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When I woke up this morning we were totally socked in here in the Valley. When I let the dog out for his morning business at about 6:30 and walked to the mailbox to get the paper I couldn't see the house across the street. The fog muted the sounds in a funny kind of way such that I couldn't hear any of the distance sounds, but could hear the dog's nails clacking along the asphalt as he trotted down the street to the neighbor's for the first of his morning treats.
I've had a ton of web work over the past few weeks that has kept me inside a bit more than I would like and this morning was no different. As I sat at my desk I could barely see the outline of the Barber Wall from my window. I would code for 5 minutes or so, then sit back and stare out at the grayness thinking about the next bit I had to do and then put my head down again. Around 10:30 I noticed a little lighter shade gray and the next time I looked up I could actually see the jagged outline of the trees at the top of the cliff. Every time I looked up there was a little more visible and finally I could see the blue sky. What a wonderful sight after the recent bout of dreariness. It's amazing just how much better you can feel when you see the cloud lift and the sun comes out.
I had to wait until almost noon to be sure that the fog would have lifted enough to make the trip up into Crawford Notch worthwhile. Once I got going it was a beautiful day. Unfortunately that was not exactly what I wanted to see however. Frankly I hate to put any of the pictures up on the site right now as it's pretty poor right now.
Brad White and I climbed Standard Route last Saturday and Smear was climbed as well, however that is probably not going to happen again for a couple of days at least. Willey's took a hit and there is really nothing left in the top of the Notch other than a very depleted Elephant's Head.
I got a report Friday morning from a friend who lives near Lake Willoughby and he reports a similar state of affairs. He had just rode up there and as of this morning it was 40 degrees and sunny at the base of the cliff! He predicts that much of what was there will be down by the weekend or before.
The www.tuckerman.org site has a few pictures from the 10th that make things look fairly good and I would suggest that if you want to climb ice this weekend that may be the best place to go.
As depressing as the state of things is, remember that this is hardly the only year when it's been after Christmas before the ice has come in. It's definitely going to happen and there is a lot of water out there ready to freeze. Now let's just hope that it gets cold again soon.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 23, 2017
The warmup has really hit us hard everywhere but in the higher elevations. Anywhere in the direct sun is dam close to toast right now. The Amphitheater at Frankenstein is off the radar, or certainly should be. You can probably do the Pegasus rock finish, but that's all. And I would be VERY careful walking under anything over in that area. As of today, Thursday Feb 23, Standard Route still looks OK. I also spotted someone climbing on Waterfall, tho I'm sure that the normally funky top outs are worse. The bottom of Dropline fell down, but Dracula still looks good. I was pleased to see that Willies still looks good. The snow has compacted and I saw what looked to be blue ice. The left side of Willard is basically gone, but Hitchcock, The Cleft, Left Hand Wrench, the far right slab and Elephant Head are still climbable. Other than the Barking Dog and North End I would write off Cathedral Ledge. I know people are going to ask about Repentance, etc and frankly I would caution away from it. In fact anything that is supposed to be attached to rock is suspect. Not to mention the fact that there is a LOT of stuff hanging around above you on Cathedral at this time.
Fast and Light, It Has Its Price:
Fast and Light has become the mantra these days in mountaineering and alpinism. The high visibility successes of Steve House and others are widely known and tooted as the future of modern alpinism. However the risks are great and when things go wrong, they can really go wrong. The 3 climbers who have been lost on the 11,239' Mt. Hood for 5 days (since last Thursday), may certainly pay the price. Reading some of the comments from the local rescue teams sound very familiar to me:
"That 'light and fast' strategy can help climbers lessen their risks by reducing the time they spend on the mountain, but if something goes wrong, you don't have a lot of gear to fall back on," said Steve Rollins, a search leader with Portland Mountain Rescue.
However calculated the risk, there is always the possibility of something happening to swing the calculations to the down side. Many of us who climb around here have done similar things and been lucky enough to get by. These folkjs may not be so lucky and I hope that they are all 3 found safe & sound.
November Mammut and NEClimbs Photo Contest:
The Grand Prize winner of the Mammut and NEClimbs Photo Contest is
Knife edge on Katahdin, after climbing the Chimney
Photographer: Roger St. Aman
Congratulations to Roger for a wonderful photograph. What a spectacular day that must have been on Kathadin.
Bob Ahern pointed out that there was no easy way to view the finalists without going through all of the entries. Good point Bob. I created a special gallery, thank god for databases and SQL, so you can easily view all the finalists in one place. Just click the View Finalists link on the site home page in the Photo Contest box.
Thanks all around to everyone who entered and especially to Mammut for sponsoring the contest. Special thanks also go out to Eric Siefer and Ian Connor from Mammut for their help and support, and to professional photographer Nick Goldsmith for helping judge the entries. Believe me it was no easy task. I hope that we will be able to do this again in the Spring.
The new NEClimbs webcam is finally active. It is significantly better quality than the original Axis camera and I am very happy with how it works. It occupies the same place on the tree outside my back door as did the old camera. You can see it here:
While it is still in Beta Test mode, it is working pretty well. The images you see are actually live shots from the camera. While not optimized yet, it does seem to work OK grabbing images like this. The webcam page refreshes periodically so if you wait a bit you will cycle through all of the 13 settings that show pretty much all of the views that are available from its current location. Currently there is no way to go to a particular shot, you simply have to wait for the camera to move through its sequence. If you want to examine a shot in detail you can simply click on the image on the page and drag it off onto your desktop. then you can drag it into the browser window or into any image editing program you have available. Here is the current preset sequence:
The Beast Flake
Thin Air Face
Pine Tree Eliminate
Thin Air P2-3
In the spring I will be looking into trimming some branches to give us a view of Upper Refuse, Toe Crack and a better shot of Diagonal. That said, it is quite an upgrade and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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.
NEClimbs & White Mountain Report On Facebook:
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: