Josh Hurst and Ryan Brooks Establish New M8 (Tiny Dancer) at Lake Willoughby

Lake Willoughby is home to some of the stoutest and most aggressive ice and mixed lines in the lower 48.  With conditions so good this year and a psyched couple of climbers, boundaries were pushed yet again in this aesthetic northern New England playground.

In December 2010 Josh Hurst and Ryan Brooks were rappelling off Call of the Wild when they discovered a series of cracks and flakes to their left. A couple weeks later they returned to the cliff and rappelled the route one more time to make sure it would go before equipping and attempting it. Last week Hurst from Bar Harbor, Maine and climbing partner Ryan Brooks from Thetford, Vermont, established Tiny Dancer (M8), a unique two-pitch line that ventures up to an icicle roof between Plug and Chug and Call of the Wild. The duo started on ice and gained slightly overhanging rock before continuing to an ice ledge mid-way up the cliff. They then belayed on the left hand side and from the ice of Plug and Chug. “The second pitch moves through a beautiful crack and flake system diagonally up and right before finishing on the ice curtain above.” Hurst says.

You can find Hurst at the lake 2-3 days a week during the winter months, after he makes the 6 hour drive from Bar Harbor, Maine. “Sometimes I’ll drive down for just a day, if it’s all I’ve got.” Hurst and his climbing partners have established many first ascents at the lake. It is a place where at 9:00 o’clock in the morning you can be the only person there.

“I keep looking for new lines and keep repeating the old lines because the ice is always changing and it’s always different, it’s the lake, it’s just a nice place to be.”

Date of Ascent: January 21, 2011 Tiny Dancer M8 Josh Hurst and Ryan Brooks.

Sources:, Josh Hurst, and Ryan Brooks.