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I think I'm in denial, but no matter how I try to look the other way or ignore the signs it's clear we only have a few more days before summer is over! That's right, only 8 more days, on September 23rd, and Autumn officially starts. Frankly it feels as if it has already started. I's been the very moderate days and cooler-than-normal nights over the past few weeks that have made all of us Valley dwellers think about the imminent arrival of Fall. Even with the nice weather, what really pushed me into acceptance of the inevitable was 2 nights ago when the Channel 9 weather pundit showed a weather map with 2 blobs of white on it. That's right, 2 white patches that were identified as, dare I say it, snow!
I'm happily ready to settle in for the bright colors, the cool dry days and the crisp clear nights that are the best parts of Fall in New England. I'm just not so sure I'm ready to consider the ice & snow that is always right behind - at least not just yet. I was poking around in a corner of my basement the other day and came across all my winter gear - boots, GoreTex, gloves, crampons, ice axes and all the other assorted paraphernalia that goes with winter. I pulled it all out and laid it out on the floor. Man have I got a lot of extra and old gear. I need to get my act in gear and post some things in the NEClimbs.com classified section or put it into the consignment shop at IME. I'd like to get some cash in hand to buy some new crampons and boots this year. As much as I like my 10 year old Nepal Top's, there are some better choices out there these days. And from what I understand there is a good resale market for an almost-new pair of Koflach Expe's right now. I figure that this is the time to do something about it. Something to consider…
Not that anyone will be surprised, but I went over to Humphrey's a couple of days ago with my friends Judy & Joe Perez. There are a few lines we have been looking at this summer and we figured that we better get on the stick or it's not going to happen this year. As is often the case at Humphrey's the rock is not always the best. On this climb things looked pretty good. We all took turns playing on it on toprope and when it was my turn I noticed what appeared to be some loose stuff right at the top. I thew some hunks off and the more I did, the more loose stuff was exposed. It was disconcerting… Then I moved a medium sized hunk right on the top and it bumped into a very large block that appeared to be embedded in the ledge and that block moved. Joe & Judy were already out of the line of fire, but I got them to move the packs out of the way. I sat down and pushed on the big block with my feet and it moved! A couple of more pushes and it was rocking & rolling! In a matter of about a minute it tumbled off with a huge rumble and shower of rubble. I don't know how much it weighed, but it was very substantial and we're all happy that it's gone. I spent a few minutes brushing off the dirt and junk that was left and it seems like it's going to be a lot safer. I've done some trundling before, but this was a big one.
All that effort took up a lot of time so we didn't finish adding the bolts and leading the route, so I can't say where it is yet. I think it will be a nice addition to the area tho. Humphrey's was a place that folks didn't go to except in the spring and fall because it was too hot. It's pretty neat that it's actually become a popular destination with all the new routes, and they aren't just the ones we have put up.
In fact there has been a lot of new route development going on this summer. One place that's been getting a lot of attention has been Middle Sugarloaf. Jamie Cunningham and friends have spent a lot of time up there documenting older climbs and adding more. While it's a bit of a hike to get up there, it's a very special location and well worth the time spent. Hopefully people will take the time to go up there. If they have done as nice a job as he and others did on Mt Oscar it's going to be fun.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 16, 2017
At this point almost everything is IN and in pretty decent shape and I'm raising the ICECon level to a 4. The thing now is simply getting around. With all this snow you might not want to be the person breaking trail. [wry grin] Tramping out to the more obscure spots will definitely require snowshoes and a heads of for avalanche danger.
Road's Open & Closed:
The Kanc was reopened on last Sunday, Bear Notch has been open pretty much all along, Crawford Notch is still closed, Pinkham is open and Hurricane Mountain Road was never closed. I have not heard anything one way or the other about Evans Notch, but I figure I would have heard if it was closed.
Instant Bug Report:
On the deerfly front hinges have calmed down a bit since last week, but I've been noticing more mosquitoes in the late afternoon and evening. Maybe there was a late hatching from all the standing water. I still wouldn't expect them to last very long with the frost that's expected over the weekend so I'll stick worth my rating that things are minimal.
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
In 1961 I led this chimney in a state of metabolic uproar. At the base of the pitch I smoked several cigarettes (the first and last ones of my life). This was to calm me. Then I spooned half a jar of honey. This was to ensure superhuman strength. Mort Hempel, my partner, watched this silly ritual with mouth agape and eyes exploding with fear.