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Well we have jumped from snow to sweat in absolutely no time at all this year. Tho it's cool at night, you need to be in shorts by 10 or you'll be sweating bullets by noon. After the winter it sure feels good to me tho. Of course I grew up in Georgia and Florida so it doesn't bother me too much. Along with the warm weather comes the blasting growth of vegetation. In the space of a week we've gone from just some buds to leaves and bright green everywhere you look. If you are allergic to any kind of pollen, you're probably sneezing right now. Thank god for the new types of allergy meds!
BIG thanks to Tradman Nick for dragging me out on the cliff on Wednesday. It's always fun to meet someone in person that you have corresponded with over the web. He is a member of the NEClimbs community and we've collaborated on a number of things over the years, including the Mammut photo contest last winter. He was one of the judges. Turns out that he is also a musician. I've invited him over to play at the Hoot Night open mic that I run every Tuesday night at the Wildcat Tavern in Jackson. This week he decided to take me up on my offer and asked if I was interested in climbing on Wednesday morning. So it was a perfect combination - play music on Tuesday night & climb rock on Wednesday morning.
We met at the kiosk at Cathedral at 9 AM & decided to do something on the Thin Air face. It was quite warm already at 9AM but there weren't any bugs to be seen. In case you haven't been to Cathedral yet this season there is a bunch of trail work going on right now. Check out the open area just across from the kiosk where they are cutting up some big trees & turning them into steps. Very cool. I ran into 2 of the people up near the start of the Saigons and they said that they were planning on doing something up there to help stabilize all the roots at the base of those climbs. Not a bad idea IMHO. If those trees go, it won't be nearly as nice to hang out & belay in the summer.
Anyway... There were 3 other guided parties up there as well and the climbs Thin Air looked pretty busy so we decided to do the Saigons. It was wonderful as usual. I haven't climbed rock all that much this season and those 2 pitches are just about as perfect as you could ask for. I did notice that the nut on the left hand hanger at the top belay was loose. If you go up that way & have a wrench handy it would be nice to tweak it down.
We had time for another pitch so I suggested doing DMZ, the nice 5.9 face climb just right of the wet streak that's Goofer's ice climb. Nick led it up handily and I followed. There is a flake/overlap just below the final moves to the belay that I've been watching for the past couple of years. It looks & sounds funkier than usual now. This was bigger until a local guide pulled most of it off & took an unfortunate fall there a number of years ago. There is now a loose chunk on the right side. I tried to pry it out with a nut tool & got some, but not all of it. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to whack it off sometime.
the Tradman on the Saigons
While the rock in that section of the cliff isn't all that great, I pretty much think that the rock right of that, Rapid Transit & Thin Air, is pretty good. Obviously not all that good tho! As we were walking down past Thin Air of of the guides pointed out some new rockfall that had taken place in the area around the 2nd pitch of Rapid Transit. It was a lot more than I would have expected and obviously fresh. He mentioned that as he was climbing a few minutes before he had pulled off a baseball chunk of granite. Just goes to show you that ANYTHING is suspect.
Regardless, it was just about as nice a morning as I could have asked for. When we walked down the Thin Air trail past the Mordor I was reminded just how recently we had been in full-on winter by the large patch of snow at the base of the cliff. It will be interesting to see how long that lasts.
how can it be?
Along the same lines, I rode my bike up to the top of Crawford Notch on Tuesday morning. There was a single chunk of ice still alive on Pegasus, another scrap on Standard, a big chunk at the base of Cinema and another up near Hitchcock. Amazing...
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 16, 2017
At this point almost everything is IN and in pretty decent shape and I'm raising the ICECon level to a 4. The thing now is simply getting around. With all this snow you might not want to be the person breaking trail. [wry grin] Tramping out to the more obscure spots will definitely require snowshoes and a heads of for avalanche danger.
Although we just came out of the final winter snows and the rivers have been high, we are most definitely in a drought right now. There hasn't been any significant rain in 2 weeks and that's not a good thing. There have been brush fires here and there, with the most recent one in Tamworth a couple of days ago. If you are camping please be careful and do not have an open campfire.
Farley Ledge Preservation Initiative, MA
From the Access Fund.
A grant was awarded to the Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition (WMCC) to assist with the purchase of a nine-acre parcel of land abutting Farley Ledge, a unique and unspoiled outdoor recreation area in Erving, MA. Purchase of this property will protect valuable, undeveloped land and create a permanent sustainable parking lot and trailhead providing public access to both the rock climbing at Farley Ledge and the nationally recognized Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. This purchase ensures permanent access to one of southern New England’s best rock climbing resources that was previously threatened by a busy residential neighborhood causing restricted access four times in the last twenty years.
Not too much in the way of bug during the day right now. Some mosquitoes, but not bad. Fortunately the black flies don't seem to be out. Unfortunately there are definitely ticks. I got one on Wednesday & the dog & cat are getting them too. Be aware.
Where are The Peregrines at Cathedral Ledge:
Currently there is no closure at Cathedral Ledge for the first time in many years. For whatever reason the birds don't seem to be around. If you spot them on the cliff or another local cliff please take a minute to post something in the thread on the NEClimbs forum. Thanks...
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:
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North Conway, New Hampshire
As I hammered in the last bolt and staggered over the rim, it was not at all clear to me who was the conqueror and who was the conquered. I do recall that El Cap seemed to be in much better condition than I was.