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March 10, 2005

Hi Folks,

The wind screamed and howled louder than I'd experienced in any of my trips to the mountains. Gust after 40 MPH gust shook the walls, making it almost impossible to talk. The wind drove the snow with such velocity that it even found its way in through the tiniest sliver of a crack. Just poking my head outside for a second, instantly crusted my face with rime and I couldn't see anything but biting horizontally driving snow.

I tried to imagine sitting this one out in a tent on the summit of Mt. Washington, but was extremely happy to be on the couch with my kiddo in my own living room. In the 8 years I've lived in the Valley, this was one of the most intense storms that I've seen. My wife, Alyssa, was driving back that night from a trip to Canada and wisely decided to hunker down at a motel in Littleton, rather than brave the drive through the Notch at 6PM. Quite frankly I was relieved that she was off the road and safe. As we talked on the phone about her decision, I stood near the windows in my snug little dining room and felt the drafts from each brutal gust. You could see the sliding glass doors flex with the blows. I peered out into the breezeway and could see snow drifted 4' up onto that sliding glass door. In the back yard there were drifts against one glass door that would keep it from opening out, snow was piling up everywhere, but the driveway and my truck were totally scoured clean! Thanks heaven for small favors.

The storm's intensity didn't slack until well after midnight and fortunately we didn't loose power. When I woke up at 6 AM the winds had eased considerably. I expected to see a ton of snow everywhere, but the wind either scoured the surfaces or driven it into huge drifts. My entrance was 4' deep in drifted snow and the only way out was through the garage. I had expected to spend hours snowblowing, but it only took about 30 minutes, mostly clearing the drifts around the entrances and picking up the debris.

I could have been a whole lot worse, but wait... We have another opportunity. There's another one scheduled for Saturday! Now what was that about Spring in just a few more days?

Lake Willoughby Rescue Cache:

If you've already contributed, please accept my fervent thanks and pass this by. If not, please take a minute to read the following and make a contribution of ANY amount to the fund. It is needed and WILL be appreciated.

In the January 20th report I mentioned that there had been a serious accident at the Tablets area of Lake Willoughby. Because there was no rescue cache available in the area, the victim was hand-carried down the hill to a car and transported to the regional hospital in St. Johnsbury. After some discussion with one of the participants in the rescue, a thread started up on NEClimbs about the possibility of purchasing one or more litters and placing them up on the hills near the cliff.

Richard Doucette, of the Boston AMC Mountaineering Committee, has taken the lead in this effort. In spite of the very real difficulties and frustrations in working through the State bureaucracy, including a local EMS group that feels threatened and didn't want it to happen, Richard has managed to get approval for this from the area Rangers. Everyone I have spoken to thinks that this is a good idea. Richard has done the legwork, now comes the hard part folks.


We need to get enough money together to make this happen. While the State of Vermont will allow it to take place, they are NOT going to pay for it. If we want it to happen, we need to raise money to pay for it ourselves. There was a lot of INLINE talk about contributing, a limited number have actually done so. NEClimbs has contributed $50 to the cause. I hope that you will do whatever you can as well. This is a case of the climbing community helping itself. Make your check out to Richard Doucette and send it to:

Willoughby Cache Fund
c/o R.Doucette
49 Crescent Ave.
Melrose MA 02176

I urge you to make this happen. Even if you don't visit the Lake, or only go rarely, it is needed. Thank you for your support...

About Those "Fixed" Pins:
I was talking with my friend Mark Synnott the other day and of course the topic of Trollville came up. He mentioned that he had been going over there a lot as it is very close to his house in Jackson. Apparently he was over there the other day and watched a local guide on Purple People Eater, one of the mixed routes. This is a difficult line that follows a corner up and right, overhanging all the way. They had climbed all the way to the top just above the last pin, but had ended up lowering off from the pin. A short time later Mark rapped from the top after setting up a rope and noticed something a bit "funny" about the pin. He gave it a whack and it came right out! Needless to say, this was not a good thing. If you fell above the crux and the pin pulled you would most likely crater... Just something to think about when you trust your butt to a piece of fixed protection!

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 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:

Remember - climb hard, ride the steep stuff, stay safe and above all BE NICE,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

Lightly hazed in blue mist, the tiny, clustered town - pale pebbles and mica flashes of light - was no more than stony shingle at the bottom of a deep pool.
Dermot Somers
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