MWV Ice Fest 2018 With Nick Yardley


     Last weekend, UnTapped  returned to the International Mountain Equipment in North Conway, NH for the 25th anniversary of the Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest. Climbers flock from all around to spend a weekend in the valley; climbing the best ice in New England with many of the most accomplished guides in the US and participating in the amazing east-coast climbing community. Alpine climbing is hard, requiring solid nutrition to perform well and stay warm. The days are often long and frigid, with approaches involving strenuous slogs across rock and ice up steep inclines. Many foods freeze when things get chilly, Maple Syrup does not, making it the perfect fuel for cold alpine adventures. While at the fest we caught with New England Ice Climbing legend and avid maple syrup consumer, Nick Yardley, to hear his story and how he fuels his climbing with UnTapped.

1. How much of your life have you dedicated to climbing?

I started climbing seriously around the age of 12/13 and have been hard at it ever since so that makes it 40 years of suffering! I was able to come to the USA in 86 on an H2 work visa based (Read more...) my climbing experience and background something that I’ve always been very grateful for – I came over as a guide for IMCS in North Conway and worked there for 10 years (eventually owning the school with Rick)

2. Is there a peak you’ve climbed or an experience you’ve had in the mountains that stands out above the rest? 

I’ve had a few some good some bad. On the good side, climbing Mount Blanc with my brother for the first time aged  16 and 17 was pretty cool, knocking our dinner off the camp stove into the dirt back in camp after was tragic though! My first visit to Nepal in 86 and putting up some new routes on Paldor in the Ganesh Himal as very rewarding, being robbed by bandits at base camp and having to walk out 3 days with a left sneaker and left inner boot – not so cool. Arriving in the USA in December of 86′ was pretty special to me, I didn’t know any of the routes so going to places like Lake Willoughby and Cannon for the very first time to guide having never climbed there really sharpened my skills.

Recently one of my most enjoyable times was a visit to the Banff area to climb ice with my daughter, Very special to share such cool and famous big ice routes with her.

On the not so pretty front. Getting avalanched 1,500′ on Langtang Lirung was not a fun time nor was getting pummelled by falling rocks on the Requin in Chamonix!


3. Is it true that you are one of the founders of MWV Ice Fest? 

Indeed 25 years ago Rick Wilcox and I decided to run the very first MWV Ice fest – Jeff Lowe gave clinics, Marc Twight gave one of the best show’s I’ve ever seen (even to this day) – the rest is history.

Photo Credit: Al Cattabriga

4. Before you head out for a day of climbing, what do you fuel with for breakfast?

For breakfast when climbing in winter I’m very much an oatmeal and maple syrup kinda guy – it seems to give a slow steady release of energy through the early part of the day.


5. Constantly eating throughout the day is important to maintain energy and stay warm in the alpine. What snacks do you typically have in your pack for a day in the mountains?

The type of climbing I do mainly now is very aerobic, no ropes, just moving fast and light with a good friend over moderate terrain (ice up to grade 4) this may be long gullies in Crawford or Franconia Notch or up in Huntington Ravine. In this type of environment, there’s little stopping so I load my pockets with a combination of UnTapped syrup and sliced up cheese and salami. often the temps are well below 0F, and this combo never freezes up and is easy to fuel on and tastes good! For liquids, I’m a hot tea kinda guy, ideally ginger or similar laced with maple syrup. Carrying water sounds like a great idea – but drinking cold almost frozen water in the middle of winter has no appeal to me and can reduce core temps. Hot tea fuels mind, body and soul.

Far left: Nick


6. What other sports/hobbies do you fill your time with over the few months that aren’t wintry and cold in New England?

Outside of climbing, Flyfishing and Trail running keep me sane and out of trouble.


7. I understand that you hail from the other side of the pond, do folks use much maple syrup over there?

Maple syrup really doesn’t go well with black pudding (dried pigs blood), so not so much of it in Britain – it was one of the great discoveries I made when I came to the USA. Nowadays in the summer, I spend a great deal of time running on the trails at Cochran’s, it’s really cool to know that the trees I run through fuel me in my races and mountain adventures.


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