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Here we go again…yet another bump in the road on the way to the 2011/2012 ice season. Amazingly enough, on almost exactly the same day as last year, we get a significant snow dump. Last year it was our first event, but the first one for this year was so early I really didn't count it. So snow is here, for now, but unfortunately without the requisite prolonged cold temps to take advantage of it. The days just prior to the snowfall on Wednesday were surprisingly warm. Sunday was classic Indian Summer in the mid 60's, Monday was cooler but sunny and beautiful, and Tuesday was sunny in the mid 40's! All were the kind of days that made it impossible for me to stay inside. Sunday I hiked around Cathedral Ledge with my son, Monday I climbed the first 5 pitches of Beginners Route on Whitehorse and Tuesday I did a 6 mile mountain bike ride over behind Birch Hill. On all of those days, if I didn't have the weather reports I would have had no idea that this weather event was on the way.
Monday's climbing was particularly entertaining. I was looking to ride the mountain bike, but couldn't hook up with my friend Phil. Fortunately right after he told me he was ditching me for skiing at Bretton Woods, I got a call from my buddy Jeff wanting to go climbing. He and I had gotten in our last rock climb of the season last year on Sea Of Holes, this year it was Beginner's Route. He swung by to pick me up at about 12:45 and we headed over to Whitehorse. It was in the mid-40's in the sun, and cooler in the shade, and of course this time of year the Whitehorse slabs are in full shade before noon! Still, we were dressed warmly and there was no wind so it wasn't a problem.
I guess we got started a bit after 1, with Jeff climbing the first pitch and making quick work of it. He climbs about halfway up the groove, stepping left and going up to the 2-bolt anchor. I usually climb right up to the tree, but it's all good. I followed pretty briskly, we traded gear and I headed up the crux pitch. It's an easy pitch, but with temps now in the low 40's and the normal ruinousness of the climbing, it felt a bit stiffer. As always I am aware that tho the climbing above the second bolt is easy, it's definitely runout. It makes me wonder who came up with the misname of Beginner's Route. [wry grin] Regardless, I brought him up and he cruised the 3rd pitch. The 4th is one of my faces, going up the Standard Route-like arch to that quirky step-up belay.
By now temps had dropped a bit and my fingers were getting a bit chilly as I brought Jeff up and I was happy I had worn socks with my rock shoes. Once again the climbing is a bit on the runout side. At the point where the leader steps from right to left, going from the darker rock onto the white, Jeff noticed an old chopped-off bolt stud. As this is about 15 feet off the belay and there is no gear, I wonder why this bolt was never replaced. Who knows? About 15 feet left and up there is are two beautiful pockets that take a red Camelot and a purple Tricam. These sure make you feel a whole lot better, since there isn't much in the way of gear until you get up to the "smile belay".
We were using Jeff's doubles and 2 ropes it was an easy series of raps straight back to the ground. By now it was about 4PM and had cooled off quite a bit in the shade and by the time we got back to the car it was a chilly 34 degrees! Because it was so calm it didn't feel all that cold, tho it was down to 32 here at the house when I got home. If this really is the end of the rock season for 2011, it was a great finish and I'm ready to get on to the ice.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective March 26, 2015
There is still ice to climb in many places right now, but with the warm temps and rain coming that’s going to change quickly over the next week. I would expect that the Frankenstein Amphitheater will become problematic pretty soon. Even as big and fat as Standard Route is, it is in the full sun all day so it’s getting beat up. Climbs like Dracula, the North End of Cathedral, Lost In The Forest, Upper Hitchcock and various things in the shade will last longer of course. We’re moving into the best time for climbing on Mt Washington for the next 3-4 weeks. That said, it’s time to think about rock season folks.
Tresann's Climb Foundation:
A subscriber sent the following to me recently, tho I had already heard about this person and their difficulties recently. I thought that some of you may find it interesting and may want to help her out. It's pretty tough out there these days, what with the health care issues that many of us have to deal with. At least give it some consideration...
Some of you may know Tresann Avenia, an enthusiastic member of the Worcester climbing community. A few years ago she made a determined and full recovery from a serious rock climbing accident in Acadia. Now, unfortunately, she has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Her friends have set up this foundation to help ease the financial burden associated with her illness. (Tresann normally works three jobs, all of which involve helping others. She is a PTA, massage therapist, and fitness instructor.)
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
Climbers seem to forget that we said in our introduction that there were simply '50 classic routes', not 'the 50 classics'. We chose 50 from a list of about 120. Only a torturer will ever pry loose from our lips the names of those other 70 classics...