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For most folks Memorial Day Weekend signals the start of the summer season. We have usually had some warm days, maybe even some hot ones, but anything can happen. You have to be pretty much prepared for any kind of weather, short of a major snowstorm, unlike Colorado where you may want to even plan for that. This year it looks as if we're going to have a reasonable holiday weekend and I'm all over that!
Before we moved up to The Valley my wife and I used to go car-camping in central Mass on Memorial Day Weekend over near Greenfield close to Rose Ledge. We did it for several years, staying at the same family campground - the Wagon Wheel Camping Area. There were always lots of people there and it was kind of fun to climb all day & then come back to the campground and hang out by the pool in the afternoon, and yes the water was quite chilly. Some years it was nice, some rainy, some downright cold. Never the same.
One year it rained the whole weekend so we went exploring. We had heard about Mormon Hollow and Farley Ledge so we decided to see if we could find the latter. We had gotten some directions from someone, I don't remember who, and had a map. We managed to find the old hiking trail that went up between some people's house - this was probably 12-13 years ago. We found the crag and it was very cool. Clearly lots of interesting and undeveloped lines. But it was so buggy up there that they practically drained me dry. Somewhere I have a picture of me standing at the base of one obvious climb with a huge cloud of mosquitoes swarming around my head. Yeesh!
Once we moved up here we started going up to Acadia with the Boston AMC group for the holiday. We did that for several years. That was fun, but even more of a crap shoot with the weather. I thought it was going to snow one year, it was so cold. Amazingly enough we took our son Daz up there the one right after he was born. He was born on October 1st so that would have made him 7 months. We didn't get all that much climbing in, but the mussel and lobster-fest was great. I do remember holding him while I was cooking and one of the young ladies asked if they could hold him for a while. I passed him off and before I knew it the kiddo was passed around into the arms of every cute climber-chick at the party. Must have been 20 of 'em. I'm sure he loved that.
Anyway, it does seem that no matter what you do with it, the Memorial Day Weekend kicks things off. This year I'm pretty sure it's going to be a reasonably dry one so I figure I'll see lots of folks up here on the cliffs and on bikes on the road. Have a safe and wonderful time. Oh and by the way - stuff yourselves, you deserve it for getting through another winter.
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!
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Roads Open And Closed & Camping:
All the main notch roads are ungated now, including Evans Notch, Bear Notch and Hurricane Mountain. There is road work going on in the Valley, so be prepared to stop on the Kanc and also on 302 near West Side Road where they are putting in a new bridge. One other note - if you were planning on camping up on the top of Town Hall Road, as of Wednesday the gates were still locked. The road is still pretty soft up there.
The mosquitoes and blackflies are out at last. Of course it depends on where you are and the time of day, but if you're in the wrong place it ain't fun! Keep that bug dope in your pack. The animals keep bringing in ticks and we check them, the kiddo and ourselves every day. They're pretty bad right now so be warned. Places like the hike into Albany Slabs and Red Eagle Cliff (a.k.a. Woodchuck) may be the worst.
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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