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 (29)
  • bkyle-dav
    3/02/2017 - 06:28 p.m.

    In response to "Would you climb a frozen waterfall?," I would want to climb a frozen waterfall because it sounds really cool. One reason I would want to climb a frozen waterfall because that sounds like something only a few people would do and I would want to see what it's like. Another reason is that it would be a cool story to tell my friends and family. A third reason is that when you go ice climbing, you get to use cool gear to help you climb. Even though It is really dangerous, I think I would still want to do it and I would have a lot f fun.

  • omccall-dav
    3/02/2017 - 08:03 p.m.

    In response to "would you climb a frozen waterfall?" No, I would climb a frozen waterfall because it is 100 feet high and I would be scared I would slip and fall. It says in the artical "That is when he found himself in a terrifying predicament. With his weight supported by only the tips of his crampons, he had to find a way to get around a bulging column of ice." If I was in that predicament I would just scream for someone to get me down. The third reason I would not climb the frozen waterfall is because many people have fallen off from 60 and 70 feet high and there is not a great chance for surviving. Even through it would be an amazing experience I still would be scare of falling and dying so I would not do it.

  • amirahd-
    3/07/2017 - 01:02 p.m.

    that man is crazy i would never climb a frozen waterfall

  • madilyn-dav
    3/16/2017 - 05:22 p.m.

    In response to "Would You Climb A Frozen Waterfall?," I would totally climb a frozen waterfall. One reason I would climb it is that climbing it is very thrilling and dangerous. I love doing things that are exciting! Another reason is that you can stay within your range of danger. It says in the article that "You can choose the level of risk." A third reason is the waterfall is beautiful. When you climb the frozen waterfall, you see a really pretty view. Even though climbing a frozen waterfall is very dangerous, I think that it would give me such a rush and an overall great experience.

  • hlindsay-dav
    3/16/2017 - 05:54 p.m.

    In response to "Would you climb a frozen waterfall?," I disagree that people are climbing frozen waterfalls. One reason I disagree is that many people can get seriously hurt. Another reason is that what if you are so high up and there is nowhere to make a move? It says in the article "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." A third reason is just having a rope is not enough support if you fall. Even though this could be fun to some people, I think it is still very dangerous.

  • wriver-dav
    3/16/2017 - 10:16 p.m.

    In response to "Would You Climb a Frozen Waterfall?," I agree that climbing a frozen waterfall is like a puzzle. One reason I agree is that when you are climbing a frozen waterfall you have to carefully place your steps almost like in chess when you have to plan each move carefully. Another reason is that if you make one bad move the entire waterfall could break and then it would be GAME OVER. It says in the article,"Climbing such ice structures is thrilling - and dangerous." . A third reason is that puzzles are hard and this would be extremely hard since you would know that if you fail you die. Even though many people are very good at it in a safe way, I would never do such a thing with the amount of risk.

  • bjenna-dav
    3/16/2017 - 11:08 p.m.

    In response to "_Would you climb a frozen waterfall," I disagree that it is a great experience because i believe that that would be frightening. One reason I agree is that it is dangerous and can be thrilling. Another reason is that _you will be facing a new set of obstacles if you start. It says in the article that they are aware of the obstacles they're giving themselves. A third reason _I agree is that it is really challenging and hard to do at first_. Even though I don't really think it's a great experience, I agree with them that it is dangerous, but they know what they're setting themselves up for.

  • emmaa-smi
    3/20/2017 - 02:34 p.m.

    Since, climbing a waterfall is like a puzzle you have to stay calm at all times and, know where to step and where not to

  • AnaC604064
    3/20/2017 - 07:26 p.m.

    Climbing a frozen waterfall is like solving a puzzle because they both involve of you choosing the first step that you are going to do first.

  • katrinak-smi1
    3/28/2017 - 08:51 a.m.

    Climbing a frozen waterfall is like solving a puzzle, because you have to be careful where you put your feet, so you don't fall. In a puzzle you have to be careful where you put the pieces to make the picture.

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