NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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October 30, 2003

Hi Folks,

Can you spell S O A K E D? Well, believe me we can. Almost 2 1/2 inches of rain fell on Monday, and another 1.9 in about 10 hours on Wednesday. No one remembers seeing this much consecutive rain in at least 6 years. There is so much moisture that the cliff is starting to turn green again. When I was out in the yard other other morning, the light on the cliff made the granite look almost emerald. Too bad a photograph just can't capture the subtleties that the human eye can.

That said, the prediction is for Indian Summer to sweep through later this week, and maybe even into the weekend. It's a special time when we get a couple of really warm days just before winter starts. You have to be prepared to grab them when they come, since they rarely coordinate with our days off. <grin>

The sun came out on Tuesday and everyone was scrambling to get outside. I got a call from Mark Synnott in the morning & fortunately I was able to get out for the afternoon. Our original goal was Ego Trip. I led up the first pitch and that was pretty dry, but the second was a total no-way-dude. Nothing else was free from the ooze, so we trucked over to the sure-fire dry place on the cliff, the inverted-V of 5.10 cracks that are the first pitch of Cerberus.

I'd eyed these lines for a while, usually when I rap off from the Book or Recompense, and I had another look a week ago when I rapped down through Women In Love. Webster states that the left is 10b. Several people have told me that the right is 10d. All I can say is that the left one is the most strenuous 10b crack that I've done. Mark made short work of it tho, and in spite of my good showing on Ego Trip, I didn't fare so well here - even on TR. I got up it, but certainly not in anything like "good style." Of course having a wet start, requiring a lot more effort than normal, might have added to it. So I say! <wry grin>

Rob Frost showed up in between bouts of working on his soon-to-be-released new video, AutoRoute. (it's going to be great by the way) He headed up Wildebeast, the cool crack just left of the 5.10 crack and right of Wild. After pumping out about 1/2 way up, he lowered off and Mark took over. Getting all the way to the anchors, he fell at the slings, taking a 15 footer. Yikes, thank heavens for great gear. After a minute's breather he jumped right back on and finished it off quickly, grousing all the way about the placement of the anchor.

I was next up. Now I will say right up front, I can climb hard thin face stuff, but I am no crack climber. Make no mistake, Wildebeast is a burley 5.11d, awash with interesting and confounding moves. It has cracks, stems and just plain old hauls. OK, I admit it... I got 2/3 of the way up, but just couldn't finish. That mean ole' wildebeasty wasted me. Still it was a great afternoon and it's been a long time since I've expended that much effort. The interesting thing for me was the realization of how my technique just goes all to hell when I get pumped. When I'm on a hard face route I can still manage to keep placing my feet and thinking about my body position. When I'm hanging there on on my jams and the lactic acid is kicking in big time, all that stuff goes out the window. Not good! Now there's something for me to work on next spring! And let me tell you I am sore today. <grin>

Wheeeere's The Ice:
Last week there was snow and ice in the ravines, this week I'm pretty darn sure at least the snow's gone. It's been cold on the summit and the ice in the dark gullies could be building again. I think it's a crap shoot at the moment, but may be worth the walk. With this amount of water in the system, I have high hopes for this season, and we're going to keep you on top of the changing ice conditions AS they happen. Here's a shot that Dave Lottman sent of last weekend's fun in Tucks.

If you have conditions info to share, please take a minute and post it in the Forum on NEClimbs. We can't be everywhere and rely on many of you to help fill in the places we don't visit every week like Cannon and Smugs just to name a few. In addition we're ALWAYS looking for current photos that illustrate the state-o-the-ice. if you have some cool pix please take a minute to email them our way to Just attach them to your email with a note describing the location and names of anyone in the shot. Of course you'll get the photo credit.

New on NEClimbs:
For the past several weeks we've been working on moving the entire site over to a new language called PHP and integrating it with a database called mySQL. The conversion has gone well (hopefully you haven't even noticed) and now many of the functionality is being handled through the database, making the site much easier to update and maintain. I'm not hearing of any glitches, but if you notice anything please send me an email at In addition we've also completed phase 1 of our online Ice Climbing Route Guide. The Frankenstein section is now available and there's more to come. Check it out and let us know if there are any errors. While it won't replace the guide book, it should be useful. And speaking of ice guidebooks...

An Ice Climber's Guide to Northern New England

If you've been thinking ice, and making your season hit-list as we all are now, you'll need your copy of the new ice guidebook. It's been ten years since the last edition of An Ice Climber's Guide to Northern New England was published and things have definitely changed. Peter Lewis and Rick Wilcox have assembled a great new book, and while it doesn't have EVERY drip and runnel in northern New England, it does have a lot. All the major areas are covered,including Lake Willoughby, Smuggler's Notch, Cathedral Ledge, Frankenstein Cliff, Tuckerman & Huntington Ravines, and Katahdin. It's the only comprehensive guide to ice climbing in New England!

The Ice Climber's Guide costs $29.95 per unit. Shipping via Media Mail (3-4 weeks) is free, First Class US Mail is $2.50, Express Mail is an additional charge of $4.50. You can purchase using a credit card over the Internet (we use PayPay which accepts all major cards) or by sending us a check for the appropriate amount.

Either click the link off the home page of NEClimbs, or go here.

NOTE - All prices are for shipping in the continental US only. Please contact us directly for shipping costs to all other destinations.

And remember, every purchase helps support NEClimbs.

Indian Summer:
I think we all were beginning to wonder if there was going to be an Indian Summer this year. It didn't happen last year, just went from summer right into ice season, but according to all the predictors and prognosticators, this weekend may be it. So, if you're thinking about making a last pilgrimage up here to do some weekend rock climbing, this may be your best shot. On top of that with lots of sales in all the local shops, most of the winter gear on the shelves and un-picked over and the area reasonably quiet between Leaf Peeper and Ski seasons, it's a great time to come up. See you on the crags...

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 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:

Remember - climb hard, ride the steep stuff, stay safe and above all BE NICE,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

There are very, very few ice climbs in the world that are actually hard, but these mixed climbs, on the other hand, they were very hard. You could pitch on them...
Will Gadd
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