Nice New Ice in New England

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Eric McCallister delicately climbs the second crux section of Dial M for Murder Photo by Jim Ewing, courtesy of Eric McCallister.

Eric McCallister delicately climbs the second crux section of Dial M for Murder Photo by Jim Ewing, courtesy of Eric McCallister.

Before the big meltdown this week, New Englanders snagged some fine first ascents. In New Hampshire’s Crawford Notch, Eric McCallister completed the first lead of Dial M for Murder (WI4+ M8) on Mt. Willard. Protected by five bolts and ice screws, Dial M takes on the main prow of the big rock buttress left of Upper Hitchcock Gully. McCallister did the route with Jim Ewing, the same partnership that climbed Frostbite Fall (WI5+ R) at Lake Willoughby, Vermont, last February.

McCallister called Dial M a true mixed climb, with about 50/50 ice and rock. “On our first effort we hoped to make it go on gear with only a couple of bolts, but there was only one solid gear placement,” McCallister said. “After taking a near ground fall from one-third of the way up the route, I chose to fully equip it.”

A few weeks earlier, Ewing and Evan Sanborn climbed Thanks for the Call (WI5+ M5/6) at Lake Willoughby. Approached by the lower part of Called on Account of Rains, the route ascends mixed ground with no bolts or pitons to reach a gigantic and “ferocious” hanging icicle.

McCallister amid the first crux of Dial M for Murder at Mt. Willard, New Hampshire: “overhanging rock to a drool of ice with long reaches on a couple of slopey small holds.” Photo by Jim Ewing, courtesy of Eric McCallister.

McCallister amid the first crux of Dial M for Murder at Mt. Willard, New Hampshire: “overhanging rock to a drool of ice with long reaches on a couple of slopey small holds.” Photo by Jim Ewing, courtesy of Eric McCallister.

Ewing wrote on NEClimbs.com that the route was “named in honor of a friend who graciously tipped me off on the conditions and who could have easily bagged the thing himself. Thanks, Josh.”

Dates of Ascents: January 6, 2008 (Dial M); December 22, 2007 (Thanks for the Call)

Sources: Eric McCallister, NEClimbs.com

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Dial M for Murder (WI4+ M8) at Mt. Willard, Crawford Notch, New Hampshire. Courtesy of Eric McCallister.

Dial M for Murder (WI4+ M8) at Mt. Willard, Crawford Notch, New Hampshire. Courtesy of Eric McCallister.