Climbing

A few weeks ago, my friend told me that she and her friends had just attempted a winter Presidential Traverse. I thought it sounded like a miserable undertaking – low visibility, high wind, general exposure, and just plain cold. Then this week rolled around. I found myself with no plans for my one full day…

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Last March, I wrote an entry about the Harvard Cabin, which has pretty quickly become one of my favorite places on the mountain. The cabin was built in the early 1960s by the Harvard Mountaineering Club near Huntington Ravine, on the east side of Mount Washington. It operates under a special use permit with the…

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This holiday season, give a gift to your loved ones and your local economy at the same time. Dozens of outdoor gear companies, large and small, call the Northeast home. Many of them manufacture at least some of their products in the region, while others produce their entire collections locally. If you’ve got an outdoor…

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“Sharp crampons are like sharp knives: They are safer and work best when sharp,” says Steve House, a climber and the author of Training for the New Alpinism. Trekking on ice, snow, and especially rock will eventually dull crampons and make them less effective— particularly early in the season, when ice and snow are light….

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Don’t wait for the first snowfall. Trek down into the basement, out into the garage, or deep into the closet and pull out all of your winter gear—tonight. A thorough preseason evaluation of everything from clothes to skis to crampons will help preserve your gear, keep you safe, and prevent problems once you do head…

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Photograph by Jerry and Marcy Monkman. A few simple tricks can eliminate many small inconveniences of winter hiking. Designate specific jacket pockets for your hat and gloves so you can easily keep track of them. Keep an energy bar in a pocket close to your body to avoid breaking your teeth on a frozen, rock-hard…

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The ice ax is an essential mountaineering tool— arguably the essential tool—when climbing large, glaciated peaks or when ascending steep routes on any mountain in the winter. When exploring peaks like Maine’s Katahdin or New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in winter, using an ice ax—along with crampons—is not only recommended, it’s a necessity. STRUCTURE OF THE…

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Ah, winter: Season of outdoor thrills and potentially butt-crunching spills. When snow and ice create dangerous conditions underfoot—from city sidewalks to rugged mountain trails—adding a winter traction system to your footwear will provide the grip you need to stay safely upright. Here are the options, from casual to extreme, to keep you on your feet…

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Editor’s note: This article, adapted from No Limits But the Sky: The Best Mountaineering Stories from Appalachia Journal (AMC Books, 2014), originally appeared in the November 1896 issue of Appalachia. The four climbers involved—author Fay, Charles S. Thompson, George Little, and the group’s leader, Philip Stanley Abbot—were attempting the first ascent of 11,230-foot Mount Lefroy in…

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Within half a minute of beginning my first rock climb in years the best thing happens: I fall. I am just starting up the route called California Carpool (“as in everyone drives their own,” someone says). A bulge near the bottom arguably has what climbers would call this route’s crux, or hardest part, if only…

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