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I was gonna' write this big long thing about Thanksgiving and being thankful and the like - especially since the ice season has started out so good and actually life has been OK in spite of the economic downturn. I have food in the pantry, wood in the woodbox and I really can't complain all that much. And who would care if I did, right? Then we got this blast of snow followed by sleet then rain and then warmish temps. Then on top of that my climbing partner for today kind of pooped out on me. [sigh]
Still I did drive up into the Notch today to check on the ice, because I told you that I would. I took the pics and wrote up the info all set to put it out as usual tomorrow, Thursday, which just so happens to be Thanksgiving Day! Then I thought to myself, self, there are all you folks who are taking the 4 day weekend off and want to know THE STRAIGHT TALK about the state-o-the-ice right now. And I figured you all would be better served if I put out the Report today, rather than waiting 'till tomorrow. So here goes...
We started the day off yesterday, Tuesday, with 3+ inches of snow. By 2PM it turned to very wet slushy stuff and by 4 we were in full-on rain. It rained here by the cliffs at least until midnight when I went to bed. I woke up at 7 to a sunny day with the outside temp at 37! A look out the back door confirmed that the Barber Wall was totally gone and the Diagonal Pillar had fallen. While there is still ice on Goofers, I am sure it's worthless.
Around 10 my son and I took the ride up to Crawford Notch. Along the way I stopped to check out Black Pudding and it is totally a river now, no ice to speak of. Passing by the rivers we both noticed that levels were extremely high. More like mid-spring conditions. However we also noticed that there was a fair amount of snow still on the ground the further up we went. And, at the roadcut on 302 across from the Saco there was a fair amount of ice. Hmmmmm... I stopped for a quick look at Texaco & was surprised to see a little ice still hanging around. That was promising. At the Arethusa parking lot almost all of the ice that was on Fang has come down, but there still was a little left. Looking up high to Angle Cakes I could see that the pillar was still hanging, but no longer touching down. The temp at 10:30 was now 36!
Looking into the Amphitheater I was very surprised to see anything still standing. There was a bit more than a smear on Smear. While the pillars on Pegasus were gone, the rock-finish still had ice on it and it may be possible soon. Chia was a mess and I wouldn't go near it. Everything else in the Amphitheater was gone or worthless. I was surprised to see a fair amount of ice on Walk In The Forest. The left side may be doable. I couldn't tell about the the Trestle climbs other than there was some ice still left on the slab.
Waterfall still had ice and if it rebonds should be OK soon. Standard Left looked like crap, but Standard itself had hung in OK. In fact I saw two parties climbing it, one up the center to the cave and the other on the right. Regardless it looked as if it was running water. To my utmost surprise Dropline was still standing, tho clearly undermined. It looked as if there was ice inside Penguin as well. Dracula was the most surprising of all. The ice on the right side looked as if it was still fairly thick. If things get cold tonight, as predicted, it may be the best option of the bunch.
Above Frankenstein things looked even worse. There must have been an inversion because almost everything on Willard was totally down. That was what I had seen on the Observatory Auto Road Vertical Temperature Profile in the early morning - 28 at Pinkham and 42 at the summit! The amount of water running everywhere I looked was excessive. Elephant Ear was mostly gone with a river pouring down it and the two cascades were pouring torrents with little or no ice. The East Face had taken a hit and things didn't look too good in Hitchcock, tho I could still see some ice up there.
Checking out the Avalanche Report on tuckerman.org when I got home I see that they got 17 INCHES of snow at Hermit Lake! While that sounds great, be warned that on top of that snow is about 1.5 inches of crust! [sigh]. I can only imagine the difficulty of traveling on that kind of terrain - very slippery, but not thick enough to hold up a 180 pound climber carrying a 40 pound pack!
So what's the prediction, assessment? IMNSHO (in my not so humble opinion) I think we were pretty lucky. In the mid-to-higher elevations things are better than I would have thought. That said we certainly did take a big hit. There is some stuff to climb, as is evidenced by the 2 parties climbing Standard this morning. However I'm sure it was pretty questionable. The weather prediction is for warmish days (mid-30's) and cold nights (low 20's) for the next 4 days. That's not altogether bad, we could have warm nights too. [wry grin] So I would bet that the ice will reform fairly quickly where it hung in. Where it's gone will definitely take a lot longer. If you have plans for the weekend, Saturday/Sunday you may be OK. If I had to bet I would figure that there will be stuff to climb by then. Certainly not as good as if we hadn't had this rainy interlude, but better than nothin!
There aren't any pics attached to this email 'cause I wanted to get it out to you all ASAP, figuring that some of you will take off from work early today. Check on the web site this evening for full postings.
So yes Virginia, there is something to be thankful about... And, I wish each and every one of you a very wonderful Thanksgiving. Be safe & eat well.
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.
Self Serving Music Note:
If you are going to be up in Gorham or the vicinity over the Thanksgiving
weekend, be sure to stop by the lounge at the Town & Country Motor Inn. My R&B
band, Sounds Clever and the Valley Horns, will be playing there from 9-12 both
Friday & Saturday. We don't play above the Notch all that often so I hope
if you are around will you come out. It's a great band for listening or for
dancing. If you make it by please come up & say hi. I hope to see you there.
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: