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November 10, 2011
This week was really special, there is no question about it. In spite of having work that needed to be done, there was no way I was going to be inside any more than I absolutely had to. I hiked, I biked and needless to say I went climbing. And as ridiculous as it may sound, I found myself on Whitehorse halfway between the toilet-bowl and crystal-pocket on the second pitch of Standard Route yesterday with the following quotation repeatedly running through my elderly brain. In fact it kept running over and over, almost in unison with every move I made.
"It's F***ing great to be alive, ladies and gentlemen, and if you do not believe it is F***ing great to be alive, you better go now, because this show will bring you down so much."
From Just Another Band From L.A.
You may ask yourself, who is that whacky guy saying this stuff? You may ask yourself, why in the world would I remember that? You may ask yourself, why am I writing this drivel? Frankly, so to speak, I'm not at all sure if I am capable of answering those questions, especially the last one! Same as it ever was! [LOL]
The one thing I will say about Wednesday is that it was just about the most beautiful day I have experienced in many a moon, afternoon, or even morning. Clear, dry 65+ degrees in the shade, golden glow in the air, literally perfection. Or at least as close to it as I'm likely to experience, short of a trip to Hawaii from what I am told. But they don't have granite cliffs in Hawaii, so why would I want to go there? Getting back to the point of this story, picture 2 old farts with far too much time on their hands, out on a weekday early-afternoon and totally and completely enjoying themselves. There's got to be a law against this kind of thing, but since I haven't been arrested for too much fun yet, I guess there is not.
Backtracking a bit, I should say that I've been trying to get my biking and hiking partner Phil out climbing for literally years. Not figuratively mind you, I know I've tried to get him out for at least 10 years. Every year I mention it, and every year he beg off. Now this is a guy who used to climb a lot, back in the day, He's a hard-core back country skier and mountain biker, but he has no real interest in climbing any more. My regular partners, the Perez's, are away on walkabout for a couple of months, so I have had to scuffle for partners who can get out for the couple of hours that my life affords me for this kind of fun. That's one reason I spend so much time on the bike, I can go out on my own any time and for just as long as my available window of opportunity allows. Rock climbing, for me since I don't solo rock, requires a higher investment in time and requires a partner or more. Anyway, Phil and I had a fantastic MTB ride the day before, so just for giggles I called and asked him if he was interested in climbing something 5-fun over on Whitehorse. I was completely amazed and delighted when he replied; "Sure, why not." We agreed to meet at my place a bit after 11 - Game On.
When Phil arrived we went through his gear. The shoes were about 8 years old, but they looked OK, he had a helmet that belonged to his sons girlfriend Danielle which was fine, but his harness was an old swami-style that I was just not comfortable with him using. Fortunately we had a spare modern harness with adjustable leg-loops that fit him pretty well. I grabbed my 2 brand new, still in the bag, Sterling double ropes and we headed off to the cliff.
As old duffers often do, we both brought too much clothing and by the time we were up on the launching pad we were sweating. Not to mention the fact that it was probably in the upper 60's in the sun! In spite of seeing several cars in the climber's lot, there was one other party we saw on the cliff rapping down Sea Of Holes. They heard my distinctive voice and called over. It was David G who lives out in Sandwich near George Hurley and his friend. It was nice to see others out enjoying a day as special as this one was.
Anyway - the two of us got all geared up and talked through the details. As long as we've known each other we'd never climbed together, so it just made sense to go through the check-list. I decided it would be fun to head up to the toilet-bowl, then to the crystal pocket and on to the pinch in the Standard arch. At that point I figured we could decide where we would go from there.
You should understand that both of us are talkers. We chatter along when we're hiking, chit-chat when we're out riding on the road or in the woods so climbing was no different. It makes for a really nice feeling to be out there with an old and valued friend, enjoying a day like this. There was not a seep anywhere to be seen or felt, and even the toilet-bowl was completely dry. I noticed a few solution-pockets with some water in them, but nothing to cause the slightest issue. There were a few snags with the new rope kinking up a little, but it wasn't all that much of problem and the climbing was great! Phil followed that pitch as if he'd been climbing all his life, which actually with the exception of the past years be has, and we were standing there together in no time!
The pitch to the crystal-pocket was absolutely wonderful. It's one of my favorites because I love the little left leaning arch and the small overlap, followed by the features right below the belay stance. It's just a wonderful sequence. As mentioned, I found myself repeating that Zappa quote over and over again. What can I say? it absolutely IS "F***ing great to be alive". [grin] Just as before, Phil followed this pitch with aplomb. We both marveled at the warmth and dryness. It's so hard to believe that a short time ago we had 8 inches of snow on the ground, and now thisÖ The view, looking down the sweeping shady slabs into the woods, was amazing. Since the trees still haven't given up all their leaves there was a golden glow that was truly wonderful.
