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When I've been out climbing, riding my bike on
the back roads or hiking in the woods over the past couple of weeks
I've noticed a lot of those Wooly Bear Caterpillars that you always
see around at this time of the year. These are the ones with the
thick coat of fur, generally red-brown in the middle and a rich
dark brown at the ends. They always seem to be scurrying about,
ostensively in a hurry to find a safe place to curl up for the
winter. According to superstition, the width of the middle stripe
forecasts the severity of the coming winter. If correct, we may
be in for a hard winter! Almost all the Wooly's we've been seeing
have a very wide stripe.
I'm sure you all have heard about the flooding that's been taking
place in mostly western New Hampshire. It looks as if we're in
for another bout over this weekend too. I'm getting sick of this.
I was over on Passaconaway Road a couple of days ago and the Swift
River was very high. I'm not a kayaker, but if I was I'd probably
drag the whitewater boat out again. At least it would be something
to do in the water.
When I was up in Maine last week I noticed that the foliage up
there wasn't as good as I've seen it in the past at this time of
year. As we drove back it got a little better as we got closer
to the "Whites" and on The north side of Mt. Washington
things looked to be about at 70%. However when we started down
the hill out of Pinkham there was substantially less and less,
until by Jackson it was minimal. I usually judge the foliage status
from these two small maples that are in the Story Land parking
lot. Well, as of a couple of days ago they were still completely
green! Last year, a week earlier than now, they were flaming. The
oak and maples in my back yard and around the cliffs aren't really
happening yet either. Hmmm...
As is often the case, the weather is a prime topic of conversation
between the local climbers, guides and business people. Everyone
pretty much agrees that it's been a funny fall. We'd all be kind
of surprised if we get another significant dry period before the
weather really changes. One guide I was chatting with on Wednesday
mentioned that the wet streaks on Whitehorse have formed a bit
earlier than in the past. He said that there are often these long
wet streaks that form overnight from seeps, especially on the slabs.
Usually they dry up by mid-morning, but they last longer as the
fall progresses. They were saying that in their opinion the streaks
have started to happen earlier this year than in the past. I think
that's probably true.
I am sure that there will be quite a few nice days before the
snows come, but I can feel the change. We still haven't actually
had a hard freeze yet and there was only a smattering of snow on
Mt. Washington a week or so ago. Over the past couple of years
there have been some very early ascents of the Black Dike, before
Halloween even, and some of the Ravines on Mt. Washington. I did
Pinnacle on November 10th and it had actually been done several
times over a week earlier. I'm not at all convinced that we'll
see that kind of action this year. We'll see...
That said AccuWeather folks have made their predictions:
"The AccuWeather.com Long Range Forecast Team, led by Chief
Meteorologist Joe Bastardi, has released its official Winter Forecast
for 2005-2006. The forecast calls for colder-than-normal temperatures
in the Northeast, with a milder-than-normal winter in the West. "
"Snowfall in New England and the mountains of the Pacific
Northwest are expected to be above normal, while the center of
the nation will see as much as half of the normal snowfall. Overall,
New England will be the hardest hit, with a cold and snowy winter
Just what I wanted to hear with the price of fuel going through
the roof! Good thing we locked in our price in July and had a couple
of extra chord of wood delivered.
Oh yeah... The Indians had a good way of dealing with caterpillars.
They ate them!
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective December 9, 2016
Everything is in the process of rapid change right now. It hasn't gotten above 25 degrees all day (Friday) here in the Valley, it is surely colder up in the Notch. I would bet that at this rate by Sunday things will have radically changed, for the better! Although there was more ice in Crawford Notch on Wednesday than last week, IMO there was nothing climbable. A few folks have made the hike up into the Ravines, but things are fairly thin up there as well. A few days ago I saw pictures of a friend climbing the Open Book in Tucks. I asked about gear and they said that while climbable, it was basically unprotectable! Doesn't sound like much fun to me, but of course YMMV...
To Blog or Not:
Climbing writer Dougald Macdonald sent me the link to his new Blog the other day. I didn't have time to get a look while I was in
Maine, but I checked it out the other day. It's only a couple
of weeks old, but he has some nice stuff on it. I've always liked
his writing, and he's a nice guy, so you might want to check
I particularly enjoyed the article about Stefan Glowacz and Robert
Jasper entitled Hard Core. Man, those guys are that. It's also
an interesting observation about the evolution of some who have
come up through the sport climbing ranks. Nice job Dougald! RECOMMENDED
Annual Fundraiser Begins Next Week:
It's almost time for our annual fundraiser for NEClimbs and the
White Mountain Report. We're going to kick it off next Thursday
with the launch of the new look for NEClimbs. Hopefully you all
will feel that you have gotten enough from the site and Report
that you will make a donation to help justify the amount of time
put into maintaining and developing the site and writing the
Report. Believe me, any donation will be greatly appreciated.
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 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:
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
When I began climbing, the rope symbolized trust. Sport climbing turned the rope into 60 meters of vague social contract. Ice and alpine routes reminded me why the rope is a sacred climbing icon; it signifies the unbreakable bond between partners.