The Guide's Blog

Ice Climbing

How to Dress for Mountaineering & Ice Climbing

January 9, 2024 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Guides' Tech Tips

It’s nearly winter, and I have started to gather my equipment together for my annual migration to New England for ice climbing and mountaineering.  It’s second nature now, but packing for a mountaineering objective was overwhelming when I was first starting out. I’m gonna share my systems with you all- I hope to clarify and simplify all the stuff that’s needed to be comfortable in the mountains.(let's’ be honest- there are plenty of ways to suffer. Poor kit choices shouldn’t be one of them)

One important note when you are assembling your kit: Have your detective hat on when looking at gear. I’ve noticed a trend in the mainstream outdoor gear industry-street style is now being integrated into the design ethos of the kit. Ask yourself, Is it designed for the mountains or is it designed for Starbucks? Speaking of trends, Some of these same companies are also using the bleeding edge of climbing to influence design choices. The $900 ultralight Dyneema backpack or tent may be super useful for a trip to the north faces of the Himalaya, but for a first time kit that’s nowhere near necessary. All that happens is the high spe




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Staying Warm for Winter Sports

January 6, 2023 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Fundamentals Fridays Guides' Tech Tips

It is officially winter now, and many people are eager to get outside to enjoy the beautiful winter scenery. No matter the activity, staying warm is essential to an enjoyable outing. With a little bit of planning and diligence we can turn what could have been a cold, miserable day into a fun, memorable experience. By following a few basic principles, we can begin to develop good habits which will help keep us warm while enjoying any cold weather activity. This post focuses on ice climbing, but these principles work for any cold weather activity.    

To keep it simple and easy to remember, I’ve broken it down into three principles or guidelines: 

Maintain calories and hydration

Dress appropriately: layer & stay dry

Anticipate conditions

Maintaining Calories and Hydration

To efficiently produce heat, your body needs to be well nourished and hydrated. Before a day of ice climbing, I like to eat a dinner high in protein along with complex carbohydrates. I also drink plenty of water to get ahead of the hydration curve. The day of, I eat a breakfast high in fat and protein with at least 1000 cal




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Ice Climbing

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAlpine & Ice Climbing AMGA Courses Guiding

As the summer guiding season comes to an end, I finally have some time to write. Also my thoughts begin to wander towards what is to come. Most rock climbers are getting excited about the fall temps with drier air. Fiction will be plentiful and many projects will fall to those who have been training over the past few humid months. But for me, I am more excited about the cold temps that tend to follow the cool of the fall. I cannot wait for winter to get here.

I thoroughly enjoy climbing in the winter, particularly the ice climbing. I have been ice climbing since 2008 when I took a trip to Ouray, Colorado. There I was blown away at how much fun climbing frozen water can be. I loved it so much that upon my return to Illinois, I began scheming of ways to go back to Ouray. The plans were never put into action and I remained in Illinois for a few more years. During those years, I did begin to purchase boots, crampons, and ice tools. That same winter, the weather was cold enough to form some of the waterfalls at Jackson Falls into ice climbs.

The next winter I did my first ice leads in North Carolina and in New Hampshire. I was hooked. That next wint




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Whiteside Mountain Ice Topo Map

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAlpine & Ice Climbing

With ice season in full swing here in North Carolina, I've been spending a lot of time sinking my picks into the frozen stuff at Whiteside Mountain. With fickle ice conditions in the Southeast, it can be hard to know when the ice is in. But with ice climbing beta so hard to come by, it can also be challenging to know where the ice is in.  I thought I would rectify this by producing the first complete, publicly available topo map of Whiteside Mountain, NC, where the ice is frequently great and there is plenty of it to choose from.  Single pitch or multipitch, moderate ice slabs or overhanging mixed projects--there's a little bit of everything at Whitesides.  If you'd like the personalized tour, book a day with one of our guides.  Or, if you've got a handle on southern ice but would like to try your hand at some crystalline waterfalls a bit further afield, check out our full bevvy of ice climbing programs in New Hampshire.




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