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January 8, 2004

Hi Folks,

Yes I know, it's officially been winter already, but with the weird weather we've been having you wouldn't have known it. When I went out for the paper this morning it was different. There was that hard edge in the air that you don't get unless the temperature is way below freezing, and right now it's a chilly -2! The wind chill is fluctuating between -12 and -29 and it almost hurts to suck the air in your lungs. It's a tangible thing, and the crunch of the snow under your boots has a completely different timbre. I knew someone who claimed that he could tell the temperature within a few degrees, just from the sound of that crunch. Mornings like this you can believe it.

Yesterday I went out with Maury McKinney (IMCS) to check out Embargo, a gully climb in the Texaco Slab area. After a bit of a thrash in the woods we found our way to the start of the second pitch of the climb, a very nice 3+ pillar. I took this one up to a large comfortable tree ledge and Maury did P3, a thin but adequate slab to another ledge. A short hike up through trees led us to a small amphitheater where there was a small gully on the right and a still-forming curtain on the left. Maury ran up the gully and then we again hiked up and right through the trees to the final main gully. This is left of an obscure rock climb, Sweet New Hampshire, put up by Jerry Handren quite a few years ago. It was obvious that there had been a ton of water flowing through that gully recently. The ice was significantly undermined in places and there was dirt embedded in the surface. Many rocks were also sitting on top, so although the climbing was pretty easy, you had to really pay attention. I knocked off one really large piece of ice that came way to close to Maury at the base. YEOW! From the top we easily rapped from a resident sling, retraced our steps and rapped directly back to our packs. Here are a few pix of a great day's adventure -

Al on pitch 2 column
Maury on pitch 4
the upper Embargo Gully

From what we could see through the trees on the walk out, Texaco Slab looked thin and the Amphitheater had some ice, but not all that much. There were no tracks into there on that day.

The large climbs on the Unicorn ledge above They Died Laughing, Cathedral Ledge North End, are getting done. Brad White and I did the large pillar on the left last Saturday morning. I led it from the ground up, starting in a small corner right of Child's Play. On Monday Maury McKinney and Eric Seifer went back and did Unicorn, the line on the right. Both would probably go at WI 4. Unicorn is more technical, with brittle candled ice and more difficult protection, but the left pillar (unnamed) that Brad and I did has some very large and neat mushrooms at the bottom. Both are highly recommended.

Al on left of Unicorn
Eric Seifer on Unicorn

The morning that Maury and Eric were out I saw a Canadian party on Repentance. I was surprised because the second pitch was almost devoid of ice. I got a picture of the leader considering moving into the chimney. He was there for 20 minutes when I was watching, and another 30 minutes when someone else walked by. I have no idea if they completed the climb. I call the following picture "Party of 2, your Repentance awaits".

Hot New Routes in the DAKS:
These reports just in from our intrepid correspondent and amazing climber, Will Mayo...

"The Fecalator"
Exceptionally talented 20-year-old from MD, Chris Thomas, climbed "The Fecalator" at Exit 30 Crag in the ADK on New Year's Day (01/01/04). It was the most impressive lead I have ever seen of what is probably the hardest mixed climb in the NE USA. The second pitch of "The Fecalator" climbs a 120 degree handcrack for 40' to a slender dagger of ice. The gear remains fixed for the ADK Mountainfestivities over Dr. MLK Jr. Weekend, so please have at it but leave the gear where it is, thanks!

" Willpower"
On 12/31/03, Tom Yandon, Fred Bieber and I climbed a short mixed route to the right of "Hanging Spoons" at Pitchoff Northface. "Willpower" (20M) climbs the 80M WI2 approach ice as for "Hanging Spoons" to an ice belay right of the base of the pillar of "Hanging Spoons". "Willpower" moves out right past a cedar and over loose blocks and up into an overhanging, right-facing corner which leads up and out right to a small ice hanger. Pins and rp's have been left on this pitch for the ADK Mountainfest as well.

Will crankin'
Will stemmin'

"Artificial Gravity"
On, 01/02/04, Todd Mazolla and I made the second ascent of " Artificial Gravity" (90M, WI6) at Chapel Pond. Tom Yandon and Joe Szot first climbed "Artificial Gravity" in 03/98, during a season not unlike this one. We climbed it directly in one 90M pitch.
" Midlife Crisis Direct"

Finally, "Midlife Crisis" has been climbed directly! ADK local visionaries, hardmen, and guides Ian Osteyee and Mark Meschinelli climbed this fine coveted line on 12/21/03 (see photo, "Midlife Crisis" takes the left-hand finish). Inspired, Tom Yandon, Matt Horner and I arrived on 12/22/03 and climbed the same direct start and finished up the free-standing chandeliered candlestick on the right. Tom Yandon and Ian Boyer had reached the upper icicle by rappel last year and climbed it when it was even thinner than it is now; they had named it "After Birth". We climbed the entire route from the ground in one long rope-stretching 70M pitch climbing the thin ice of "Midlife Crisis Direct" and then directly up the free-standing curtain and the magnificent free-standing pillar above. "After Birth Direct" (70M, WI6).

Mount Washington Valley Ice Festival 2004

International Mountain Equipment ( IME ) and International Mountain Climbing School ( IMCS ) are delighted to organize and host the Eleventh Annual Mount Washington Valley Ice Festival - February 19-22, 2004. Since its inception this event is eagerly anticipated by ice climbers in the eastern United States and considered one of the premier climbing events in the country. A celebration of ice climbing & mountaineering and the people that make it a part of their lives, the Ice Festival provides a superb opportunity to network, socialize, try new gear and participate in technical clinics and private climbs. The Mt. Washington Valley is one of the finest waterfall ice climbing destinations in North America.

Each year we offer a variety of skills-based clinics and guided climbs at all skill levels and ability. After each day's climbing we offer a series of exciting slide shows presented by accomplished climbers and guides from the New England area and around the country.

Clinics and private climbs fill early, so if you want to take part in this year's event please call us to check on availability. Tell us what you want to accomplish by climbing with us and we'll make sure we find the right clinic and the right guide.


For more details and application click here

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

Together we knew toil, joy and pain. My fervent wish is that the nine of us who were united in face of death should remain fraternally united through life.
Maurice Herzog
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