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Close to perfect is how you can describe today, with sunny skies and temps in the mid-20's. After yesterday, which could only be described as a miserable mix of snow and freezing rain, anything would be nice. But this is exactly what we expect out of a near-spring day in New England. Tho we are not quite to the first true day of spring, there should be no question that it's well on the way.
Over the past several years it seems to me that spring has come a bit early, and right now all the signs of spring are already here. Keeping your eyes open while wandering around in the woods you can certainly see the signs - a decided lessening of the snowpack, hollows forming around the bases of the trees and even subtle but recognizable changes in the buds on bushes and trees. The wonderful warmth of last weekend really got me into full-on thinking about the coming spring and now I see it everywhere I look. And it being o warm that I got out for a long ride on my road bike on Sunday didn't hurt either. Climbing ice on Saturday and riding the bike on Sunday was pretty darn special.
Although we will most certainly get some more snow and winter, I know in my heart that it won't last very long. All I have to do is to is look around me and notice the lack of ice in the river, the clearing on the South Buttress and the rows poking up through the Schatner strawberry fields.
I don't know why it was, but the time change last Saturday really did kind of screw me up. While it's staying light later, being still dark at 6AM is confusing for my inner clock. Maybe the fact that we flew back from Los Angeles on the redeye the week before also turned me around, I don't know. I just wish that they didn't screw around with the time any more. The days of needing that extra hour of daylight to get the crops in are long one!
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective March 16, 2017
With sunny daze and cold temps, the ice conditions have remained great for the most part since the reboot. It's turned into quite a good late season, and that looks to be going to continue at least for another week or two. Even the climbs that are usually starting to fade by this time, are still doing well. That said, with these longer days climbs in the direct sun are starting to feel their age. Lake Willoughby is a good example. With a fair amount of ice still standing, much of it is punky and generally unsafe. Be aware that things might not be quite as good as they seem! And on top of that, so to speak, is the snowpack. The Notch got the better part of 18 inches out of this one, and that has not begun to settle yet. Many climbs like Cinema, Shoestring, the large slope below Great Madness and even Willies have a LOT of snow on them. I suggest that you might want to give those a few days, like at least until Sunday, before giving them a shot.
(New) Ice Route Question:
Last Wednesday I climbed the thin curtain about 30' right of Elephant Head Gully. I had done it previously in fatter conditions one cold and snowy day in the early 90's with my old partner Yuki Fujita. We didn't think anyone had done it before us and thought we had bagged a FA. However later we heard-tell that someone had done it, but it never seemed to have gotten reported. If you or you know someone who did it, please let me now. I'm going to put it in the route database on NEClimbs and I'd like to have the FA info, unless we really did bag it!
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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