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Bike Week has always been an incredibly busy week for me and this year has been no different. By the time it's over I will have done 10 music gigs in 8 days. WHEW… I love to play music, especially with the bands that I play with, but this kind of gigging is really an awful lot like work! But as they say, you just gotta take it when it's offered, or you won't get it the next time. I have 2 more and then I'm back on my regular 3-night a week schedule. Both my family and I welcome that.
Over the past week we have gone from mid-50's and rain, to sunny and upper 80's. It's been hard to figure what's going on. as hot as it was today, I will take it over the cold and rain pretty much any day. We need some rain, but this was getting to be a real DRAG.
I did not get a minute to do anything outdoorsy this week, with the exception of last Friday. As you may remember, 2 weeks ago I got over to Painted Walls in an unsuccessful attempt to band some Peregrine chicks. This Friday Chris Martin and I did the same thing at Cathedral Ledge. This time with some measure of success.
We met at 9:30 and drove up to the top of the cliff. The birds were nesting in the same place that they have nested for the past several years, on a ledge about 200' down between Repentance and Remission. As I have in the past, we borrowed a 600' static rope from the Mountain Rescue Service. This makes the rappel off from the top pretty easy. Having dome this before I knew exactly where to set up the rope anchor on a very large tree. I pre-rigged Chris for Rappel and rapped down to the ledge. We had thought that there were more than one chick, however all I saw was one.I set up an anchor and called out to Chris to come on down.
The chick was all the way on the left side of the ledge. When Chris came down I had him set up to my left, between me and the chick. As usual we stay on rappel and use the anchor as an additional stability. The Petzl Shunt and the static line make it pretty easy to manage this process. Once Chris was settled in, he was able to "whisper" the chick to come to him and he put it between us. It was pretty neat to watch him do this. The banding didn't take that long and I was able to take a video often whole process, as well as do an interview with him as he was doing the procedure. It was very cool and I hope to have it edited in the next couple of weeks.
Once the chick was banded Chris moved it over to the right side of the ledge, near a wide crack. Through the whole time we were there we never saw the parents. It was pretty surprising as usually they are screeching at us and flying past. We have no idea where they were, but the chick was well fed so he was certainly not abandoned.
We packed things up and again I made sure he was set up and I rappelled down first. It is always interesting to rap down over a climb that is normally done as a winter ice route. There was a surprising amount of crappy loose rock all over the place, exactly where you climb in the winter. It is held together by the ice in the winter, but it's not something I would want to climb in the summer. Once I was down, I called to Chris to come on down and he did so. As always I hold on to the end of the rope in a "fireman's belay" to add a little protection for him if he had any problem. I made sure that the rope was laid out so that it could be easily pulled up from the top and we walked over to where his truck was waiting.
We drove back to the top and in about a half hour we had pulled up 600' of rope, packed it into it's 2 backpacks and were on our way down. This process is never quite the same, in spite of having done it many many times. Still, this one went very well and we were done, soup to nuts, in about 4 hours. Once again I love seeing these birds and am so happy that I am able to be a part of this process.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 23, 2017
The warmup has really hit us hard everywhere but in the higher elevations. Anywhere in the direct sun is dam close to toast right now. The Amphitheater at Frankenstein is off the radar, or certainly should be. You can probably do the Pegasus rock finish, but that's all. And I would be VERY careful walking under anything over in that area. As of today, Thursday Feb 23, Standard Route still looks OK. I also spotted someone climbing on Waterfall, tho I'm sure that the normally funky top outs are worse. The bottom of Dropline fell down, but Dracula still looks good. I was pleased to see that Willies still looks good. The snow has compacted and I saw what looked to be blue ice. The left side of Willard is basically gone, but Hitchcock, The Cleft, Left Hand Wrench, the far right slab and Elephant Head are still climbable. Other than the Barking Dog and North End I would write off Cathedral Ledge. I know people are going to ask about Repentance, etc and frankly I would caution away from it. In fact anything that is supposed to be attached to rock is suspect. Not to mention the fact that there is a LOT of stuff hanging around above you on Cathedral at this time.
Instant Bug Report:
Terrible terrible terrible horrendous… 5 out of five beyond a doubt. Bring your DEET or you will be unhappy, tho you might be unhappy anyway. Nothing else to say.
NEClimbs & White Mountain Report On Facebook:
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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: