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February 3, 2005

Hi Folks,

D**N, D**N, D**N, D**N, D**N, H**L, D**N, D**N, F*****K! The expletives bellowed from my throat and and echoed off the crag. I absolutely could NOT believe it. Considering all the wild and crazy stuff I do, how COULD I get hurt like this?

A week ago Saturday it was my day to help out with the Boston AMC's annual Ice Program. As usual the first day it was being held in the Lost/Walk In The Forest area of Frankenstein. I love doing this course, 'cause I love to work with beginners. There is something very rewarding about watching people as they get into climbing ice. Helping them get from feeling totally uncomfortable to standing on front-points, swinging the tools and moving freely up the ice is a great thing. This year was no exception. It was great fun to see everyone enjoying themselves and finding their new skills.

Around noon I decided to take a break, get a bite to eat and wander over to Lost In The Forest to see if I could take a ride on one of the ropes. All were in use, but the runnel on the far right that I have done several times looked particularly inviting. It doesn't get done all that often, but interestingly enough there were footprints that led right up to it and obvious recent pick and crampon holes in the ice. While it is steep, there are several places to get a rest. It's close to a full 50 meters long and I imagine it to be in the 4- range. I swung the tools into the ice and headed up.

The ice was in great shape and before I knew it I was at the stance below the crux bulge. I moved up to about half-way up the curtain and got a great stick with my left axe and another with the right. As I moved up and tried to get the left axe out it was stuck. It took some very careful tugging and pounding on the hammer side of the pick to loosen it. I was very careful since I was climbing leashless and had no spare tool. I definitely didn't want to drop an axe on very vertical ground. Fiddling with the axe got me pumped but I managed to continue up to the final stance. It was a real relief to get flat-footed again and shale my arms out. The remainder of the climb to the top was easy movement up through moss and ice. 3 or 4 minutes later I was at the top. I felt really great.

I knew that there were ropes set up on the left I could use to rappel back to the ground so I walked along the top on a small beat-out path. As I was walking I was looking around and didn't see a small hole in the path. The front point of my right crampon stuck on the far side of the hole and my heel dropped in the hole with all my weight on it, completely hyper-xetending my right calf muscle. Something in my calf felt as if it had been hit and there was a burning in the outside of the muscle, letting me know that I'd definitely done something serious to it. I was seriously PO'd and let the emotion out!

I managed to rappel down the left side of the crag and hobble back to my pack. There was no way I could frontpoint and walking uphill was a total non-starter so I headed down to the tracks. It took me almost an hour of very slow walking and short steps to get back to the car. The whole ride back home I was in a very black mood. Alyssa read my mood when I walked in the house and calmed me down. She got me on the Rest Ice Compression and Elevation program. That made an immediate difference, but of course the 3 Ibuprofen certainly helped.

I kept that program up all that evening and most of Sunday. I knew that I was going to get better eventually, but I admit that I'm an impatient patient. While I watched the football playoffs on Sunday I started thinking about how those players deal with injury and I thought about massage. I started doing self-massage immediately but I decided that I would try to get an appointment with my massage therapist as soon as possible. I called her and managed to get an appointment on Tuesday morning and another on Thursday. I also called my doctor and described the symptoms and the injury. He suggested that it was probably a severe strain and that I continue doing what I was already doing, and if it didn't get better in several days to come in to see him. The massage appointment Tuesday morning was definitely a trip as my calf was extremely tender to the touch, even on the outside of the skin. Still, by the end of the hour session I felt decidedly better. The second appointment went even better. She was able to do some deep tissue work and I left feeling as if I was actually able to walk pretty normally.

I took it easy that day and on Friday. By Saturday I was going a bit stir crazy, so when my friend Toby called me up about getting out for a little on Saturday afternoon, I jumped. We decided to play in the neighborhood so we walked up to an area below the Barber Wall that I call the Drip In The Woods. Brad White has put up some rock climbs on the tiny crag and renamed it the End Of Days Crag. It's an easy walk and therefore had very little commitment. The Drip was in as good as I've seen it in years so I gave it a try. I was impressed at how well the calf felt when supported by the boot and I climbed well on this short but very vertical excursion.

Whew, it's not going to take all season and massive rehab to get back to climbing! I can really see how much of a role massage can play in healing injuries. In the future when I have any of these kinds of injuries I will definitely hook up a therapeutic massage as soon as possible. When it's appropriate I am confident that massage can play a key role in the rehabilitation process.

Great Deal On Mid-Week Guiding

Climb Classic Mt. Washington Valley Ice routes and save money doing it with new midweek specials from International Mountain Climbing School. Enjoy un-crowded ice climbing and the North Conway amenities without the traffic and without the hassles. Why wait in line to climb?

Give us a call today at 603-356-7064, e-mail us at guides@ime-usa.com or check out our web site at http://www.ime-usa.com/imcs/index.html. We can help you attain your own High Ambitions.

Midweek Specials with IMCS
Every midweek day Monday - Friday
(excluding Ice Fest Feb 10-11/2005 and Feb vacation week 19/27)

Weekend private $225
Midweek Private $185

Weekend Semi Private (group of Two) $160
Midweek Semi Private (group of Two) $140

Weekend Group of three $130
Midweek Group of three $110

All prices are per-person, with one guide

It is Time to Climb!
International Mountain Climbing School

Mystery Drip:
I was looking around in Crawford Notch on Wednesday and spotted this interesting crag & drip up on the right shoulder of Mt. Willey. Looks like a really nice bit of ice with an absolutely brutal approach. Just wondering if anyone has ever been up there. In addition the rock looks like it should also have some potential. There are some other interesting crags to the left of this that look neat for someone who has a lot of time on their hands.



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:

http://www.neclimbs.com/mobile

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:

http://www.facebook.com/NEClimbs/

Have fun and climb safe,


Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire


Mountain climbing is the supreme occasion of physical enjoyment. Far from doping, it actually stimulates our senses and intelligence.
Geoffrey Winthrop Young
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