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February 17, 2005

Hi Folks,

I never really mind when the family stuff gets in the way of my climbing. After all I love my wife and son, and frankly they are just as important, make that far more important, to me than climbing. (Hear that sweetheart?) But when work gets in the way, shall we say it's a bit more on the frustrating side.

I've been pretty lucky over the past 8 years to be able to live up here in the North Country and still make a living without having to go through the almost hand-to-mouth existence that many my my neighbors and friends do. That said, the last couple of years with the downturn in the technology market, things haven't been quite what I would have liked. So, when I got an offer that required me to go down to Boston and train for 3 days last week and then work like a dog over the weekend - hey, it was a no-brainer. In spite of last week being Ice Festival, when you get a great opportunity like that, you just don't pass it up. And of course there was some tactful prodding by my better-half. <grin> After all there aren't exactly a ton of opportunities to do enterprise-level coding while only working 3 days a week from home (VPN) up here in the mountains and making good bucks. Like I said, no-brainer!

Of course there was still some frustration with not being involved in the festivities. From what I hear from all involved, it was a great time. Good climbing, lots of people, but not a zoo. Superb slideshows and networking. It really doesn't get a whole lot better than that, does it? I think that Maury, Brad, Rick and all the folks at IMCS and IME deserve a huge CONGRATULATIONS for a job well done. It's hard to believe that this was the 12th year of the Ice Festival. Let's hope that we have 12 more.

Annual SAR Dinner and Meeting:
Last night was the annual Search and Rescue meeting and dinner at the AMC Highland House in Crawford Notch. It is always a great time to meet all the people involved with the search and rescue work in the area. There were members from all the area teams including representatives from our own MRS, AVSAR, NH Fish and Game and our favorite Forest Service snow rangers. It's always great when these folks get together to actually socialize. And hey, sometimes you get to see a new face...like ranger Justin's new baby. Congrats to he and his wife. What a cutie, the baby that is! <grin>

There also was a very good slideshow put on by Chris Joosen of the Forest Service. He assembled a show with accompanying music from over 1000 images sent to him by all the local team members over the past weeks. They gave an amazing overview of rescues from WAAAAY back, right through today. Kudos to Chris for a job well done.

Rick Wilcox, local MRS President, gave a short talk about a rescue he was on in 1974 on the Pamola Cliffs at Kathadin. In that episode 6 climbers from this area got in trouble and one of the party died. Rick pointed out:

1) they started late
2) didn't check the weather
3) exceeded their abilities, in this case they had someone with them who was totally inexperienced
4) were unprepared to stay out - no bivy gear
5) had no preset turnaround time and pressed on when they should have retreated.
6) had little or no knowledge of the descent route

MRS VP Joe Lentini did a short talk about the incident several weeks ago on Damnation Gully. In the course of his discussion he made a comment that I thought was right on the money. He said 2 things:

1) The good news is that quality of the rescue teams in the area has gone up exponentially over the years. The expertise is some of the best and the way that people work together in the field is superb.

2) The bad news is that we are still rescuing the same person we were rescuing 30 years ago. While we have gotten better, they are still the same.

The exact same reasons for disaster were present in this episode as in the 1974 incident. Let's all make sure that we aren't the same ones that Joe & Rick are talking about.

Here's a few interesting pix taken at Frankenstein on Wednesday:

Guide (Bart) on Standard Route
The 'rear window' from the Standard cave
View from inside the Standard cave



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


if your going to solo, fall early
Jim Donini
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