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It's only a week away from Christmas folks! Have you got your shopping completed? Have you been a good boy or girl? What's Santa going to leave you under the tree? A new ice screw, softshell jacket, pair of leather boots or a lump of coal? Hopefully not the latter. With the economy still in the doldrums, it can be a good time to pick up on great deals at your local outdoor outfitter or climbing emporium. While I've been poking around looking for that "perfect ift for my significant other" I have seen some perfect things for me as well, and prices that are so good I've had a hard time keeping my wallet closed! Too bad my Xmas list was sent out a long time ago...
I've been thinking about getting the kiddo out for more winter fun before he settles into the close to full-time skiing thing and last Sunday presented a good opportunity to see what he would think of a little of the ice climbing thing. I would figure that a 9 year old might find the idea of bashing and kicking things with sharp pointed objects somewhat attractive, and I was right. After outfitting him with a pair of plastic boots and crampons borrowed from the Climbing School, we headed down to the North End. There were a number of folks up at the pillars so we p ut on the crampons and headed uphill to the slabs below Thresher. There was a lot of interesting ice and It looked as if it would serve the purpose.
I gave him a primer on French Technique as we hiked up the hill and he picked it up pretty well. We had done a little of this on Willies a couple of weeks ago and it came back well. I believe that he has skied a lot helps. Dumping the packs I showed him the tools and gave a very short demo of how to use them. Of course he wanted to play with my new carbon fiber Cobras, go figure...
So he kicks into the ice and swings the tool a little, albeit feebly as you can well imagine, and the next thing I know he's 6' up on the slab! I was impressed. He kicks his way down and back up again. His arms get tired but his calves don't really burn & he just moves all over the place. I didn't bring a rope so I wouldn't let him go higher than that. This continues off & on for a little over an hour, with frequent brakes for hot cider & Clif bars. We finish there & hike along the cliff to check out the Repentance & Remission & he points out all the cool ice runnels that he sees. All in all a successful day. And the really cool thing is that as we walk in the house when I ask if he wants to do it again, maybe with the rope, he says yes!
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!
We got about 6 inches of fluffy snow on Tuesday/Wednesday and that was nice. Looks as if we're getting another series of snow events starting on Friday mid-day, again on Saturday and another on Sunday. I don't know if we're going to get as much this year as last, but this is a good start. And it's supposed to get really cold on the weekend which should make things great for forming ice. If you're planning on coming up for the weekend, getting an early start Friday afternoon might be a great idea. It's going to be a great weekend for winter sports of all kinds.
wednesday is Christmas Eve day and Thursday Christmas Day. Obviously I'm not going climbing or Reporting on Christmas Day. I don't think that the family would go for that! So I'll try and get next week's Report out on Christmas Day. Stay tuned... And on that note, from my family to yours,
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU!
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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