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August 20, 2009
Although it's already the middle of August, Summer seems to have finally arrived. It's been awfully hot for the last 5 days and Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were absolutely brutal. Temps were in the 90's and the humidity made it feel a lot like Florida, and on top of that the nights didn't even really cool down. WHEW... It felt as if I should have air conditioning.
I played an outdoor band gig down in Farmington on Sunday from 3-7. It's been a while since we've played outside and I had forgotten just how exhausting it could be. Then on Monday I guided a father and son. They wanted to do some easy multi-pitch on Whitehorse so we did Beginner's. WOWSER! The saving grace was for some reason the bugs weren't out and occasionally we would get a slight breeze. Tho the breeze was certainly the same temperature as the surrounding air, it felt like a blast from a refrigerator. The higher we got the more consistent the breeze, so I was disappointed that they only wanted to do 3 pitches. [wry grin] I was surprised at how many other folks were out on the slabs that day, sweating in the sun.
Wednesday started out as hot as the others, but around 4PM you could feel things starting to change. I took a nice hike around Whitehorse in the mid-afternoon. I went from left to right this time. I followed the Bryce Path up to the climbers trail that goes to the South Buttress, went up to the base of Hotter Than Hell and through the little gully by the start of the Lowther route Jacob's Ladder. If you continue left following the cliff you can get to the tree covered ledge that runs under the start of the second pitches of Inferno and Tranquility. I hadn't accessed the ledge that way in years, so I figured I would check it out. On the way far left I noticed what looked like an interesting line up a series of cracks & blocks and two other bolted routes that I'd never noticed before. I didn't have my guidebook, but I did have my cell phone, so I figured I would give Brad a call at IMCS to see if he knew. Turns out that he did... The leftmost blocky line was an old 3-pitch Paul Ross route called Generation Gap (5.5). The one to its right is what I understand is a Bill Lowther there is another bolted line immediately right of that. I'm not sure but these could be Fall Line and Free Fall. Regardless they look like nice well protected lines. I've got to get up there and give them a try sometime this fall. Preferably when it's not quite as hot as it has been!
I walked back left and just before you go downhill I spotted another small tree covered ledge. I scrambled up a bit and noticed a couple of possible lines up there that I can't find any information about. Heck - I'll bet that there are several unclimbed lines in that area for folks into adventure-climbing. If go back down and continue left you will come to the Where In The Blazes Cliff. It's right below a damp nasty gully with a knotted hand line. This is the home to the infamous Horizontal Chimney as well as Crack Detectives and Crack Collection. Pretty cool stuff...
I scrambled up the chimney and wandered right across the slabs for a bit 'till I got to a nose with an interesting traverse right and large crack. Just for fun I gave it a try, tho I'm not usually one for soloing any kind of rock. This was really easy tho and I emerged on the left side of the slab that is the top of Gravitational Mass on the Cosmic Crag. Very cool stuff. I'm not sure but this may have been the final moves on Last Exit. Who knows... Regardless I hiked to the top of Whitehorse and hung out eating an apple and watching the front move in over the Moats. The temperature dropped and it started to rain a little as I went down the climbers decent trail but unfortunately it didn't amount to much.
All in all a wonderful afternoon hike. I love wandering around the area, checking out old and new places and just seeing what I can find. If you have a little time it's well worth the effort, and you never know what you may spot. Who knows, maybe you will be the next George Hurley.
Speaking of adventure climbing, George Hurley and partner David Giampitro put up yet another new route at the North End of Cathedral Ledge this week! I have added it to the Routed Database on NEClimbs.com, but here are the details -
Description: "If Jack The Ripper went straight, he would be reformed!" George Hurley finds yet another climb in an area once thought to be tapped out. A mix of crack and face climbing. Each pitch/section has a single 5.9- move that is protected by a bolt. While you can do the entire 120' climb in a single pitch, by breaking it up into 2 sections the leader and second can hear each other.
Directions: Located directly above the belay for The Possessed at the North End. You could climb The Roof to the slings and then traverse left on a small ledge over the roof (single bolt for protection) and step/swing down to an anchor. Or you can bypass the the initial 30' pitch and start on the far side of the Unicorn Ledge.
Pitch 1: Climb straight up with reasonable protection past a bolt (5.9-) to a two-bolt anchor on the far left side of the Unicorn Ledge. (30')
Pitch 2: Climb straight up the overhanging face where the offwidth crack is. The climbing is easier than it looks and there is good protection in a small crack on the right.
Descent: walk off or rappel from big trees with 2 ropes as per other routes in that area.
August 18, 2009
George Hurley & David Giampitro
It's hard to imagine someone who is a younger 74. There is probably no one better at spotting interesting lines than George. Stay tuned...I'm sure something else will pop up this summer or fall.
While the black flies and mosquitoes are around, the most annoying bugs right now are the deer flies. And they don't seem deterred by DEET. [SIGH] I'm hoping that when the hot weather breaks, some of these annoying pests will go away.
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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Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
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