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Thread: Freedom of the New England Hills

  1. #46
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    I think the other big one is exposed scrambling. Very tough to get experience with that one in the northeast, although I find roped class 5 climbing helps somewhat.
    Exposed routes out west are the very reason I learned to rock climb before heading out west for the 14ers. I thought it I could climb 5.7 or so, I could easily solo exposed class 4 routes. I think it worked, although I have seen other rock climbers freeze un-roped on class 4 routes. Exposure and altitude affect people differently, to be frank training doesn't always help. I passed a triathalon winner just below 14,000ft who could not deal well with the altitude. While I had spent the night before drinking and smoking. Many 8000 meter climbers can attest to this, some bodies perform better at altitude, with little scientific data to prove why.
    To another point in the thread, you have to be willing to leave your comfort zone to progress. I met a guy at work who had been climbing for 4 years and could not break the 5.7 barrier on lead. I offered to help, which he accepted. When we got to Cathedral ledge, I gave him the guidebook and said, " pick a 5.8 route". He looked at me and said I'm not sure I'm ready. I said from now on you only climb 5.8, learn as you go. Two months later he was leading 5.9.

  2. #47
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    I think the other big one is exposed scrambling. Very tough to get experience with that one in the northeast, although I find roped class 5 climbing helps somewhat.
    There are places where one can do exposed scrambling in NE. However, there are bigger scrambling routes in other places (such as in western US). The NE mountains are old and small (on a global scale)--bigger versions of pretty much everything found in NE can be found elsewhere. Newer mountains are also generally more rugged.

    My list was not intended to be all-inclusive. Some others left off were Antarctic and North Polar (sea) ice travel.

    No single area includes everything.


    The mountains may be small, but NE is in general rich enough that an outdoorsman can learn a variety of skills in a number activities (eg 3-season hiking, winter hiking, rock climbing, ice climbing, skiing, flat water boating, white water boating, sailing, hunting, fishing, etc). One can use (and some have used) locally learned skills as stepping stones to a wider world.

    Doug

  3. #48
    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    There are places where one can do exposed scrambling in NE.
    Isn't Huntington Ravine Trail a route that includes a fair amount of exposed scrambling, much less other routes up the wall of that ravine? Presumably one could scramble up Tuck's and other walls in the Presidential Range, as well. How about King Ravine and Jefferson's Knees?

    Personally, I'd love to go up the Hillman's Highway slide in warm-weather conditions, as well as the Central part of the Ammo Ravine, up to the point where it joins the Crawford Path, at least. There would be some exposed scrambling on those routes, I believe.
    Last edited by Driver8; 10-25-2013 at 02:36 PM.
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  4. #49
    Senior Member cushetunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Driver8 View Post
    Personally, I'd love to go up the Hillman's Highway slide in warm-weather conditions
    Is Hillman's stable when not frozen? I suspect not, and I can imagine better places to scramble.

  5. #50
    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cushetunk View Post
    Is Hillman's stable when not frozen? I suspect not, and I can imagine better places to scramble.
    Older, smarter hands tell me it will take some time for Hillman's to settle in and be safe for ascent. I don't expect to try it anytime soon, but it's on my list for "someday."
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  6. #51
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puma concolor View Post
    Freedom of the Hills is only attained when you go wherever you aspire to go with no regard for what anyone else thinks of it. Freedom from Ego is attained only when you speak of it to no one. Current list of completers stands at 0.
    Puma comes closest to the heart of the matter. Or to paraphrase an old song, I would just add, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to prove."
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  7. #52
    Senior Member Raymond's Avatar
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    What about killing a b’ar when you’re only 3?

    Here’s another skill that would be handy to possess: being able to get from one end of Avalanche Lake (true, not in New England) to the other without using the hitch-up Matildas. Just swim around the cliffs.

  8. #53
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Driver8 View Post
    Isn't Huntington Ravine Trail a route that includes a fair amount of exposed scrambling, much less other routes up the wall of that ravine? Presumably one could scramble up Tuck's and other walls in the Presidential Range, as well. How about King Ravine and Jefferson's Knees?
    IMO HRT only involves a small amount of easy scrambling.

    The N and S slides on the Tripyramids might be considered easy scrambling.

    For most scrambling in the WMNF, you have to get off the trails. Some examples:
    * Whitewall Mtn from Zealand Notch
    * The slides on Webster Cliff.
    * Perhaps the rock fan under Cannon Cliff

    And yes, such areas often involve loose rock, the risk of rockfall, and the risk of a nasty fall. A rope (and someone who knows how to use it) can be helpful.

    The only WMNF 4K summit that may require scrambling on its standard route is Owls Head. (I've never been on the Owls Head slide--I did it by a different route.) In contrast, it is my understanding that a number of the Colorado 14Ks require scrambling.

    Doug

  9. #54
    Senior Member Puma concolor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey J View Post
    Puma comes closest to the heart of the matter.
    Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in awhile.

  10. #55
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    IMO HRT only involves a small amount of easy scrambling.

    The N and S slides on the Tripyramids might be considered easy scrambling.

    For most scrambling in the WMNF, you have to get off the trails. Some examples:
    * Whitewall Mtn from Zealand Notch
    * The slides on Webster Cliff.
    * Perhaps the rock fan under Cannon Cliff

    And yes, such areas often involve loose rock, the risk of rockfall, and the risk of a nasty fall. A rope (and someone who knows how to use it) can be helpful.

    The only WMNF 4K summit that may require scrambling on its standard route is Owls Head. (I've never been on the Owls Head slide--I did it by a different route.) In contrast, it is my understanding that a number of the Colorado 14Ks require scrambling.

    Doug
    Two points you have made I couldn't agree more with. Firstly, I grew up in NH, the skillset I developed hiking and climbing here, provided me with all the tools I needed out west. Not only do we have some of the best rock climbing and ice climbing in the country, the weather here is really, fantastic for training for higher mountains. Secondly, you are correct in that the class 3 and class 4 routes on the 14ers in CO provide scrambling that you cannot find here. Some people have said that besides the elevation, there is not much different between the 4k's and the 14ers in CO. I answer this way, there are a number of 14ers, that have potential fatal falls when climbing their routes, ie. Marroon Bells, Pyramid, Little Bear and other's. In relation to some of the scrambling potential another poster suggested, the reason a lot of potential scrambling here is crappy, is that the rock is to beat up and loose, there is little solid rock to be found. I believe this is due to the fact that correct me if I'm wrong, the Whites have gone through two ice ages verses, one ice age for the Rockies. That in itself it a lot more wear and tear on the mountains.

  11. #56
    Member SteveR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    To another point in the thread, you have to be willing to leave your comfort zone to progress.
    ...But you don't have to leave your comfort zone to have Freedom of the Hills.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey J View Post
    Puma comes closest to the heart of the matter. Or to paraphrase an old song, I would just add, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to prove.
    +1
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  12. #57
    Senior Member Lawn Sale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Murphy View Post
    Another factor for winter travel is the overnight lows.

    I aborted a planned five day trip after one night a few years ago because the overnight low that first night was -18 F. That night and the next morning were a real eye opener & kind of scary even though I was camped pretty close to the Zealand Hut. Huge difference between the single digits and -18 F.
    Exactly right, a big difference.

    For me, once the bar is reset, either intentionally or unintentionally, my limits change. I have camped for 3 days and 2 nights in Quebec at -40 so now -10 isn't a big deal. I have hiked peaks at -35 without the wind chill (-50 with it), so 0 is not a big deal anymore. I've hiked peaks during a blizzard when the visibility was 20', so now some snow is not a big deal. What I once feared is no longer feared and instead accepted, but there is a level of intelligence that takes those conditions into account. Would I have been more or less 'hardcore' if I'd done them in a speedo vs appropriate winter gear? How do you quantify and set these parameters then? How do you define fear?


