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December 31, 2009

Hi Folks,

Wee doggies folks. The weather has been up and down and all over the place for the past week. We've had beautiful days, moderate days, warmer than usual days, windy days and brutally cold and windy days. I've enjoyed looking at the Mt. Washington Observatory Current Summit Conditions page on the web lately using the new DROID phone I got for Christmas. It makes for some interesting dinnertime conversation. Yesterday at 5PM the ambient temperature was -21, wind velocity was 84 mph, yielding a wind chill of below -70! Now that's what I call COLD! It was a nice day to be sitting in front of the wood stove with a good book.

Unfortunately I had to go over to Ashland for a band rehearsal. I would normally go the lower route through Tamworth and Center Harbor, but this time I decided to drive over the Kanc for giggles. And WOWSER it was a real live adventure. I don't know what the actual wind was gusting at, but it sure did push my van all over the place. I'd hoped to get a look at Way In The Wilderness but through the blowing snow all I could see was a vague line where the climb sometimes is. I stopped at the summit for a minute but didn't get out at all. With the thermometer in the van reading a nice round zero and the howling wind and blowing snow, it was more than I wanted to deal with without full-on mountaineering gear. As I came down the Lincoln side I did see what looked to be quite a number of interesting ice lines formed on Mt. Huntington. It might be a good time for a back-country excursion. When I got back home last night around 7 the temperature had dropped to zero and the wind was still howling when I went to sleep around midnight. The winds died overnight and when I woke up at 6 it was very strange to have silence.

Since it's school vacation time I get to spend a lot of time with my son Lewis. I had to take pictures today, Wednesday, and my wife was working. So I decided to tale Lewis with me and we cross country skied up the tracks to Frankenstein from Arethusa parking lot. Not a big effort to be sure, but it was a lot colder up in the Notch than it was in the Valley. 10 in the Notch, 21 in the Valley! I did get lots of cool pictures and we both got some needed exercise. That's a good compromise, right?

As I was taking a shot of the Fang area I had noticed that Cocaine seemed to be in and when I looked closer I could see some climbers on it. I got a couple of nice shots of them.In fact everywhere I looked there were climbers. In spite of the cold it was probably one of the busiest days of this ice season.
Here are some pictures in addition to the ones I will post in the Ice Report section of NEClimbs:

Mt. Washington
Widows Walk
Angel Cakes
Crawford Notch Trestle
Great Madness
Snot Rocket


Happy New Year:
So here we are, poised to turn the page on another decade. I hope you folks have had a great year and a nice holiday season. I certainly have. I'm hoping that 2010 is going to be a great ice season and a healthy and profitable year for my family and myself and I wish the same for you...

In House Band at The Press Room:
Electric jam band In House will be at the Press Room in Portsmouth this Saturday night, January 2nd. This is a very special instrumental group composed of Randy Roos and Jim Alba on guitars, Jared Steer on drums and myself on bass. All but one tune is original and the music is very improvisational. If you're looking for a great evening of music, good food and excellent drink please come out and catch this group. I promise you won't be disappointed.

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 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:

Remember - climb hard, ride the steep stuff, stay safe and above all BE NICE,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

Then came a bigger fear. Not the threat of imminent injury, but the fear that if I didn't go back up, I would be a chickenshit forever.
John Sherman
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