At 26 years, the Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest is one of the longest-running ice climbing and mountaineering festivals around. Like most ice climbing festivals, there are day-long clinics, gear demos, wicked talented (and possibly famous) clinic leaders, movies, and microbrews.
Unlike a lot of ice climbing festivals, this one is located in the heart of New England winter recreation. For the aspiring snow and ice-based athlete or mountain guide, it’s an all-in-one opportunity to develop new skills and explore different types of winter adventure. Ice climb for a day, then join the group ascent of Mount Washington. Take an avalanche course, or learn about glacier travel and crevasse rescue.
There’s not much camping in February in North Conway, New Hampshire, but local lodges offer discounts via the festival website. Also, plan to pick up the phone to register. Clinics fill up quickly.
Photo by John E. Saunders