Would you climb a frozen waterfall? In this Sunday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Chuck Monjak, of Dedham, Mass., climbs "Chia," an ice formation on Frankenstein Cliff in Hart's Location, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Would you climb a frozen waterfall?
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Chuck Monjak was partway up his first-ever attempt at a nearly vertical ice formation. That is when he found himself in a terrifying predicament. With his weight supported only by the tips of his crampons, he had to figure out how to get around a bulging column of ice.
 
He thought about giving up. But he kept his cool.
 
"It's both an adrenaline rush and it's a puzzle-solving test. A lot of engineers, technical people get into this because of the problem-solving abilities necessary to do vertical ice," said Monjak. He is an optical systems engineer for a semiconductor firm.
 
If the location's name where Monjak was learning to ice climb didn't evoke a sense of horror - Frankenstein Cliff - then one look at the route he was attempting certainly did.
 
Dracula, a 100-foot ice fall, is one of the most challenging of the more than two dozen ice climbing routes that attract thrill-seekers to New Hampshire's Crawford Notch State Park each winter.
 
Frankenstein Cliff was not named for the monster story, but for a 19th-century German landscape painter who was attracted to the beauty of the cliffs. Groundwater seeping out of the granite freezes each winter to create extraordinary icefalls.
 
Climbing such ice structures is thrilling - and dangerous.
 
Earlier in February, an ice climber had to be rescued after falling 50 to 60 feet on Cannon Cliff in New Hampshire. In upstate New York, a woman survived a 70-foot spill at Kaaterskill Falls, and another climber tumbled nearly 40 feet at Platte Clove, both on the same day in January.
 
Monjak, a rock climber turned ice climber, said the key is to stay within one's abilities.
 
"We're not new to the terrors of the heights or the predicaments we put ourselves in. The new part is working your way through that terror. It's just you got a new set of tools and a new set of obstacles," he said.
 
On Dracula, Monjak trusted his life to a rope being belayed by his partner. That was Yuki Fujita, who has been climbing Frankenstein's ice for nearly 50 years. Fujita is 69. The retired nuclear engineer climbed the route first.
 
Elsewhere in the park is Arethusa Falls. Its 60-foot pitch attracts climbers.
 
In January, Akiko Kawai, 51, of Medford, Massachusetts, was climbing with two partners. As she packed her gear following several successful climbs, she said she doesn't dwell on the sport's dangers.
 
"You can choose the level of risk," she said. "The more informed you are about it, the more you are aware of the level of what your comfort level is."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How is climbing a frozen waterfall like solving a puzzle?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (24)
  • seyonniek-
    2/22/2017 - 08:41 a.m.

    Climbing a frozen waterfall is like solving a puzzle because they both get resolved by you concentrating on what you have to do.If you want to complete the task you have at have you have to work your hardest to do your best on what you have to do.

  • kelliek-
    2/24/2017 - 08:40 a.m.

    While climbing a frozen waterfall it is hard so you have to think hard. Just making one move can cause so many things to happen, like the ice breaking off, that you have to think about all the effects before you make that one move.

  • audreyw1235-
    2/24/2017 - 11:46 a.m.

    Ouuuu it's so pretty. This makes me want to go see one????????

  • matthewm10152011-
    2/24/2017 - 11:53 a.m.

    Because you'll have to find out what places to reach for and it can be hard to find one. To solve the "puzzle" you have to be calm and be good at climbing.

  • brandid-
    2/24/2017 - 11:53 a.m.

    Because problem solving abilities necessary to do vertical ice.

  • cesars-
    2/27/2017 - 08:38 a.m.

    Climbing a frozen waterfall is like solving a puzzle because they both involve of you choosing which is the best place to go before you move.

  • danielb1317417-
    2/27/2017 - 08:43 a.m.

    thats pritty unbeleveble that this guy chuck norus climed a frozen water fall. mostly becuse he wasent realy safewhile doing it' and how it was freezing out side to begen with.

  • natalies-
    3/02/2017 - 08:39 a.m.

    You have to figure out how to get around the huge chunks of ice that you are not able to climb. Figuring out your path to avoid those huge ice chunks is very much like solving a puzzle.

  • sanna-dav
    3/02/2017 - 02:08 p.m.

    This article is about how one man climbed a 100 foot tall ice fall called Dracula. Dracula is one of the most challenging climbing routes in New Hampshire's Crawford Notch state park. Chuck Monjak is the thrill seeker that climbed this ice fall. Yuki Fujita is Monjaks belayed partner. Fujita climbed the ice fall before Monjak and has been climbing ice falls for nearly 50 years.

  • jcharles-dav
    3/02/2017 - 04:12 p.m.

    I think that he is fine with climbing the waterfall. I would too if I had a bayler. I understand that just having a rope seems unsafe. But it actually is a good method. It has been proven many times over that it can hold.

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