NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 8:30a on 08/30/20 - Temperature: 60.2 °F - Wind speed: 2.0 mph - Wind chill: 60.2 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.343 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Rising Rapidly - Humidity: 55 %
BugCON 1: very minimal bugs
1 out of a possible 5
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September 17, 2020

Hi Folks,

Tho it's just mid-September, it is clearly starting to feel like Fall. Crisper days, chilly nights and leaves starting to change, even in the Valley. We had an evening that was close to a frost several days ago, and it looks like more of that is in the works for the weekend. While it makes for nice climbing weather, it's not so good for the tomatoes and basil, of which I have a lot! Time to bring in what I can, do a harvest and cover what's left and hope for the best...

OF DROUGHT and FIRE:
Just in case you haven't gotten the memo, we are in a drought. Since June we have only gotten 20% of the average rainfall and as of this morning we are set for having the driest September on record! This is a long term situation that won't be resolved even if we get a couple of good storms. And in the 7 day forecast there is only 1 real possibility of rain. While the south is getting inundated with literally feet of rain, unfortunately we will get nothing from Hurricane Sally. It will be headed off to the east well before it gets anywhere close to us.

The fires out west are devastating on every level. As the "exhaust pipe of the east" even the Mount Washington Valley is seeing haze from them tho we're 3k miles away. Of course our local drought brings with it an increased fire danger, so please be very careful with campfires and cigarettes. It's been a while since we've had a significant woods fire up here, and we certainly don't want one now.

THE BEAT GOES ON AND ON:
So the flag issue continues... A local climber/photographer Josh Laskin wrote the following article for Climbing Magazine-

https://www.climbing.com/news/do-demonstrations-belong-at-our-crags-the-climbing-community-speaks-out/

It's a bit disappointing to me personally that after a long phone conversation, he got a few things wrong.

1) I would hardly say that I "...vehemently opposed July's rogue demonstration..." However there were many posts of that tone on FB, most from those opposed to the flags being hung at all.

2) I didn't see the flags from my "...back window..." Actually I can't see that part of the cliff from my window. I actually saw it when I was out taking my post-coffee and pre-breakfast morning walk.

3) IMO NEClimbs.com is not a "blog", it's obviously a web site. The White Mountain Report is my 22 year old email newsletter that also appears on both NEClimbs and Facebook, tho I suppose you could call it a blog.

All that said, I still stand by the sentiments that the flags represent. And while I was unhappy about the anonymously hung flags, I was and still am quite supportive of the ones that went up, were attended the entire time, and taken down by the end of the day.

I believe that we have a major problem with systemic racism, and anti-LGPTQ sentiment in this country. The violence against both these communities is appalling. Resistance to the relatively little things we do up here in the hinterlands to try to highlight these issues, is a clear indication that not unlike the Corona-virus, racism and ant-gay sentiment is alive and well right here in our community. If you don't think so, check out this sign I spotted on a tree on a road in Ossipee:

http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20200917/sign.jpg

IMO we need to do even more to raise the awareness of these issues. Honestly I don't believe that the path that we are on is sustainable.

STEWARDSHIP a.k.a. CLIFF CLEANUP:
I received an email this week from the Friends Of The Ledges. They will be doing cleanup and trail maintenance events starting at 9am on the third Saturday's in September, October and November. "The increase in visitors to Cathedral Ledge State Park and Echo Lake State Park spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic has created a more critical need for trash clean-up and trail maintenance within these beloved natural areas." Boy I sure agree with this. You can read more about it and signup here:

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d4faea62aa1fdc43-stewardship

PATAGONIA TAKING A STAND:
Robert Redford & Yvon Chouinard have collaborated to produce a film called PUBLIC TRUST about the Fight for America's Public Lands. The project began nearly four years ago, as an effort to unite Americans over our shared 640 million acres of public landsóbecause despite support from voters across the political spectrum, they're facing unprecedented threats. IMO it is gratifying to see a company like Patagonia take a stand. It premiers September 25 and you can see the Trailer here:

https://www.patagonia.com/films/public-trust/

And along those lines, check this out:

http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20200917/Patagonia.jpg

And YES, that's real!
SOME LOCAL/NATIONAL PANDEMIC THOUGHTS:
6,530,324 million confirmed cases in the US, 194,434 American citizens are dead and 936,521 deaths world-wide from the Novel Corona Virus as of Wednesday September 17th! Over the past week New Hampshire has had 5 new deaths, 287 new cases of the virus and we are running a positivity rate of 2.66%! That's up substantially from the previous week's high of 1.7%. To put it in perspective, Vermont had 46 new cases, 0 deaths and a testing positivity rate of .94% while Maine had 228 new cases, 4 new death and a positivity rate of .64%.

