Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter Seneca 2012

Every January the ECP Mountaineering School heads down to West Virginia for the Alpine Rock outing.  The outing consists of waking up at 1AM to hike 14 miles on a freezing cold, windy ridge to Seneca Rocks.  We then climb to the summit.  All while wearing 30-40 pound packs and mountaineering boots.  If that is not enough, we then bivy on the summit before rappelling down the next morning.
This year I was teamed up with Chris Ciesa, a first year mountaineering school student.  We hiked extremely fast on the approach through 10F temps and 20-30mph wind gusts and were one of the first teams to make it to the rocks.  We arrived at around 6:30AM or dawn.  Our route was Gunsight Direct 5.5 and our bivy spot was the summit block of the south peak.
Kristen and Chris take a “jacket on” break on the North Fork Trail.  The temps were frigid with blowing wind and snow.
Kristen walking the natural gas pipeline to the rocks.  A herd of horses is in the background.
Chris descends the rocky east face trail.
Scrambling up to lower Broadway ledge.
Sam leads Gunsight to South Peak.
Sam climbing with boots, pack, and gloves.
Hanging out in the notch.  Left to right: Chris M., Rich, and Chris C.
Self portrait midway up crux pitch of Gunsight Direct.
Chris about to start summit ridge traverse.
Shane and Chris successfully and safely on the summit.
Felix and Kristen hanging out on the summit.
A tent on the summit block?  Who knew!
On the summit with plenty of daylight to spare.
Felix and Kristen enjoy some freeze dry.
Winter Seneca with the mountaineering school, wouldn’t miss it for anything!


  1. Hey I was hoping you could answer a question for me. I'm just looking into mountain-climbing for the first time so I'll be upfront and say I have little to no knowledge about climbing and I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, but you will be the one to have an answer for me haha. You mentioned everyone was wearing "mountaineering boots" and I wanted to know what those are exactly. Are they different then typical hiking boots? And if so how? I've been looking at a few pairs of boots on this site called The Sportsman's Guide and I was thinking of buying this pair of waterproof Merrell hiking boots but now I'm assuming they aren't anything I could use for real climbing. If you get the chance any advice/knowledge/ recommendations you could throw my way would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. Hi, there are many different styles of mountaineering boots which vary depending on conditions and type of climb. Here is one type for example

    Hope that helps.