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Funny how not climbing in the winter makes me grouchy. It's amazing just how much better I feel when I get out every day or two and pound on the tools. I know for a fact that Alyssa, the wife, is mucho happier when I get out of the house and get some exercise! In the summertime she basically throws me outside for a bike ride every day or so, if I'm not already doing it myself. With the lack of ice and snow this winter, exercise has been more problematic for me. Maybe that's going to change...
So I really haven't been out climbing more than 4-5 times so far, it's already mid-January and the tension has most assuredly been building. Playing music helps, but it doesn't have the same physical component that climbing or cycling has. I'm convinced that there is just nothing like some good old ice climbing to work off all of a day's frustrations. Swinging the tools, kicking the crampons, hanging there as little as 40 feet off the deck - there's simply nothing like it. Even just a couple of hours of this kind of thing every few days & I'm a changed man. One who's much easier to get along with.
On Monday the frustration reached a pinnacle, so to speak. I just had so much work to do and there was literally NO WAY I was going to get it done no matter what I did. I'd spent the entire day before at the desk and was looking at the whole rest of the week as being the same. So what did I do? I just put on my gear and went climbing, what else? I figured that after a bunch of chilly days and nights, since Sunday at least, there was bound to be enough ice at the North End of Cathedral to at least SWING a tool. I was going to ride my mountain bike down but since we'd gotten a bit of crappy snow/ice the night before I decided to go in the car instead. Turned out that the road was so packed out that the bike would have worked out just fine. Go figure...
There were a couple of cars parked down by the gate, but only a pair of folks up by the pillars. Not in a friendly mood I opted for Thresher. It looked a bit thin, but certainly climbable. There were some pick holes all the way up and obviously it was too thin for screws, but the ice was fine and I started feeling better. At the top I walked down the climber's trail, winding around all the large trees that had come down in the late fall. The other climbers had left so I walked up to the pillars on the far right. I started up the middle steep section and there was something funny sticking out of the ice. It was a Chinese-made bayonet! Very strange. I moved it down & kept on going. The top was the usual thin crappy ice/snow mix so I traversed off left to a more stable finish. As I was walking down I came across old friend George Hurley, just out hiking and checking out the state of the ice. We chatted for a minute and then I walked around and did another coupe of laps, first on the middle and then the far left side. Great fun and reasonable ice.
So it looks as if we may just have an ice season after all and my family may just be able to survive living with me for another winter.
Massachusetts Breaking News:
Farley Ledge, MA (01/11/2007)
The Western Massachusetts Climbers’ Coalition has signed a Purchase & Sale Agreement for 9-acres of land at the base of Farley Ledge. Located in Erving, MA, Farley Ledge represents some of the best climbing and bouldering in southern New England between Rumney and the Gunks.
This purchase will allow the WMCC to restrict non-climbing related development at the base of the crag and construct a sustainable and permanent parking area. The new parking area and trailhead will replace the existing small lot now located at the end of a busy residential neighborhood.
While the ice is going through a bit of a change, what with the weather being so cold, it's still very good in most places. With the longer days and more intense sunlight we should start to see some refreshing going on, as soon as the temps moderate. Most climbs in the direct sun are starting to see a little water during the day, in spite of the cold. The stuff in the shade that's looking a bit beat up and that in the direct sun is a little pinky. That said, it looks as if this weekend things are going to moderate, so it should be a good one.
BTW I am aware that some of today's pix are of a decidedly poorer quality than we all are used to. This is because my main camera's battery pack died and I had to use my cell phone camera - sorry about that.
Yet Another Shameless Plug:
My R&B band SoundsClever will be playing at the Wildcat ski area on Saturday, January 20th, from 12 noon until 4 PM. (You read it right, that's NOON folks!) Then we play again on the following Thursday, January 25th at the WIldcat Tavern from 8:30-11:30. I hope to see you at one of these great venues.
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:
Climbing is a very dangerous sport. You can get hurt or even kill yourself. When you go climbing, you do so of your own free will. Everything on this site is to be taken with a grain of salt. Don't blame us if you get up some totally heinous route, in over your head and fall and hurt yourself.