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March 30, 2007
It seems that whenever I "call the season", someone comes along & tells me that in fact it's not "over", they climbed "bla bla bla" and it was great. So, why am I not surprised? The fact of the matter is that I try & get an overall consensus of the state-o-the-ice. When I say that the season is over, of course it's only my opinion and I am pretty certain that on any given morning and up to a certain date there is going to be "something" climbable by "someone"! But would you or I do it, probably not.
If you have checked out the NEClimbs site this past few days you've probably noticed the picture on the home page of the cyclist on Rt 16 right in front of Standard Route at Frankenstein. I took that shot of my friend Eric Siefer last Saturday around noon. We rode our bikes up to Crawford Notch where it was ~55 in the sun that day. We were both somewhat surprised to see people on Standard as it was totally in the sun. That said the ice actually looked pretty good there & on Dracula, but I personally wouldn't have come close to anything in the Amphitheater.
Still, there is ice hanging around in spite of the warm days. I rode up to the Notch this morning & both Standard & Dracula were still standing and you could certainly wind a line up Willeys. I don't know for how long and I can only imagine that on Standard at least good screw placements may be "difficult" at best. But there was ice & it was possibly climbable at 10 AM.
Of course people are going up into the Ravines a lot & that is still reasonable, but there is a lot less snow up on the top of Mt. Washington than you would expect.
Anyway, we have reached that point in the Spring where I personally feel that it's all over. I've put away the ice gear and got out my rock shoes, and am actually starting to think it's time for a new pair. There are just too many nice sunny days that are perfect for early season rock climbing. That said I'll put out my annual caution about the ice above you... You do want to be careful where you climb for another several weeks. Places like Humphrey's Ledge, the Barber Wall on Cathedral and the South Buttress all are pretty clear of ice above.
The Whitehorse Slabs, Toe Crack/Standard Route area on Cathedral and the North End of Cathedral are problematic until we get a warm rain or two. It is surprising how much ice is up above the slabs on Whitehorse and squirreled away inside the Standard chimney.
above the North End
There are plenty of good safe places to climb with low objective danger, so just be careful for a bit longer. Remember, if it's warm enough to climb, it's warm enough for that ice up there to come down!
The USDA Forest Service is putting together a management plan for the climbing area at Rumney. Titled the "Rumney Rocks Recreation Project", they describe it as, "...an environmental analysis which will define a set of actions to include in a climbing management plan for the Rumney Rocks climbing area located on Rattlesnake Mountain."
You can find it by going to the following URL, scroll down a little bit to the Forest Projects by Resource table, look for the heading titled Recreation, Heritage, Wilderness and clicking he link at the bottom "Rumney Rocks Climbing Area".
Clicking on the link "Scoping Letter" will download a the "rumney_rocks_scoping.pdf" file containing the proposal. Before you think that this is a setup to curtain climbing at the area, the following paragraph is important:
"Climbing is, and will continue to be, an important recreational activity at Rumney Rocks. The goal of this analysis is to identify and analyze actions necessary to provide for the continued enjoyment of rock climbing at Rumney Rocks within a managed recreation environment, while protecting the area’s resources consistent with the Forest Plan."
The document details a variety of wide-ranging proposals addressing such issues as environmental concerns, trail work, parking, mixed climbing, scheduling for guided groups and a lot more. It does not sound as if they have any pland on closing it down, how could they, BUT there will likely be changes. If you spend time at Rumney and/or if you care about what happens to it, you definitely should read this proposal and comment on it. The Forest Service is looking for your input. This is the time to be heard.
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
|Tick marks abound, so even the stupid can climb.
In his preface for the original Rifle guide.