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When might the ice season start in quebec/vermont/NY?
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Oct 11, 2012
I'm going to be in Quebec (south of montreal) from mid november til mid dec and wanted to know if it would be worth bringing my ice gear. Basically, based on the past experience of those of you who live and climb in the area, when do you generally expect to get in your first climb of the season for quebec or northern vermont/ NY/ New Hampshire?

I realize that every year is different (lets not base things on last year's ice)and no one can predict the future, but if on average you guys don't start sharpening picks until dec 15th then I might leave my awkward sharp metal bits out of my luggage.

Thanks
IanWarrington
From Rogers Pass, BC
Joined Aug 6, 2012
40 points
Oct 11, 2012
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Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Joined Feb 15, 2006
942 points
Oct 11, 2012
Well, it really depends on how you define "ice" and "season"...

I used to live in Vermont, so I can speak for the ice season in VT, NH, and the Adirondacks. I never climbed ice in Quebec, so I can't speak for the season up there, although you may be able to get a slightly earlier season if you drive way north...

Anyway, the first hints of ice season in northern New England hits around Halloween, in a good year. There are a few spots were the ice-obsessives push in the season. These are generally north facing, mixed gullies up fairly high in the mountains. Think the Black Dike, some gullies in Smugglers Notch, and Mt. Washington In early Novemeber, you can usually find some thin ice to climb in these places. Not really ice climbing yet (i.e. you probably won't find thick ice for an ice screw), more like verglassed mixed climbing.

Generally in the later part of Novemeber is when you hope to start finding some pockets of proper ice climbing, especially in the higher elevations and north facing areas. Still only some areas are in season, and it is of course "early season" conditions.

By early December, you actually stand a chance of finding fat, blue pillars to climb on (in a good year), and a greater number of areas are in condition. In all but the worst years, there is usually something frozen to climb on in early December.

It varies highly by the year, of course. In some years you will get skunked until mid-January, while in other years there is thick ice everywere, even at low elevatins, in the first week of December.

So, I'd say it is probably worth bringing the pointy things. Bring some rock shoes too; if it is a warm November and there is no ice, there is decent chance of finding tolerable conditions on some sunny rock.
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
53 points
Oct 11, 2012
Also, these sites will be your friend:

neice.com

rockandriver.com

Both provide ice conditions info during ice season. Rock and River is only for the ADKs, NEIce for throughout New England (and maybe Quebec?)
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
53 points
Oct 11, 2012
I scraped verglass off my windshield this morning...real ice is just around the corner (we hope!)

John Moen nailed the answer.
JohnnyG
Joined Nov 30, 2009
27 points


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