The pitch up to the pinch in the arch is really fun to lead. It's runout up the little hump to the first of the series of solution pockets, but the rock is very positive. Over the hump I was surprised to see a pink Tricam already in the pocket! I fiddled with it for a minute and could see that it was new and wasn't going anywhere, so I clipped it and went on. There are a whole series of pockets that are a part of the little dike that goes up and right towards the pinch. At the end of it you have a 15' section and you're right there. When I got to the pinch I was again surprised to see a red sling girth-hitched to the static-line anchor with a single non-locking old carabiner on it! Since there are 2 rings on the anchor to rappel, I have no idea what that was about. Go figure..
Phil followed, obviously enjoying the climbing every bit as much as I did. In spite of our advanced ages, we'd run up these 3 pitches in really good time - it was barely 2PM. He had stuff to do, as did I, so we decided to head down. I showed him the rappel device extension and we talked it through for a few minutes. All he'd ever done was rapping off the device on his harness, so it was a change. Since we were using 7.8mm ropes it was nice to have the additional friction on the rap.
I went down first to see if I could get the Tricam out of that pocket. Unfortunately the only nut-tool I had was a bit too wide to get in the pocket and turn the Tricam around so it was in the correct position to be removed. So there is booty up there for the next traveler to come through! We slipped down the 3 anchors as if we'd been working together all our lives, and in no time we were back on the Launching Pad. We pulled and coiled the ropes and headed back down to the van, again marveling at the fact that there was absolutely no one around on a spectacular day.
He's actually a retired person, but I only play one when I get the chance. There's just sometimes tho that you just have to puttied the daily grind and do something for your soul. this was one of those times. Here's a few pix from the festivities:
The adidas Group today announced that it has signed a share purchase agreement to acquire Five Ten, a leading performance brand in outdoor action sports. The adidas Group intends to purchase the entire Five Ten business, which includes all of the issued share capital of Five Ten USA. The total purchase price is USD 25 million in cash at closing and contingent payments, which are dependent on Five Ten achieving certain performance measures over the next three years. The transaction is expected to close in the next couple of weeks.
For more info - http://fiveten.com/community/blog-detail/12253-adidas-group-to-acquire-outdoor-specialist-five-ten
Friday, December 16 ∑ 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Granite Films & Davenport Mountainsport present Warren Miller's 62nd film, "Like There's No Tomorrow". Featuring Chris Davenport and Hugo Harrisson in Warren Millerís first ever segment from Mt. Washington, NH. With live presentation by Chris Davenport.
Tickets are available online at: http://www.granitefilms.com/tickets/
Doors open at 6:00 p.m, show starts at 7:00 p.m.
$10 tickets, kids 12 and under free.
Proceeds benefit the Eastern Slope Ski Club.
Chris will also be signing posters and his new book "50 Classic Ski Descents of North America" in Ptarmigan's (Attitash Base Lodge), 3:30-4:00 pm that afternoon.
Ever dream of mountains? Real mountains have ice and snow, and unless you know how to climb on that frozen delight you arenít going there. Fear not that those toes of yours will never tread there, you are in luck! The Boston Chapter Mountaineering Committee will offer the 2012 Ice Climbing Program this winter. This program teaches waterfall ice climbing and technical mountaineering skills. The focus is on the equipment, techniques and practices that are useful on the mountains and crags of New England as well as ice climbing areas worldwide. The truth is if you can climb on the bullet hard ice of New England you should be able to climb ice anywhere. Iím sure right about now you are saying to yourself, sign me up! Not so fast, little ice chip. You should have rock climbing experience and winter sport experiences such as hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing. Figure skating and ice fishing won't help your cause much.
The program will have two lectures at Cabot Hall (4 Joy Street, Boston) the first is on Wed, December 7th, 2011 at 7:00 pm. The second lecture is on Wed, January 4th, 2012 at 7:00 pm for accepted students and those on the wait list. There will be two upcountry weekends where you will get to touch honest-to-goodness real ice on January 21/22 and February 4/5. For additional information and to apply for the program please see our website at http://amcbostonclimbers.org. The cost of the program is $275 for AMC members and $325 for non-members.
Tho it was chilly the first part of the week, it's been anything but so now. The snow that was capping things on the summit has really dissipated and most of the ice that was forming is gone. It might get cooler next week, but right now I would save your hike time for a bit later, maybe even next week. But I gotta tell you that as I wrote this I was sitting in my office with all my doors open and it was almost 64 degrees outside!
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 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
|I stared blankly at my fingertips. The ends were black and desiccated, hard to the touch.|