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I know everyone is hot to trot for the 2016 ice season to get started, and Iím certainly one of them. Iíve got new picks for my ice tools, sharpened up my screws and crampons, checked over my winter clothing and generally have got everything ready for the upcoming ice season. While the waiting is a bit frustrating, itís really pretty much the same ever year.
You can check it out for yourself in the White Mountain report Archives on NEClimbs. While there is always some ice up high by Thanksgiving, rarely is there climbable ice in the lower elevations. And then when it does come in in early December, it lasts a few weeks, we have a warmup and it goes away, and then it come backs after New Yearís. So itís always a good idea to have an alternative plan for things to do while weíre all waiting for ice at Frankenstein and Lake Willoughby.
Personally I have a fat tire bike that I can ride in the woods and on the snowmobile trails in early and full-on winter. Couple that with some late season rock on sunny 40 degree days, and I can get by. Iím not all that much into hiking at this time of year, because of the heavy coverage of leaves on the trails. They make it genuinely treacherous to walk around. It can feel like walking on ice and snow at times. I took a hike around the base of Whitehorse a few days ago with Joe Perez and there were places that it was really slippery. In fact coming down the rocky trail just below the big stairs on the Bryce path between Whitehorse and Cathedral I took a very unpleasant spill. If I hadnít been aware of what was happening and caught myself before I could start tumbling, I could have really been hurt! In fact Judy took a bad one coming down from Longstack last week and her knee is still sore from it!
That said, the hike Joe and I did was a lot of fun. Itís been quite a while since Iíve hike around the cliff via the base trail. Back before the current trail was added, everyone accessed the South Buttress by walking along the base of the slabs, underneath the Wonder Wall and got to the base of the Buttress by climbing a rooty face about 80í left of the nasty gully. In fact this was the way we all got to and from the South Butt before the trail went in. We climbed/scrambled this and walked up to the little gully left of the start of Hotter Than Hell. This is a little more like climbing, but still fairly easy as it goes, with a couple of roots to grab and a downed tree to hold on to. From there you walk along the lichen covered slabs and up another gully past the Where In The Blazes cliff, home to the aptly named Crack Detectives. Continue up a wet gully using the knotted hand line thatís been there roughly forever, walk uphill about 20í and then 4th class up the slab and small headwall to the top of Whitehorse. From here we followed our noses on some trails that eventually led to the top-out of Standard Route, continuing down the old climbers trail to where it intersects with the Bryce Path and then down the big stairs past the old house foundation and then back through the woods to the parking lot. All in all a fun 2 hour adventure on a beautiful day. This can be an enjoyable hike at any time of year. I highly recommend it, but be sure to bring your Microspikes in the winter.
2015/2016 NECLIMBS FUNDRAISER:
As always fund raising is a slow and painful process. I hate doing it, and I try to get it done as quickly as possible. However, lately itís been a bit like pulling teeth, perhaps my own! [wry grin] Iím hoping to get this over with before December 1st, so if you can help out, it would be HIGHLY appreciated. So far a little over 20 folks have made donations. FWIW thatís out of over 1,200 subscribers to the weekly White Mountain Report, 1,548 LIKES on FaceBook and a web site that gets over 1,200 unique visits a day. Letís put it this way, Iíd be very happy if 10% of those that sign up for the Report, made a contribution. If you havenít made a donation, please at least think about it. Think about it this wayÖ If you spend any amount of time up here in the Whites in the winter, by reading the Weekly Report a token $20 donation will save you far more than that over the course of the season.
You can make your donation of any amount ON LINE. It's painless and you can use pretty much any credit card. Simply click the link below to make your contribution.
As always you can also contribute via check or money order for $20. Just make it out to NEClimbs and send it here:
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The White Mountain Report newsletter has been put out consistently since 1998. I have archived almost all of the Reports from as far back as September of 1999 and you can read them online at any time! The current traffic on NEClimbs.com is well over 1,000 unique visits a day, has over 1.4 million monthly "hitsĒ. This funky little newsletter goes weekly out to over 1,200 subscribers every Thursday. PLEASE REMEMBER, tho itís certainly a labor of love, it's your contribution that makes this newsletter and the NEClimbs web site possible.
THANK YOU for your continued support...
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective November 24, 2015
Things are definitely coming along... I walked out the back door this afternoon, after a whole day below 30 degrees, and there is ice coming down on Diagonal and even Repentance! Give it a couple of weeks and things will be happening.
Yes Virginia, there is still biking in the Valley! The dry conditions have made for nice dry trails all fall. However, itís also made for trails that are covered with leaves, making it difficult at times to see where the trails go! Fortunately the Mt Washington Valley has a team of Trail Elves who are out on a regular basis with their magical lead blowers to clear the trails and make them fun and accessible for everyone. If youíve been out over the spring and summer, you know what Iím talking about. Itís really quite amazing. I was out in the new Marshall property trails a few days ago, and it was incredible. There were 6 miles of freshly cleared trails, that were a real pleasure to ride. 2 days later I was riding over in the Albany Town Forest trails, where they were not cleared, and on occasion I actually couldnít see the trail at all.
Who does this magic? Itís members of the local NEMBA (New England Mountain Bike Association) chapter. Itís the same folks who create and maintain many/most of the trails we all ride on. There are chapters all over New England, from Connecticut to Maine. If you ride a mountain bike in NE, I urge you to check them out. Get involved if you can, but if you are too busy for that, at least join and contribute $$ to their efforts. Believe me, itís worth it.
You can find out more about them here - http://www.nemba.org
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:
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: