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Around 7 AM I was heading up 302 in Crawford Notch. There was some light snow covering the road and I was happy to have those big Nokia tires on my old Ranger. They hadn't plowed or sanded the road yet and every once in a while I could feel the rear of the truck get just a little squirrely. I was staying about 8 car lengths behind an older maroon Dodge van and as we drove past Notchland a plow truck came down the other side of the road sanding. As we headed up the long straightaway to Arethusa Falls I felt the back end of the truck give just a touch and at the same instant watched as the rear end of the van ahead twitch first right and then back left. I watched as he did 4 - 360's straight up the hill, staying neatly in our lane and coming to a full stop in the middle of the road pointed almost directly into the Arethusa driveway!
WHEW! There were absolutely no cars visible in any direction so I pulled up alongside and rolled down my window, looking into the van. A middle-aged man stared back at me with eyes as big as saucers and a little dog on the passenger seat barking like crazy. I asked if he was OK and he just nodded, put the car in gear and headed into the Arethusa lower lot. I shook my head and continued up the road, albeit just a little slower than before.
It had been snowing when I got up at 6 AM this morning. A light fluffy snowfall that obviously hadn't been falling very long, but enough to make things look a bit prettier than the splotchy patches we had seen when we got home from Philadelphia on Tuesday. Since there is no lower elevation ice climbing right now, I had made plans to meet a buddy in Crawford Notch for a hike at 7:30. After weeks of little or no snow anywhere it was wonderful to run up and back on a snow covered trail, feeling as if I was finally in the winter. Since I usually just use the WIllard trail as a descent from ice or rock climbing it was nice to actually hike up it. We were the first ones up there this morning, but as we came down we saw a couple of parties. Great fun...
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 11, 2016
For the most part the ice is IN almost everywhere. Some places are still thin and the top-outs are not always great, but if you can climb, there is stuff for you to do. Some of the climbs in the Frankenstein Amphitheater are problematic as of today, but with the cold that is expected for the weekend, that may change pretty quickly.
Fowler and Boskoff Missing in China:
Well known Colorado-based climbers Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff are missing and presumed to be on or below a remote 6,000m+ mountain near the towns of Litang and Batang in Sichuan Province, China. On Dec 12 a group was formed in Telluride as an independent but linked search effort in tandem with Mountain Madness in Seattle WA. The group (the FBSC) proposed to Mountainfilm In Telluride that it could establish an account under its non-profit umbrella to accept tax deductible donations from anywhere in the world for the search effort. A blog, the Fowler-Boskoff Search Engine (http://fowlerboskoff.blogspot.com), was established as an appeal for information from anyone that has recently spent time in the region as well as for funds to maintain the search effort.
On December 27, 2006, a body, mostly buried in the snow, was spotted at 1:30pm (China time) by a Chinese member of one of the Field Search Teams. The location is at an approximate altitude of 5300m (17,388 feet), 3 hours above Lenggu Monastery in the Genyen Region. The body is currently unidentified and is not confirmed to be either Fowler or Boskoff. Details of the sighting include modern climbing equipment, blue gaitors, and grey boots. The U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, China has notified both of the families. It also reported that cooperation by the Chinese authorities has helped immensely to maintain an accelerated effort by all parties involved. The plan now is for additional Field Search Teams to return to the same area to confirm the identity of the body and to look for additional climbers and/or evidence.
Let's all hope for the best...
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
This is how they die, I thought. They pass out or freeze without caring. They die as spectators, believing it's all happening to someone else. I'd rather be fully alive and awake when I die, I want to be terrified. The last place I want to snuff it is on a slope no steeper than a beginner's ski hill.