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September 16, 2004
So are you into conundrums? Sometimes I am, and here's one for
you. When is a Woodchuck an Eagle? Sheesh you say. Well here's
a piece of the answer... When it's actually a Ledge. Confused?
Well so was I, and maybe I still am. But the more I look study
and ask questions, the less I am. Read on dear reader & you
will understand the problem.
Late this spring I hiked into Woodchuck Ledge for the first time
(believe it or not) with my then 4-year-old son Daz. I'd been working
on my guidebook and this was one of the places I needed to visit
and get GPS numbers for. The directions to the crag in Ed Webster's
guide 3 matched exactly what we encountered. The pullout by the
rocks off Passaconaway Road, the lumber road up the hill, a clearing
with the the cairn and trail to the left, etc. In addition it is
the place where I've seen cars fairly regularly over the years.
I had my GPS with me but was unable to get a reading at the cliff
because of the leaves, however I did get one at the clearing before
you turn left onto the trail near the cairn. I popped that UTM
reading into my map software yesterday and WOOPS, it looked wrong.
According to the position on the topo it was too far right to be
Woodchuck. Here is
a (rather large) topo map with the UTM I took marked on it. Correct
me if I'm wrong, but to me it looks as if we were at (conundrum
be damned) Eagle Cliff! Now, either I screwed up the GPS royally
(quite possible), the topo is incorrect (somewhat of a possibility)
OR generations of climbers have actually been climbing at Eagle
Ledge, not Woodchuck.
FWIW I'm using a USGS topo. I access it through Terraserver-usa.com
using a great piece of Macintosh software called Terrabrowser (highly
recommended). You can see the topo, without the marked GPS dot,
Interestingly enough, in Ed's book he says that Woodchuck is "the
first cliff you see when driving west along the Kanc...on the southern
slope of Mt. Haystack." However, as you can see on the topo,
Eagle Ledge would be the first cliff you'd see and in fact it IS
on the southern slope of Haystack! In addition, as a local and
long-time climber pointed out today;
"The USGS map shows Woodchuck directly north of all
the camps on Johnson Road. The Woodchuck climbing area (as
we know it) is quite a bit east of Johnson Road."
Hmmm... Now in the spirit of full-disclosure I have to admit that
Daz & I didn't go further than the start of the cliff. Daz
was getting tired and I didn't want to push things. It was his
first real hike of the season. However, I'm pretty darn certain
that I was in the correct place. That said, check out the topos
for yourself. And, if anyone has the time, inclination and a GPS
- go out there, climb a route to the very top of the cliff & get
another UTM. That would be the clincher. Hey, maybe modern technology
is actually worth something - ya think? But, if it's true (and
I'm not guaranteeing it yet - stay tuned), what do we do then?
"Fundraiser Month" at NEClimbs and The White Mountain Report
is upon us. All year long we quietly put out our weekly reports and
maintain the NEClimbs web site. For the 4 weeks following Labor Day
we get noisy. Keeping you up to date on what's going on in climbing
in the White Mountains, and in the White Mountain climbing community
is one heck-uv-a time consuming thingy folks. Providing you with
the latest ice and rock conditions and reporting on the events and
people in the local climbing community consumes 10+ hours a week,
a not insignificant amount of time, even for a late-worker and early
riser like myself. <grin> Your contribution to the organization
is what makes this newsletter and the NEClimbs web site possible.
Without your support we simply wouldn't be able to justify the effort
required to make it happen.
Even you have to admit that we aren't asking for much-o diner-o.
That minimal $20 donation isn't a lot for all the great information
provided every single week. As usual, to make it more enticing
we're offering even more. Make a contribution and be automatically
entered in a raffle for some GREAT prizes like:
Robert Frost's acclaimed climbing video, "Auto
"An Ice Climbers Guide to
Northern New England" by Peter Lewis & Rick
Tim Kemple's "New England Bouldering" guidebook
Peter Lewis' great topo map/guide to Whitehorse Ledge
Anderl Heckmair's climbing autobiography "My
The drawing will be held on October 21st, 2004 and winners will
be notified in the Report. Your donation must be postmarked or
received by PayPal before
October 1, 2004 to be entered. It's a perfect opportunity to support
NEClimbs, and a great chance to win a useful prize.
Please don't wait to make a contribution, assuming that others
will pick up the slack. YOU signed up to be included on the mailing
list! YOU read it every week! WE provide the service! Support NEClimbs
and The White Mountain Report, send us a check or money order for
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Make out your check or money order to NEClimbs and send it to:
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SPECIAL THANKS to those who have already contributed.The
Donations list is up now. It contains the names of
all of those individuals and organizations who have contributed
as a part of the 2004/2005 fundraiser.
MAKE SURE YOUR NAME GETS ON THE LIST!
NOAA declared that El Niño is back but this time around
in a weaker state. "El Niño conditions have developed
in the tropical Pacific and are expected to last through early
2005," said Jim Laver, director of the NOAA Climate Prediction
Center. "At this time it is not clear what, if any, impacts
this event will have on ocean temperatures in the classical El
Niño region along the west coast of South America and on
temperature and precipitation in the United States." Impacts
depend on a variety of factors, such as the intensity and extent
of the warming in the tropical Pacific. NOAA will continue to monitor
the situation in the tropical Pacific and will provide more detailed
information on possible impacts due to this event in coming months.
El Niño is associated with changes in sea surface temperatures
in the tropical Pacific Ocean and can have significant impacts
on weather around the world.
Several of us took the time today for a big bike ride. We left
from my house by Cathedral Ledge, road across the Kanc to Lincoln
and back via the Kanc. It was a 79 mile ride, and one I've been
wanting to do for a while. I've noticed some significant work
being done on the road around Rocky Gorge when coming back from
other rides over Bear Notch this summer, but didn't know what
it was all about until today. We were stopped for about 10 minutes
when they were doing some drilling so I asked a worker what was
going on. Apparently the main road is being rerouted several
hundred feet up the hill, the current road location near the
river will become a parking lot and the current lot will be a
walking path. Additional upgrades to the road will be going on
over the next 2 years, including widening and bike paths. Your
tax dollars at work folks!
The Proposed Forest Plan for the White Mountains has been released.
You should be able to download it here.
In addition there are meetings scheduled to discuss the proposal
scheduled for late October and November. The meetings will run
from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Here is the current schedule -
October 26 - Forest Supervisor's Office, Federal Building, 719
North Main St, Laconia
October 27 - Holderness School, Route 175, Holderness
October 28 - Saco District Ranger Headquarters, Kancamagus Highway,
November 1 - Androscoggin Ranger District Headquarters, Route 16,
November 3 - Forest Service Information Center, Bethel, ME
Check the site regularly for more details.
More routes are now available in the ROUTES section.
We've increased the number to 269 rock routes
in 20 areas. I've got several hundred
more to add over the coming month or so, hopefully you will find
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
|This is how they die, I thought. They pass out or freeze without caring. They die as spectators, believing it's all happening to someone else. I'd rather be fully alive and awake when I die, I want to be terrified. The last place I want to snuff it is on a slope no steeper than a beginner's ski hill.|