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December 23, 2004
I don't know about you but it's doubly bad when
I get a cold this time of year. Of course I just plain feel rotten,
unable to partake of the all good cheer and fun events that abound.
All I want to do is lie around, hacking up frightening amounts
of curdish crap from my lungs, drinking copious glasses of foul
smelling herbal remedies, and all the while acting surly to anyone
unfortunate enough to come near. On top of that we've been having
some of the best ice days yet this season. ARRRRGGGH! Well at least
now you can understand why I've been in a grouchy mood.
Of course I know that I'm going to feel better, and it's just
a matter of time, but that doesn't make me feel any better about
not being able to get out there and climb. I had to cancel 2 days
of fun with George Hurley and that really hurt. Finally 3 days
into this cold, on Tuesday at lunchtime to be exact, I reached
the end of my teather, errrrr - rope. Sure it was cold, and I didn't
feel 100% (not even 70% truth be told), but I just had to get out
and do something. So I threw on my warm parka and bib, grabbed
my tools and headed down to the North End of Cathedral. I didn't
want to use up my small reserve of energy, so for a change I didn't
walk down the road, I drove. Since we haven't had all that much
snowfall here in the Valley, you can drive all the way to the gate
if you have a 4WD vehicle. SWEET...
Amazingly there was no one else down there when I arrived, tho
it was obvious from the tracks that a number of folks had been
there earlier in the AM. I hiked up a little left of the slab and
underneath Thresher. There's this little mixed corner that I love
to do that gets you up to the Thresher ledge. It's always a nice
thing to do to get you in focus. Thresher itself looked pretty
good. A little kicked back and thin, but very reasonable. There
was ice on the slabby area to the right and the pillar to its left
that came in last year looked well on the way. The start was a
bit candled, but once past the first 6 feet was fine. It was more
tap-tap than thunk-thunk, but that was fine by me in my low-energy
state. The little bulge at the top was fun and I felt really good
when I topped out. On the walk downhill and around I noticed a
ton of animal tracks in the fresh powder. Mostly smallish size
paw prints, they looked like fox or the like. It was pretty neat.
I looked for sign of the bear I'd seen last season around this
time, but he was nowhere to be found.
I took an easy run up the slab just for giggles. In spite of the
temperature only being around 15, it was surprisingly wet. You
could hear water running everywhere. As I walked back around and
past the pillars I got sucked in looking at them. The ice was inviting
everywhere I looked so I decided to give the steep right side a
try. I wasn't mistaken, it was great. Good sticks, occasional hooks
and thick ice. It was great fun and I actually worked up a bit
of a sweat.
Now that I'd gotten that out of my system, I walked along the
base of the cliff to have a look at some of the other stuff. The
climbs on the Unicorn Ledge, above the North End cracks, are coming
in very well. Give them another week and they should be doable
if things stay cold. There is a runnel in Karen's Variation that
was done by Doug Madera and the Triple Corners are icing up well.
I am happy to see that the ice in Remission and Repentance is doing
a lot better than it was last year. There is ice forming in the
second pitch of Repentance and that bodes well for the climb.
Please leave them alone just a bit longer so that they actually
have an opportunity to fully form. Goofer's is still very thin
as usual, but I predict that it will come in by the first of the
year. Well my cold is getting better, I feel a little stronger
and with a little more rest hopefully I'll be able to get out over
the weekend. This is a great season and I hope to see you out on
The new trend toward political correctness has even made me a bit
uncomfortable about season greetings, but hey... What the heck!
For all of you who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a very Merry
Christmas. To the rest, please have a superb Holiday Season. And
regardless of your persuasion or beliefs, from my family to you
and yours, have a prosperous and healthy New Year.
At long last, Robert Frost's acclaimed celebration of New England
climbing is finally available on DVD. Uncommon Ground is a great
roundup of New England climbs and climbers. It features rock
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the course of two years, Uncommon Ground celebrates the diversity
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With Henry Barber, David Graham, Brittany Griffith, Tim Kemple,
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Cost is only $29.95 with free Media Mail shipping. Don't delay.
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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
|Pucky lads, a wee bit over their heads.|
|Doug Scott after encountering two climbers on Denali suffering from exposure|