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September 3, 2009
I have written a lot about local guide George Hurley and others, and all the new routes that they have put up with various partners, including me, over the years. That's partly because George makes a point of calling me up and letting me know when he does something new. Other folks like Joe and Judy Perez, Jon Sykes and others have done the same. I guess NEClimbs has kind of become a clearing house for new routes, and that's a nice thing for me, 'cause I love to hear about the new routes that folks are doing.
Sometimes I look through the various guidebooks and think about what it was like to be there when some of those classic routes were put up. What was going through the first ascensionist's mind when they walked past a piece of rock and visualized a route up it. Much like an artist looking at a blank canvas I would suppose. It's one thing to walk under a Thin Air, Bombardment or Three Birches and see the obvious line, but quite another to see the line for Loose Lips or OMG Armageddon!
While I've only put up a few routes, I have had that experience on occasion. Looking over left from the second pitch of Mr. Moto on Humphrey's I saw a line up the side of the gargoyle buttress that became Hidden In Plain View. Hanging out at the belay on the second pitch of Robinson Crusoe I imagined the line to Diss-N-Daz. But of course just because you spot a line, doesn't mean that you put up a new route. The effort involved in actually turning that visualization into a reality is usually quite significant. I don't mean just the climbing part either.
Many routes need major amounts of cleaning and even trundling to turn them into something more than a one-time climb. Scraping, cleaning, wire brushing all are very often a significant component of the process. This very dirty process often takes huge amounts of time and way more effort than most people want to put in. A climb like Bombardment, with no fixed gear, was just climbed. Others have required days of committed cleaning and lots of work to figure out just where to put in the fixed pro.
All of my previous routes other than Diss-N-Daz have just been trad lines with no fixed pro. Diss-N-Daz took a lot more time to clean and figure out where I wanted to place the bolts and drill them. This week I put up a new route. I had spotted it before we had the rains and because I couild see a bit of grass in flakes and a ramp I thought that it might just go trad. However when I finally got around to TR'ing it, it became obvious that was not to be the case. What little gear there COULD be, would have been mind-pro. Some might say that putting 5 bolts in a 30 meter 5.7 climb is overkill, but I wanted the climb to be fun, not terrifying. And I certainly didn't want to put up a route that people could get hurt on.
Just so you understand how all this new-route stuff works, 5 bolts plus another 2 for the rap anchor makes the cost of new-routing not exactly trivial. Here is the (retail) price to equip a route with 5 bolts and a 2 bolt ring anchor:
bolt studs - 7 x 5.25 = $ 36.75
standard hangers - 5 x $2.95 = $14.75
ring anchor hangers - 2 x $ 9.50 = $19.00
total = $70.50
That's for a route with only 5 bolts and a 2-bolt rap anchor folks! Sure you could buy this stuff in bulk and get a somewhat better deal, but this is the normal retail price it would cost you if you walk into IME or EMS and plunk down your hard-earned cash.
I do admit that I'm really glad most of my friends have electric drills. It would have added lots more time and effort into the project without it. The cost of a drill is on the order of $500 and that puts it out of my budget. I do have a hand-drill but using that would have added hours onto the project. Over the years I have used it to replace bolts on a lot of routes, but it's brutal. That said, it makes me truly admire those folks who do/did put up a lot of the routes we climb on the lead and drilling by hand. So when you go out and climb that route that someone took the time to clean and equip, send them a nice mental THANK YOU, 'cause it wasn't just a trivial exercise.
Oh yeah - so why am I not telling where my new route is? Well simply because there is another neat-o line nearby that we want to snag before we advertise the location. [grin] Stay tuned to NEClimbs.com & all should be revealed later this weekend.
After my Report last week I got several emails with folks letting me know about some out of the way places to climb up near Eastport like at Quody Head. My in-laws even sent me some pics of some very interesting rock off a bike path near Dennysville. Why am I not surprised? Well at least now I have some places to check out next time I'm up there.
So if you think that Canon is unstable occasionally? Yosemite can really be something. On August 27th a rockfall took place in the Royal Arches area that send blocks into the Ahwahnee Hotel valet parking lot and damaging a number of cars. The hotel was evacuated for a while and no injuries were reported. Pretty cool video here -
rockfall link - click here
Looks as if this is going to be the best possible weekend for the long holiday. If you have ANY thoughts about getting outside and doing something fun, here or elsewhere, this is the weekend to do it. I know the kids are back in school and there is still stuff to do on the house before Fall really hits, but it doesn't get a whole lot better than this one. Enjoy it while you can folks...
Well I spoke too soon last week. While the temps and humidity have abated significantly, the mosquitoes seem to have not. I was in the woods on Tuesday and they were pretty darn brutal. I think we'll need some chillier weather than we've had to knock these babies back.
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.
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:
Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
|This is a group of people I used to go walking with. (long pause) That's me on the left. (even longer pause) On the right is the woman I married, Audrey. (very long pause, speaker looks at shoes) Which just goes to show that danger lurks where you least expect it.|
|Don Whillans commenting on a B&W slide showing a group of smiling hikers|