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January 19, 2006
I played at the WIldcat Tavern on Tuesday night. Since I rarely get to bed before 2 AM the wife was nice enough to let me sleep in on Wednesday morning. she crept out of bed at 7, gently closed the door and warned the kiddo not to make noise and wake me up. Too bad she couldn't tell the dog the same thing. About 7:30 I woke to the sounds of the dog whimpering outside the sliding glass door in the bedroom. She'd put him out to do his morning business but he didn't last more than a few minutes. Oh well...the intentions were all good.
Wednesday was one of those days when the dog and cat didn't want to be outside! Riley and Victoria would act like they needed to go out, but when I opened the door they would immediately turn around & run back in. I had to actually throw them out the door a couple of times to make sure that they would get out for a while. Let's just say that it was a nasty day any way you cut it! Since it was actually snowing at 2AM, I'd thought we might dodge the bullet. Fat chance... For the second time in a week we had a major rain event. Last Saturday we about an inch and it had, what turned out to be, a marginal impact on the ice. This time we got double that figure, and amazingly enough there is still ice around.
My friend Steve from Portsmouth came over today, hoping against hope to find something to climb - or at least have a nice hike. I wasn't nearly as hopeful, but you never know. So we met here at 8:30 & headed up the road to the Notch. Leaving the house I was surprised to notice Diagonal was still standing and some ice still on the Barber Wall. As we rode by Black Pudding I also saw that the pillar was still fat as well. Hmmm - I started feeling a lot better.
On the ride up 16 I noticed that the Saco was in major spring rush conditions. I didn't see any ice in the river to speak of and frankly I was surprised not to see any kayakers. Some friends have been talking about getting out and it looked as if it would be a good time - if you're into that thing.
Arriving at Frankenstein I was very surprised to see how much ice was still standing. While Fang was gone, ice over to the left in the Valkyries area was still there. Further North the Amphitheater was a mixed bag. Smear was still complete although thinned out a lot. Unfortunately the pillars on Pegasus, already affected by the previous rain, had come down and a waterfall was pouring where they had stood. Chia was still intact and there was significant ice still on Cave Route. The Trestle and Walk and Lost In The Forest all still had ice, as did a very thinned out Waterfall. While Standard was still large, it definitely took a major hit. Water was pouring at the top and I could see rock to the left of the cave. Not at all a good sign. Dropline was still up, although there were major grooves all over it. Unless something miraculous takes place Machine is done for, while Dracula looked wet but fine. Willey's looked OK, although there was water up at the top in the center. There was still ice on all of the climbs on Mt. Willard although they were certainly impacted. I don't think Cinema is climbable right now but it should rebound with cold temps and the numbered gullies should be the same. Both Cascades are open water but Hitchcock looks reasonable.
We decided that was nothing that we wanted to attempt so with a sigh we headed back South. As we rode past Black Pudding it once again looked surprisingly enticing so we pulled over & slogged up the hill through the leaves. It was very thin and a little tricky getting up the initial tiers to the belay tree on the right. There was almost no snow in the gully, there was water pouring down over rock and from all the debris it was obvious that there had been a river running through there the day before. Unfortunately when we got up where we could see the base of the climb we realized that it simply wasn't going to go. There was rock all around the base instead of snow, the pillar was pouring water and the start up to the mushroom was completely de-laminated. It's funny how desperate we all get sometimes to get out there & climb but one look and this and I had to say, "Not me." Steve didn't look all that disappointed so we rap down to the woods again & head down to the car. Well at least it was a nice day to be outside. Too bad we didn't bring our rock shoes, the sun on Humphrey's looked mighty enticing.
Here are a couple of other climbs that are still hanging in there...
And here are a few other interesting pre-rain pix of the elusive Lost Helmet Crag. Brad White had been eyeing it for years and finally got over there last week. It looks like a cool place to visit.
Lost Helmet 1
Lost Helmet 2
Lost Helmet 3
Thanks to Brad for sending these along.
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The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
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