NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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June 10, 2010

Hi Folks,

I'm in one of those over-the-top periods in my life right now. Between family, work, music, climbing and cycling plus some work on the yard and house I'm just about at the end of my string. And this weekend starts the infamous Motorcycle Week in Laconia / Weir's Beach. With 9 gigs in 8 days and only one day off, things are, dare I say, pretty tight. If I have any time or inclination to go climbing over the next 10 days, I will be very surprised...

Last week I wrote about doing peregrine banding on the Painted Walls over off the Kanc. Tho I hadn't planned on it, I ended up participating in yet another banding at Cathedral Ledge this past Friday. Two in one season is pretty unusual for me, but this one was a lot easier. The birds were nesting on a small ledge just left of Remission, at about 2/3 cliff height, behind an inverted pine tree about 150' down. I borrowed a 600' static line from the local MRS so we could rap all the way to the ground once we were done. I'll freely admit that it was a real luxury this time not to have to jug back up!

I met Chris and his assistant Robert Vallieres at the kiosk at 10AM Friday morning. We left Chris' car at the bottom and drove my van to the top. Chris knew right where to rappel from and I anchored the rope from a huge Hemlock tree. Tho I hadn't been to this ledge before, it turns out this was just climber's-right of a climb of George's called Late Night Movie, so I knew exactly where I was on the cliff.

Once I got to the ledge I was pleased to see that there were 3 chicks - one to my right securely backed up into a corner and 2 on my left, very near the edge of the ledge. I carefully pulled the rest of the static line down and lowered it off and down to the ground, which I could see below. It came down right at the base of Remission. I had built a gear anchor in a crack on the left for Chris and tied an anchor off the tree, which was amazingly solid, for Robert. Once that was set Robert came down, followed by Chris. As I'd setup everyone with extensions on their rappel devices, we all stayed on the rope. This made for a very nice setup, allowing everyone some freedom of movement and was quite secure.

Once Chris got his equipment off and was settled we moved the 2 chicks on the left into the center of the ledge, right by me. I watched and took pictures as Chris and Robert did the banding. Then we went through all of the various remains on the ledge, finding parts of a kingfisher, 3 pigeon bands and a wide variety of other feathers and skeletal debris. We were somewhat surprised that the parents pretty much ignored us the entire time were were on the ledge. Several years ago I helped with a banding on the far left side of Cathedral, left of Upper Refuse. They were much more aggressive then, more like the parents at the Painted Walls. Maybe they are just used to having climbers around all the time. Go figure...

Once the process was completed I checked to make sure everyone's devices were still setup properly and then went down the rope first. I had a little problem getting my BD Guide ATC over the tape middle-marking on the rope. It was just a problem for me due to the fact that my Guide ATC was a snugger fit on the static line than the older style ATC's that Chris & Robert were using. Guess I should have brought my Reverso. [sigh] I will say that there is a huge difference rapping off a static line, compared to a nice flexible 10.2 mm climbing rope. [grin] It is more like actual WORK!

On my way down I flipped the rope over right of the start to Remission so the guys had a straight shot down to the ground. It was interesting to see Remission in the summer. I've never really looked at it except in the winter. It certainly looks a lot different.

Once down we drove Chris' truck back to the top of the cliff and pulled the rope. Hauling 600' of static line back up the cliff and stuffing it in 2 packs is a real treat for sure. That said, it's a darn sight easier than what is probably a 6 mile hike r/t out to the Painted Walls nest and back.

All in all it was a great day and we were all excited that there were 3 nice looking chicks. Here are some pix from that day taken by Robert and me. I hope you enjoy them...

I'm not sure that I'm going to be doing much climbing next week, what with all the music. I always worry about overuse with my hands. Regardless I'll put out a Report, but it will likely be fairly short. I hope that you all have a great week.

Band Schedule:
For those of you who may care about such things, here is where you can catch some very good music over the next 10 days. Hope to see you at one of these.

11 Friday Tony Sarno Blues Band - Hawgz Pen: 7-11
12 Saturday Tony Sarno Blues Band - Weir's Beach: 12:30-4:30
Saturday Private Party
13 Sunday Tony Sarno Blues Band - Hawgz Pen: 2-6
14 Monday Tony Sarno Blues Band - Weir's Beach: 12:30-4:30
15 Tuesday OFF
16 Wednesday Tony Sarno - Hawgz Pen: 2-6
Tony Sarno Blues Band - Hawgz Pen: 7-11
17 Thursday Tony Sarno Blues Band - Weir's Beach: 12:30-4:30
Jon Sarty - Red Parka Pub: 8-11
19 Saturday Liquid Flight jam band - Studio 99, Nashua

The Tony Sarno band is a killer blues trio, Jonathan Sarty plays classic country and honky tonk tunes and Liquid Flight is a jazzy jam band. The gigs at Weir's are at the Patio Garden. The Hawgz Pen is in Farmington, NH. The Red Parka Pub is in Glenn. Studio 99 is in downtown Nashua.

Bug Report:
The bugs are still pretty darn bad. I did some bouldering over at Whitehorse the other day and forgot the DEET and almost got eaten alive. I was in my front yard yesterday and they were swarming all over me, finding places to bite that I thought I had covered in dope. The back of my neck is NOT pretty! BugCON status is at a 4 and if it gets any worse it will be a 5 soon.

Peregrine Closings 2010:
To promote successful nesting by NH state-threatened Peregrine Falcons, temporary access restrictions are currently posted at the following New Hampshire cliff sites through August 1, 2010:

Cathedral Ledge (north end only), Bartlett, NH
Eaglet Spire (and adjacent walls), Franconia, NH
Frankenstein (lower south-facing wall), Harts Loc., NH
Holts Ledge, Lyme, NH
Owls Head (see signs on site for closed section), Benton, NH
Painted Walls, Albany, NH
Rattlesnake Mtn. (Summit Cliff only), Rumney, NH
Square Ledge, Albany, NH
Sugarloaf Mtn., Benton, NH

These postings are subject to change as conditions warrant.  Printed material suitable for posting will be distributed to field offices, climbing schools, and recreational outlets.  Your cooperation is essential to the success of this effort.  Share the cliffs with wildlife!

- Chris Martin, Senior Biologist, NH Audubon

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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

Frostbite ? I consider that a failure.
Marc Twight
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