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While it seems to most of us that we've had a lot of rain lately, in truth we have not had much actual accumulation at all. Sure it's been cloudy, and on a couple of days like Monday we have had showers, but the total amount of precipitation hasn't really added up to much more than 5. inches. hard to believe, aye? So I am personally torn between wanting rain for my garden and lawn, and wanting dry for my climbing & cycling. What a conundrum…
It's always hard to believe when someone finds an independent new line on a cliff that everyone has thought was totally tapped out. George Hurley is a master at that, over the past several years putting up a number of new routes at the North End of Cathedral. At least one of these actually managed to go from the ground to pretty much the top of the cliff at that point! I have spent quite a lot of time over the past couple of years on the far left side of Humphrey's Ledge with Joe and Judy Perez, George Hurley and a few others. But of course these climbs were on a section of the cliff that was rarely visited, much less climbed on. That said, George and Joe managed to eak out a number of new single pitch lines on the face left of the Dedication corner, in amongst Halloween and Halloween II. I kind of figured that with all the routes on the face between Wanderlust and Cakewalk, that everything in that area was pretty much spoken for.
Thus I was surprised when the Perez's mentioned that they thought there was a line left of Wanderlust that would go higher. Several years ago they had started putting in a route that went up the obvious right-facing corner just left of Wanderlust, surmounted the steep headwall and ended at the Wanderlust anchor. I'd seen the bolt and stud with the missing hanger, but hadn't ever given it a try. One day last week we went up to the top of the cliff and rapped down to see what was directly above Wanderlust. We set up a rope up high and topped several lines. They came up with one which went up to the right and kind-of followed some the older line of the never done climb Eclipse. I found a more direct line that went straight up from Wanderlust on amazingly good crimper holds. As their lower pitch was at least 9+ and my proposed line was probably 5.9, we decided to make mine the one. There was no natural gear placements so we figured out where we felt that the bolts should be and drilled the holes, but didn't put in the bolts as it was at the end of the day. We came back the next day but it rained on us just as we were climbing up the first pitch. [sigh] Fortunately the next day was OK so we came back, climbed their first pitch and then I climbed the second pitch of Wanderlust to get to our new belay. Judy followed, bringing the hammer and bolts. I rapped down and placed the bolts in the pre-drilled holes. Then Joe belayed me on the FA of that pitch. It was just as sweet as I had imagined. It is steep and technical, but all the holds and feet are just where you want them to be and the bolt placement is good, with just a little spice. Joe led it and felt it was a nice addition. We haven't come up with a name for it yet, so for the time being it is Unnamed…
In addition Michael Khan and george Hurley found a nifty crack climb on the right side of Humphrey's, about 100' left of the Weissner Chimney. They call it May Day, as that was the day they did it. It's one of those obvious climbs that I am sure that everyone had thought was done years ago, but probably now. At least it was never recorded, so that's all that matters.
I have heard some grumbling about all the new routes at Humphrey's. I'm not really sure where all this is coming from. Most of the grousing seems to revolve around the use of bolts and implies that we are trying to make Humphrey's into another Rumney. This is far from the case. With very few exceptions all of the routes we have done there require some amount of gear, there are only a couple of clip-ups out of over a dozen routes. In my opinion all of these climbs are good additions to the area and provide some fun climbing at a wide variety of grades. In addition it has opened up Humphrey's to climbing in the summer, as the routes on the Geriatric Walls (the far left side) are in the shade and at least as pleasant as climbing at the North End of Cathedral with a lot more variety.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective January 19, 2017
It's yet another mild day here in the Valley at 39 degrees, and even up in Crawford Notch where it was 34! The ice is OK in some places, but not overall good yet. For instance the Frankenstein Amphitheater is marginal, while Standard and Dracula are great. We need several days of seriously cold temps for things to settle in, Top outs on many climbs are poor, so protect where you can!
In any event, here are the descriptions of the new routes. The picture on the home page of NEClimbs is of Joe Perez on the 2nd ascent of our new climb and there are additional pictures on the NEClimbs Facebook page and in the Routes section of NEClimbs. We all hope you enjoy them…
Directions: About 200' to the left of Guide's Route and Wiesner's Dike, locate an 18" diameter beech tree two feet from the base of a steep face. Just to the right of this tree is the original start of Buried Treasure. Approximately 12' to the left of this tree, identify a vertical crack that starts at wide finger width, and opens, gradually to wide hand width.
Description: This is a nice looking obvious finger and hand crack. While some say that this had surely been done years before, any first ascents were unrecorded. NOTE: At this time George Hurley's route Buried Treasure is unrecorded.
Pitch 1: Jam 25' to reach a 4" maple, which grows from the crack. At this point the face angles back, and the crack widens. After another 15' of easy climbing, belay from a 6" hemlock, where this route joins the line of Buried Treasure.
Gear: standard rack with cams (# 0.5 to #3 Friends), or wired nuts and tri-cams
Descent: Rappel from a tree or climb Buried Treasure
History: May 1,2011 - Michael Kahn and George Hurley
UNNAMED ROUTE (5.9+)
Directions: Hike left toward the end of the main cliff band looking for a clean slab with shiny bolts, just before a buttress. The climb starts up the right facing corner of the buttress.
Description: The first pitch was established by Joe and Judy Perez several years before the second, thus the FA history is somewhat complicated..
Pitch 1: Climb the right-facing corner to a small ledge just below the slightly-overhanging headwall. Surmount the headwall past 2 bolts (crux), past 1 more bolt and then pad up easy ground to the Wanderlust belay. (5.9+)
Pitch 2: Climb straight up from the anchor and follow a straight line past 6 bolts to a 2-bolt anchor. (5.9)
Gear: P1 requires several large to medium cams. P2 is a clip-up as there is no natural protection available.
Descent: Rappel from the upper anchor in 2 raps with a single 60 meter rope.
History: May 9,2011 - P1 Joe & Judy Perez somewhere around 2005, P2 Al Hospers, Joe and Judy Perez 5/9/2011
Peregrine Falcon Closing at Cathedral Ledge:
NH Audubon staff and volunteers have confirmed that Peregrine Falcons are incubating eggs at the northern end of Cathedral Ledge near Repentance and Remission. All routes located to climbers' right of "Cathedral Roof" and to the left of "Diedre" are temporarily closed to climbing. Your cooperation is essential if these birds are to nest successfully. Peregrines are protected by both Federal and State laws. Harassing, pursuing, shooting, killing, trapping, capturing, or attempting to do so, is illegal. Temporary closure signs for this limited area of the cliff are now in place and will be removed as soon as possible, but definitely by August 1.
NEClimbs & White Mountain Report On Facebook:
Join us and hopefully 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:
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
Life is brought down to the basics: if you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain... Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop.