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Well this week we have dipped back into weather that more closely resembles Florida than New hampshire. We've had thunderstorms come through Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but Tuesday was a real washout, getting a couple of inches of rain. Not that we didn't need it, but I'd prefer it came in the form of a steady soaker rather than the torrential downpours we got on Tuesday. well regardless, things look like they are going to be in pretty good shape this weekend so it should be a good time to get outside.
I wanted to get out and do something with the family on Sunday and I was able to talk my wife Alyssa and son Lewis into going over to Humphrey's for a bit of family climbing R & R. The day was sunny and comfortable in the morning, but by the time we got out of the house, after lunch, it was cloudy and sticky. Why was I not surprised? Part of my offer included that I would carry everything except her & Lewis' personal gear, so I felt a bit like a porter on the hike in.
Of course we went over to the new climbs that I have been involved in putting up, on the far left of the cliff. We started out on Joe & Judy Perez's Easy As Pudding Pie, a nice bolted 5.4. I led it and set it up for a TR. Alyssa hasn't climbed in a couple of years, but she went up it with aplomb. She has always had great balance & footwork, so she can always get up moderates, no matter what her state of fitness is.
Next it was time for Lewis to climb. It's always amazing to me that someone who likes to boulder and will swing around on the railing on our back deck, is so "seemingly" unhappy when tied into a rope! Alyssa and I made a deal with him that if he went up halfway up the climb, maybe 30 feet, he would get a piece of her chocolate. That wasn't enough to motivate him past the starting ledge. The whining and moaning was enough that I was very happy no one else was around. when I told George Hurley this story he wryly commented; "Well, there is no reason that he HAS to be a climber." Of course this is true and I know that internally. But it does bother me when he won't even try. After discussing it with him for over 20 minutes, w finally put a prussik on the rope and nudged him up to the second bolt and then lowered him off! [sigh] I pulled the rope and as I was setting up to lead the next climb, Yellowjacket, I turned around and he was on top of the starting buttress. That's almost as high as the bolt I hauled him up to... Go figure.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 11, 2016
For the most part the ice is IN almost everywhere. Some places are still thin and the top-outs are not always great, but if you can climb, there is stuff for you to do. Some of the climbs in the Frankenstein Amphitheater are problematic as of today, but with the cold that is expected for the weekend, that may change pretty quickly.
After I led Yellowjacket and Alyssa cruised it, I went up it again and set up at TR on Chris Grahm's climb Lost And Found, 2 climbs to the left. I hadn't led it and I'd heard it was hard. The start is a powerful boulder move right off the ground up to about 15' to clip the first bolt. That was easier than I expected, tho I think a lower bolt would be nice so you wouldn't go down the steep bank if you blow it. The next moves are somewhat hart, but probably 10b and I managed them OK. The crux is getting over the final headwall and that took me a couple of tries to figure it out. It's a couple of thin moves up and right to a delicate stance and then a very difficult layback move on small holds for both your hands and feet. Chris rates the climb at 10b, but I would say more 10c or possibly 10d. George Hurley tried it a couple of weeks ago and he thought it was "quite difficult."
Everything was pretty damp this morning and the humidity was high so I opted for a hike with Lewis rather than a bike ride. I'd never hiked all the way around Humphrey's Ledge from the left side and it seemed like it might be interesting. we parked at the normal place and hiked along the cliff from right to left. It's been a while since I'd been all the way back to the far left and for the most part the rock is fairly poor, however there still are a few climbs back there. George Hurley and partners have been putting up a few things this summer, including at least one up the big slab. Walking by George's 5.9 Lost Canadian, I noticed that someone hat out a small plaque to indicate where it was. That was pretty neat. I also spotted a couple of places on the far left where someone had been doing some cleaning. There was a wire brush, rake and hoe so maybe tehre will be some more stuff to climb back there in the future.
Following an old trail we went up the steep gully that leads you to the middle of the cliff. Then we followed an obvious trail right and then kept going up to the very top. There was a large flat rocky area and we sat and had a snack. There are small cliffs all over that area that you can't see from the road. Probably nothing worth actually developing, but it is pretty neat. We kept walking right, along the top of the cliff, and at one point we found a unopened bag of a white nylon cargo rope next to the trail! That was very strange... We left it where it was.
We kept walking right and eventually we came to the carriage road. It's a well used wide trail that looks as if it would be a cool mountain bike ride and almost assuredly sees ATV traffic.. At one point Lewis spotted a great overlook which is about 50' climber's-right of the top of Black Pudding. The view of the Saco and North Conway across the river was fantastic. We kept going down the big trail and eventually it winds around and comes out where you walk in to The Barking Dog Crag. We walked out onto West Side Road and in 10 minutes we were back at the car.
The whole hike took under 2 hours including breaks and was well worth the effort. I really enjoy poking around in the woods around places that I visit all the time. It gives you a really different perspective on the area. I would even recommend hiking up via the carriage road as a nice hike and a neat place to go for a picnic, just for the view on a nice day.
Bug count is really low now as we move into the late summer. It makes for a great time to be outdoors...
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.
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