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March 23, 2006
I was fully prepared to call the ice season toast when I woke up this morning. 6:30 AM - the temp on the back porch was a balmy 38 degrees and the sun was shining. How could you possibly have ice in your mind? Well I guess it is a bit like the umpire about to call the game on account of rain, only to look up and see blue sky through a break in the clouds. Don't give up quite yet.
Getting a late start at about 9 I gathered my stuff & pointed the truck, still jammed with PA gear from gigging Wednesday night at Delaney's, up toward the Notch. As I rode past Attitash I kept thinking that I should have brought my small camera and ridden my bile. The road was totally dry and the air so nice that I rolled with window down and left it down. Looking over at White's Ledge I noticed that the Pick Of The Litter crag was bathed in warm south-facing sunlight. It looked like a great place for some early season rock climbing.
Pick Of The Litter
The sun held out as I passed Texaco. Looking over there with the binocs' I confirmed that there was minimal ice to be found, although the upper gully of Endeavor looked OK. Getting there would certainly be an adventure tho.
By the time I got to Frankenstein it had started to cool off and get cloudy. Getting out of the car to snap pics of the Amphitheater at the Dry River Campground I had to put my jacket back on and the further up the Notch I drove, the colder & cloudier it got. When I got out of the car just above the Willey's pullout it was windy and very chilly. Hmmm...maybe winter isn't quite done yet, at least up here.
I spotted master-guide Kurt Winkler's car in the Willey's pullout. That was unusual since I didn't figure Kurt was much for taking anyone up Willey's. He's more of an "let's have an adventure" kind of guide. Then I remembered that Brad White had sent me some pictures of some interesting climbing that he and a client had done about a week ago on Mt. Webster, just across from Willey's. I looked over in that area, left of Central Couloir and up the hill, and there it was. WOW... Just like Brad said, it looked as if there was a lot of stuff up there to do.
And there was:
Brad on Ready Mix, M5 WI 3+
The obvious mixed shot is the FA of new mixed climb called Ready Mix - WI 3+ M5. Several others have been done by a variety of climbers over the years. This isn't all that's hanging around on Webster either. Kurt pointed A bunch of interesting looking lines in that area. It seemed that everywhere I looked as I continued up the Notch, there were more things that caught my eye. Pilgrimage looked in superb shape:
Brad White also sent me some interesting shots of some climbing he did over on Mt. Avalon this past week. With the minimal amount of snow on the ground, now was a good time to head over there. Apparently he was in on the FA of a lot of those climbs with Todd Swain way back when.
Battle Of The BulgeDirect
Peer Presure Direct
Brad mentioned that when they did the routes they undergraded them deliberately, so basically it's a lot better than just a bunch of lousy 3's. There are definitely some cool 4's out there.
So, basically it's obvious that neither winter nor the ice season is over yet. At least for the time being. Of course you have to be into finding the interesting things to do and doing a little hiking around to find them. While Frankenstein is on it's way into 2006 oblivion, there is ice to be found. Get out there and do it. It's Spring Conditions folks. Grab it while you can.
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
|Tick marks abound, so even the stupid can climb.
In his preface for the original Rifle guide.