NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
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May 20, 2004

Hi Folks,

People have always told me that in order to get better at anything, you need to hook up with people who are better than you are. In the beginning of my climbing career that was easy. As I've gotten older and climbed longer, that has been harder to do. My initial partners were all good climbers, who basically needed someone to do a lot of belaying and who could manage to get up the climbs they were leading, even with a few falls. I could usually manage that, was moderately easy to get along with, had a little spare cash, plus I had a car and was usually willing to drive. All of these attributes certainly make for a good belay-slave (err - second) don't you think?

So the longer I've been climbing, the harder it's been to find people who are better than me to climb with. Not that I climb all that hard you understand, but let's just be frank here. Nowadays I want to lead as much as possible myself. <wry grin> Still, I keep coming back to the fact that some things I want to do are things that I probably wouldn't/couldn't do on my own. So when I've been asked to go out with someone good lately, I've responded with an enthusiastic YES.

Last week I went over to do the Crack In The Woods with Maury McKinney from IMCS. It is the classic 10d hand crack OF DOOM! Needless to say, this climb is way above my head in terms of leading, but since I've publicly acknowledged that I need work on cracks, what could be better? Just getting there is an adventure. While you can hike all the way down the trail from the Covered Bridge, it's much more entertaining to wade the Swift River. And doing it with the Riley-dog in tow certainly made for an even more interesting time.

Finding the cliff is always an event. I stumbled on it 2 winter's ago trying to get to Way In The Wilderness. Joe Coty first came across it when looking for Rainbow Slabs over 30 years ago. Just think about that... Jim Dunn did the first ascent in 1973 with the gear of the day. Now THAT is some accomplishment. Believe me when I say that this is a strenuous climb. Maury did OK, giving me a tutorial on hand jamming. This is something that I need LOT of work on, as you all know from last week's Report. How do you say...I basically fell up the climb? I guess that says it all. Still, I didn't give up, so some good did come out of it. Here are a couple of fun pix. Note the bird nest that is on the ledge below the roof. I have to wonder how long that will last once the climbers start making the CITW pilgrimage this summer.

Wade in the water
Maury McKinney "jammin"
on the business end
just what were those birds thinking?

On Wednesday my old friend Jay Conway came up to climb for the afternoon. Jay is a great person and a great climber. He's been traveling since graduating form college and we haven't seen each other all that much recently. My loss. I've watched him grow over the past several years, and this young man is climbing great. We had thought about going over to Whitehorse and me trying to lead Tranquility crack - it's one that's on my short list. However, as it had poured down rain twice in the past 24 hours, we decided to opt for something on Cathedral. Jay hadn't done Dawn Patrol he did it up and I led the second pitch of the Saigon's. That is a really nice link-up if you haven't done it BTW. Those were nice warms-ups for the real business to come - Camber.

I'd always wanted to do Camber, but it is certainly intimidating. If you do the easy start it's 5.8R, and I do mean R. You climb straight up off the Saigon belay on good hands & feet to a bolt, and then traverse ~30' left to another bolt. It's generally good holds, but you are in for a serious fall if you come off before the bolt so you better be very solid at 5.8! Needless to say Jay is very solid, and he made it look easy. The face climbing above this is hard but he made short work of it. Jay blasted through the crux moves over the roof, all the while providing me with a running description of what to do. he was off-belay in no time.

Now it was my turn. Of course using double ropes is pretty mandatory for this route, just like on The Book. I managed all the moves to the left hand bolt well, to even with one of the doubles acting as a toprope, it was spooky. Now we get into beautiful 10+ and probably 11a face moves from bolt to bolt. All in all it was wonderful and I didn't have any problems. There were a couple of places where I had to think about it, but all in a it was brilliant climbing. In the corner below the roof things got really interesting. I've watched others do the crux moves over the roof and intellectually understand what to do, and I still had Jay's comments in my head. However when it came time to, "Use the left hand in the pocket, reach up onto the arete with your right, work your feet up and reach out with your left hand for the upper sidepull and stand up." - of course it was far easier said than done. <sigh> I tried it a number of times, but even with Jay right there coaching I just didn't have the strength and flexibility to pull it off. So, I pulled on the draw and made the next set of moves over the roof and to the belay. I still wasn't too bummed as I'd managed everything else in reasonable style with no falls. The last pitch I'd done many times on toprope and while having a tricky start off the belay, isn't all that hard. That rock is so great and I love the climbing to the top.

Down at the packs I still wasn't toast, so I suggested that we run over to Ego Trip. I wanted to lead the wonderful first pitch. That went as well as I've ever done it, even making the little crux move totally statically and I felt pretty good. Jay came up & wanted to give the second pitch a try. I wasn't expecting to do that, but was game. I'd worked that pitch a lot a year ago and was really happy to see someone else give it a shot. This was an onsight for Jay and to make a long story short, he managed the whole climb with only a couple of falls. It was an impressive exhibition. When it was my turn I did well on the lower stuff and still had trouble getting over the overlay. I pulled over that and was amazed at how sustained the rest of the climbing was. It just doesn't let up anywhere. By this time my feet were killing me from all the edging and I was very happy to head off home for dinner & some wine.

