Ice Climbing & Mountaineering

NORTH CONWAY, NEW HAMPSHIRE

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accredited_colorOur guides have logged hundreds of Mt. Washington ascents over the years and have guided winter ice routes all throughout the Mt. Washington valley, including areas on Cathedral in North Conway and Frankenstein Cliffs in Crawford Notch State Park. From our home base in North Conway we have quick access to some of the best, and most famous ice climbing and mountaineering terrain in the world. Mt. Washington draws climbers from all over the world and serves as both a training ground and proving ground for winter climbing enthusiasts. Variety of terrain, easy access to challenging climbing areas, and beautiful landscapes are but a few reasons why many well known climbers now call the White Mountains their home.

Groups classes require a minimum enrollment of two people. If you are booking alone for a group class your reservation is subject to change if minimum enrollment is not reached. Group classes and climbs are perfect for those with flexible schedules. Any class or climb can be booked privately any day of the week. Private reservations are guaranteed to run. For information about private reservations please call 800-310-4504.

Private Guided Climbs

keith2-510x350Looking to master a specific skill or accomplish a particular goal or maybe you just want the guide to yourself, or on a day of your own choosing. Regardless of the reason or the size of your party, just give us a call at 800-310-4504 to set up a private climbing day tailored to your needs and schedule. Private ice climbing, mountaineering, Mt. Washington trips, and backcountry skiing available 7 days a week. READ MORE… 
Available 7 days a week. Please call 800-310-4504 to schedule a climb.

Winter Climbing 101

 510x350-nc-ice-trJoin us on this course for some great climbing on both snow and ice, and you’ll come away with a full understanding of the fundamentals of winter climbing. It all starts here for people headed toward the winter pursuits of ice climbing or winter mountaineering. In this full-day course, we will outfit you with all the gear required to move on steep snow and moderate-angled ice. READ MORE… 
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one day / ratio 1:4 / private classes also available

Mt. Washington Ascent

mw-680x475The tallest peak in New England is an even greater challenge in winter. Over half of the 8.2 mile round trip is above treeline where conditions can be famously harsh. Mt. Washington still holds the world record for the highest land wind speed at 231 mph and winter wind chill factor reaching a staggering -50 degrees! READ MORE…
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one day / ratio 1:4 / private trips also available

Accelerated Mountaineering

mw-self-arrestThis is our most popular winter program, and a solid foundation for anyone headed to Mt. Rainier, Mt. McKinley, or similar objectives. Your three individual days of instruction begin with our Winter Climbing 101 course where we’ll teach you the basics of hiking above treeline with crampons and an ice axe. On day two, you will apply the skills you learned on your first day on a moderately-angled snow and ice route. Finally, on day three, you’ll put everything you’ve learned to the test with a thrilling summit attempt of Mt. Washington! READ MORE…
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three days / ratio 1:4 / private trips also available

Mount Washington Observatory

700x450-mwobs-group-hike-3This unique experience combines the challenge of a winter ascent of the Northeast’s highest peak with the rare opportunity to spend the night on the summit inside the Mount Washington Observatory’s legendary mountaintop weather station. We’ll climb Mt. Washington’s eastern flank, aiming to be above treeline around noon. From there, we’ll cross the desolate landscape of the Alpine Garden, where the winds are often at their fiercest, and head up the summit cone. READ MORE…
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two days and one night / dinner & breakfast included / max 9 spots per trip

Ice Climbing Fast Track

keith-climb1---510x350In this 2-day course, we combine our Winter Climbing 101 and our Ice Climbing 201 courses to provide a comprehensive 2-day ice climbing experience which focuses on the very foundation skills of ice climbing and winter mountaineering while providing an opportunity to test your ice climbing skills on steeper terrain. READ MORE…
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two days / ratio 1:4 / private classes also available

Mountaineering 201

510x350-nc-mtn-201Looking at classic mountaineering objectives out West, or the committing winter ascents of the East? Then we’ll take the skills you learned in Winter Climbing 101 and apply them on a long route that will get you way up above the valley. We’ll cover lots of ground, protecting the party while moving together on the rope, and belaying the sections that require more care. Route selection, hazard assessment, and decision-making in the mountains all come into play as we steadily gain elevation. READ MORE…
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one day / ratio 1:3 / private classes also available

Ice Climbing 201

Looking at classic mountaineering objectives out West, or the committing winter ascents of the East? Then we’ll take the skills you learned in Winter Climbing 101 and apply them on a long route that will get you way up above the valley. We’ll cover lots of ground, protecting the party while moving together on the rope, and belaying the sections that require more care. Route selection, hazard assessment, and decision-making in the mountains all come into play as we steadily gain elevation. READ MORE…
Book Now
one day / ratio 1:3 / private classes also available

Glacier Skills & Crevasse Rescue

If you aspire to climb bigger mountains out West or abroad, learning to rope up for and travel over glaciers is essential. You’ll also need to know how to extricate yourself or your partner from a crevasse. Though there are no glaciers in the Northeast, our instructors can teach you all of the latest tricks and techniques for navigating though these hazards. A portion of the day will be spent learning the basics of glacier rigging for different sized rope-teams, as well as equipment options and crevasse rescue systems. We will then set up and practice the demonstrated techniques in the field. We require technical climbing experience or participation in one or more of our mountaineering courses for this hands-on, technical program. READ MORE…
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one day / ratio 1:6 / private classes also available

