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Last week's bit of snow and word that someone had already climbed Pinnacle got me all hot & bothered. Enough that I went down into the basement this week and hauled out all my ice climbing and winter paraphernalia. Axes, crampons, ice screws, winter pack, ice-specific harness, screamers, boots, spare axe picks etc. Next I went upstairs and dumped out the tub that contains all my winter clothing in the middle of the bedroom floor - tights, fleece, socks, softshell jackets, bibs, gloves...you name it. Trying on some things to see if they would still fit was a good idea, if a little embarrassing. Good thing no one was home when I did this! My old North Face bib is getting a bit on the snug side. [sigh]
This also prompted me to round up the non-climbing-related stuff that I use just to get around normally in cold and wintry New Hampshire weather, like my Sorels, old GoreTex jacket, old that I use when snowblowing and the like. Man there is a LOT of stuff I need have to be able to enjoy living up here and being outside in the winter. Then I had to hunt down my avalanche beacons and probes. Fortunately they had just gotten scrunched behind some other stuff on the basement shelf.
Sorting through this mound of stuff always feels like such a balancing act. What is good, what is obviously bad, what can get me through another season, what can be repaired or cleaned up, what can't? Mostly it comes down to the $64 question, what do I REALLY need to spend money on this year. And for this season especially, frankly what can I afford to spend money on? Of course there IS the "gear slut" in me that simply feels like I have to have that latest & greatest of whatever, but that's a want not need thing. And of course then there is the question "what can I slip past my significant other's scrutiny"? [grin]
I admit that for the most part my clothing is older, just like my ice screws. I don't have a problem putting the occasional patch on my pants & bibs where I clip them with my crampons. They don't look all that great, but of course they still fit and work fine. I have a mix of older and newer screws on my rack as well. I only replace one when I loose one, unlike some folks I know who replace almost their whole set every year. That's just out of the question for me. With these things costing almost $60 a pop, and I feel like I need 10-12 minimum and probably even 6 more when I go to Willoughby, that's serious money!
A new ice axe is more of a want item. IMHO if you own one that was made in the past 8-10 years, since the original Cobra's & Quarks came out, it's likely to be pretty darn serviceable. Plus the great thing about an ice axe is that it rarely need to be replaced. When the pick dulls past the state of being able to be sharpened, you just get another one. They aren't cheap, but they are reasonable. That said you have to pick up your spare picks early in the season, otherwise you might not be able to find one. Of course if you want to switch over to, for instance, a leashless style tool, then you have to drop some serous bucks. The going cost of a modern tool is just over $300! That ain't hay my friend. Crampons are similar in that you can usually get new front points and sharpen the bottom points for some time. A bit of time with the file can certainly help the pocketbook.
You run into the same kind of issue with rock gear of course. A basic rock rack could easily set you back $500+. But then who said that climbing didn't have serious financial barriers to entry. At least there is some overlap between ice & rock gear so I don't need double the slings, carabiners, ATC's or even ropes. Now that would be over the top.
Heck, from my standpoint I don't mind a little duct tape here and there or sharpening my picks, crampons and ice screws so that I can avoid spending any extra money I don't need to right now. Sure I may not always look that spiffy, but it doesn't seem to diminish my experience. That said, nows the time to get everything out and go through it all to see what you need to replace. That's unless of course you were smart enough to pick up on the sales at the end of last season. HMMM - I'll bet you can get some great deals on rock shoes and cams right now!
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective April 17, 2015
I know, I know there are some folks who will say that this or that climb is still IN, but believe me there really is no safe ice in the lower elevation now, so the rating has been dropped to a 1. This indicates that the only ice is in the higher terrain now. And in fact, other than climbs that have some significant part of them in the shade, like Pinnacle, everything else should be considered suspect. That said the skiing is supposedly amazing right now so grab it while you can. Starting next week we will move fully into rock season and will switch to BugCON ratings.
2009/2010 NEClimbs Fundraiser:
As always the Fundraiser has started out slow. As of Thursday a total of 14 donations has been received. Needless to say I hope that will increase substantially over the next 2 weeks. [wry grin] Without everyone's individual support it would be very difficult to justify keeping maintaining the site and keeping the Report cranking along. This is not some big business that takes in tons of ad revenue, tho there obviously is some, or has a team of folks doing everything for me. Yep folks, this is a one man operation on every level. Just me doing everything.
The minimal requested $20 annual donation shouldn't be a lot to everyone, even in these trying economic times. Shoot - in the winter the Ice Report can save you much more than that in gas money! PLEASE take just a minute to support NEClimbs and The White Mountain Report. You can donate via check or money order for $20 or even easier, make your contribution ON LINE via PayPal. It's easy & painless and you can use any popular credit card. Simply click the link below and make your contribution.
Remember, you DON"T need a PayPal account to use PayPal. But if you don't want to go through PayPal, and some don't, you can always make out a check or money order to NEClimbs and send it here:
92 Bow Lane
North Conway, NH 03860
The 2009/20010 Donation List is now up containing the names of all of
those who have contributed as a part of this year's fundraiser. REMEMBER, it's your contribution that makes this newsletter and the NEClimbs web site possible.
Thanks for your support.
Snow & Ice:
Apparently some places like Sunday River have been blowing snow. This week has been full-on Indian Summer and we haven't had any really cold, or even chilly, weather to speak of. In fact though we watched a blizzard at the Patriots game on TV on Sunday, we were experiencing mid-40's all day. Winter will be here soon enough, but I can wait a little longer.
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:
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
You put up with the grind of work or school as long as you can or is required. But then, one day, the phone rings one too many times, or the line at the gas pumps seems unending. The air smells bad. The food foul. 'Enough of this' you cry. You grab your ice tools and are gone.