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Well it's most definitely being a strange ice season. Not that it ice hasn't been good, in fact it has. It's just that here we are in early February and it's feeling an awful lot like spring both yesterday and today. We just need some snow to keep things in good shape for another month. Pray for S N O W and a little bit of colder temps folks!
Ice Fest Kudos:
Gotta give some big props to International Mountain Equipment and International Mountain Climbing School for putting one another fantastic Ice Fest. They just keep on getting better and better. Nice job folks...
Sometimes You Just Get Snookered:
I'd been wanting to get on Repentance for several weeks, but it just hasn't happened. I was over playing on Thresher and the North End pillars on Monday and when I'd had my fill I went over and had a look at Repentance. I was expecting it to be hammered from Ice Fest, but it actually was in good shape. So that evening I called George Hurley to see if he was interested... Needless to say he was so he showed up at the house Tuesday morning at 9 and we headed over. Unfortunately by the time we got to the base of the climb there were already 2 parties on the climb and another party just topping out! SHEESH! On top of that Kevin Mahoney and a partner were on Remission. (Picture on the NEClimbs home page.)
We watched for a bit and I took some pics of Kevin and decided to go over and check out Black Pudding. I thought that it was still looking OK, at least from the road. When we got to the lower slab I was a bit surprised to see how much the rain 2 weeks before had sliced and eaten away at the ice. However it was obvious that others had been up there recently, so we geared up and I soloed up. George followed and we set up at the normal belay tree on the right. I had been looking at the climb and while the mushroom was OK I was not pleased to see how fluted and chandeliered the pillar was. Still, I'd hiked up the hill and wasn't going to give it up without a close look.
I started up the smear of ice directly under the pillar, but it was a bit too thin for my taste, so I went up the drool on the left. Turns out that was more hollow and less bonded, but I was committed so I continued to a bush on the left that I slung. From there I traversed right under the pillar and on to stand by it. However unimpressed I was before, I was even less now. I'd thought that if I could stand up and put in a good screw head-high, I would give it a shot. Unfortunately there was no possibility of this. There wasn't a flat speck of ice anywhere until the very top and what was there was a mass of drips and drools, plus you could see through the bottom right side of the tongue.
I looked down at George, he looked up at me and it was obvious that we agreed. I traversed back to the bush, wrapped the rope around it and downclimbed with a bit of a toprope. we were both a bit bummed, but still happy just to have gotten out. Back at the van I checked the temperature and we were surprised to see it was 38! We paused by Humphrey's and looked at the rock and both commented that it must have been 45 in the sun. heck - we should have just brought our rock shoes and gone rock climbing. But that will come soon enough...
NOTE - I have to go away for a week on personal business so I went out today to gather the Report information. There will be no report next week. Sorry 'but that but enjoy the ice.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 16, 2017
At this point almost everything is IN and in pretty decent shape and I'm raising the ICECon level to a 4. The thing now is simply getting around. With all this snow you might not want to be the person breaking trail. [wry grin] Tramping out to the more obscure spots will definitely require snowshoes and a heads of for avalanche danger.
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
Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are naught
without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the
happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step;
and from the beginning think what may be the end.
Edward Whymper, 1865, the first ascent of the Matterhorn