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September 30, 2004
I don't think that I've mentioned it before, but I've moved into
doing some guiding over the past few years. While most has been
done on my own, in ice climbing season, this summer I've been fortunate
enough to work fairly regularly with a local climbing school. It
has been a superb learning experience for me on so many levels.
What I've found most interesting has been the experience of working
with total beginners - especially older ones.
Like many other climbers, I've always been into taking my beginner
friends out to the crag. Heck, that's how I learned. There is just
something really cool about taking someone who has never climbed
and introducing them to the rock. The difference with guiding is
that since they've paid for the experience, you would hope that
they are at least somewhat motivated to enjoy it. Still, they are
sometimes simply freaked out. On what many of us consider to be
very moderate or minimal exposure, to them it is way over the top.
Occasionally you misjudge how people are going to do by their level
of fitness and how they talk. Interestingly, the two are often
not directly related to a person's performance on the rock. In
addition, success climbing on a top rope does not always indicate
how someone will perform at the Lunch Ledge on Standard Route on
With family and camp groups I've had adults who totally wigged
out, while the kids have had the times of their lives. Recently
I was out with two middle-aged gentlemen, one in great shape and
the other perhaps a bit less so. One was generally comfortable
with the exposure, while the other practically hyperventilated
himself up Upper Refuse. I'll let you decide which was which. Both
were totally ecstatic when we topped
out over the fence at the
tourist overlook. This reminds me of a quote from John Muir:
"My doom appeared fixed...But the terrible eclipse lasted
only a moment, when life blazed forth again with prenatural clearness."
I'm sure that legions of beginners have felt this way as they
came up the last real pitch of Upper Refuse and looked out right
over the arete. So which one do you think has been showing the
most interest in coming back for another round? That answer wouldn't
have been obvious...
Besides an emphasis on safety, a really important objective in
working with beginners is leaving them with that sometimes elusive "positive
experience." To do this you have to get out of yourself and
into their head in order to help them get into the right place
to enjoy the experience. Of course you have to project confidence,
but it helps if you're actually having fun yourself. (Why does
that sound so actually strange to say?) There's no question about
it though, if you're smiling and enjoying the day, the odds are
pretty good that they will as well. Of course if you are the kind
of person who finds every opportunity to be outside a blessing,
that helps. You know, there are a surprising number of guides who
actually feel that way about every time they are out on the rock
or ice and it shows in the attitude of their clients. Hopefully
I fall into that category.
Officially we've moved into the Fall season, and it certainly feels
that way. Evenings have been getting much cooler and the foliage
has certainly been changing rapidly, especially at the higher
elevations. This is my favorite time of the year. There are generally
no bugs around except perhaps a few in the evening, and the temps
have just enough warmth to make you feel good, but not enough
to make you break a sweat. We came pretty close to having a hard
freeze last night here in the valley. And if you're coming up
and planning on sleeping outside, highly recommended at this
time of year BTW, I humbly offer that it might be time to break
something other than your summer bag!
The current subscriber base to the White Mountain Report currently
totals over 650. The NEClimbs web site gets over 500 UNIQUE VISITS
per day. You are obviously in one of these categories. Three
weeks into the fundraiser a total of 57 subscribers have made
a contribution. That's less than 9% of the White Mountain Report
subscribers, and that doesn't include those that read the Report
For $20, only 38 CENTS per week, you can make sure that the White
Mountain Report and NEClimbs are there when you want them. There
are lots of other ways to manage this process. We COULD sent the
Report out only to those who pay. We COULD restrict access to NEClimbs
so that only paid subscribers could access the Route database,
the Weather Station, the Forum and the Webcam. There are lots of
models that ensure that we get compensated for the effort that
goes into all of this. That said, we really DON'T want to do this.
For over 4 years we've provided the Whiter Mountain Report and
NEClimbs.com as a FREE service to the New England climbing community.
Your contribution to this fundraiser can ensure that we can continue
our support of YOU.
