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September 22, 2010

Hi Folks,

IMNSHO there nothing sweeter than cool, crisp fall days for climbing, but especially for climbing slabs. While I love the warmth of summer, if you really want to get the job done, this IS the time. The rock and my shoes seem to have an additional coefficient of friction that I just don't feel at any other time of year, even in the spring. I looked through Webster's guide to see if this was true for other FA's and amazingly it doesn't seem to be the case. Future Shock, Interloper and Wizard Of OZ were all done in June! Humph... Well, regardless of what was done in the past, days like we have had over the past week really make me feel like a lot better slab climber than I actually am. Maybe you feel the same.

The music business has kept me really busy this summer, but I have gotten out some lately. This past Tuesday I managed to get over to Found Ledge with Joe & Judy Perez to finish off a nice route we had scoped out back in May. It is located on The Little Slab, in between the Lumberjack Wall on the left and the Main Cliff (the dark, crumbly and usually damp crag) to its right. A group of us including Joe & Judy, Brad White, Jeff Lea and I went up there this spring and found 2 climbs on the slab, one on the right called Cast Of Chickenhead and one in the middle called A Little Slabba Do Ya. Both are nice, but Chickenhead is arguably the coolest 'cause it goes up on these very neat nubbins through some moss. I wrote it up in a previous Report. On that visit we added another climb between these two and called it Brilliant. It was led by Judy Perez on her birthday. It's also in a previous Report.

We also spent some time checking out a line to the left of Little Dab that I had spotted. We put in a bolt on the upper slab as a directional so we could toprope it, but there were dribbles of water all over it from melting snow & ice so we decided it wasn't the time to bolt it. For a variety of reasons none of us could find the time this summer to get together and get back up there. I finally had some time the other day and I called around, but Brad was busy and Jeff was in Colorado. Joe & Judy were available so we decided that this was the time.

It's been chilly in the morning so we decided to meet at 11 at the trailhead on the Kanc. As always it's a nice hike up the hill and we were there in a little over 20 minutes. Unlike in May, this time the slab was completely dry. Sweet... I led up Brilliant to the anchor is shares with Little Dab and brought Joe up with the drill. I put it on my back and padded up and left to the nice little ledge I'd noticed the previous time we were there. The climbing was easy and there was a great place to stand and place a single bolt to clip in to. Then I pulled the rope over to me until I reached the halfway point and tossed it down to make sure we'd be able to do the route without a second rope. I was happy to see that there was about 3' of rope on the ground. That means that all of these routes can be done with a single 60 meter rope and a handful of draws. How easy is that? I placed the second bolt for the anchor, brought Joe over from his anchor and we rapped down, leaving the drill at the anchor.

I took a couple of runs on the climb, the second time dabbing some chalk where I thought the bolts should be. The quality of the rock was so rough and the temperature so perfect that I floated it. Frankly I thought that the route was much easier than I remembered from the spring and I started wondering if it was going to be a 7+ or 8! Judy took a pass, confirming all the bolt locations but one and assuring me that it was more than an 8. Joe climbed it next and he felt the same. As Judy lowered Joe down, he drilled and put in the bolts. This allowed me to save my hands for the FA. We had done another route in the spring at Humphrey's where I climbed it several times, drilled and put in the bolts and then was unable to make the FA because my hands were toast. I didn't want to let that happen this time.

While Joe was drilling I got my gear from my pack. I had just brought along my bag of slings and draws because I knew this wasn't going to require a rack. However, when I dumped it on the ground it had lots of locking carabiners, tons of slings, but no regular biners or draws! SHEESH... Fortunately I had 12 lockers, 2 regular biners and 13 slings. I was going to lead the route using all lockers! [brother]

As soon as Joe got down I tied in, gathered my mishmash of gear and started up. Judy was right that what was very easy on toprope, was a little harder on lead. I agreed with her & Joe's assessment that the first 30' of the climb was probably 5.9, and then it eases off to 5.7 & then 5.easy for the final 30' before the anchor. The rock is so textured that the climbing is really really nice. I said to Joe & Judy that the start keeps your attention, and if you're not comfortable on 5.9 slab climbing you may find yourself with a little Elvis leg! Hence the name...
Elvis Is In The House (5.9) 95'
Directions:  It's located at Found Ledge. From Rt 16 in Conway drive 4.9 miles west on the Kancamagus Highway. Look for large blow down tree on the left side of the road at a indistinct pullout. Walk into the woods, turn left and follow an old logging road until you come to a very obvious stream on your right. Head uphill and follow the right side of the stream for about 10 minutes until you get to a cairn on a slab. Cross the stream and head up the hill onto the berm and follow it uphill keeping the stream on your right. Eventually you should see the cliff and several huge boulders. The Little Slab is right in between the Lumberjack Wall and the Main Cliff.

