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Now you see it, now you don't! That's how it felt with Spring last week. I know that the New Hampshire weather is unpredictable, but the 14" of snow we got here in the Valley over the past 36 hours was a bit of a shock for everyone who had already gotten invested in the warmer temps and sunny days - me especially. I had hoped to seamlessly move into talking about rock climbing and other outdoor activities, but obviously this was not to be. It reminded me of the April Fools Day blizzard in Boston in '96 that snowed us in when we lived in Natick. Didn't last too long tho.
I had sworn that I wouldn't snowblow any more this season, but this was just too much to leave. After I got the driveway squared away the power went off. Why was I not surprised? So now I can't work, school was closed and the kiddo was here with me and we both were B O R E D. Hmmm... What to do?
Several folks on NEClimbs have brought up the fact that there still is some ice to climb. The Flume and Champney we still climbable as of mid-week. These are like little refrigerators and often hold on longer than anywhere else so it wasn't all that surprising. However, some have stated that they have climbed Standard, Willeys and Dracula. It is a bit surprising regarding the Standard, but Dracula is a lot like The Flume. Anyway, I bundled Daz into the truck & off wen went to have a look-see.
It's funny to ride past the ski areas and see the deep powder, nobody there and only a couple of tracks from the hard cores! Bear Notch Ski Touring had their OPEN sign out, probably the only cross country place open in New Hampshire. They were even out there grooming! Crawford Notch was full of snow. They had obviously gotten the same dump that we got, 12" plus. The DOT had done a good job of cleaning up & there was no problem driving up & back.
As expected the Frankenstein Amphitheater was in very bad shape. Nothing on Smear or Chia and everything else was in various stages of ruin. Amazingly enough there was still ice on Standard, tho covered in a foot of snow. Hard to see what the true state of things was, but probably still climbable. Dracula looked OK as well, at least on the left side. It started snowing as I went further up into the Notch and I really couldn't see what Willeys looked like. Lots of snow covered slab to my eye. Probably just waiting to slough off too! It looked as if you could climb Elephant Head too, if you were careful on the top out.
So the verdict? Well I still think that the season is officially over, but as usual if you are hard-core you can find a place here or there to climb for just a little longer. The temps are going to hover around freezing for the next 4-5 days so those places may just hang in there a little longer. And hey, you can't climb rock or ride the bike right now. It's kind of like the one or two folks who skied down Attitash early this morning or those who get in 2 turns in Tucks in June. Enjoy it all while you can.
A Technology Aside:
When we got home from the Notch this morning the power was still off. So I figured that this was a good time to try out my new MacBook Pro laptop. I fired it up & used it to type this Report. While that was cool, what was REALLY cool was that I did it in Windows, running inside a window on the Mac. Thanks to the fact that the new Mac machines are using genuine Intel chips and this cool virtual-machine software called Parallels I can have a full installation of Windows XP right there with all the accouterments. That includes Microsoft Office and the nifty little program I wrote a few years ago that I use to send out the Report. Once I was done I was all ready to go over to the local coffee shop that has Wi Fi to send it off when the power came back on. But the proof of concept is there & I am confident that it will work. I can't wait 'till I go on a road trip & can do everything right on that machine from anywhere in the world. Sometimes you just gotta love technology!
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 25, 2017
I'm getting texts, emails, PM's, even psychic telepathy queries. all asking the same thing... Is there going to be ice tomorrow, Sunday, Monday, in 2 weeks. I'm telling everyone the same thing - I have absolutely no idea. It rained most of the day today, Friday. There is a big rain predicted for Saturday night. Even if it gets colder on Sunday, it's not going to be really cold! Therefore it's a total & complete crap shoot!
Is the season over, probably not completely. There will still be reasonable ice in the upper elevations for weeks. Most likely Standard and Dracula will hold on a bit longer. But Dropline fell down today and I wouldn't go anywhere near the Frankenstein Amphitheater. Honestly, I would be very very cautious climbing anything this weekend.
Benedictus - a new climbing film:
The Plymouth State University Outing Club is sponsoring a showing of the film "Benedictus" at 7pm on Tuesday, April 24 in Boyd Hall Room 144 on the Plymouth State University campus, Plymouth, New Hampshire. $7 admission, but free for PSU students with a valid student ID. (no food or drink is allowed, as it is a classroom).
As Tom Callaghan puts it, “there is only one opportunity for someone to have a grand adventure” on a particular section of rock. 'Benedictus' is the story of Tom’s 7-year grand adventure on the “Big Wall” section of Cannon Cliff in New Hampshire. Using an old aid line as a starting point, Tom sets out to forge a new free route to the top of the cliff. A sense of humor helps Tom keep things in perspective as partners drop out, injuries crop up, weather won’t cooperate and bad luck just happens.
Rumney & the Forest Service:
I posted this last week, but I thought it was important enough to post again.
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.
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:
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
In 1961 I led this chimney in a state of metabolic uproar. At the base of the pitch I smoked several cigarettes (the first and last ones of my life). This was to calm me. Then I spooned half a jar of honey. This was to ensure superhuman strength. Mort Hempel, my partner, watched this silly ritual with mouth agape and eyes exploding with fear.