I started ice climbing back in 1991, the popularity of the sport and increased traffic at the cliffs has grown tremendously since then. So, if you meet up with a buddy to climb some ice and you find no cars in the parking lot when you arrive, what do you do? If you said blah, blah, blah, then you're right, Climb the funnest route at the Crag!
This past Sunday was the exact case I mention and just what Todd and I did. We met at the usual spot half way from our respective homes, finished the drive north on route 16, then stopped for some coffee in North Conway. Fueled up on caffeine and egg & cheese on a bagel, we headed to our planned climbing area for the day, we weren't sure which climb we would do, but it became obvious as we pulled up the access road to Frankenstein Cliff in Crawford Notch.
It was 8 am and there were zero, count 'em, zero cars in the parking lot! So we planned to head straight to Standard Route, a New Hampshire Classic, with a NEI 3 rating (New England Ice Grade 3). Todd had not been out climbing for about a month, though I had been a couple of times and also the previous day. This meant that Todd would have the glory of leading the funnest pitch on the route, the second pitch out the left side of the cave. It is always so fun and exposed. To think I have another friend who solos this route on a regular basis....Oh well, I wouldn't do it, but lacing the climb full of screws and having a great time climbing some frozen water was just awesome! I never get tired of this one...
I was filming our climb while using a Vholdr Countour HD action sports camera, mounted onto my climbing helmet with a elastic velcro strap. I edited the footage to create the following video of our climb of the first two pitches. My only claim to fame is amateur at best, and I must warn you, in the excitement of climbing with a brother and friend, I may have dropped a few F-Bombs! So pop some corn or have a coffee and take a seat and climb the ice. The video is about 37 minutes long.
I know every time I watch, I slide to the edge of my seat as I relive the experience.
Standard Route Frankenstein Cliff - The whole story! from Steve Jacques on Vimeo.