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There are a lot of things that happen every year to make you aware that Spring is well on the way. Longer days and generally warmer temps of course go without saying. (But there, I said it.) The change over to Daylight Savings Time is another. That one is always a bit annoying to me, and it's even annoying this year because of how early it happened. Hey, I was just getting used to it being light early in the morning and now it's still pretty dark when I like to get up. I guess that our congress just can't please everyone...
There are lots of other things that point to Spring. Here's a the list I came up with, in no particular order other than how I thought about it:
1) The ice is punky.
2) The snow has started to slough off Whitehorse in big thundering sheets.
3) There is mud everywhere, and it get tracked into the house & car.
4) I start to see a little water seepage in my basement.
5) There are lady bugs and big black flies in the house.
6) I see little black bugs in the breezeway and occasionally mosquitoes too!
7) The road crews are out clearing the snow away from the culverts.
8) The soft snow sticks to your crampons, even with "bot plates" installed.
9) Climbing the ice trade routes is like walking up a ladder.
10) It's great time to be up in the ravines.
11) It's hard to wait for the ice & snow on top of my favorite rock crag to melt before I can climb there.
12) There are interesting drips and drools that you almost never see, forming and disappearing almost before your eyes.
I would imagine that there are more, but those are the ones I can think of.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 4, 2016
In spite of the rain and warmup, there is still ice to be climbed in the Valley and Notches. Some additional caution is required after an event like this, but with reasonable care you should have stuff to climb this weekend. All of the larger climbs are still there and by mid-day Friday and Saturday should be good to go. Just place plenty of pro, check for bonding and beware of some of the top-outs and all should be good. For the time being I personally would NOT go under Repentance or Remission!
One note and I'll probably mention this a couple of times until we have a couple of days of warm rain... There is still a lot of ice & slush on the cliffs. Some of it is visible and some is hidden in the cracks & crevices. This is everywhere, even on very sunny crags like Humphry's. If you are going out to climb rock, be aware of what's above you. And remember, dark places like Standard Route on Cathedral hold ice until surprisingly late in the Spring and there will be snow on the upper slabs of Whitehorse for quite a while. Better safe...
Lost & Found:
If you were climbing Hitchcock Gully & found a pair of ice tools, please let me know. They would have been in the snow behind the rappel tree at the top of the rock pitch. Reward is offered!
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
Ice climbing is similarly pure. I hike to the base of a waterfall. It is in or out of condition. I am in or out condition. I choose whether I can deal with the riddle that nature presents or not. There's no way to frig it.