    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian
    ...what you get to do is stand on the top of Lafayette or maybe Isolation or any other prominent peak in any season and look all around you with the knowledge that anything you can see is attainable to you. You're only limited by your imagination for new routes and objectives. It's all available to you. That's the "Freedom of the New England Hills" that I'm talking about.
    What you're describing is attitude and confidence, I can already do this. I have been lost before, truly lost, and when you accept and learn from that experience, the rest is academic. Do I feel the need to prove myself to accept the premise of "Freedom of the Hills"? Is that what we're discussing? Is it the training and learning necessary to gain said "Freedom"? How you keep your head when conditions turn on you, forcing you into potentially life threatening choices, is what marks the measure of attitude and confidence, along with knowing how to avoid those choices. For me, ego has little to do with it and plays no part in my Freedom Seeking. When I hike (or bike, or ski, or anything else enjoyable), I am free. I am doing what I want when I want and where I want. I have the confidence that if I decided to take a left at the top of Isolation and head off the beaten path, even in winter, I could do it. Have I? Not yet, but I may at some point if it strikes my fancy.

    I learned early on that I can do anything (within the laws of the universe, of course). If it can be done, I can do it. If I can't be done, it just means no one yet has figured out a way to do it, so it can still be done.

    Great discussion and a great topic.
    Appearances are not everything, it just looks like they are.




  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    ...To another point in the thread, you have to be willing to leave your comfort zone to progress...
    You also have to be willing to leave your family / loved ones for significant chunks of time. I hate to point out the elephant in the room, but this hobby of ours can be an extremely selfish one. Most (all?) hobbies are by their very nature selfish. However if your hobby is piano, or reading, or woodworking, then your family is probably, at most, two rooms or two floors away. But playing in the mountains involves longs drives and a decent amount of risk. And looking at the outings listed in the first post, now you're talking some serious driving, risk, and multiples days away from home, in questionable weather. Not trying to get all Oprah on you, but it takes a certain amount of selfishness to do these things on a regular basis. Of course everyone's family situation and social situation is unique. But doing enough rock climbing and ice climbing to get somewhat good at it, and doing multi-day winter backpacks, etc....these things are not rocket science, most people could do them given the time. But there's a serious time commitment involved. When someone spends the weekend playing in the mountains, there's probably a good chance there's a person (or people) back at home feeling lonely and worried. Sure, some families climb/hike/backpack together, but let's face it, most don't. Freedom of the hills, like any freedom, comes with a price.
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  14. #59
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    This is an interesting thread to me and a popular one considering it is not the season for cabin fever. I think the title is a misnomer and misleading to the topic. As nice a ring it has, it has nothing to do with freedom and nothing to do with hills. Mind you, I have no objection to some of the snobbery that comes across in setting extreme goals, being an unapologetic snob myself about some things, but I do object to setting some sort of elitism to our sport and calling it a name associated with freedom combined with the quaint image of hills. Poetic yes, descriptive no.

    If by freedom, you mean the ability and will to traverse the area without regard to borders and terrain, the self sufficiency to be independent of the umbilical cord of civilization, the physical attributes to withstand the prolonged exposure to the worse of weather and physical exertion, then you might add survivalist or hermit to the list.

    Maybe someone else can come up with a more appropriate title for the thread ... a witty one perhaps ... but one closer to the subject and if you choose these types of sport, and have any responsibilities in life, then have fun and heed Billy's advice.

  15. #60
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    I think the title is a misnomer and misleading to the topic. As nice a ring it has, it has nothing to do with freedom and nothing to do with hills.
    I suspect it comes from the titles of one or more mountaineering books.

    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    A bushwhack is an excellent suggestion, definitely an oversight on my first list.
    Depending on what list you use, there are ~2000 peaks in NH and the only ones that _require_ climbing to reach the summit are glacial erratics that people usually pile logs against to get up :-)

    On the other hand, maybe half require some degree of bushwhacking which is the true freedom to go where you wish :-)

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