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Last Sunday the family & I went over to the annual open-house
at the Eastern Slope Airport outside of Fryeburg where they were
offering free small-plane rides in return for a minimal donation
to the cancer society. Hoping for a little exercise, I brought
my bike along so I could grab the 26 miles home through Brownfield
and across Mill Street. On the way back I really cranked it, getting
home before the half in the Patriots game. Still in bike garb,
I grabbed a glass of wine and plunked down in front of the tube,
hoping that the Pats would do better than the Sox had done the
night before. So why was I not surprised when, at my moment of
maximum relaxation, the phone rang?
The voice on the other end of the phone was that of Charlie Townsend
from EMS Climbing School. He had gotten a call from Fish & Game
dispatch about a hiker with a fractured ankle up above Champny
Falls. They were asking for volunteers to help with a carry-out.
He'd been going down the MRS list looking for help and there weren't
many people around. Why INDEED was I not surprised? Well I wasn't
exactly rested at that point, but I figured that it would be another
deposit in the ol' Karma box, so why not?
I got there at pretty much the same time as two other MRS members,
Mike Kahn and Dan Dougherty. We checked in with the coordinator
from Fish & Game and asked if we were needed. He said yes and
so we started hiking up. If you haven't been up that trail in the
summer, and I actually hadn't, it's moderately rocky with a couple
of steep places. Not too bad, but certainly not all that smooth.
We passed quite a number of families and able-bodied individuals
who were walking down and were somewhat surprised that they weren't
involved in the litter-cary.
If you haven't done one of these, understand that a 200 pound-plus
individual in a litter requires a LOT of folks to carry down a
rocky trail for 500 yards, much less for miles. Generally about
6 people do the carry for 10-15 minutes, then another 6 swap in
and then, another crew takes over, etc. It's very tiring and can
be pretty treacherous.
When we joined the litter-carry group we were quite happy to see
that they had brought The Wheel. Basically this is a 3 1/2' high
metal frame that attaches to the bottom of the litter with a single
very wide ATV-style tire on the bottom. 6 people balance the litter
on the under-inflated tire and roll it down the trail. This contraption
basically floats over pretty much everything and is surprisingly
easy to control. Occasionally you add someone to the very back
to slow it down when going down a steep section. The "carry" from
just below the falls to the parking lot took less time than it
took us to hike up! This is an amazing addition to the rescue toolbox.
New on NEClimbs:
As usual the new things revolve around the Routes database. First
we have added another 25 routes to the database bringing the
rock section up to 336. There would have been more, but the Rex
Sox / Yankees playoff games have been keeping my evenings pretty
busy this week. <grin> On the home page we also added a
link to the latest addition to the database. We're also well
into developing a new feature called Today In Climbing. It will
display what happened in the climbing world on the current day.
That should be done in the next couple of weeks. Look for it.
This week's photo is of acclaimed climbing photographer Jim Thornberg.
He was in town a few weeks ago taking shots of a variety of classic
routes in New England for a new book on the best climbing areas
in the US. He took a lot of shots of a the area and hopefully some
will make it into the book.
Fundraiser Raffle Results:
As you know, there is a raffle for those who have made contributions
in support of NEClimbs and the White Mountain Report. Winners
were chosen by putting all the names in a climbing helmet and
blindly pulling them out. Then those winners were put back into
the hat and chosen for the prizes. I thought that we were going
to have a copy of Peter Lewis' topo, but that didn't materialize.
However I do have 6 great climbing-related prizes that
I hope our winners will enjoy. Here are the results
Mike Cummings - AutoRoute DVD
Gregory Leach - Accidents In North American Mountaineering
Don Pelletier - Tim Kemple Bouldering guide
Chris LeMay - 3 snow pickets
David Way - Charlet Moser ice screw
Mary Armstrong - Wilcox & Lewis Ice Guide
Katherine Aldcroft - Anderl Hexkmair biography
If you are on the list please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to make
arrangements to get your prize. While I'll be happy to mail them
out, it will be easier and cheaper if you drop by the next time
you're in town to pick it up. Besides, I'd like to meet you. <grin>
Although the fundraiser is officially over, of course we're happy
to take donations at any time. You can send a check to
It's White Up There (and nice down here):
I always look up-valley at the Mountain every time I go into town.
It's kind of a ritual that many of us around here do. Sometimes
you see it, sometimes you don't. Mt. Washington makes its own
weather and oftimes it can be bright and sunny down here, but
dark and stormy 25 miles north as the crow flies. It's always
a bit of a milestone at this time of year when you look up and
see white on the summit. Here's a shot from early in the week
While it is getting white on the top of the Mountain, it's been
beautiful down here in the Valley. I have been climbing & biking
up a storm the past several weeks, trying to get as much as I can
in before the winter is upon us. Tho it's cold in the AM, but 10
it's generall warm enough for anything. Yesterday Ian Cruickshank
and I went over to the South Buttress for a day of late fall fun.
Although the leaves are far past peak, it's still a beautiful time
to climb. The temps were wonderful and the shoe rubber just wouldn't
let go. It doesn't get a lot better...
California Blizzard Causes 2 Climbers Deaths In Yosemite:
An early-season blizzard early in the week dumped up to 4 feet
of snow in the Sierras. 2 Japanese climbers on El Cap were determined
to have died and over 10 hikers are missing. Temps are predicted
to drop to zero or below over the next few days.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective April 17, 2015
I know, I know there are some folks who will say that this or that climb is still IN, but believe me there really is no safe ice in the lower elevation now, so the rating has been dropped to a 1. This indicates that the only ice is in the higher terrain now. And in fact, other than climbs that have some significant part of them in the shade, like Pinnacle, everything else should be considered suspect. That said the skiing is supposedly amazing right now so grab it while you can. Starting next week we will move fully into rock season and will switch to BugCON ratings.
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 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:
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
All ice is dangerous.
Grade 4 pillars are pumpy.
Grade 5 pillars are pumpy and dangerous.
Except for certain rare days of triple-high biorythms and favorable planetary alignments, grade 6 is beyond reach.