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January 7, 2010
When I lived in Boston and would come up here to go ice climbing we'd always look at the road-cut ice on 16 or 93 on the way up. Seeing a couple of nice pillars would get us all hot and bothered. I would always say we should stop and give 'em a try, but we never did. I had to go to Portsmouth on Saturday and then to Boston on Wednesday. As I rode past the high point of land below Ossipee, I couldn't help eyeing the pillars. If I'd had my stuff with me I definitely would have pulled over to give 'em a shot. I got in trouble for climbing on a road-cut off Rt 2 many years ago, but the temptation is always there.
I was hoping to get out with George Hurley on Tuesday, but he already had a partner so if I wanted to get out I figured I'd have to go on my own. I was thinking that I'd just run up Cinema, but it looked as if there was a boat-load of snow up there so I decided to walk down the tracks to see what was available. I spotted George on the rock finish of Pegasus, I spotted a party on Bob's Delight which has been in reasonable shape for a while now and another party led by my friend Scott was on the trestle slab.
I continued down to Standard and there was a party there already, with the leader almost to the cave. Turns out that the second was Tim Kemple Sr. I'd never met him, but I have met his photographer son Tim jr. many times over the years. They were going up to the cave and then out right, heading for Penguin. Another party came up so I decided I should head just left of the cave. The ice was soft at the bottom and there was a lot of water running underneath but as I got near the upper ledge it seemed to be a lot drier. When I got to the final curtains they really looked good and I decided to give the steep middle one a shot. There was a crease where I could stem so it wasn't too difficult. However at the very top the ice was detached and there was the usual 5 feet of rock. I had to make a few moves over to the right to get to where I could hook one of the tree roots. SHEESH...
It was a pleasant walk off the top in the knee deep snow in the white and the quiet. I went down the Blue Room gully and past the Hanging Garden that is forming pretty well. I'll bet if nobody bashes on it this weekend climbable ice there early next week. I checked out Dracula and was really tempted to give it a shot as the left side looked like a stem-fest all the way to the top. I didn't have my bail-line and just couldn't make the commitment so I wimped out. I guess I don't have the balls I had 10 years ago and maybe that's a good thing. [sigh] There's a pretty big difference between Standard & Dracula after all...
By the time I got back around to my pack at the base of Standard Scott's party was heading up and Kemple's was heading over to Penguin. As I wandered back down the tracks to the van a light breeze started to pick up and it seemed a bit cooler. I felt pretty good about getting out on a nice climb, on a nice morning and doing it in pretty much minimum time. Heck I'd even have time to get in some guitar practice before the kiddo gets home from school.
Here are some pictures in addition to the ones I will post in the Ice Report section of NEClimbs:
all the Cathedral Pillars
Diagonal and Mordor
a busy Standard Route
right of Hitchcock
In case you didn't get the whole picture the big storm that was predicted for last Saturday/Sunday was actually a pretty spotty affair. Crawford Notch got over a foot, as did Franconia Notch and some other northern areas. Mt Washington didn't get as much as predicted, tho they did get enough to warrant 2 consecutive days of HIGH avalanche danger postings and an additional day of CONSIDERABLE. Down here in the Valley we only got a measly 4 inches. Not that I really minded since it made for a very easy snowblow. Regardless, this means that there is a lot of snow in lots of places and it's worth paying attention to when you are wandering around.
Apres Climb Hour @ IME: Fri & Sat from 4-5:30pm
Friday Night: Steve House multimedia show and the 2nd Annual Face Off Comp featuring MC Freddie.
Saturday Night: Climbers Party and Amateur Photo Contest Winner announced! Guest Athletes & Guides Include: Steve House, Kevin Mahoney, Mark Synnott, Janet Bergman, Majka Burhardt, Emilie Drinkwater, Freddie Wilkinson, Peter Doucette, The IMCS Guides, and more!
For more details on clinics click here
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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