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I usually hate to climb on weekends in general. It's just too
crowded, noisy, and frankly I don't usually have to. That's why
you'll rarely see me & the Riley-dog when you're up for your
time away from home. After days of rain, and a prediction of 3
consecutive days of nice weather over the Memorial Day weekend,
I figured that the cliffs in the Valley would likely be full-up.
So, when my bud Toby started pressing me to go over to White's
Ledge on Saturday to hit Endeavor (5.7+) I figured it wasn't such
a bad idea.
Not exactly getting an alpine-start, we arrived at the pullout
around 9:15 and there was already one other car there with Mass.
plates. In spite of getting turned around a bit, we actually got
to the base of the ledge before they did. We hustled to get ready
to climb, and when they turned up it was the Dube brothers, Chris & Mike,
both of whom I know. There was no problem with choice of climbs,
as they were looking for bigger fish to fry & headed over to
try George Hurley & my 10c, Finesse, located around the corner
to the right. I headed up the first pitch just as another party
came up looking to do what else, but Endeavor. OK, so now we have
3 parties, 6 climbers, at a place I've never even seen anyone else!
I finish the first pitch, brought up Toby and then head up the
second to another big pine tree. This is the pitch Webster describes
as "intricate" in both his 2nd and 3rd editions. I'd
have to agree. While the moves are rated at only 5.7+, the gear
can be tricky to find and the climbing nuanced. It's just my opinion
mind you, but this might not be a the right lead for someone who
is at their limit on 5.7's. The next pitch leads up from behind
the large pine tree, clips an ancient pin and wanders up to the
next large ledge. Usually you go through the headwall at an obvious
weakness, but I spotted a more direct and interesting (read that
difficult) line just to the left of that which was probably 5.8+.
There was even some good gear, once I found it.
For some time I'd been hearing other people calling & making
noise, but I couldn't tell if it was above or below me. Pulling
over the headwall who was there but the party who was interested
in Endeavor. Apparently they had done Nebulous, a 5.6 on poor rock
that starts way left and up from the start of Endeavor. They continued
up to a belay at a sling-encrusted thread on the left side of the
upper slabs, while I brought Toby up to the ledge.
They continued on a direct line up the slabs following a nondescript
crack while I went to their right and into the normal Endeavor
hand crack. Now if you haven't done this climb, this pitch is totally
worth the price of admission. I mean, how many places will you
find a perfect 5.4 hand crack that goes on for close to 2 pitches?
Because of where we started, I decided to belay in the crack at
a stance. Toby followed and I finished up the crack, traversing
left to the belay tree at the end. While you can go all the way
to the top and walk off, I never have. According to Joe & Judy
Perez, they've done routes on some nice clean slabs up at the top.
I've never done them, but it might be a nice round-out to the day.
The two guys who had climbed Nebulous rapped back down one pitch
and decided to do the hand crack. Around this time another party
popped up on the belay ledge with another group of following closely.
We now had 4 parties, consisting of 9 climbers, all in the upper
reaches of Endeavor, plus another party of 2 down at the base working
on the first pitch of Ten Years After. I found myself wondering
if there was anyone left in the Valley!
If you've ever climbed at Whites you will have certainly noticed
all the loose rock on almost every surface. Just dragging a rope
over a ledge often looses some debris on anyone below. That's one
reason I don't like climbing below anyone out there. So, I was
quite surprised to see one of the climbers in the party of 3 with
no helmet. This is probably not a place to play the purist!
As we rapped off I decided to leave a new rap setup (a nice new
black static line and a large stainless ring) on the large tree
below the upper crack. I put it high in the tree such that when
you pull your rope it won't drag any crap off the ledge on top
of you. And believe me when I say that there is a LOT of crap on
that ledge! We used it and it pulled perfectly from the next tree
ledge. With 60 meter ropes we zipped all the way to the ground
from the next rap. All in all a perfect day's outing.
On the way out I noticed that the trail was getting well used
and there were only 1 or 2 places where you could possibly get
off, so I added a couple of pieces of tape to make it clear. We
had gotten turned around where you go into the woods, so I added
another couple of pieces to make sure it was obvious. Hope it helps...
Here are a few pics of the days fun:
As I drove home at 4:30 past Humphrey's Ledge, there wasn't a
single car parked on the road. Well of course not, they were all
at White's! From what I hear it was crowded this weekend, especially
on Whitehorse. I've heard of lines at the bottom of Inferno, Hotter
Than Hell, Cold Day In Hell and others. Sounds more like the Gunks
than North Conway doesn't it?
The rest of the weekend was used for family and biking fun, culminating
with a great day's mountain bike riding on the Kingdom Trails in
East Burke, Vermont. If you are a rider you should definitely check
this place out. New England single track doesn't get a whole lot
better than this, tho some of the trails around here are getting
awfully close. We just don't have the banked turns yet. <grin> Get
more info here.
News From the Access Fund: NPS To Reconsider the Twin Sisters Climbing Ban
In February the Access Fund's Policy Director Jason Keith traveled
to Washington DC to lobby on several issues, in particular to seek
support for revising the climbing ban at Twin Sisters at the City
of Rocks National Reserve. As a result of this advocacy work, all
members of the Idaho congressional delegation (Senators Craig and
Crapo; Congressmen Simpson and Otter) signed onto a letter urging
the National Park Service (NPS) to revise the climbing management
plan (CMP) at the City of Rocks in Idaho and ease the absolute
climbing ban on the Twin Sisters formation.
It is time again to start thinking about an Adopt-a-Crag stewardship project
for your favorite climbing area. Our goal this year is to support over 85 Adopt-a-Crags
around the country. We can't do this without you! In the past three years, we
have looked to the leadership and passion of local climbers to make Adopt-a-Crag
a success. As the face of the Access Fund at the local and regional level, we
depend on your enthusiasm, expertise and leadership in the organization of Adopt-a-Crag
events in your area.
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:
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
My once-keen analytical mind has become so dulled by endless hours of baking in the hot sun, thrashing about in tight chimneys, pulling at impossibly heavy loads, freezing my ass off.... so that now my mental state is comparable to that of a Peruvian Indian, well stoked on coca leaves..