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I consider myself a realist, at least as far as ice conditions are concerned. I feel compelled to "tell it like it is" while at the same time I don't want to come across pessimistic. Recently some folks have said that I've been down on the state of the ice. Frankly I don't think that is the case.
Every time I have gone out this season, whether on my own or guiding, I have been successful. I've done some really good climbing on my own, as well as had fun on many of the classics. In fact I went out today with Brad White and I did Last Exit and Brad and I bagged a couple of cool pillars in the Hanging Garden. In point of fact the ice we did couldn't have been a whole lot better.
The fact is that most years everything isn't always IN at the same time. However, if you are moderately competent and flexible in your plans, there will always be something for you to do. By flexible I mean willing to head uphill if the temps in the lower elevations are too warm, or look for climbs in refrigerated areas. By moderately competent I would say be able to climb 3+ easy 4's and feel OK on occasional mixed ground. And frankly this shouldn't be all that big a deal if you ice climb in New England very much.
That said, I feel perfectly comfortable when I say that things in a particular area are OUT. When lately I have advised that the Frankenstein Amphitheater is altogether OUT, that's because I walk over the trestle, put the binoculars on the climbs and feel that I wouldn't be comfortable up there myself. That's not to say that there isn't some ice up there that someone couldn't climb. Of course there is. Hey, there were folks up on Chia a week ago in conditions that frankly I thought were terrible. Of course that was their call. But I wasn't willing to even walk around those climbs, much climb them in that state.
I judge IN and OUT by two answering these 2 questions:
1) do I believe that the climb can be led by a competent climber in its consensus rating;
2) would I personally be willing to do it?
Really straight ahead. Subjective? You betcha. But that's exactly what I'm offering you folks - my opinion. Of course every leader makes their own assessment of the state of a climb at the moment they stand at the base of the route and look up at it. If they want to climb Dropline on a 50 degree day after 3 days of rain, that's their choice. They may get away with it, they may not. Over the years I have done a lot of climbing, in a variety of conditions and I know when a given climb's in a state that I wouldn't want to be up on it in. Your mileage may vary, and of course remember - this is New Hampshire folks, it's your choice...
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 16, 2017
At this point almost everything is IN and in pretty decent shape and I'm raising the ICECon level to a 4. The thing now is simply getting around. With all this snow you might not want to be the person breaking trail. [wry grin] Tramping out to the more obscure spots will definitely require snowshoes and a heads of for avalanche danger.
Local Climber Jim Gagne Readying for Seven Summit Bid:
As many of you may know, Jim leaves in just six weeks for Mount Everest. This is the seventh and final climb of his Seven Summit quest. It's no walk-up and Jim has been preparing for this event for many years. I've climbed, biked and hiked with Jim and I'm personally confident that he is as ready as he will ever be. I'm betting that conditions permitting he'll be successful the first time out.
Jim will be doing a slideshow of his climb on Mt. Vinson in Antarctica as a fundraiser for his quest. It should be a great show and sendoff for Jim. Donations are $10 and greatly appreciated. All are welcome! Please pass the word.
"Antarctica, Mt. Vinson" slide show on Thursday, February 9th,2006 at 7:00 PM, at Plymouth Ski and Sports, Main Street Plymouth.
Any questions, or comments contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org
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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The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
Personally, I would rather climb in the high mountains. I have always abhorred the tremendous heat, the dirt-filled cracks, the ant-covered foul-smelling trees and bushes which cover the cliffs, the filth and noise of Camp 4 (the climbers' campground), and worst of all, the multitudes of tourists which abound during the weekends and summer months.