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April 15, 2010

Hi Folks,

So here I sit in my office looking out on a beautiful day and watching the temps rise from the mid-20's to almost 50 in a couple of hours. Just like yesterday, it's going to be a great day to do anything outside. Now if I can only find a way to juggle my obligations so that I can actually get outside and go climbing... Needless to say I'm going to do whatever I can to make that happen, even if it means doing my regular work at night after everyone else has gone to bed. I need something to take my mind of the fact that it's Tax Day!

We've been bouncing back and forth between spectacular days for this time of year, and pretty typical days for this time of year and it seems like they come in clumps. A couple of days of chilly rainy weather followed by a couple of sunny and mild. In a way I don't mind the occasional rainy day since it forces me to stay inside and actually do some "real work".

Late last week we had some reasonable days and I got over to Humphrey's with Joe & Judy Perez to work on some new route projects that we've been eyeing since last Fall. You may remember that toward the end of last season a crew of us put up a whole bunch of new routes in the undeveloped area down the hill and left of Cakewalk. We had gotten most of the low hanging fruit last year, but there were still a few that we figured might be entertaining so on Monday we headed over to see what we could do.

As we walked past my route Anniversary just left of Joe's route Put My Foot Where? we saw some new bolts going up an interesting rib. It turns out it is a new line pout up by Chris Graham and Bob Ahern called Lost & Found. They are rating it at 10b or so and it looks like it will be hard. It's great to see other folks are finding new potential in that area. I can't wait to give it a try. Even tho popular crags like Humphrey's, Cathedral and Whitehorse all have tons of routes on them, there are very often still some nice lines to be found. George Hurley is a perfect example of this, having even found new lines in an area like the North End of Cathedral Ledge. You just need to open your eyes and look around...there are plums out there for the picking.

We kept on walking past all the other new routes to a slab below a left facing corner that usually seeps water, even in the summer. This is just right of an adventure climb I did last fall called One More Adventure. As we rapped of that one on the FA Joe had spotted an interesting line left of the corner and I had seen one to its right. we both had liked the corner, but it looked as if it was always going to be wet. Last fall I had cleaned some turf and moss of my line down lot and it still looked as if it was going to be dry. Joe's line looked good, except for a place where you are going to have to step over the seep at the top of the corner.

Joe decided to see if he could do his route on the lead. It was entertaining to watch him climb with the electric drill, hammer, wire brush, pins, bolts and regular gear rack. I was impressed...


Joe finished most of his and I went to work on mine. There was no place to put any regular gear except at the start, so I decided to toprope it to check on the place to put the bolts. I did the slab section up to the short headwall and put in 2 bolts on the slab and one on the headwall itself. Before we finished the weather closed in and we ran out of time. It was going to have to wait for another day.

Monday was cooler, but generally sunnier so we got a noon start. Joe finished up his route but decided not to send it that day, so I started working on mine. I climbed up to the headwall and found that a hold that I was hoping to use was actually a loose block. I used the hammer to knock some of it out, but it was clear that it wasn't going to be as useful as I had expected. On top of that the actual move over the headwall wasn't quite as easy as I had expected. Why was I not surprised? It never is... After a couple of failures I was starting to get a bit frustrated and said to Joe that I was thinking it might not go, at least by me. Still I decided to give it another try and amazingly enough I was able to work my feet up enough to reach a small pointed knob and pull over. With that encouragement I tried it a couple of more times and found that by balancing a bit differently I was able to make the move even more easily. That was really cool! I placed a bolt over the lip just before you make the move to make it safe and the lowered off, pausing to wire-brush here and there as I came down.
Joe still wanted to make some changes to his line and wanted to wait for another day to do the FA on his line, so I figured I'd give mine a go. I took a handful of draws, a couple of small cams for the lower section and headed up. It turned out that the protection for the lower part was even better than I expected, the first two bolts were in a good place and I liked the slab moves to the headwall. You can step way left or right to make it easier, or stay straight up past the first bolt to be a bit harder. Regardless the rock is good, the moves fun and it's well protected. I was nervous about the headwall so I put 2 draws on the bolt at the lip so no matter which way I went I would be OK. I did the moves I'd rehearsed, but somehow I found a slightly different move over the crux that made it even easier. In fact it seemed so much easier that I was almost ready to downgrade it from a 9 to an 8! The top is really easy and I ran up to the anchor and Judy lowered me down.


Both Joe and Judy gave it a try on toprope and both thought it was harder than 8, so I guess I'll leave it as a 9 for the time being. I'll be interested in what other folks have to say about it. There were lots of big crows flying over us all day so I decided to call the climb Old Crow. You can see the full description and a picture in the Routes section of Joe and Judy went back over the weekend to finish their climb and I hope to try it today or next week. It looks a bit easier but lots of fun.

QUICK NOTE: We went back over to Humphrey's on Thursday. I led Joe's climb which is called High Steppin'. We all think it goes at about 5.7. Then I put up a direct line for one I did last year called One More Adventure. This goes straight up the slab to a bolt on the headwall. It should be pretty obvious. It takes a green Camelot down low going over the first overlap, a draw for the bolt, a gold Camelot under a roof once you surmount the headwall, a medium nut for a corner and a draw for a pin up on the right. We all led it and think that it's 5.9. I'll post this and Joe's route by the weekend. Enjoy them...

April and May are month here at Lowe Alpine:
As the snow happily disappears and the sun and warmth bring with it time on the rock and trails, we'd like to enhance your experience with a new pack or accessory. So through May 31st, find the Lowe Alpine product that best suit your needs and enjoy 25% off the entire purchase. Click the link HERE and enjoy...

Legendary climber Pat Ament is coming to the NY/NJ area at the end of April/beginning of May. Pat's new film, "The Disciples of Gill," is getting rave reviews. The film features John Gill the greatest boulderer of all time. If you are a climber, boulderer, hiker, love the outdoors, if you have an interest in climbing history, if you like merely to be inspired, if you want to see a work of art, this is the night, this is the show! A MUST SEE !!!!!

Don't miss this film. It is one of the best you'll see on climbing, a tender, beautiful chronicle of the golden age of American bouldering. Climbing Magazine editor, Matt Samet calls this film, "one of the most splendid and beautiful meditations on climbing I have ever seen. It has made me a lifelong Pat Ament fan."

Pat Ament, the author of "Master of Rock," and who Jim McCarthy calls the "poet-laureate of American mountaineering", will be in at the following locations:

Thursday, April 29, at 8pm $10 admission

The Gravity Vault, in Chatham, NJ.

Friday, April 30, 8pm $10 admission

The Cliffs at Valhalla, in Valhalla, NY.

Saturday, May 1, 8pm free admission

the classic Rock and Snow, in New Paltz, NY.

Monday, May 3rd, 8pm $10 admission

Brooklyn Boulders, in Brooklyn, NY.

For more information about Pat Ament and this film, go to

Boy I sure wish I could see this around here... I love hearing about John Gill and his exploits.

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

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

Climbers seem to forget that we said in our introduction that there were simply '50 classic routes', not 'the 50 classics'. We chose 50 from a list of about 120. Only a torturer will ever pry loose from our lips the names of those other 70 classics...
Steve Roper
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