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.
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