The Millinockett wedding that I've mentioned before and has been in the national news recently, is now responsible for over 175 cases and 7 deaths. None of the people who died attended the event! Dr Shah, the head of Maine's CDC noted that in spite of the state's low hospitalization rates; "The spread of the virus in the state was disturbingly ubiquitous, and residents should not assume the virus has not reached their community, as it's already probably there."

"I'm concerned about where we are," Shah said. "Maine CDC is concerned about where we are, and I'm asking everyone else to share in that concern."

In addition two clusters have been identified in New Hampshire at UNH. One is related to a party at a fraternity, and the other in an on-campus housing complex. There have also been cases identified at 3 public schools in our state!

As a prime tourist destination, New Hampshire and especially the Mount Washington Valley is in a very similar situation. There is no doubt that the virus is here and protecting yourself and your loved ones can be done, IF you take it seriously. When I am in town I see more people wearing masks than I have in the past. Most stores and restaurants are requiring them now, and IMO that's a good thing. I have not eaten at a restaurant, other than when I have played an outdoors gig - and even so I sit separately from other guests, and I likely would not. I also avoid being in town on weekends or busy times, saving my errands and grocery shopping for early morning and off hours. As you have seen I also generally ride and climb at more obscure areas, again at off times. It makes no sense to me to be a part of crowds at this time. Some friends were at Rumney recently and said that it was surprisingly crowded and un-distanced even mid-week! I'e wanted to get over there, but I'm not interested in crowds. Is that "being fearful"? Not in my opinion, but that's what I hear on occasion. Go figure...

The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracking map:

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map

I find JHU's Daily COVID-19 Data in Motion report to be very informative. It shares critical data on COVID-19 from the last 24 hours in a short 1 minute animated video format.

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/covid-19-daily-video

WEAR A MASK, SANITIZE AND STAY PHYSICALLY DISTANT FRIENDS!

REMEMBER - WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION:
I've been playing a few gigs here & there over the summer. Not nearly as many as were planned, all outdoors and mostlu duos, but at least it's been something. However as the weather starts to chill down, the outdoor gigs will go away. I'm not going to play inside this winter, even tho I've been asked. I still have a few things coming up, but I'm not sure if there will be any others:

The Denny Breau Trio - Friday Sept 18, 5-8pm, 1274 Bridgton Rd, Westbrook, ME
Bruce Marshall & the Shuffle - Sunday Sept 20, 1-2:30pm, Bridgton Twin Drive-In, Bridgton, ME
Hospers-Sakash Jazz Duo - Thursday Sept 24, 5:30-8:30, SnowVillage Inn, Madison/Eaton, NH
Bradley Jazz Collective Trio - Saturday Sept 26, 11-1, Wildcat Tavern, Jackson, NH

span class="reportSectionHeader">VALLEY CYCLING:
I've managed several rides this week that were quite enjoyable. In all cases while the mind and pocketbook said WORK, the body said RIDE. You can guess which won... The most enjoyable one was at the Marshall Trails. I haven't been there in a while, but I rode by there and there were only a coule of cars so I decided to pop in. There is a new revision of an older trail on the right off Lucille's called Holy Cow that I've heard about for a week or two. It's a beautiful machine-made trail that curves downhill over a sweet bridge down to the same level as the Hussy Farm. It then connects to another trail that winds back uphill to Lucille's through an old quarry. This is a great upgrade. Taking a right on the new extension of Lucille's takes a wandering path all the way around to Red's Trail. I took the left on Red's to the Ninja Turtle trail and then a right at the Xmas tree to the Muzzy Bench and back down Shumway. Of course there are a plethora of trails in that area that will provide several hours of entertainment. HIGHLY recommended...

INSTANT BUG REPORT - Bug CON 1:
Once again, the bugs are darn near gone depending on where you are.

Mobile Version Of NEClimbs:
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:

http://www.neclimbs.com/mobile

Check it out and if you have issues on your specific phone, please feel free to let me know.

NEClimbs & White Mountain Report On Facebook:
Join us and LIKE us on Facebook. I'll try and post some interesting pix every Thursday and the latest Ice Report in the season, tho certainly not the whole Report. Here's where you can check it out:

http://www.facebook.com/NEClimbs/

Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire


if your going to solo, fall early
Jim Donini
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