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October 6, 2016
For the past several years wearing any kind of tight-ish shoes on my left foot was painful. That includes bike, climbing, hiking and ice boots. Understand that I gave up wearing skin-tight rock and bike shoes MANY years ago, so weíre really talking about shoes that fit fairly normally. I would get this pain near the nail on the outside of my big toe. I took to wearing sandals around the house and very sloppy running shoes for the most part. Letís just say that kicking ice in boots in the winter was, shall we say, ďannoyingĒ.
Iím sure that if youíve ever had an ingrown toenail, you will recognize what Iím talking about. It kind of creeps up on you, until one day you realize itís impacting many things that you do. A couple of years ago I went to our friendly local podiatrist who looked at my toe and pronounced it a ďclassic ingrown toenailĒ. He said that he could remove it, describing the procedure as minor surgery. Ever since having my back worked on in the mid-70ís, I have this aversion to anyone coming near me with a knife so I put it off. However, about 1000 miles into riding the mountain bike this year I found myself getting pretty annoyed with my foot. Not to mention how it felt after a day of edging on thin face climbs. So, a couple of weeks ago, with some amount of trepidation, I called him up and made an appointment for Tuesday to get this dealt with.
As is the case with many things like this, I had overblown it in my head. I went in the office, they cleaned and then chilled the toe, injected it with lidocaine for the pain, put on a little tourniquet to keep it from bleeding and cut the offending side of the nail out! I didnít feel anything except some pressure as he cut it out - needless to say I didnít watch! He put some kind of chemical down in the root which he said would keep it from growing back, and we were done. he showed me the nail he removed and it was surprising how deeply it had grown down inside the toe. He said he was surprised that I had been able to climb and ride as much as I do, considering how it was.
I asked how long I was going to be unable to do do the stuff I do and was surprised when he responded with a laconic ď24 hours, if you feel OK.Ē I felt good so yesterday, Wednesday, I decided to go for a ride with Phil O up Town Hall Road in Intervale. Weíve done this ride many times and depending on how much you want to do it can vary from 12 to 20 miles. If you do the basic ride, itís a nice ride on dirt and logging roads that gives you about 1,100í of easy elevation gain in 6.2 miles. You pass the Mountain Pond trailhead and continue up past a couple of gates and a now-dry stream crossing to the Mt Eastman trailhead. The views are nice and the leaves right now are changing nicely. Iíve done this ride many times at all times of year, including in the winter, and it never disappoints. Itís a snowmobile trail in the winter, so itís a great ride on the fat tire bike or cross country skis.
NOTE for visiting climbers! Town Hall Road has many pulloffs and camping areas that are great for spring through fall. If you are looking for a free place to camp while in the area, this is a great option. As always please clean up after yourselves and be careful with campfires.
I was very happy that there was really no pain in the toe to speak of, during or after my ride. WOO WOO!! This made me feel very confident. Brad and the Perezís had asked me about going back up to Mt Forist today, and this gave me optimism about taking them up on their offer. I picked up Brad at the shop at 9:15 and met the Perezís at the White Mountain Cafe up there around 10. As you can well imagine the roads were crowded with leaf peepers, and with good reason - the Notch is at peak color right now. Interestingly enough, when we got to the parking area at Madigan Street there were already 2 other cars there. However we didnít see anyone when we walked up to the cliff.
As is often the case, Brad had a plan to do the DLM Memorial Route, a 6 pitch route that is about 20í left of Madigan. Itís the furthest left route in Matt Bowmanís little guide pamphlet. While rated 5.7 by the FA party, I feel itís more like 5.8. Tho there are other places on the climb that are runout, IMO the most dangerous bit is getting to the first gear placement and bolt above that. That said there are a couple of other places where the bolts are very widely spaced. Like some other routes put up by this group, the bolt placement is somewhat inconsistent. On some pitches there are tons of bolts, on others of about the same grade or harder, there are less. Of course your mileage may vary, but this is the opinion of myself and several friends.
The climbing on pitches 1-4 is fairly typical Mt Forist climbing, basically slab with lots of features and lots of mica. The upper 2 pitches is on rock that is actually quite unusual; dark, sweeping, smooth rock, with small undulating features requiring more delicate friction technique. It has a decided Whitehorse feel to it, tho the rock has somewhat more texture. The last pitch is almost a full 30 meters, with the crescendo finish up a headwall (5.7) past 3 bolts. The rappel anchor is somewhat hidden, 2 bolts on a rock up and left of the pine trees where you belay your second.
The Perezís followed us up the route on their own 70 meter rope, occasionally sharing the anchor with us. At the top we each did 2 raps with our own ropes, down to the anchor at the top of P 4, just below the blueberry ledge. Then we combined our 2 70ís, allowing us to get to the ground in 2 long rappels. While we all found this to be a rewarding climb, we all agreed that although itís rated 5.7, itís probably 5.7, and probably isnít a climb for your garden variety 5.7 leader. You can do the whole climb with an assortment of small to medium cams, the largest being the green Camelot, and slings/draws. You absolutely need at least double 60ís or a 70 meter rope to get off. Put knots in the ends as there were several places where there was only a few feet of rope left at the anchor!
When we got down there was another party of 3 packing up. It was Larry K, a mutual friend, and 2 of his friends. All in all it was lots of fun, with good friends on a spectacular day. In many ways it doesnít get a whole lot better than this. Here are some pictures:
Other than the occasional mosquito, there arenít any bugs out there.
I rode the annual Bike 4 Books to support the North Conway Library on Saturday with a crew that I ride with most Fridayís. This year it wasnít a circum-valley excursion as has been for years, staying exclusively on the East side of North Conway. We only rode 14 miles, about half of the possible riding for the day, but it was a nice ride in the woods with compatible people. Although the morning started out with a little drizzle, it mostly cleared off before noon and whatever rain we got had little to no effect on the trails. All in all it was a good ride for a great cause.
As I mentioned last week, there has been a bunch of work done on the Red Tail Trail that runs up alongside Hurricane Mountain Road. The new berms at the bottom are looking very good and there are some entertaining humps for those into that sort of thing. Kudos to NEMBA for their efforts.
At around 4pm, as we were coming back up Rt 16 from climbing at Mt Forist in Berlin, an ambulance and fire truck passed us going up the hill. As we drove up toward Pinkham we saw smoke on the mountain. We stopped at the Great Glen house and looked with the binoculars and could see a car fully engulfed and cars backed up along the traverse. I hope that people are OK and the fire does not get into the woods up there.
Up on one of the Mount Washington Valley's finest crags and want to know what that climb you're looking at is? Or maybe you're on your way up from Boston and want to check out the Ice Report for your upcoming weekend plans. Or more likely, you're at work just want to daydream about your next adventure. Well if you have a smart phone handy, you can get to NEClimbs from anywhere you have cell service. While it doesn't offer every single feature of the site and it's not an "app", in mobile form, it does do a whole lot and is very useful. Here is the live link to the mobile version of NEClimbs:
Check it out and if you have issues on your specific phone, please feel free to let me know.
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Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
|The fact that I'm three months pregnant doesn't change anything.|
|Catherine Destivelle preparing to solo the Old Man of Hoy seastack|