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October 27, 2005
1. The act of anticipating.
2. An expectation.
Looking up at the whiteness on tops of all the mountains surrounding the Valley
has all of us in up here in a high state of anticipation. Believe me, a drive
to Crawford or Pinkham Notches can really get you wound up. Mount Washington
and all the Presies are covered with the white stuff and there's even a dusting
on the Moats & Cranmore. Drool!
Well it's been a big week in the area with a ton of snow being dumped in the
higher elevations, and a ton of water in the lower. In case you hadn't heard,
Mt. Washington has now received a record snowfall for the month of October.
In fact they've broken all kinds of records this month. 8 days ago they broke
the October record for most snowfall in 24 hours with a whopping 25.5 inches.
This morning they shattered that record with another 25.7 inches. On top of
that the total snowfall in the past 12 days has reached 72 inches. You read
it right, that's 6 FEET folks. That's almost 25% of the normal snowfall total
on the mountain! Beyond that they have also eclipsed the record for most precipitation
in a month set in February 1969 of 25.56 inches. The new record now stands at
27.85 inches of combined rain and melted snow. Can you believe that at the beginning
of the month they set another record for warmest temperatures in October. You'd
never know it right now.
What does this mean for that ephemeral early season ice climbing in the Ravines?
Well some has already been done last week. Both Odell's and Central Gullies
have both been done. Bit is it ready to go? I've talked with a number of the
area guides and pundits, and the genera; consensus is a resounding no. Besides
the absolute MAJOR danger of avalanche, it simply hasn't been cold enough for
long enough for the ice to set up and bond to the rock. While you certainly
CAN climb, if the avalanche danger is low enough, the risks are higher than
the already inherent risks of the sport.
You make your on decision, but from my viewpoint I don't think that the risks
are justified, And hey, I admit it. I soloed Pinnacle on November 10th last
year and climbed Hassigs on Cannon with Alden Pellet on the 17th. The Dike was
even fat. But it was much colder by that time and had been for a while. Even
so, at that time Frankenstein wasn't in. This year is very different. It has
been much warmer and there is LOT of water running everywhere.
I rode up to Crawford Notch this morning to check out how that notch was coming.
Was tried to ride my bike up there yesterday, but up past Sawyer Rock the snow
was spitting so I turned back. Today it wasn't so bad, but I opted for the truck
in the name of expediency. <grin>
Basically there is a snow line that starts up at about 1500 feet. The top
of Attitash has a dusting as do the Moats and even Cranmore. As you head up
302 you see snow up at about the level of Willey's and the middle of Webster.
There is even snow along the top of Frankenstein above Fang. Further up in the
notch there is a strong dusting all over Willard and more on the mountains above
the top of the notch. I couldn't see the presidential's from that location due
to the clouds and fog but I am confident that there was a lot more the higher
That said there was no sign of ice anywhere. Everything on Frankenstein was
pouring water, as was Willey's and Willard. Both the Flume and Silver Cascades
were, shall we say, cascading. It was in the upper 40's in Glen and probably
mid-40's up in the notch. Not even glove weather. Basically we need many more
days of solid cold temps to chill down the rock and make things freeze up.
here are some of the pictures from the is morning's ride. Notice the colors
and the shear amount of leaves still on the trees. It's pretty amazing. In fact
it was impossible to get some of the pictures that I can normally take because
of the leaves.
Looking up the Notch road
So, for now I would say we are still in that holding pattern that we all know
and hate. Still, there is still time to get out your winter gear & sharpen
up those ice tools, crampons and screws. And oh yeah, even finish cleaning out
those gutters and taking down the screens. Oops! That's what I have to do right
With this fresh dump of snow I have initiated the winter Instant Ice Report
on the home page. I try to keep this as current as I possibly can and will
continue keep it as up to date through the ice season. While I generally get
out between 2 and 4 times a week and talk with a lot of the other guides, I
simply can't cover everything, especially in the Ravines, Canon, Willoughby
and other back-country areas. If you are out there climbing and have any current
conditions to report, basically within 24 hours of your experience, please
drop me a note about them. I would really appreciate hearing about it & getting
any digital pictures you might have. And they do NOT have to be magazine quality
Several folks have asked about the Harvard High Cabin. Traditionally it opens
on December 1 and that is still the plan for this year - assuming that they
have a caretaker lined up. Of course you can stay in the lean-to's at Tucks
18 Climbers Dead In Nepal Avalanche:
Seven French climbers and 11 Nepalese porters missing in the Himalayas in
an avalanche last Thursday were confirmed dead on Tuesday.
