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July 29, 2010
So I had to drive down to the airport in Manchester to pick up the wife & kiddo yesterday afternoon. Almost 3 weeks of "batchin it" while they were on vacation has been pretty much enough for me. While I like having some amount of time to myself, it's been too darn quiet around the house with nobody here but the animals & me. You know I'm getting stir-crazy when I find myself talking to the pets as I make dinner. Needless to say I'm happy that I haven't heard either of them talking back to me tho...
I have done a lot of activities while the family was gone, but haven't managed quite as much as I anticipated. Some of that was due to the injured thumb, which happened just a few days after they left. With immobilization, regular icing and babying, it's getting better all the time. Unfortunately injuries never heal quite as fast as we want them to, especially as you get older. However, I've still managed to play a lot of music, ride on the road bike and do a little climbing. I've limited the climbing tho, as belaying and hauling ropes doesn't feel all that good on the left hand.
On Tuesday I did get over to Humphy's with my good friends Joe & Judy Perez. I had guided over there a week previously and noticed a couple of loose bolt hangers on High Steppin', one of their new routes in the Geriatric Walls area. I tried to tighten them down with a small crescent wrench, but instead of the nut snugging down, the stud had turned! This happens occasionally when the expansion bolt cracks the rock down in the hole. It's not surprising that this happens at Humphrey's as the rock is not quite the same grade of granite as you find on Cathedral or Whitehorse. Unfortunately most of the time the only thing you can do is to use a hammer to snap off the stud and drill a new hole. [sigh] In both of these cases the stud was not going to pull out of the hole, but it was disconcerting and needed to be addressed.
Bolt maintenance is one of those things that simply needs to be done periodically on all routes, even new ones. With constant use, especially on bolts where there is a traverse, especially to the right, the hanger is pulled in a counter-clockwise direction. This can cause the nut to loosen. I've seen this in a number of locations, for example the first bolt on Hotter Than Hell. I often carry my small crescent wrench on my rack just to be able to snug down a loose nut. Of course you have to be careful not to overtighten a hanger, which is why I use a small crescent.
This particular anchor was shared between High Steppin' and my route to it's immediate right, Old Crow. Brad White had suggested extending High Steppin' up another 20' to a stance on a small slab. Joe, Judy and I discussed it and figured that this was a good time to do it. We removed the problematic bolt from the anchor and added a new 2-bolt anchor. From where the old anchor was you clip the single bolt, step up and left into a small broken left-facing corner, place a small cam and continue up to the anchor. It adds another bit of fun climbing to the route.
While were were doing this we also removed 2 pins, one in between The Life Of Riley and High Steppin' and another one on High Steppin'. Both were used in the FA of these climbs but with the current bolts these were redundant. Pins are pretty expensive these days and leaving pins that we had placed, that aren't being used on the climbs seemed such a waste. [wry grin]
Because of the way that the ground drops off to the right on Old Crow, you can't use the new High Steppin' anchor to toprope Old Crow with a 60 meter rope. Because of this I choose to add a new anchor to Old Crow that is 20' right and down about 5' from the old anchor. It's about 15' directly above the crux overlap. The climbing up to the shared anchor was nondescript so I think that this will work pretty well.
Over the summer I've used this area both to guide and to take several friends climbing. It works very well and there are climbs at a variety of grades and they aren't all the same. I think I can speak for all of us who have worked on developing this area in saying that we feel that making sure all of the climbs are maintained in good shape is a good thing for everyone. We all hope that folks enjoy these climbs.
It's been a busy week and I haven't had a lot of time to sit around and read, but I am almost finished with Freddie's book. This is a very well written book and I can certainly recommend it to anyone interested in mountaineering, and especially if you're interested in big peaks like K2. I will try and get a full review done soon, but in the meantime I suggest you grab a copy for yourself. You won't regret it.
Finally - we've reached the time when there are hardly any bugs out there at all. Even the deer fly population has seemingly taken a downturn. The only time I've been bothered over the past week has been right at dawn or sunset. Enjoy...
All of the areas perviously restricted are available to climb. Thanks to all who have respected these restrictions. When I get the stats from this year's hatching I'll post them.
A couple of folks have made similar suggestions as to how to deal with the deer fly problem. Here's one from my Boston friend Dave Yee -
1) Apply blue duct tape to the top of a cap.
2) Apply sticky stuff like Tangle-Trap (http://www.contech-inc.com/products/tangletrap) to the duct tape.
3) In initial tests, a quick look after 5 minutes showed about 10 kills. After 30 minutes the number looked to be about 40. A careful count afterwards put the final toll at 65. And it was a pure shut-out, no bites on me, no landings, just an occasional buzzing noise.
While the problem has gone down to manageable state this season. I'll file that info away for next year. Thanks to those who have suggested it.
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
|The wall was the ambition. The style bacame the obsession.|