For 52 weeks of the year we put out the weekly Report and maintain
the NEClimbs web site. This is how you keep up to date on what's
going on in climbing in the White Mountains, and in the White Mountain
climbing community. We make sure that you have the latest ice and
rock information. We continually add new routes to the online database,
and report on the events and people in the local climbing community.
Make no mistake, this EASILY consumes 10+ hours a week. Your contribution
to the organization is what makes this newsletter and the NEClimbs
web site possible. Without a contribution from YOU, we simply wouldn't
be able to come close to justifying the effort required to make
Please don't wait to make a contribution and please DON'T assume
that someone else will pick up the slack. YOU'RE on the mailing
list! YOU'RE reading it right now! Sit down today and send us a
check or money order for at least $20. Or make your contribution
ON-LINE via PayPal by clicking here.
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.
We aren't asking for a lot. A minimal $20 donation isn't a lot
for all the great information provided every single week.
To make it more enticing we're offering even more. Make a contribution
and be automatically entered in a raffle for some GREAT prizes.
And we're adding more all the time.
A brand new Charlet Moser ice screw
Three brand new snow pickets from an anonymous donor
Robert Frost's acclaimed climbing video, "Auto Road"
"An Ice Climbers Guide to Northern New England" by Lewis & 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.
Make out a check for $20 to NEClimbs or donate via PayPal. We'll
appreciate WHATEVER you can afford. Make out your check or money
order to NEClimbs and send it to:
92 Bow Lane
North Conway, NH 03860
A VERY SPECIAL THANKS to those who have already contributed. The
Donations List contains the names of all of those who have contributed
as a part of the 2004/2005 fundraiser as well as the up to date
IS YOUR NAME ON THE LIST?
When well known local guide Kurt Winkler noticed that a huge flake
on the last pitch of Thin Air moved while a client was climbing
past it the other day, he became concerned. He called friend
and fellow guide Alain Comeau, and at 6 AM one the morning
the offending flake was trundled and the route cleaned. Thanks
to Kurt and Alain for helping avoid a potentially very serious
situation on the most popular climb in the area. The next time
you walk past the start of Windfall, check out the rock on the
Acclaimed climber Steve Schneider will be giving a slideshow at
IME on October 9th. His slideshow, Driven Crazy, has been getting
good reviews and I'm sure will make for a very entertaining evening.
It's the first-person report of his solo traverse of the Towers
of Paine, Torres del Paine National Parque, Chilean Patagonia.
It took 5 attempts to manage the feat. Along the way he climbed
the North Tower four times, the Central Tower twice, and the
South Tower once, enduring three open bivouacs, two full-blown
epic retreats from near the Central Tower's summit, one life
threatening rockfall, and an emotional rollercoaster of a ride.
It is the first traverse of the Towers of Paine, solo or otherwise.
October 9, 2004 (Saturday)
Upstairs at IME in North Conway
More info - 356-7013
Seacoast Tri-State Century Windup:
For those who have any interest in road bike riding, this is a
really nice ride. If you're thinking at all about riding a Century,
this would certainly be one to do. besides the fact that it's
amazingly flat, with the exception of the 15 mile excursion south
to Newburyport it's absolutely beautiful. You ride almost exclusively
along the coast past beautiful homes, rocky coastline and amazing
views. Starting in Hampton Beach and extending all the way to
Cape Neddick, every mile is a joy. Here's a picture of my friend
and riding partner Ian Cruickshank at one of the Lighthouses
along the way.
You don't have to do the full 100 miles. You can also ride several
shorter sections. it's a great ride and loads of fun. Hope to see
you there next year.
If you haven't already noticed, there are links under many of the
area descriptions in the Routes section to a Terraserver topo.
Of course you can use this to scope out the general location
of a climb. However it may not be as obvious, but you can also
zoom out to get a view of where you are in the region and how
to get there on the roads. It's a very useful tool and one you
can make good use of in many ways. Enjoy...
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
|Lightly hazed in blue mist, the tiny, clustered town - pale pebbles and mica flashes of light - was no more than stony shingle at the bottom of a deep pool.|
|Dermot Somers |