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July 1, 2004

Hi Folks,

It's the last week in June, I'm in the pickup, stereo loaded up with Texas shuffles, canoe on top, wife passing the Pringles on-demand, dog in the way-back and the kiddo in the back seat. What do you think, could this be the ever elusive ROAD TRIP?

Naaaaahhh...more like the a family vacation! So, how long has it been since you've been on a non-climbing vacation? Or maybe I should ask it like this... Have you EVER been on a vacation (other than when you were growing up) that didn't revolve around climbing? But wait, do you have a wife/husband & kids? If so you may well understand. This was a trip up to Pembrook Maine, way up north near the Canadian border by Calis, to hang with the in-laws and drop off Daz (a.k.a. the kiddo) for his annual 10 day visit on his own! Those of us with young kids have a tendency to rejoice then this time of the year comes around. <big grin>

What do YOU do on a family/non-climbing vacation? The family house is right on a river not far from the ocean, so we spent some time on the water. What a nice thing to be out somewhere with no set time to be back. I also took the road bike along so I could get some real aerobic exercise. The lonesome back roads and rolling hills along the coast made for some absolutely wonderful riding. The perfect morning antidote to dinners of fresh scallops, crab-meat, lobster and copious amounts of vino.

If there was some climbing in the area it would be totally idyllic. What they call ledges up there are mostly barely 15' high. Believe me it was hard to drive through Clifton, and keep on going. Next time we have got to build in enough time to stop there & do some routes.

So if you wonder why I wasn't available last week, this was why. Believe it or not this was a vacation with NO Internet access or email, at least for me. I'd decided that if I was going to get away, I was really going to get away. And if I wasn't going to be able to climb, I wasn't going to hang out on NEClimbs. <grin> I just got home at 4PM on Thursday and am getting this one out in a hurry, so please excuse any grammar or spelling errors.

July 4th:
This is the big weekend that really starts both the summer tourist and climbing season. There will be tons of people up here and lots to do. I hope each and every one of you have a great time and a safe weekend.

Ropes and Sharp Edges:
I've kind of wondered about the "Sharp Edge resistant dynamic Ropes" labeling that you see around these days. Well, apparently the UIAA test results of the "Round Robin Test 2004" for sharp edge testing ropes were not satisfactory! Therefore the UIAA Safety Commission decided at its annual session in Abisko/SWEDEN June 15th-19th to suspend the operation of the UIAA Standard 108 "Sharp Edge resistant dynamic Ropes" for an unknown period, beginning on July 1, 2004. They announced that all ropes already "sharp edge resistant certified" will lose their validity at the end of December 2005! More research will be done to ensure satisfactory sharp edge test results in the future. This was announced by Pit Schubert - President and Neville McMillan -Vice President of the UIAA Safety Commission.

As best I understand it, there were two primary problems with the test.

1) it is based on the rope surviving 1 fall. This is obviously too small a number to be statistically valid and was proven with the Round Robin tests.
2) The geometry of the test edge wasn't a sharp edge at all. Therefore the test was not based on how ropes are cut in the field.

Obviously more work needs to be done in this area. Certification is a tricky business and it is actually to the UIAA's credit that once they realized that these tests were invalid they took steps to remove this certification from the marketplace. Let's face it, other than your own abilities, there is probably nothing more important to a climber than their rope. Having valid information to base a choice on is critical. The UIAA did the right thing here. Hopefully they will come out with a valid test that we can rely on in the near future.

Warning to Gunks Campers:
I got the following missive from Jen Reed of Narragansett RI Chapter of the AMC a few weeks ago. I meant to put it out sooner, but it kind of slipped by the way. I hope it saves you a future problem...

"BUSTED!!!! Beware !!!! Detained and arraigned for camping @ the multi-purpose area Gunks on Memorial Day. It was a well planned dragnet. The NY Forest Rangers tell s it will happen every weekend at any time of the day or night. 15 people along with 4 in my group (not an AMC trip) were all detained and then arraigned for illegal camping @ the Multi-purpose area Rt. 299 in New Paltz. The crack-down has begun and a message from the Forest Service has certainly been sent. Only 29 sites have been designated for legal camping and this number will be decreasing in the future. Legal sites are marked with a yellow metal disc nailed to a tree. If you are not in those sites you will be fined anywhere from $25-250, depending on the mood of the judge."

"Here is what happened. We had camped off a trail about 500 feet away from the road down a cleared path in a site with a well built fireplace that had been cleared. Looked good to us and we did not know about the yellow disc. Those rules are only posted at the entrance to the main area. These are new rules as of Sept. 18, 2003. Also check out the Gunks climbers Coalition site at, and the open forum at"

"The rangers awoke us at 8:00 AM banging on tents, demanding driver's licenses, telling all of us to pack up and meet them at the main multi-purpose parking area. There we sat for 1 hour as they wrote each on of us a violation ticket. Then they held on to our licenses saying that we are all being detained and that we all have a 9:30 court appearance with the judge. Who will determine what the fine will be. One of the detainee's was not happy with the rangers who were packing guns and handcuffs. Due to his belligerence he was cuffed and picked up by a State trooper. They said that he was under arrest. The judge said that he would catch a night in jail unless bond could be met. All this before a cup of coffee, after a night of happy cheer."

"The judge asked if anyone wanted to plead not guilty or if we plead guilty the fine was $50.00 and you get your license back. The decision was easy for me. I wanted this epic to end. It was time for coffee and food. So at 11:00 AM we were on our way, not to return to the multi-purpose area again. After 12 years, never a problem. It is sad to see the area closed. So, keep the letters going and please check out the map and camp only in those designated areas. They are few and far between. The rangers also said that they will confiscate any tents or property left in an illegal campsite area. since we had left our tents there on Saturday and Sunday, luckily for us they did not do their bust until Monday morning."

"Just wanted to pass this message along as this area is without doubt being threatened with closure. Please be part of the solution not the problem!"

New On NEClimbs:
We have a new Climber's Poll this week. Drop in and post your vote. I figure that this one is particularly appropriate!

Have fun and climb safe,

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

Each climber loses one finger or toe once in a while. This is a small but important reason for Polish climbers' success. Western climbers haven't lost as many fingers or toes.
Wanda Rutkiewicz
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