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February 5, 2004
I had thought we might get through this winter without any serious problems.
Obviously this was wishful thinking, tho prior to last week, with the
exceptions of a couple of non-climbing related incidents, nothing major had
taken place. In fact I don't believe that the Mountain Rescue Service had
been called out so far this winter! Well, things changed for the worse,
starting in the middle of the week.
I was taking a avalanche course at Pinkham on Thursday when a call
came in to members of Fish & Game who were in the class, calling
them out to search for a missing Massachusetts hiker. At that time
he had been overdue since
Tuesday night. His car had been found at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center so
a search was narrowed to Mt. Washington. Conditions on the mountain were
brutal, with temperatures about -11 F and steady strong winds averaging ~75
miles per hour, gusting up to 100. Later that day, a local IMCS guide
reported to searchers that he thought he had seen a red object at the base
of Yale Gully in Huntington Ravine on Wednesday. The body was recovered from
that area on Thursday afternoon. The thought is that he likely fell while
trying to ascend or descend the Huntington Ravine Summer Trail with no
crampons or ice axe. This is an extremely technical route during the winter
I was bringing my partner up on Bob's Delight around 10 am on Saturday
when he heard some noise and shouting. I could see 2 people running
tracks toward Bill King's, obviously going to call for assistance and get
the litter. As best I can ascertain, the climber was leading from the ground
and was up in the Pegasus column. This implies quite a large amount of rope
out at this point. An eyewitness stated that they seemed to have an adequate
amount of gear in place. When they fell they apparently ripped a screw. With
that, rope stretch and the fact that they weighed 200 pounds they fell a
significant distance, down onto the 2nd ledge.
As soon as we got off we headed over, corralling additional people as we
went to help with a probable litter-carry. By that time the injured climber
had been packaged, was already being lowered down the trail and a crew had
been assembled for the carry. Fortunately for him both EMS Climbing School
Director Joe Lentini and EMS guide Seth Green were on the scene and
efficiently managed the operation. Amazingly enough the injuries were
limited to bruises and strains.
A party of four were simul-soloing the gully. One of the party
fell on moderate icy terrain and fell over 200' before coming to
a rest. One member
of the party was about 150' below him and thought that he may have caught
a crampon on his leg. In any event he was unable to self-arrest.
other members of the group reached him he was conscious and able to speak,
but was bleeding profusely from a major gash to his forehead. His helmet
was fortunately still intact. They had a first-aid kit and wrapped
his head in
gauze to slow the bleeding as much as possible. They determined that his
ankle was broken, but beyond that and the head injury they could not
ascertain any further injuries. One of the group literally ran down the
gully to contact Mountain Rescue. The other two stayed with the injured
member wrapping him in their belay jackets to make sure he did not become
hypothermic. They were able to lower him down three pitches and off the
steeper ice and snow. By this time the person who had gone for help had
raced back up the gully with a litter and one other person. Just as they
had lowered him, Mountain Rescue showed up with about a dozen other rescue
personnel headed by Joe Lentini. The injured person was then lowered down
the remainder of the gully to the ambulance and taken to Memorial Hospital
in North Conway. He was later flown by helicopter to Dartmouth Hitchcock
Hospital for treatment in the trauma unit. The injured climber is expected
to make a full recovery.
On Sunday a party was attempting the Wrath of the Valkerie, a stout WI
4+ / M5 climb located left of Fang at Frankenstein. The leader
was at a stance
above the hard ice portion, placing a screw, when their tool popped.
Fortunately they were able to walk out and drive themselves to the hospital,
where they were diagnosed with a broken collarbone, presented with a
sling and told to go home!
|Chicks with Picks is an all woman's ice
climbing clinic that promotes "women climbing with women,
for women". To date, we have raised $43,000 for local
women's shelters for domestic violence. Clinics are open to
women of all abilities and are designed to teach self-reliance
through the development of skills in a safe, non-competitive
environment. The majority of time is spent on the ice in a
three-to-one participant to guide ratio. The focus of the clinic
is to learn new techniques, improve current skills, and provide
the unique opportunity to learn from the world's top female
Price includes: lodging, breakfasts, dinners, a four-to-one
ratio with world-class female guides, a public slide
show given by one our our guides (proceeds from the
live auction go to a women's shelter), a "welcome
packet" (complete with cool freebees from various
gear companies) demo gear (use of soft wear, ice axes,
boots, crampons etc.), and a sassy Chicks with Picks
T-shirt (one of a kind)! For more details and application click
The movie of Joe Simpson's acclaimed book, has
just been released. It has been opening in cities across the country
to rave reviews. A close friend
who is not a climber saw it in New York last week. She immediately called my
and said that it is a MUST SEE! I saw Joe on David Letterman several days
ago and it was very interesting. He was witty and entertaining, and
Letterman was clearly impressed. Unlike most guest of Joe's stature, Dave
kept him on for 2 whole segments. I came across Joe's web site the other
day. It is interesting and fun. Here is a
what is actually a chapter from his latest book which I reviewed
here last year, The Beckoning Silence.
If you climb ice, you should definitely read this one. The movie is opening
in Boston on Friday at the Landmark Kendall Square Cinema, 1 Kendall Square
in Cambridge. This is one of those times when I kind of wish I still lived
in Boston. Well it will eventually get to DVD. Here's a link to the
"...good highball bouldering
footage, a shot of Alexander Huber
catching massive air off Black Power, one of his 5.14c's at Austria's
Schleierwasserfall,awe-inspiring arial footage of Ceuse, and some
nice wide-angle shots of the French countryside.
Autoroute is certainly worth your time..."
Robert Frost's new video, AutoRoute, is now available.
Autoroute captures the full-throttle climbing odyssey of
Americans Dave Graham, Luke Parady and Joe
Kinder as they test themselves on the most difficult boulders and cliffs
in Switzerland and France. Witness Graham make the second
ascent of Passion (14d), third ascent
of Speed (14d), first ascent of la Foon (14d) and first ascent of Bah Bah
Black Sheep (14c/d).
In addition, Autoroute profiles Swiss
native Stephan Siegrist, climbing his amazing 26 pitch
sport route, La Vida el Silbar on the Eiger's 6,000' North
Huber on his unrepeated creation Black Power in Austria, and Lisa Rands
hard boulder problems in Tralenta, France. Join these gifted and driven
athletes as they travel along Europe's autoroute, in search
of their next test-piece.
Check out the trailer by clicking here. It's well worth a look. (Broadband
required!) We're also finalizing the DVD version of Robert's initial movie,
Ground. It should be out soon. Profits from sales through the web site
go to support NEClimbs.com. Thanks for your support.
This was the coldest January on record, and in fact the coldest month on
record. The previous monthly average temperature of -3.6 F was recorded in
1970, and the average monthly temperature for January 2004 was -6.5 F. This
average temperature is 11.7 F below the normal for January! Although this
type of event might not come as a surprise to most, considering the record
cold of mid-January, this event was far from our minds during the first week
of the month as temperatures were 15 to 25 degrees ABOVE normal. It appears
that the jet stream is shifting a bit to the west. If this pattern takes
hold, it would mean the bulk of the cold air will shift west over the Great
Lakes. This would alter the storm track such that any storm development
along the coast would have a better chance of tracking up the coast, instead
of being pushed out to sea by a strong, cold high pressure systems over New
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.
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:
Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
|Tick marks abound, so even the stupid can climb.
In his preface for the original Rifle guide.