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So Thursday morning rears its head, and once again I wonder "What to write about, what to write about?" Well I suppose I could chat about how walking in the woods I can finally hear birds, besides the ever-present crows, and see lots of spots where the ground is showing through, even in the deep woods. I could point out that the slowly melting snow is also uncovering the debris so cleverly hidden, bottles and cans and the like, as well as the not-so-welcome little presents from the neighborhood dog population. [sigh]
Perhaps I could/should ruminate a bit on the female hiker, solo and carrying no overnight gear, who was benighted on the top of Mt. Jackson last Sunday in one of the windiest days we've had lately. Surprisingly she got out of it unscathed and rescue personnel marveled as to how well she did. Yet it required a Blackhawk helicopter and rescue team to find her. She had no compass, yet she did carry the ubiquitous cell phone, which enabled her to call a friend for assistance. Should she be charged for her rescue? The conversation in the local watering-holes seems to be somewhat evenly split on that matter.
On the other hand, I suppose that I could talk about the April Fools Day winter storm that's heading our way. and this is no joke! With the snow that's left rapidly dwindling, many of the ski areas closing or already closed and most people putting away their snow removal implements, we're apparently in for a whopping 6-12 inches of heavy wet stuff on Friday. This is New England and I suppose that it's not that unusual, but it IS annoying. Most of the locals are ready move on into the real Spring and be done with Winter.
And then along those lines I could talk about how amazed all of us ice climbers are that there is still climbable ice here in the lower elevations on the first of April. After several years of the ice being gone by mid-March, here we are still swinging tools at Frankenstein. I'm not at all sure what to think of it, but many of us, especially the guide services and climbing schools, will happily take it.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 25, 2017
I'm getting texts, emails, PM's, even psychic telepathy queries. all asking the same thing... Is there going to be ice tomorrow, Sunday, Monday, in 2 weeks. I'm telling everyone the same thing - I have absolutely no idea. It rained most of the day today, Friday. There is a big rain predicted for Saturday night. Even if it gets colder on Sunday, it's not going to be really cold! Therefore it's a total & complete crap shoot!
Is the season over, probably not completely. There will still be reasonable ice in the upper elevations for weeks. Most likely Standard and Dracula will hold on a bit longer. But Dropline fell down today and I wouldn't go anywhere near the Frankenstein Amphitheater. Honestly, I would be very very cautious climbing anything this weekend.
Last but not least, here's a few goodies I've been meaning to mention this winter, but never got around to. I'll just throw them out in a flurry:
1) Best climbing book of the year: ONE MOUNTAIN THOUSAND SUMMITS by local climber/guide Freddie Wilkinson about the 2008 tragedy on K2 that claimed 11 climbers lives. A very well written story that will most certainly keep your attention.
2) Best piece of winter gear: Micro Spikes. If you're hiking in the late fall through early Spring, a pair of these deserve a permanent place in your pack. Sure you can't frontpoint with them, but you sure cal get around on almost any icy surfaces. They even work great when I'm out snowplowing my driveway and it's glare ice!
3) Cliff Blocks with Espresso Shot: When you need that extra energy boost, this will do it. I used them last fall and this winter while hiking, climbing, XC-skiing and cycling. Another thing that just lives in my pack and cycling jersey.
4) Pearl Izzumi insulated water bottle: Sure it's not as good as my trusty Nalgene bottle with the insulation sleeve, but it is still great and easier to get a drink out of. I have used it on all my outdoor activities this winter & it's great. And I'm sure it will be just as good this summer with cold drinks. (DISCLOSURE - my wife works for the local Pearl store.)
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.
NEClimbs & White Mountain Report On Facebook:
Join us and LIKE us on Facebook. I'll try and post some interesting pix every Thursday and the latest Ice Report in the season, tho certainly not the whole Report. Here's where you can check it out:
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
Real Programmers don't play tennis, or any sport that requires you to change clothes. Mountain climbing is OK, and real programmers always wear their climbing boots to work in case a mountain should suddenly spring up in the middle of a machine room.