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November 25, 2004
As climbers it may be worth remembering that
we are truly fortunate to live in an society where we are able
to indulge our passion for our favorite activity. Altho we tend
to consider all the things we are thankful for only when sitting
down at a sumptuous dinner, giving thanks should not be limited
to a single time of year. It is well worth considering every time
you are out on the crag as there are few activities in life as
worthy of thanks as climbing.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all...
It seems that there is less ice and more people wanting to get
on it these days. With the scientific community providing proof
positive of the reality of global warming, what's a New England
ice climber to do? That is if they don't want to move further
and further north! Vermont insurance agent and prolific climber
Will Mayo may have the answer we've all been looking for...
The question everybody wants to ask is: "What's going on
in the wide world
of Northeast ice climbing so far this season?"
Well, let me tell you. The number of ice venues has been reduced
due to our
(now official) climate shift to subcoastal rainforest. The whole
of Northeast ice is now represented exclusively on Mt. Washington
and Cannon Mtn. Since the numbers of climbers has not reduced
proportionally with the reduced number of formed routes, we have
some congestion issues.
Problem? Not anymore! Enter: The Night Shift! Last night between
1 AM and
3 AM I climbed the Black Dike by headlamp in 1hr 58 minutes car-to-car.
Consequently, the powers-that-be of Northeast ice climbing (read:
me and my
multiple personalities) were inspired to hold an emergency decision-making
session before dawn on the shores of Echo Lake in Franconia Notch.
The result is a complete re-vamping of the ice climbing shift
schedules at Cannon Mtn. The first shift now begins promptly
at 1:01am. Shifts have been reduced to two hours in duration
and run round the clock, tee times are afforded at the sign-in
box, and the line forms at the base of the routes. A ranger will
be patrolling the route in a flagged golf cart to ensure promptness
and that proper etiquette is otherwise observed. Rappelling is
permissible only for those climbing both routes in one shift.
And, as always, please replace all divots, repair all pick marks
and let faster
parties play through.
As you now know, we now have 12 shifts available per day on the
Dike/Fafnir (a three-fold increase), each beginning at the top
of each odd-numbered hour. We have more limited ice now people,
so get your jollies and get off the routes, please. With a little
cooperation and creativity, there's more than enough ice to go
For the past couple of years I see ice climbers virtually studded
with sharp shiny gear, looking for all the world like a out of
water sea urchin. At last year's Ice Festival I took the time
to observe some of the real pros and was often surprised at the
paucity of their racks. It interesting, so I asked a variety
of high-test ice climbers what they would take on a multi-pitch
vertical ice route, grade 4 or above. Here's the result...
Kim Reynolds - founder of Chicks With Picks:
1 - 22 cm (for the anchor), 6 - 16 cm (three BD Express and three
Grivel) and 2 - 13 cm
Jon Sykes - Author of Secrets Of The Notch and prolific New England
6 assorted screws total. "Any more is unnecessary."
Will Gadd - mixed climbing maven and author of Ice And Mixed Climbing:
Personally, I'd take six screws -- three or four for the pitch,
and two or three for the belay. If I were suggesting a rack
for "most" climbers
I'd suggest ten or twelve screws with half being "longish",
one long one for the V-Thread, and half being shorter (10-17cm).
Barry Blanchard - famous Canadian ice climber and mountaineer:
Half dozen screws, mostly 13 cm or longer plus some rock gear.
Steve House - one of America's premier alpine climbers:
6 or 8 screws, mostly longer ones.
Of course these are the elite climbers and your milage will vary,
but I thought that it was interesting what they carried. Hope you
think so too.
The AMC Boston Chapter Mountaineering Committee is proud to announce
2004/5 Ice Climbing Program. Please check their web site at
http://www.amcboston.org/mountaineering/2instruction.html for the
dates and details. I've been helping out with this course for 8
years and can attest that it's very well done. The information
is up to date and well presented and the people running it are
competent and very well motivated.
The ice hasn't built much if any over the past week and in some
places things have even gotten worse. We need snow and cold weather,
neither of which we are likely to get in the next several days.
Better get out the rock gear for the weekend. A few places like
Mt. Washington or the Dike are still building because they are
in upper elevations or well shaded. That said, daytime temps
have been in the the mid-40's so be aware that the ice may not
be as well bonded as it was.
Some people have been climbing the first pitch of Standard Route
at Frankenstein. I DO NOT RECOMMEND this as the
water is flowing too much and the route is mostly in the sun! Be
patient and remember, this is only the 18th of November. The cold
and snow will come, and we will get ice.
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
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