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There are nice days, and there are NICE days! And oh what an incredibly NICE day today is... Mid-70's temp, very low humidity, slight breeze, minimal bugs and an especially luxurious baby-blue sky. Folks it doesn't get a whole lot better than this! At least not in New Hampshire. [grin] Yesterday, on the other hand, was sunny, hot and humid. Go figure… Needless to say I was forced to get out for a mountain bike ride this scorning. Too bad I couldn't get in a climb this afternoon. Now that would have been extra sweet.
Last weekend I was wanting to get over to Humphrey's to work on an open project, but it was just too hot for me. So on Saturday Judy & Joe Perez and I decided to wander up to Found Ledge to check on the climbs we put up last summer, figuring it might be coolish up there. It was sure cool enough in the early morning, but didn't take too long to warm up. I played music on Friday night so we didn't exactly get an alpine start, settling on a leisurely 9:30. The plan was to meet at the pullout in the Kanc but when I got there it was hard to find the exact spot. Last year there was an obvious opening where you could see a huge downed tree. This year the foliage had grown up so much it was very hard to spot. From now on I'm going to have to use the mileage from the web site to hone in on the spot.
We hiked up the normal way, on the right of the stream-bed until we cut across at a cairn and up the hill. On the lower section it really didn't look as if anyone had been there in some time. However, up near the top the trail was quite beat-out, as if a group had come up and there were some obvious places where someone had pruned some branches. Maybe someone is doing some skiing up there in the winter, who knows? In addition we noticed a number of trees with a prominent L painted on them! None of us had ever noticed that before and it was quite the mystery.
It didn't take us long to get to the Little Slab area, right of the Lumberjack Wall. As always the fern patch below the slab was in full growth. It's really a pretty cool area. It's hard to be sure, but it really didn't look as if anyone had been climbing there this spring. The rock was nice as always, but there was pine straw and little debris all over the slab and on the actual climbs. It's the kind of thing that if it was getting climbed would have been brushed off.
We decided to give Judy's climb Brilliant a try first. Joe led it and then we pulled the rope and I led it. We all remembered that we had rated it a 7 last fall, but we felt it was a little harder, maybe an 8. I couldn't remember what I had put on the web site, so I whipped out my Droid to see if I could log in and see. Turns out I could get a data connection and saw I'd put it as a 9! Well we all agreed that wasn't correct I I made a mental not to change it when we got back. [done]
Next on the list was A Little Slab'll Do Ya. Joe and I both led it. I knew it was rated at 8+ and we all agreed that was probably right. Most of it was about the same as Brilliant, however the first bolt is a bit higher and it's a bit more run out at the top, so it is probably deserving of the harder grade.
The I decided to lead my climb, Elvis Is In The House, just to the left. I'd rated it 5.9 and the crux is in the first 3 bolts. When I did it last fall I'd done it on TR several times, it was at the end of the season so I was climbing pretty well and I'd pretty much floated it. This time I felt that the moves between the first and second bolts were quite heady. I didn't fall, and even if I had it would have been quite clean, but it took me a couple of tries to find the combination. The upper section has the bolts pretty spaced out, but once you climb the lower section you don't have any problems with it. It's a pretty sweet climb and I'm happy with how it came out.
We all had put on bug dope, but were surprised that they weren't all that bad up there. That wasn't the case on the way down however. We packed up and headed down the trail. Our plan was to continue straight down the berm on the right side of the stream (facing down) all the way to the flats. The forest is somewhat open all the way down and we managed that pretty easily, however from the time we got into the woods until we got to the Kanc the mosquitoes were terrible. In spite of additional bug spray they were literally insane with clouds of them were around my head, getting into my nose and even in my eyes. YUCK…
All in all, in spite of the mosquitoes, it was a great morning of climbing. We got all done in what was really about 4 hours and I was able to get a shower, some dinner and a little rest & relaxation in before I had to leave for my band gig in Ossipee that night. Not too shabby…
If you haven't been up to Found Ledge, you should check it out. It's only about a 30 minute hike up the hill and less than 1/2 mile! There is some nice slab climbing on the Little Slab and some great crack climbing on the Lumberjack Wall. Highly recommended, and you are unlikely to see anyone all day. Plus the view from the top of the slab across the valley to Sundown is really a treat.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective March 6, 2014
While the ice is going through a bit of a change, what with the weather being so cold, it's still very good in most places. With the longer days and more intense sunlight we should start to see some refreshing going on, as soon as the temps moderate. Most climbs in the direct sun are starting to see a little water during the day, in spite of the cold. The stuff in the shade that's looking a bit beat up and that in the direct sun is a little pinky. That said, it looks as if this weekend things are going to moderate, so it should be a good one.
BTW I am aware that some of today's pix are of a decidedly poorer quality than we all are used to. This is because my main camera's battery pack died and I had to use my cell phone camera - sorry about that.
Some Special Music::
The White Mountain Boys Trio will be having our CD release party at the Shovel Handle Pub in Jackson, NH on July 10th from 5:30-8:30. We started work on the CD this spring and finished it a few weeks ago. It is a collection of classic honky tonk tunes played by Jonathan Sarty (acoustic guitar & vocals), Chuck O'Connor (steel guitar) and yours truly (fretless bass guitar). It's a great band and a great CD, so please come out and have party with us.
Instant Bug Report:
The bug situation has been very up & down for the past week, and very dependent on your location. In most places here in the Valley the black fly population has seemingly taken a nose dive, the ticks are somewhat on the wane, the mosquito population has increased logarithmically and the deer fly situation is on the rise! Your mileage may vary for sure. I'm dropping the BugCON rating to a 4 this week and hoping that things stabilize at a 3 soon. I think we can all live with that...
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:
Climbing is a very dangerous sport. You can get hurt or even kill yourself. When you go climbing, you do so of your own free will. Everything on this site is to be taken with a grain of salt. Don't blame us if you get up some totally heinous route, in over your head and fall and hurt yourself.