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The weather has been spectacular since the last storm came through. It doesn't matter what outdoors activity you are into, it's about as perfect as it can be at this time of year. I see climbers on the cliffs, cyclists on the road, cars parked at all of the trailheads and kayakers on the rivers. Word has it that Wildcat Ski Area is staying open through this weekend and there's still snow in the ravines although it's a little soupy in the sun. it's all good right now unless of course you are still into ice climbing!
Of course one of the best parts of this time of year is that there are very few bugs. not that there are NO bugs, but the black-flies aren't out yet. I was over at Cathedral late in the day on Sunday and there were certainly mosquitoes out in the woods. Big fat ones who loved my bare legs too. It will be very interesting to see if this strange weather (fall & spring) has any affect on the bug population. I certainly hope that it's a negative one!
This weekend was especially beautiful and the crowds on the cliffs showed it. I was outside in the yard on Sunday and saw a lot of folks up on the Thin Air Face. I grabbed a couple of pictures of people on Thin Air and another person on eh crux of The Book. That was pretty cool as I watched the leader attempt to climb over the top of the crux roof & then decide better & do the normal step across. There are 2 pix on the NEClimbs forum in the Rock Climbing: Trad section. They are under the webcam shot #1 and #2 topics. I knew there was as reason I dropped over $2,500 on he new webcam last fall! It's a big improvement.
One of my favorite areas to climb in the early season is the first pitches of Ego Trip and Starfire. Like a lot of places right now, the hardest part of the climb may be getting on the rock without getting your shoes wet or muddy! A good idea is to bring along a small piece of carpet to throw down right where you start a climb. My buddy Brad White turned me onto that one. You can wipe off your soles right before you start up. It's an essential piece of gear this time of year.
I rode the bike out to Evans Notch on Saturday. Temps were in the mid-70's and tho a little breezy it was wonderful. At the Basin I was surprised that the road past the gate was clear so I started up and just rode until there was a tree down across the road and some snow, probably about 3/4 of the way. The interesting thing about riding the bike in the early spring is that you (well me anyway) go slow, relatively speaking. With the leaves still off the trees you can see things that you don't usually see. This time I spotted 2 cliffs that I'd never noticed before:
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.
1) Just as you start up the hill there is a visitor center that's located in the old brick house on the right. There is a pretty good sized crag almost directly behind it, a little on the left.
2) About 2/3 of the way up the road there is a yellow sign on the right side that indicates a turn coming up. If you look into the woods on your right there is a medium sized crag up the embankment with a huge roof. Very cool looking.
Does anyone know anything about these cliffs? They both look as if they would be worth checking out. Inquiring minds...
BTW the water was pouring down everywhere you looked, even washing over the road in places. The Cold River was roaring and there were still pockets of ice & snow up in the hills. The top of Baldface was still covered in snow, in spite of 4 consecutive warm days. I had a rehearsal in Ashland yesterday, Wednesday, and rode up over the Kanc. Lots of snow up there alongside the road and in the woods. Plenty of run-off everywhere. No wonder the kayakers are in heaven right now.
This is a special time when you can ski in the mountains in the morning and climb rock or ride y our bike in the afternoon - or any combination there of. Enjoy it while you can.
AAC GIVES ANNUAL AWARDS:
The Robert Hicks Bates Award for up-and-coming young climbers went to our own Freddie Wilkinson from New Hampshire. Look for a short profile of Wilkinson and an article about his recent trip to Scotland in the spring American Alpine News. Congratulations Fred, you deserve it.
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
The thrashing movements gave me the shuddering thought that if the stitching came apart, I would burst through the bottom and plunge two thousand feet. My life was hanging on the threads of an Oldham seamstress.