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In case you haven't heard there has been a forest fire over at Rumney. It was on the news Wednesday evening and again this morning. The fire was located above the Main Cliff and on the left side of Orange Crush. Fire officials have said the fire was started by someone on Wednesday and they don't know if it was accidental! "It's still burning deep into the ground because a lot of the rock top has a lot of debris and dust in it, so it's making the mop-up a little bit of concern," said forest ranger Bryan Nowell. According to reports as of the middle of the day today (Thursday) the area is officially closed.
In spite of the record snowfall this winter and slow melt, the ground everywhere is very dry and the wind is exacerbating the situation. Although we did have a little rain last Monday afternoon, it had virtually no impact on the amount of water "in the system" and there has been little or no seepage on the cliffs. I was out on the mountain bike on Wednesday afternoon and the trails are dusty with places that are usually pretty muddy this time of year bone dry. When I tilled my garden this morning getting ready for some planting I noticed that the soil was totally dry, as much as 8-10 inches down.
Several years ago there was a forest fire up in the North Moats behind Whitehorse Ledge. It filled the Valley with smoke and was actually quite difficult to put out. For those of us living on the West side of town it was pretty scary. Another one probably a year earlier was up in the Green Hills and was also difficult to put out. And these weren't in a place like Rumney where the cliffs make access even more treacherous!
If you are out in the woods or camping, even in a campground, please be careful with cigarettes and any kind of open flame. Besides being dry the breeze will very quickly fan any open flame and scatter sparks everywhere. Although I want a good climbing weekend as much as anyone, right now I would prefer some rain.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 23, 2017
The warmup has really hit us hard everywhere but in the higher elevations. Anywhere in the direct sun is dam close to toast right now. The Amphitheater at Frankenstein is off the radar, or certainly should be. You can probably do the Pegasus rock finish, but that's all. And I would be VERY careful walking under anything over in that area. As of today, Thursday Feb 23, Standard Route still looks OK. I also spotted someone climbing on Waterfall, tho I'm sure that the normally funky top outs are worse. The bottom of Dropline fell down, but Dracula still looks good. I was pleased to see that Willies still looks good. The snow has compacted and I saw what looked to be blue ice. The left side of Willard is basically gone, but Hitchcock, The Cleft, Left Hand Wrench, the far right slab and Elephant Head are still climbable. Other than the Barking Dog and North End I would write off Cathedral Ledge. I know people are going to ask about Repentance, etc and frankly I would caution away from it. In fact anything that is supposed to be attached to rock is suspect. Not to mention the fact that there is a LOT of stuff hanging around above you on Cathedral at this time.
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Whitehorse Route Query:
If anyone has any information about who put up the variation of Sea Of Holes on Whitehorse called "The 5.7 Flake" please let me know. This information is not in either the Webster or Handren guide books. Someone was asking about the historical aspect of this climb & I thought I would inquire among you folks. Thanks...
The blackflies are starting to feast now. Between them and the mosquitoes and ticks, being outside on a calm day without DEET or some kind of bug dope is, shall we say, problematic at best.
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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The White Mountain Report
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.