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Close Calls and Fun On Mt. Etna, Sicily

featured picture etna

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” -Ed Viesturs

Trip Report: Skiing Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy. (1o,992′)

Our fearless leader of The Mountaineer , Vinny McClelland just returned from an amazing ski decent of  Mount Etna located on the island of Sicily. Mount Etna is a stratovolcano meaning that its highly active and built upon layers of molten activity (scary) .Etna is the tallest active Volcano in Europe as well as the highest point in the southern Alps which makes for incredible ski decent options. Read on to hear and see about how the Volcano erupted and what  an Italian ski decent means (Schnapps and all).Etna 2

Vinny, among other Competance Centers were recently invited on a little ski trip by our partners over at Dynafit! The Mountaineer is one of 8 Dynafit Competance Centers in the US and the only one in the East. A Competance Center means we are among the best ski touring specialists in the world…I guess with that being said, Dynafit like us and likes taking Vinny on ski trips! “Busy schedules, family, running a business and trying to recreate is not always an easy task” Vinny said. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to join this elite group of skiers on a Volcanic Ski Decent”The trip started out of Catania, Sicily located 35KM away from the base of Mt. Etna (1 hour drive).  A large city and metropolitan area located on the Ionian Sea littered with food markets and shops.market CatalinaRifugioSleeping quarters and walking distance from the watering hole
Etna 1

 A quick drive to the parking lot of the Mount Etna Ski Resort gave easy access to the snowfields and the tour began. After about 4.5 hours of moderate skinning with ski crampons the group reached the ridge of the volcano (pictured above) along with sulfuric steam.Snow Field

 Good looking skiing on expansive snow fields en route to the summit!!
Ski Party



Part way up the Schnapps comes out in proper Italian fashion. Who skis without Schnapps?




Etna 3




Mountaineer Bandana Summit shot!Dont have a bandana, yet?! Buy one here



All in all the trip was a great success! Lots of skiing, cultural eating, exploring and just a few days after Vinny was on top of Mt Etna it ERUPTED in a molten explosion! See below…


2017 Mountainfest Recap

Thank you!

Another great ADK Mountainfest is in the books! We had a fantastic weekend and we hope that all of the participants and guides enjoyed themselves immensely, we look forward to seeing everyone at the 22nd Annual Mountainfest next year! We’d like to thank all of our sponsors Grivel, Patagonia, Marmot, Black Diamond, DMM, Outdoor Research, La Sportiva, Rab, Nalgene, Petzl, Neice and the list goes on. Doug Millen delivered delicious soup to the clinics, which is always a treat, Thanks Doug! We had an amazing slideshow presentation Friday night by Rab’s Scott Bennett, an awesome raffle and tons of free giveaways along with another outstanding slideshow on Saturday night by Patagonia’s Kelly Cordes which was unbelievably captivating! Followed by Black Diamond’s Kevin Mahoney at The Keene Arts Center on Sunday evening. There were several good shots that were captured over the course of the weekend which you can see here. Many thanks to , Rock and River , the local and visiting guides, LPP&B and everyone involved for the great work they do for our community, and the participants. As always, Mountainfest is a charity event and we are very proud to announce that we have almost surpassed the six figure mark on our donation to local charities and this year we were able to collect over 200 lbs of food for local food banks!!!  We’re psyched for next year and we’ll be adding a few new exciting things to Mountainfest so keep an eye out! Next year will be (another) one for the books!


NEice administrator and Soup Connoisseur Doug Millen with local climber Jim VanPatten


Climber on Power Play


Local Guide Don Mellor and Instructor of “Steep Ice For The Weak And Chicken hearted” showing how it can be done with a single mountaineering axe


Ron Kon & Mountaineer employees with Kelly Cordes in the World Famous Beaver Dome!


Matt Mckormick heading out for to teach his M2 clinic

LR ice climb chapel pond

Michael Fusca dialing in his skills at a clinic based at Pitchoff Left.


All smiles!


A clinic based at Otis Mt. Mountainfests private ice wall



“Tent Talk” Presented by Primaloft



Back in 1975 The McClelland and Miller families opened a small mountaineering, hiking and ski shop in the sleepy mountain town of Keene Valley, NY, nestled in the Adirondack Mountains. Vinny McClelland describes how “everyone thought his father was crazy” in doing so, the struggles and successes of running a small business in the digital age and what it’s like living, playing and working in this beautiful place we call home. We feel lucky to have the  relationship that we do with our friends at Primaloft, we believe in their products, and we share a similar thought process on how we do business. We keep it simple, we care about our community, we believe in knowledgeable staff, we’re users of our products and outdoor enthusiasts. All of these beliefs lead to passion and this is why we are thrilled to team up with Primaloft and create a glimpse in to the evolution of our shop. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the latest episode of “tent talk” featuring Vinny and The Mountaineer.  Enjoy!

Blue Lines 2: An Adirondack Ice Climber’s Guide




Commence screaming and jumping up and down! The second edition of Blue Lines by Author Don Mellor arrived in The Mountaineer this week! A long-awaited moment by many local and visiting ice climbers finally came to fruition just in time to build the psych up for our 21st Annual Mountainfest and the general Adirondack ice climbing season. Mellor’s second edition doubles the amount of routes of its predecessor, Blue Lines. Blue Lines 2 takes the story of this region even further, describing the explosion of new, big, back country climbs in Panther Gorge along with the discovery of dozens of new and exciting climbing areas such as Hayes Mountain, Hoffman Notch, West Canada Cliff and the popular Silver Lake area. The back country climbing in the Adirondacks can be a true adventure . Take a read through Blue Lines 2 to get a taste of the secrets we house here in the vast Adirondack Park! HAPPY CLIMBING! Purchase Blue Lines 2 here

The Scarpa Phantom Tech



Chuck (who has been at The Mountaineer for 32 years!) says this about the Phantom Tech: “We’re very excited about this update from Scarpa on this classic mountain boot! Check out the new features and newly designed stiffer, lighter fit. The boot is warmer than its predecessor (Phantom Guide). Not all updates are good but this a update worth checking out. The built in gaiter is essential to keeping your feet dry and warm which allows for you to concentrate on your climb and not your frozen toes” Scarpa says the redesigned zipper allows for all day comfort and takes the thought out of pressure points. Stop in or call us if you want more info on this ultra classic mountain boot! For purchasing info click here.