Alpine Gully Climbs

This course is less about learning new skills and more about “putting it all together” on long classics in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. You’ll use your mountaineering skills, ice climbing skills and “mountain sense,” as well as your fitness and endurance to maximum efficiency. Your decision-making will also be tested – especially your avalanche hazard assessment skills as you push yourself to exciting new levels in some of the most starkly beautiful and challenging settings in the East. If conditions allow, routes like Shoestring Gully in Crawford Notch State Park or long alpine gullies in Huntington or Tuckerman Ravine on Mt. Washington are possible destinations for these climbs. Maximum guide to climber ratio for these climbs is 1:2.
Available 7 days a week. Please call 800-310-4504 to schedule a climb.

Ski Mountaineering

Do you want to open up new terrain and immerse yourself in the mountains? This course will give you the skills you need to start using mountaineering techniques to approach ski routes that wouldn’t be accessible otherwise. You’ll learn how to climb efficiently using a mountaineering axe in your hand and crampons on your ski boots. This course is designed for telemark or alpine touring skiers that have taken our backcountry skiing course or have extensive personal skiing experience. No mountaineering experience is required, but you may want to sign up for our Winter Climbing 101 course or our Accelerated Mountaineering course if you are interested in getting a head start.
Available 7 days a week. Please call 800-310-4504 to schedule a climb.

Learn to Lead on Ice

The name says it all here – you want to move to the other end of the rope, and your experience so far says that it’s time. In this course, we’ll fill in any technical gaps that might exist in your set of skills, and move into the realm of the “sharp end.” We will begin to teach you how to think like a leader: assessing your party, choosing an appropriate route, sorting through the gear required, racking efficiently, protecting both leader and second, and planning for the descent. And remember – with your 20% outfitting discount, you can build up your rack after the course and work with your guide to decide which gear to buy. You must have significant experience following on ice, and preferably some experience leading on rock to be ready for this course.
Available 7 days a week. Please call 800-310-4504 to schedule a climb.

Mixed Climbing

Are you looking to open up a whole new world of climbing possibilities? Enter the growing world of mixed climbing and learn to climb routes that involve a combination of some rock and some ice. This course will tap into your creative side and show you some fun, new ways to solve problems. We’ll be using ice climbing crampons and tools for both the rock and ice sections, so we’ll show you a few tips and tricks on how to get those steel points to stick to stone and then we will get right on those routes you have been eyeing. Previous ice and rock climbing experience is a must to be reach for this course.
Available 7 days a week. Please call 800-310-4504 to schedule a climb.

About Our Courses

Winter Climbing 101 is a great start for anyone interested in learning more about winter climbing. This full day class combines skills used for technical ice climbing and mountaineering into one comprehensive lesson. We teach about tools used for technical winter climbing and how to use them on a variety of terrain from steep water ice to moderate angle snow slopes. This class can take place at one of two locations, Cathedral Ledge in North Conway or Frankenstein Cliffs in Crawford Notch State Park. Each morning groups meet at the Climbing School to get geared up and after a brief gear review groups head straight to the cliff to begin the day, and start climbing. If you are headed toward more serious winter mountaineering objectives, or perhaps drawn to the frozen waterfalls of the Northeast – this course will give you the knowledge and experience to tackle those goals.

A winter ascent of Mt. Washington is no easy objective. Winds can easily reach hurricane force and temperatures are often well below 0 for most of the three month winter season (January to March). Our guides log hundreds of ascents each year with groups of varying abilities, each with their own reasons for making the 8 mile round-trip climb to the summit. Groups meet promptly at 7am at the Climbing School in North Conway on the morning of the climb. From the Climbing School climbers have the opportunity to check gear and get fitted with boots, crampons and ice axe before driving to the trial head at the visitors center in Pinkham Notch. Lions head route is used for most climbs and trips last between seven and nine hours (approx 5 hours up, 3 hours down). This of course depends on a many factors including weather, trail conditions and overall pace of the group. Group climbs attract many people of all abilities. Although we request that everyone should be in above average physical shape to have a better chance at reaching the summit on a favorable day, not everyone comes prepared. Scheduled dates are reserved for those individuals who are interested in a mountain experience with a potential summit attempt. The group you are with may have an earlier “summit” than the actual top of the mountain. We book these group dates at a 4:1 ratio. If there is someone in the group that may need to go down early, the whole group will need to descend. For this reason, if you are more goal-oriented and would like to have a better chance at summiting without being at the whim of any particular group member, it is best to book privately either as a single or with friends.

Our three-day Accelerated Mountaineering course is a great starting point for those training for serious mountaineering objectives or are interested in learning the skills necessary to becoming a more skilled mountaineer. This is our most popular winter program, and a solid foundation for anyone headed to Mt. Rainier, Mt. McKinley, or similar objectives. Accelerated Mountaineering combines three of our most popular winter programs- Winter Climbing 101, Mountaineering 201, and a winter ascent of Mt. Washington into one comprehensive three day course. Tack on a Glacier Skills & Crevasse Rescue course to further enhance your mountaineering knowledge base.