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The most obvious thing happening this week is of course the continuing assault of winter. We've had a great crop of ice so far, but we've had an even better crop of snow. And over the past 24 hours we had almost everything! What started as snow Tuesday evening and continuing through mid-morning on Wednesday (giving us almost a foot here in the Valley), turned to freezing rain and then on to plain old rain by mid-afternoon. Those who went skiing in the morning and didn't manage to snowblow or plow by very early afternoon really had a mess to deal with. 8 to 10 foot snowbanks are starting to become the norm almost everywhere and almost everyone's driveways are skating rinks. Not to mention of course the absolutely horrible frost heaves on roads like West Ride Road!
You may have also heard about the incident involving 2 hikers in Franconia Notch over the weekend. A Fish and Game Department spokesman said the hikers were reported missing when they failed to show up at work on Monday morning. A ground and air search began Monday afternoon after the hikers' car was found. The two men were found on Little Haystack mountain at 7:30 p.m. Monday in a state of severe hypothermia. Both were flown to Littleton Regional Hospital but one was DOA. The other is in Dartmouth Hitchcock suffering from severe hypothermia and frostbite.
Fish and Game Lt. Todd Bogardus indicated that the men were equipped only for a day hike and did not carry adequate winter gear for a night in the severe weather conditions on the mountain. In addition they did not have snowshoes, which officials said were a prerequisite for navigating the snowy conditions on the trails. Apparently while one had some winter hiking experience, the other was described as a novice winter hiker.
Once again kudos go to the teams, individuals and the Fish and Game Department who coordinated and executed a very difficult search and rescue. Conditions on Monday were brutal, with high winds and very low temperatures, yielding incredibly low wind chills. In addition the helicopter crew members of the National Guard who assisted in the search and extraction of the hikers and search team members did a great job. It is wonderful to see that these brave men and women are back here in New Hampshire and doing such excellent work.
What a great success this year's 15th Annual Mt. Washington Ice Festival was. Lots of people came up to climb, the clinics and demos were excellent and the weather cooperated right up to the end. It couldn't have been a whole lot better. Thanks go out to IMCS President Brad White and co-owner Rick Wilcox for taking on the huge task of putting this event on. In addition special kudos go out to Anne Skidmore and Sara Garlick for their efforts in just making this thing work. Of course there are lots of other folks in the office without whom things just wouldn't have gone as well, the great IMCS guides, wonderful sponsors and everyone who pulled together to make the festival one of the best in the country. Hey, I'm already looking forward to next year
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!
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:
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The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
The Puking Gecko, Grand Wall, *** S9 5.12d/e 712m - An intimidating and salacious climb. The final pitch is so exposed, tricky, and continuously strenuous that it is impossible to even contact the rock at any point. Better than making passionate love on top of a Japanese Bullet Train. Superbly magnificent and grimly brilliant.