Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boys' Night Out

Here was the plan.

Hike into the Great Gulf, camp out, climb up the Great Gulf to the summit of Mt. Washington (NH), slap on the boards & ski down the auto road (~ 6 mile run), then a pint of the good stuff.

Saturday morning: it's real cold.

Mistake no. 1: we have no snowshoes or skins for the boards (we were young & poor).

Lots of snow on the trail. We don't make it to the Great Gulf. We set up the tent along the trail and get into our sleeping bags.

Sunday morning : very cold. The thermometer says - 40 F. Plus the winds are gusting up to 100+ mph.

Mistake no. 2: we head towards the summit/auto road via a steep & seldom used trail (hey, we were young & dumb).

So here how the day goes: walk 5 feet, then sink up to your waist; walk 5 more feet, then get knock down by a 100+ mph gust of wind.

It's now 4 pm. We are still way below the auto road. Decision time - keep going or bivy out.

4:01 pm: We are digging into a snow drift.

The local news station reports that tonight will be a rough one. Our lady friends are worried since we were supposed to home hours ago.

Monday morning: it's a bit warming & no wind. We pack up and make it to the auto road by noon time. The boards are on & pointed down hill. About 2 hours later, 3 of us are eating 2 large pizza pies.

Traveling lighter and snowshoes would have been key.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Don't You Forget About Me

  • Ever since Chouinard and Frost revolutionized ice climbing with their tools, the level of difficulty keeps going up and up.
  • The current level of mixed climbing is way beyond me. It's amazing.
  • You see, I'm just an old fashion ice climber who loves motoring up moderate snow & ice gullies.
  • So while all these mixed climbs are totally rad, don't you forget about the ice gullies.
  • If you are a Northeastern, this means a road trip to Huntington Ravine on Mt. Washington, NH.
  • Trust me on this one, Mt. Washington is the home to the worst weather ( The weather here is down right dangerous. Usually about 1 - 2 people die a year here due to falls and/or exposure.
  • Bad weather + a long history of accidents + relative remoteness = a recipe for FUN. It's always an adventure on Mt. Washington.
  • So put away your mono points and leashless tools. Grab your 12-point crampons and curved ice axe. Don't forget your bivy bag, map and compass.
  • And head towards these historical gullies.
  • Pinnacle Gully is the classic NEI 3 climb - enjoy it.
  • There is only one bad thing about climbing in the Mt. Washington Valley. I can never find a decent slice of pizza anywhere. Oh well, you can't have everything in life.
  • One last thing, if you have some spare time, hit the backside of Wildcat with your backcountry boards.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Your body has a "set point" for weight, i.e., most folks stay within a certain weight most of their lives.

Your body has a set point for happiness. You're happy or you're not.

I have no facts or clinical trials to back this up, but I believe people have a set point for body heat (aka internal body temperature).

For me, it's 45 - 55F. At these temps, my motor hums like a well-tuned Lincoln, be it by bike or foot.

Some of my buddies prefer hot days. Some prefer cold days, and that's all right, too.

So what's the point Roman?

Well, here's the deal: plan your training & races (i.e., your peaking cycles) around your set point for body heat.

The cold folks may do well at CX. The hot people may excel at a summer time road running marathon.

Find your set point and stack the odds in your favor.