North Conway is the hot bed for ice climbing in New England. Classics like the Black Dike, Repentance and Dracula pull in climbers during New Hampshire's long winters. Crawford Notch, commonly known as Frankenstein, is home to dozens of steep route such as Standard Right and Drop Line that were the standard back in the late 60's and early 70's, but still remain difficult test pieces.
Athletes: Sarah Garlick, Bayard Russell, Emilie Drinkwater
We started climbing at 4AM. To save time, we each attached ourselves to a fixed rope with a Petzl Tibloc (a simplified ascending device) to self-belay ourselves. Without a proper belay, we had to be in the mindset that we were basically free soloing the first five pitches. If one of us did fall the Tibloc would bit on the rope, and arrest the fall (hopefully). It was too scary to trust it, so we climbed like we were not going to fall.
Black Diamond athlete Andy Houseman, along with his partner Nick Bullock, made a trip to the Alaska Range this past spring where they made the sixth ascent of the massive and infamous Slovak Direct route on the south face of Denali. The route, put up in 1986 using fixed lines over the course of 11 days, is over 9,000 feet tall—making it one of the biggest, most committing lines in the range. The pair climbed the route in 84 hours, battling epic spindrift, difficult ice and mixed climbing and challenging weather. The video below provides a first-hand look at the sheer scale of the route and what it takes to climb such a massive, remote face.