The bodies of seven French climbers were been located and identified, but
the bodies of some of the Nepalese had not yet been identified. Local residents
in the town of Pokhara, Sher Bahadur Shah assisted in the recovery efforts.
The expedition, led by French mountaineer Daniel Stolzenberg, was climbing the
22,900-foot Mount Kanguru in Manang district the avalanche struck.
We are now in the second week of "Fundraiser Month" at NEClimbs and
The White Mountain Report. Over the previous 52 weeks we have put out our weekly
Report and maintained the NEClimbs web site, keeping you up to date on what's
going on in climbing in the White Mountains, and in the White Mountain climbing
community. This is a very time-intensive task! Making sure that each of YOU
have the latest ice and rock conditions, adding new routes to the online database,
and reporting the events and people in the local climbing community consumes
10+ hours a week. This is NOT an insignificant amount of time! And now with
the price of gas skyrocketing out of sight, the cost of driving around every
week (or more often at times) to check on winter conditions has taken on a whole
We currently have over 780 subscribers to the White Mountain Report and NEClimbs
gets over 600 UNIQUE visits per day. In the online world, that ain't bad at
all. In fact we're really proud of the growth we have seen over the years. We
have recently made significant upgrades and additions to the web site. In order
to better manage the site and make it more efficient for you, we've made the
entire thing database and back-end driven. This allows us to make changes without
editing web pages and even more importantly, get information up even faster.
All this has required a lot of work and time, but it's worth it.
It's easy to postpone making your contribution to the site, but please don't
wait to make your contribution. Don't assume that someone else will pick up
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YOU'RE reading it right now! So please, sit down right this minute and send
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We aren't asking for a lot. A minimal $20 donation isn't a lot for all the
great information provided every single week. Hey, it's 38 CENTS per WEEK! It's
your contribution to the organization that makes this newsletter and the NEClimbs
web site possible. Without your support we simply wouldn't be able to come close
to justifying the effort required to make it happen.
As usual, to make it more enticing, make a contribution and be automatically
entered in a raffle for some GREAT prizes like:
Craig Luebben's new book "Rock Climbing:
Mastering Basic Skills"
"An Ice Climbers Guide to Northern New
England" by Lewis & Wilcox
Tim Kemple's "New England Bouldering" guidebook
Accidents In North American Mountaineering 2005
Boston Rocks 2nd Edition (donated by Richard Doucette)
American Alpine Journal 2005
Petzl Duo LED 5 Headlamp (donated by Backcountry.com)
Nalgene water bottles (donated by Backcountry.com)
2006 Colorado Fourteeners Calendar from The Mountaineers
And MORE great prizes yet to be named
The drawing will be held on November 21st, 2005 and winners will be notified
in the Report. Your donation must be postmarked or received by PayPal before
November 17, 2005 to be entered. It's a perfect opportunity to support NEClimbs,
and a great chance to win a useful prize.
Don't wait to make your contribution. Don't assume that others will pick up
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Make out a check for $20 to NEClimbs or donate via PayPal. We'll appreciate
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GET YOUR NAME ON THE LIST!
The boulderProject is about how climbers, the environment and access are
all interconnected. It depends on community and the power of the movement.
Because of this, we’re tossing the website to you. We’re looking
for a young developer who is passionate about climbing and understands their
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John Harlin, editor of the American Alpine Journal, has summited the Eiger
40 years after his father, John Harlin II, was killed in a rapelling incident
on the mountain in 1966.
“This climb is something I’ve known I needed to do for a long
time. For decades I’ve felt the pull of the Eiger and I’ve avoided
it for just as long. But now it was time for me to face this monster from my
past and put it truly behind me," said Harlin.
MacGillivray Freeman Films were filming the event for an upcoming film, The
Alps: Giants of Nature, slated for release to IMAX theaters in spring 2007.
Congratulations to John.
If you're up in the Conway's this weekend and are looking for some entertainment
on Friday or Saturday, look no further. The band I play with, currently called
Rare Genius, is playing at the Red Parka Pub in Glen. The band plays a variety
of great covers, grooving funk and originals. It features Jami Johnson on vocals & flute,
Carl Iacozilli from the Red Jersey on drums, Jonno Devanough on percussion,
Jay on guitar and myself on bass and vocals. drop by and check it out. I promise
you'll have a good time.
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.
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:
Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
|My best performances often developed out of depression when I used climbing as a tool to forestall suicide rather than a method of achieving it. Dispair inspired three years of 'crazy' soloing.|