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Tramping around in the woods at this time of
year is a real chore. In most places the ground still has a good
layer of snow on it, and what isn't snow is usually mud. That's
right folks, we are in the throws of mud season, and it's a good
one. If you're out there you better wear your mud boots, and in
some cases a pair of snowshoes can come in handy as well.
The big topic these days is the weather. We've had some really
nice days over the past week and a half, but it's been rainy & overcast
at times as well. This week it was really pretty nice on Tuesday
and Wednesday, hitting a high of 60 on Wednesday. There were 5
cars at Humphrey's Wednesday afternoon and on the road everywhere
you looked were cyclists cranking out those early-season miles.
Here's a shot of Travis
Piper on Castaways. If you were one of those up there on Wednesday,
it was me who yelled at you from the road on my bike! <grin>
One thing that's cool is that you can see lots of stuff in the
woods since the leaves aren't back on the trees yet. Riding around
at this time of the year can be a great way to spot new crags,
especially if you are on your bike and therefore riding slow. I
keep spotting little outcroppings in the woods everywhere I look.
I think that there are still plenty of little places where you
can find first ascents to do if you look hard enough, and they
aren't a 3 mile hike uphill! have a look as you head up to Crawford
Notch sometime. You'll be amazed at the stuff that's right there!
There are some of us who just can't give up the ice tools and
crampons. I came across a couple of die-hards on a very rainy last
Saturday in a secluded location mixing it up. You have to be stubborn
to even get out on a day like that, but they were really having
a go at it. Of course there was no ice to get to, but that didn't
seem to be bothering them one whit!
I ran into one of the senior local guides the other night at the
Red Parka. We chatted about the ice & snow and the upcoming
rock season. He has been spending a lot of time up on Mt. Washington
this past winter and said that conditions were excellent right
now. What's really neat is that while we have been loosing our
snow cover, they have just gotten another dump over the past few
days. It is really cool so see the snow come & go up there.
I was quite surprised to hear that he had been guiding on Monday
over at Frankenstein. He said that the big slab north of Dracula
right near the tracks was still happening. I had never climbed
there, but he said it was fine. I asked how Dracula looked and
he said that it still looked doable altho the top was getting a
bit detached. I must have looked a bit too enthusiastic because
he closed his comments by saying, "I don't think you would
die if you did it." Enough said...
I got some great pictures from Jay Briscoe that were taken about
10 days ago on what was probably the last really good ice climbing
weekends. I've watched Jay's photo skills get better and better
over the past couple of years and think that he has a great eye.
Maury McKinney of IMCS sent along some nice shots from Pinnacle
Gully taken on Wednesday. He always takes pix when he is out and
has a ton of nice ones. He said that conditions were excellent
in the ravine and the ice should last at least a couple of more
weeks. Here's a great shot of Pinnacle from the bottom and of Sue
Wemyss coming up the first pitch.
While I have officially put away my ice tools, the big Mountain
sometimes still calls to me. Who knows, I may find a day to hike
up & have a look at it before the snow is gone. This is one
of the best times to be up here in the North Country. You can do
a gully, climb rock, do some spring skiing and ride your bike all
in the same weekend - hey maybe even in the same day if you're
ambitious. Get it while you can...
Thanks to everyone who sent in the pix this week. I really appreciate
it. They are all GREAT! Have fun and climb safe,
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective December 15, 2014
While the Valley ice is taking its sweet time, other places are starting to fill out nicely. Unless we have another rain/warmup event, my bet is for some fairly reasonable ice for Xmas. That would be a nice holiday gift, don't you think? ;-)
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.
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