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September 16, 2004

Hi Folks,

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 using a great piece of Macintosh software called Terrabrowser (highly recommended). You can see the topo, without the marked GPS dot, here. 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 In Full Swing:
"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 Road"
"An Ice Climbers Guide to Northern New England" by Peter Lewis & Rick Wilcox
Tim Kemple's "New England Bouldering" guidebook
Peter Lewis' great topo map/guide to Whitehorse Ledge
Anderl Heckmair's climbing autobiography "My Life"

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 at least $20 NOW, or make your contribution ON LINE via PayPal. It's easy & painless and you can use your credit card. Remember, you DON"T need to have a PayPal account to use this service. Simply click HERE to make your donation. Help keep the Report and NEClimbs growing and evolving. Make out a check for $20 to NEClimbs or donate via PayPal. We'll appreciate whatever you can do.

Make out your check or money order to NEClimbs and send it to:

92 Bow Lane
North Conway, NH 03860

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.


The Return Of El Niño:
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.

Changes On The Kanc:
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!

New Forest Service Plan Is Out and Available:
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, Conway
November 1 - Androscoggin Ranger District Headquarters, Route 16, Gorham
November 3 - Forest Service Information Center, Bethel, ME

Check the site regularly for more details.

New on NEClimbs:
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 them useful.

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

My best performances often developed out of depression when I used climbing as a tool to forestall suicide rather than a method of achieving it. Dispair inspired three years of 'crazy' soloing.
Mark Twight
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