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September 7, 2006
It's 1:30 am and I'm on West Side Road, on my way home from playing music at the Parka. Right around Humphrey's, through the trees on my left I can see reflected flashes of the 3/4 moon in the stillness of the dark Saco. I go past the turn onto Old West Side and drive a little further. High cloud streamers spread out thin silver streaks while multiple levels of thin clouds outlined as if with a black crayon drift slowly in front of the moon - some moving left, others right.
It was amazing. Amazing enough to make me pull off the road by the strawberry fields, turn off the truck and kill the lights. I get out and lean against the warm hood savoring the silence and the balmy late-summer breeze. If one of North Conway's finest or a "Statie" were to drive by they would think I am high, but that's not at all the case. Unless the rush I get from the beauty of the moment counts...
It does seem that climbing accidents happen in groups. We'd had pretty much nothing for most of the summer, and then we have had a number in the past month. The two most recent involved a group who were benighted on Whitehorse and a climber who took a fall on Cannon. In the case of the former a man, woman and 2 young girls ended up high on the cliff with no headlamps in the dark and unable to finish or rap. The local MRS helped get them down. In the latter the leader pulled a large flake off the original start to Moby Grape. from what I understand it is a massive piece-o-rock. The good thing in both of these incidents is that no one was seriously injured. Let's all Knock Wood!
This brings up another reminder folks... Your local MRS guys & girls are out there on a regular basis helping deal with these and many other kinds of search & rescue problems. They do a great job, and its a totally volunteer organization. If you are a local, join the team. If not, you can still help out. There is a donation box by the cash register at IME and EMS. Drop your "spare change" in the box after you've made your purchase. It all ads up and it all goes to a good cause.
The contest is coming along, but of course we'd love to get aTON of pictures, not just some. Even if you take pictures for the local ski area, or some wedding shots, you can still participate. It's easy... Just send your best shots in an email to email@example.com. I should have a Gallery up on NEClimbs of the latest pictures by the end of the week. You can get all the details on the home page of NEClimbs.com.
Someone took me to task for my observation last week about the fact that I'm seeing A-10's & big choppers in the area again. They pointed out, rightly, that these are weapons of war stating:
We have slaughtered many thousands with the power of your Warthogs and "big choppers"...
While true, many things can be used for bad acts - SUV's come immediately to mind, they can and have been used for good. At least the choppers have. I have personally been involved in a major rescue where one of the big choppers from the NH National Guard was used to find and evacuate someone lost on the Lafayette ridge. I am also happy that both the choppers & A-10's are back here because it means that many of these men & women have returned (hopefully) safely. The big choppers are a particularly welcome sight because it means that when we (Mountain Rescue Service) need one for a rescue there is at least a reasonable chance we can get one. That was not the case for the past 2+ years, and it was a drag.
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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Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
|Winter alpinism is hard enough without the added dilemma of free-climbing ethics.|