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The adage of March coming in like a lion never
materialized, but April certainly has. We've had multiple days
of rain, snowfall up to a couple of inches everywhere except here
in the Happy Valley and very high winds. And when I say winds I
mean consistent gusts in the 30's culminating with a 44 mph gust
on Monday at 5:45 PM. That was the strongest gust I've recorded
in 4 years. Hey...I thought winter was over!
That said, it definitely is spring. There are more acceptably
nice days than bad. The rock is drying out and there is a lot less
ice in the nooks and crannies that there was a week or two ago.
Even on the cooler breezy days there are a lot of places that are
in the sun and protected so that the rock feels warm. Sometimes
it reminds me of the late fall or early spring days of my childhood.
There were cold days when I would get thrown out by my grandmother
and admonished to stay out for at least an hour. I would hunker
down next to a tree out of the wind but in the sun and feel so
wonderfully warm. Climbing the first pitch of anything on the left
side of Humphrey's can be like that on a chilly but sunny morning.
And you know, with no bugs around it's a very special time to be
up here. Grab it while you can. It's a great time to get out and
get in shape for the upcoming rock season.
Dark Places Revisited:
Quite a few folks wrote in this week to thank me for writing about
fear and colonoscopies. I was a bit worried about bringing up
the subject, but it seems to have been well received. I sincerely
feel that taking care of yourself is the best thing that you
can do for you and for your family, yet something that an amazing
number of people put off. If my comments have helped any of you
take an action that will help you be well, then I have done my
New England Bouldering Guide:
Tim Kemple's comprehensive bouldering guide to New England's best
areas will be out next week. New England Bouldering has the beta
on all the current problems at Lincoln Woods, Pawtuckaway and
Blair Woods, Hammond Pond, Rumney, Smugglers' Notch, Western
Mass, and McKenzie Pond. Pete Ward illuminates each area with
insightful and humorous historical sections and scores of action
photographs by Tim will inspire you! The book will be available
next week and we will start taking orders in a few days. Stay
State O The Rock:
Most of the South and West facing rock has dried out well. You
still will find snow in the woods on the hike-in so be sure to
wear your hiking boots. The top of the Whitehorse Slabs from
Beginner's Route all the way left to Echo Roof has some snow
and ice still on top so you might want to avoid these places
for another week or so. Goofer's on Cathedral fell out last week,
so that is clear. There is still ice in the Standard chimney,
at the top of the Mordor, in Recompense and Remission and on
the Unicorn Ledge above the North End so watch out when walking
in these areas.
Lots of people have asked about the little cliff that I have been
mentioning in my last couple or Reports. Isn't it amazing there
is still some unexploited territory on Cathedral Ledge? I'm planning
on including it in my new guide and putting it up on the site,
but that's in the future and you surely should check it out,
so here's the directions. There are actually 2 crags - the Glory
Wall and the Hidden Wall. You can access them either from the
top of the cliff or from the logging road/trail that goes between
Cathedral and Whitehorse.
From the bottom, hike the trail to Whitehorse
until you come to the large boulder on the right with the graffiti
on it. Hike directly uphill past the first small crag you come
to, the drip in the words area. There are a couple of short routes
here. Go up a short right-angling gully and hang a left at it's
top. You're now at the Glory Wall. From the top you hike down the
trail as if you were going to the Barber Wall. Continue down the
trail another 100 yards until you see a small crag on your left.
This is the Hidden Wall. There are several bolted and trad routes
on the Hidden Wall with grades from 5.6r to 5.9 on the left side
and a nice bolted 10b arete on the far right. Go downhill another
100' and climber's-right to get to the Glory Wall.
The Glory Wall routes have a mix of trad gear and bolts and range
from 5.6 to 5.10. One particularly nice one is a crack climb with
one 5.9 move near the top. If you like you can climb all the way
up to the trail that runs past the Barber Wall. From the Glory
Wall you can hike left & slightly uphill to get to the Hidden
Wall in 3-5 minutes..
State O The
Rock: Most of the South and West facing rock has dried
out well. You still will find snow in the woods on the hike-in
so be sure to wear your hiking boots. The top of the Whitehorse
Slabs from Beginner's Route all the way left to Echo Roof has
some snow and ice still on top so you might want to avoid these
places for another week or so. Goofer's on Cathedral fell out
last week, so that is clear. There is still ice in the Standard
chimney, at the top of the Mordor, in Recompense and Remission
and on the Unicorn Ledge above the North End so watch out when
walking in these areas.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 23, 2017
The warmup has really hit us hard everywhere but in the higher elevations. Anywhere in the direct sun is dam close to toast right now. The Amphitheater at Frankenstein is off the radar, or certainly should be. You can probably do the Pegasus rock finish, but that's all. And I would be VERY careful walking under anything over in that area. As of today, Thursday Feb 23, Standard Route still looks OK. I also spotted someone climbing on Waterfall, tho I'm sure that the normally funky top outs are worse. The bottom of Dropline fell down, but Dracula still looks good. I was pleased to see that Willies still looks good. The snow has compacted and I saw what looked to be blue ice. The left side of Willard is basically gone, but Hitchcock, The Cleft, Left Hand Wrench, the far right slab and Elephant Head are still climbable. Other than the Barking Dog and North End I would write off Cathedral Ledge. I know people are going to ask about Repentance, etc and frankly I would caution away from it. In fact anything that is supposed to be attached to rock is suspect. Not to mention the fact that there is a LOT of stuff hanging around above you on Cathedral at this time.
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: