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July 1, 2004
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
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.
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.
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
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
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 http://www.gunkclimbers.org,
and the open forum at http://www.gunks.com."
"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
"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!"
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,
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
|Pucky lads, a wee bit over their heads.|
|Doug Scott after encountering two climbers on Denali suffering from exposure|