Cannon Ice Climbing: Slaying Fafnir

One of my good friends and climbing partners, Tristan Perry, agreed to meet me at the Cannon parking lot at 9:00am on Friday along with another partner R.B.  Tristan had to be home relatively early and I had to officiate a boy's prep school ice hockey game (Holderness School vs Proctor) at 6:15pm in Plymouth.  With that being said, our main objective, Quartet, was out of the question.  So we chose to do something a bit shorter -- We opted for Fafnir.

"Fafnir?" I thought..."What the hell does that mean?" So, I Googled it and learned that Fafnir was actually a mythical creature who killed his father to obtain some cursed gold.  To help protect his gold, Fafnir turned into a dragon.  Not long after, Fafnir was slayed by this dude, Sigurd, who eventually ate his heart and stole Fafnir's treasure. 

Me coming up Pitch 1 - Pitch 1.  Ryan B. led the pitch in record time. 

After discovering this, I was even more perplexed by the name.  Perhaps it's due to the strong up-gulley winds that form horizontal ice roofs which need to be negotiated, making the ice look like the breath of a fire breathing dragon?  Maybe.  Or, is it that after you have a successful climb, slaying Fafnir, you get the treasure of a fun adventure and the view of the Franconia Ridge. 

But, back to that dude, Sigurd, who slayed Fafnir and ate his heart -- the story concludes that knowledge is given to those who eat the heart of the dragon.  Similar to Sigurd, I did gain some knowledge on this climb and I didn't even need to eat a dragon heart. The knowledge that I gained was that my pack was way too heavy which made for difficult climbing.  In fact, on my lead I took Tristan's pack (he barely packed anything). 

After leading pitch 2 I noticed that Tristan had put on my Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover.  Perhaps he should have packed a bit more.  In any case, I think the knowledge that was imparted upon us both was to be mindful of our packing.  Climbing on Cannon is a delicate game of knowing exactly what is necessary and what isn't.  You need just enough to endure the suffer.  And climbing on cannon almost always involves a bit of suffer.  Pack too much to avoid the "sufferfest" and your going to be cursing at your pack while climbing!  Pack too little and you just might be feeling the wrath of Fafnir, protecting his treasure!  Climb strong, my friends!

My turn.  Leading the awkward pitch two.  Its harder than it looks.  In the middle left of the photo is where the ground drops and the air really begins!

My turn.  Leading the awkward pitch two.  Its harder than it looks.  In the middle left of the photo is where the ground drops and the air really begins!

Looking up pitch 3 - Photo taken 1/6/2017 - It was super fat!

Tristan starting out on P3.

Tristan making moves on the crux pitch, pitch 3!

Me after pulling out left under the rock roof.  LOTS OF AIR!  This was the part of pitch that makes it better than the Black Dike, in my book!

All smiles as we top out!  After a quick walk down the descent trail I was already re-hydrating for my hockey game in two hours!