Ep. 15 - Projecting Balance: Mixing Hard Mixed Climbing and Life with Jon Nicolodi

Jan 31, 2024

What goes into projecting first free ascent winter lines in New Hampshire?

That’s the subject of today’s chat with Jon Nicolodi, a humble MBA student and hard mixed climbing hard man. (Those are my words, he certainly would not describe himself that way.)

Surprisingly, Jon’s only been mixed climbing a few years but has established some big winter FFAs in that time — the routes range from M8 to M11 and all are on some of the most prominent walls in the state. These include, “Across the Great Divide” (M8 R, 5 pitches, 550′) on Cannon Cliff, “The Resistance” (M10, 5 pitches, 360′) on Mount Washington, and “Cathedral Direct” (5.12b M11 WI5, 7 pitches).

In an Alpinist recap describing a few of the climbs, Rick Wilcox, one of the most accomplished mountaineers in the area and a trailblazing climber in his own right, described what Jon is doing as “state-of-the-art as far as difficulty goes” for New England.

Listen on to hear about Jon’s search for balance, how he trains, and get a great play-by-play of “Cathedral Direct Direct”, a 7-pitch, 5.12b, M11, WI5 route he freed with Chris Saulnier in February of last year.


02:41 - The appeal of winter climbing

06:29 - Balancing climbing and career

13:25 - The impact of Outward Bound

24:36 - The process of projecting hard climbs

37:14 - Evolving Dry-Tooling Ethics at Cathedral Cave

38:09 The art of finding potential climbs

40:28 - Gear: What he takes on climbs

46:21 - Training for climbing

51:45 - The story of "Cathedral Direct Direct"

1:07:12 - The Importance of partnerships

1:11:44 - Looking forward: Balancing climbing and Life


A big thanks to our sponsor, Blue Ice, for supporting this show!

Blue Ice is the best kind of ice, and also my choice when it comes to fast and light ice climbing gear. Their Aero Lites go in like a hot knife through butter and their climbing packs hit the sweet spot between function and lightweight. Designed to get to the point in the alpine, their gear is tested by mountain professionals between the Alps and the Wasatch. If you’re looking to get to the point too — and with a little less weight on your kit, check out Blue Ice’s gear at blueice.com or your favorite local retailer.

Resources and links:

If you’d like to hire Jon, you can connect with him at @jon_nicolodi on Instagram.

Here are a few articles that highlight Jon's other climbs, which we didn’t get to in this episode:


Episode cover photo by Erik Howes.

Intro music by Hannah Noelle Enomoto (thanks, sis!).

Get notified about new episodes ➡

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.