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October 6, 2011
Sorry that the Report emailing didn't get out on Thursday. I had an issue with my mailing list program and I have been working on it the past 24 hours. Hopefully it will be resolved zoom...
CHILLY…that's what it was this morning, and frankly that's what it is right now. Although we are supposed to have a blast of warmer weather at the end of the week, we have most assuredly jumped headfirst into Fall. The leaves are changing and the feeling in the air is completely different. It's my second favorite time of the year, Spring being my favorite because it's the end of a long winter. Now that things are drying out after the last round of rain, it should be a great time to get out on the rock. In a week or 10 days the colors on the cliff will be electrifying, the cool temps will let the sticky rubber stick like crazy, and I'll feel so alive and energized I'll feel as if I can do anything. Hmmm, maybe I will be able to send that project this season...
I've heard about Owl's Cliff over between the Kanc and Bear Notch Road, not to be confused with Owl's Head up in Olivarian Notch. This is actually a pair of cliffs that are more or less East, across the valley from Green's Cliff. While it's certainly back-country, it is surprisingly accessible. NEClimbs subscriber Mark Sprague sent me some info on Owl's recently to get me to post in the Routes section of the site. The climbing looks as if it would be varied and entertaining, and the access surprisingly moderate, at least if are proficient on the mountain bike. Needing a ride, after a couple of days of being cooped up in the house, I decided I'd check it out Thursday morning…
Well it was a cold night, so I got a later start than expected, not getting out hoof the house until 10:30 or so. Even by then it was in the mid-40's so I bundled up. I drove the car out Passaconaway Road and the Kanc and up bear Notch Road to the Rob Brook pullout on the left. There were a couple of cars there and I put on my orange vest in case they were hunters. It's bird season now and being out in the woods where people are shooting rifles makes me understandably nervous.
The Rob Brook Road is really like a carriage road. It's wide and well maintained and I was able to really cruise along quite rapidly. I have downhill style pedals on my bike, so I wore a pair of trail running shoes instead of MTB shoes with cleats. That way I could hike if I wanted or needed to. I had printed out a map from Mountain Project that showed some landmarks. The road actually wanders around quite a bit so it is a good idea to have something with you.
I actually missed the fire road (FR35) off on the right at about 3 miles, that takes you uphill toward the cliff. go figure… I ended up riding about another mile up RB Road, but it was a nice ride anyway. At one point through the trees I could see a big cliff across the valley and I figure that must have been Green's. I finally figured that this could not be right, so I came back and spotted a bright orange snowmobiler sign that said Trail To Owl's Cliff and a forest service pole indicating that this was FR35. There is no guarantee that the snowmobile sign will be there so you just need to pay attention, not like I wasn't!
I rode up that road to a clearing that the map had indicated would be where to leave the bike. It indicated a hidden trail at the back, which I found. I didn't want to leave the bike, so I rode a bit and then pushed it up the trail. It was a pretty crappy skitter road with a couple of downed trees. It intersected the other fire road and so I rode up to where a point where it got too steep for me to to ride and the trail is pretty eroded from the hurricane.
I ditched the bike there & hiked on up. It's surprising that this is an active snowmobile trail in the winter as it's pretty narrow and funky, so I guess it's for advanced riders. I spotted a couple of yellow signs with arrows and found the place where the climber's trail goes off to the left to the cliff. I didn't go any further as I was by myself. It just didn't seem like a good idea. I hiked quickly back to the bike and rode down the fired road to the Rob Brook Road. The ride back to the van was sweet, probably only taking about 20 minutes - mostly downhill.
Excluding the extra piece of riding where I missed the turnoff, I would guess you could my high-point in less than an hour. It's probably a little under 5 miles and I could ride all but a short part of it. I'm not sure how much further it is to the actual cliff, but I would bet it's not that far. It was a fun ride, with the RT distance coming in at about 9.5. I'd bet that the whole thing is about 7.5 to get to out to Owl's and the the Rob Brook Road was in surprisingly good shape, in spite of the hurricane.
I doubt I will get up there to climb this season, but I have it on my list for next summer, once the bugs are gone. It seems to me that this is a perfect place to go to get away from the masses, and the access is amazingly easy. Oh yeah, and it's a pretty darn nice mountain bike ride to boot. What's not to like?
Glen Denny (www.http://glendenny.com) scaled the big walls of Yosemite Valley with many of the climbing icons of the 1960s, including Warren Harding, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, Yvon Chouinard, Chuck Pratt, and Layton Kor. The sixties were a golden age in Yosemite Valley. It was an era of first ascents and all-night parties in Camp 4. Camp 4, home to a small group of committed climbers who dropped out of the mainstream of work and society to perfect their climbing skills on the granite walls of Yosemite. Camera in hand, Glen captured both the gritty reality and the sunny optimism of those years on film. This slide show, based on Glen’s book, Yosemite in the Sixties, gives an insider’s view of the classic ascents and colorful characters of this important era through images, stories, and anecdotes. The show is approximately 70 minutes long and followed a Q&A session.
When: Wednesday October 12th 7 PM
Where: AMC 4 Joy Street, Boston
Tickets are $10 / person at the door.
Hopefully this hard freeze has knocked out the mosquito population for the duration. My fingers & toes are crossed...
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:
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.
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:
Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
|Tick marks abound, so even the stupid can climb.
In his preface for the original Rifle guide.