The 4 routes on this slab can provide a nice afternoon's climbing, especially on a fall day. Combine them with toproping some of the stellar routes on the Lumberjack Wall and you can have a great day of climbing.

Description: If you don't have your slab climbing chops together you might find yourself with a severe case of Elvis leg. Regardless, you will certainly enjoy some sweet friction climbing.

Pitch 1: Start on the ground just right of an obvious eyebrow at about 12' up. Climb on the left side of the eyebrow past 3 bolts (crux) and the continue past 4 more to the top.

Gear: draws

Descent: rappel the route with 1 60 meter rope 

History:  Sept. 21, 2010 - Al Hospers, Judy Perez, Joe Perez

More New Routes At Humphrey's:
Other folks have been busy at Humphrey's over the past several weeks. I'm always amazed that folks can continue to find new routes all over the place. It's very cool, and of course it keeps the guide book folks in business. [grin]

Chris Graham and Bob Ahern have done a 5.8 called Kitty Litter Pillar on the far left side of Humphrey's. It's about 30' right of George Hurley's Lost Canadian. In spite of the unappealing name, Chris insists that the upper section has some of the best steep face climbing at Humphrey's, and that's saying something since Put My Foot Where is pretty sweet!

Chris Magnus cleaned the mossy face left of Life Of Riley, uncovering a very nice looking 5.5 all gear route he calls Three Brushes. It looks to be perfect for the beginning leader. I'd climbed a short version of this in the spring to get to the top of Life Of Riley Buttress and noticed that there were lots more holds and gear placements on this face than met the eye. There is an especially nice thread at about 30' that I really did like and was happy to see that Chris had incorporated it into his route.

The indefatigable George Hurley and Michael Khan have done more work putting up several routes up in a small alcove left of Three Brushes. And amazingly enough George and Michael have found yet another route on the ledge at the top of P1 of Cakewalk. In keeping with George's prize fight naming convention, this one is called Sting Like A Bee. Tho officially rated at 5.9+, it's probably on the order of 5.10b!

All these climbs except for the Hurley/Khan ones left of Life Of Riley can all be found in the New Routes section of If you get the chance, give them a try. The more people who climb them, the cleaner they will get. And remember, if you run into the folks who put them up be sure to give them a pat on the back. It takes a lot of work and money to put up a new route. And you do it for fun, not for any actual return.

The Banff Mountain Film Festivals Radical Reels:
Tuesday September 21 @ 7PM
Ten Films (2 Climbing Films)
Tickets are $14 (includes a $2 Theatre Restoration charge) at the box office...$16 online
info and movies -
video trailer and tickets -

The Last Man on the Mountain: The Death of an American Adventurer on K2
Friday, October 1; 7:00 p.m. | Admission Free Jennifer Jordan, award-winning author, filmmaker, and screenwriter

In 1939, the Savage Mountain claimed its first victims. Among them was Dudley Francis Wolfe. Born into vast wealth, yet uneasy with a life of leisure, Wolfe of Boston and Rockport , Maine , set out to become the first man to climb K2 , the world’s second-highest mountain. Although close to middle age and inexperienced at high altitude, Wolfe and the team leader made it higher than any other members of the expedition. But he couldn’t get back down, and was abandoned at nearly 25,000 feet. It would be another sixty-three years before Jennifer Jordan would discover his skeletal remains. Jordan takes us on a journey from the yacht clubs of America and salons of Europe to the most forbidding landscape on earth. Book signing to follow.

Seating is limited. Passes are available in the Museum lobby beginning at 5:45 p.m. on October 1. Museum members may reserve a limited number of passes in advance. For more information: Admission is free thanks to the generosity of the Lowell Institute.

Bug Report:
Hardly a bug to be found. What's not to love?

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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

I had climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life.
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