing front, but in reality, all too busy with life. Fall is over, Winter is here! I've managed a few long-ish October and November road rides, which were most excellent. I have also been trying to commute to work on my bike at least once a week, and I have also been Mountain Biking quite regularly.

So let's talk Winter!
I spent a couple of hours last weekend for some Winter Climbing Gear Organization. Crampons, ice axes, helmet, ropes, rock pro, ice screws, snow shoes, the list is long, and the equipment heavy! I am actually looking forward to this winter and while I was sorting through the above quiver of tools for the trade, my mind wandered - as it often does - to many past adventures in the mountains with good friends. 2010 will be a better Winter than the last two, there are a lot of climbs to revisit and hopefully a couple of new ones to add to the resume, we'll see how the conditions and my skills move along. One really cool thing is, I just bought some new skis for my approach to the more remote areas and the weekly Wednesday night ski with the mountain bike crew. I purchased some Karhu 10th Mountain skis, 165 cm (short and sweet), and I will be using my Silveretta bindings. These skis are full metal edge, wax less, with climbing scales. I will also have skins for the steeper climbs. Thanks to Roland and the Neptune Mountaineering crew in Boulder, CO for the excellent customer service. The skis I am replacing are some 10 year old Rossignol Haute Route Extreme telemark skis which were heavy and not very touring friendly. Though, I will be saving them for sure! I skied the Tuckerman Ravine head wall with these, so they are slightly famous.

The Sun emerges with a sparkle on freshly fallen snow, Mount Agamentics 1/11/09.

Baxter State Park recently relaxed the rules regarding winter access to Mount Katahdin, now allowing Solo Winter travel and no minimum party requirements. With regard to solo climbers, you are not allowed on technical terrain, where the use of a rope and protection would normally be needed. What I like hearing about these changes is, the ability to attempt a winter hike from the Abol campground and up the Abol slide to the summit, which I am currently considering, unless I can entice a friend to do a longer Chimney Pond ice climbing / hiking summit trip.

So Winter is here, not much we can do to change it now... I am going to embrace it and go outside and play in the snow!

Solo Climbing in Central Gully, Huntington Ravine Mount Washington 3/17/09


The Rabid Outdoorsman said...

Your Central Gully pic with Wildcat in the background brings back some great memories. I used to like diagonal gully as a fun winter hike.

I might be heading into Katahdin, if I can find the time, in early March. Now that the regs are relaxed access is MUCH easier.

Take Care and enjoy your winter season!

Steve said...

Thanks Rabid, You have a great season as well. I still need to do Diagonal to complete all the gullies in Huntington. I've scampered up the top section before after getting off trail on the Huntington Hiking Trail, but in summer conditions. Will have to make a full winter ascent for sure. Maybe we'll see you in the hills?

The Rabid Outdoorsman said...

I used climb a lot and was a regular at Harvard cabin. I was even part of the rescue crew that pulled Ned Greene (old Cabin Keeper) off Mt. Washington after his fatal fall on Damnation.

I don't climb (ice) as much anymore as with a young family the risks no longer match the rewards. That doesn't mean I am content to be a couch potato! I am just more careful when I pick my "adventures".

If you head into Katahdin and are looking at a March timeline drop me an e-mail . . . perhaps we can connect?

Take care and happy holidays,


Steve said...

Hey Steve,
Nice to know your name now...Easy one to remember!

I am sorry to hear you were part of Ned's rescue/recovery. It appears we share tragedies in Huntington Ravine. One of my best life long friends died in an Avalanche in January 2008. I called in the rescue with the USFS Snow Rangers after he failed to call me at the end of that day. I was there when they brought him down in the snow cat. That vision will never escape my memory. I will always deeply regret not taking the day off from work to climb with him...If I had, we would not have been on the Mountain and he would still be with us. At any rate, he taught me a lot over the years and was a great friend.

Will let you know about Katahdin if I head up.

Peace and Happy New Year to You and Your Family.