Oh yeah, of course all this goes for things other than climbing - a Presi-Traverse, riding the road bike the 100 miles around Mt. Washington, or playing music with some better musicians. Doing anything with someone who is better than you & who pushes you along will do wonders to improve your skills. ESPECIALLY if they are understanding of your limitations and supportive. In my case this week it really helped to put things in perspective. Now I see how I stack up and have a better picture of where I need to put more work. I know that I have a lot to work on, but that's what all this is about, isn't it? Learning and growing... Hopefully I can keep doing that for a loooong time.

Swiss on-sight phenom Elie Chevieux NOT dead - Climbing magazine:
According to several news sources, Swiss on-sight phenom Elie Chevieux is NOT one of the two Europeans that were stoned to death in Kabul, Afghanistan. Due to an apparent miscommunication with the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, one of the individuals was misidentified as Chevieux. According to reports, Chevieux has since been contacted in Pakistan and has telephoned his mother.

Maine Climber Dies On Rainier:
This has been extensively chronicled in the press, so I won't go over it here. It's a sad thing when there is an accident on a mountain, but even sadder when the victim dies in the act of being rescued. You can read more about it here.

Big Everest Season In Progress:
In the first three days of this year's climbing season, more than 70 mountaineers have scaled Mt Everest, including New England climber Dan Barder. Nepalise On Monday Appa Sherpa broke his own record by climbing Everest for the 14th time. The 43-year-old summitted the southeast ridge on with the Dream Everest Expedition 2004 team.

Peregrine Update - Chris Martin - NH Audubon:
This spring we have had more than the usual amount of difficulty confirming presence of pairs and/or incubation at several sites, and as a result the current numbers for confirmed breeding pairs and incubating pairs appear somewhat lower than 2003 totals. We are currently entering the peak period for hatching and visits that occur in the next 1-2 weeks should clarify much about the status of various sites in NH and will likely result in higher totals for breeding pairs and incubating pairs that is posted below. I will be contacting a number of climbers soon to make planns to access nest ledges.

NH totals so far in 2004 are as follows:
Occupied territories confirmed = 15 (establishes new post-DDT era high)
Breeding pairs confirmed = 13 (14 in 2003)
Incubating pairs confirmed = 10 (14 in 2003)
Hatch of eggs confirmed = 2 (10 in 2003)

Cathedral Ledge (Bartlett) - incubation continues on 5/6 on ledge near "Retaliation" climbing route last used in 2002 (CM), hatch due 5/18-5/27; temporary climbing closure of portion of Upper Left Wall posted 4/23 (thanks to Maury McKinney for assistance); adult male banded silver right leg, black/red left leg, adult female not banded, third falcon seen on 4/23 (CM) and 5/1(PC)

Eaglet Spire (Franconia) - behavior indicating hatch at mid-Spire ledge on 5/14 (RV); temporary climbing closure of Spire and adjacent walls posted 4/27; banding status of both adults undetermined

Frankenstein (Harts Location) - status uncertain, pair seen copulating on 4/12 (CM), 5.5 hr obs period on 5/12 produced no sightings (RV); adult female banded silver right leg, banded left leg, adult male banding status undetermined

Owls Head (Benton) - status uncertain, two falcon seen on 4/20, one seen on 4/21 and 5/5 (RV), but no further sightings or evidence of nesting attempt

Painted Walls (Albany) - failure suspected, incubation underway on grassy mid-cliff ledge on 4/12 (CM), hatch due after 5/14, but on 5/6 both adult falcons were seen flying, perched and feeding away from eyrie for extended period (CM); adult female not banded, adult male banding status undetermined; US Forest Service planned to place temporary climbing closure of Painted Walls on 4/22 (thanks Kori Marchowsky and Kathy Starke)

Rattlesnake Mtn (Rumney) - incubation continues on large ledge with birch sapling on 4/25 (BT), hatch due 5/16-5/18; adult male not banded, 7-yr old adult female banded dark right, black/red L/Y left raised at Travelers Tower in Hartford CT in 1997; temporary climbing closure of Main Cliff posted 3/16

Square Ledge (Albany) - incubation confirmed on 5/2 on cave-like ledge on left side of cliff used last year (CM, CKM, GM, PM), hatch due before 6/6; temporary climbing closure of Square Ledge posted 5/2

Willard (Harts Location) - incubation confirmed on 5/12 at new nest ledge located on upper left portion of cliff (west of overlook) (RV)


American Alpine Club Basecamp 2004

Saturday, June 12th, 2004, 5:00p
Nancy Savickas' Refuge Alpiniste
17 Bridge Street, Albany, NH
(617) 285-0517 (cell)

Slide Show - You do it! Bring five of your best slides
Bring your fly rod; stream in yard
Raffle!

-o0| Snacks, soda, corn-on-cob |0o-
BYOB and something for the grille
Old timers, families, & kids welcome

For details and directions click here.

Bill Atkinson, chair
Nancy Savickas, vice chair



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:

http://www.neclimbs.com/mobile

Check it out and if you have issues on your specific phone, please feel free to let me know.

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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:

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Have fun and climb safe,


Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire


Layback /n./ what a climber looks forward to at the end of a day.
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