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Up here in the Whites we really have to count our blessings. I don't mean the obvious one that we live up here in a beautiful area where you have fantastic things to do outdoors at every time of the year. I mean the fact that we have somehow avoided the unbelievable heat wave that has engulfed almost all of the country. In fact right now it's a paltry 69 degrees at 7:30 pm. Sweet...
Now I don't want to rub it in to those readers living in the southwest, but the temps up here this past week have almost been like fall. The high on Tuesday barely cracked 75, and in the evening it got down to, wait for it, 55! Now I ask you - how could it get a whole lot better?
When the days are as nice as they have been, it's really hard for me to stay inside. Unfortunately for me early this week I was stuck here on the keyboard working on a custom software project for a client. It made me absolutely bonkers, sitting here in the office, looking out the window at the cliff and tapping and mousing away - while outside it was balmy and sunny. I know I won't get a whole lot of sympathy, but at least the rush-charges kind of made up for it. [grin]
So I couldn't go climbing earlier this week, but at least I did manage to get out today for a few hours on the mountain bike. I did a loop on the west side up the Tent Boulder Loop trail. This is one of the more technical mountain bike trails in the area. It was closed for a few years, but thanks to efforts by a number of area MTB zealots the Forest Service has allowed it to be officially opened again. This summer a local NEMBA crew did some wonderful trail work on a steep nasty section that makes it much more fun to ride and deals with some environmental concerns. If you are an Intermediate to Advanced rider I highly recommend it.
At the top of the trail there actually is the aptly named and huge Tent Boulder which looks as if it has a number of interesting possible lines on it. I'm fairly sure that they all have been climbed in the past, but I think it would be well worth bringing out a little gear some time and giving it a shot some time. You are fairly close to the Moats at the top of the trail I have noticed a bunch of other large boulders not far away through the woods when you are looking up towards the Moats.
Recently some folks were asking where there are some cool places for bouldering that aren't all that well travelled. Certainly Tent Boulder is one, but there are lots of others. One that area I noticed recently was off the Upper Stoney Ridge mountain bike trail. This is in an area that can be accessed fairly easily off the back side of Hales Location or via the old Carroll Reid Trail. There are tons of large boulders up there and I would doubt that there has been much, if any, in the way of development on any of them.
NOTE: Do NOT park your car up in Hales to access these. They do not like that and you run the risk of being towed. Either ride a bike (recommended) or hike in from the Climber's lot down by Whitehorse.
There is also a huge boulder on the left side of the trail across from the start to Sticky Wicket as you walk along the climbers trail at Humphrey's. You only see the pointed top of it from the trail, but it's huge and if you walk all the way around it you will definitely be impressed. It seems the more I wander around in the woods here in the Valley, the more big boulders I see. Pretty cool…
Some New Routes:
There has been some interesting new routing activity going on in the area all summer, besides what the Perez's and I have been doing. Some I can't talk about or I will get shot, but some I can. Jamie Cunningham and friends have been spending lots of time up on Middle Sugarloaf. The rock up there is generally nice and the location is great. The only downside is the 2 1/2 our hike in. He's been posting some pictures in the Forum on NEClimbs. They will eventually find their way into his and Jon Sykes forthcoming guidebook, but for now definitely check 'em out there.
Last week a crew of folks put up a new moderate route down on the Geriatric Walls at Humphrey's. Apparently Dave Penny discovered the route when he bailed right around a corner from a 5.12 project. Under heavy lichen he found nicely featured rock, which he used to climb up and retrieve his top rope anchor. I know the location and it sounds pretty cool to me. Here's the skinny…
Around the Corner (5.10)
Description: At the far left side of Humphrey's Ledge on et Geriatric Walls. Starts 15 ft left of Tree Keys, directly in front of the beech tree. The route consists of a slab to a nicely featured face and then finishes up a steep corner.
Pitch 1: Step up on nice rock to clip the first bolt. Step onto the ledge and lay the crack back to the right (protected by cams). When the crack ends, step left onto the face with nicely featured rock protected by bolts. Surmount the face onto a ledge. Follow the corner up past three bolts ( crux) to join the last bolt and anchor on Tree Keys.
Gear: 7 bolts, 2 cams, 1 optional cam before exit, or just pull on thru. Cams are small to medium
Descent: Single rope rappel from Tree Keys anchor.
History: 7/31/2011 - Dave Penny, Chris Graham, Bob Ahearn
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective December 10, 2016
Shoestring was climbed by multiple parties today! Not that there was a ton of ice on it! The Tablets at Lake Willoughby were climbed today by Alden Pellett and a partner! Ice is busting out all over the place, anywhere there is water flowing!!! Stay tuned folks. Everything is in the process of rapid change right now. It didn't get above 25 degrees all day Friday and 22 on Saturday here in the Valley. It is surely colder up in the Notch. I would bet that at this rate by Sunday things will have radically changed, for the better!
Instant Bug Report:
I know I sound repetitive about the bugs being noting in one place and terrible in others, but it's true. I was out the past 2 days here by Cathedral & Whitehorse and didn't see a single biting insect. Burt this afternoon I was in the woods up near the Moats and there were both mosquitoes and black flies out and hungry for blood! Sheesh - just when you think it's safe…
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:
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
This is how they die, I thought. They pass out or freeze without caring. They die as spectators, believing it's all happening to someone else. I'd rather be fully alive and awake when I die, I want to be terrified. The last place I want to snuff it is on a slope no steeper than a beginner's ski hill.