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December 29, 2011
I hope that all of you have been enjoying a wonderful holiday season. We stayed at home this year and I admit that it was particularly nice to be relaxing in our own house and not dealing with the travails of travel and crowds in the cities. There is nothing like Xmas in your own house with the smells of spruce, a baking ham and fresh banana bread to keep you company. and this year we awoke on Xmas day to a light snowfall that lasted all through the day. What could be better?
With only a few days left before New Year's it's time for me to make a few resolutions for 2012. Last year I vowed to do more rock climbing and mountain biking and I managed to do both. This year I'm going to simply resolve to be even more active, in any way possible. Why restrict myself, right? Whatever your resolutions I hope that you have a happy, healthy and successful 2012. All my best…
I must comment that I've gotten a bit of grief from some locals about my gloomy observations regarding the state of the ice over the past several weeks. Believe me when I say that I wish I could have been more positive. I know that a less than optimistic observation can have a negative effect on you folks coming up and visiting and thus on some people's business. However I feel that I have no choice but to call it like I see it. I encourage you to read my narrative, look at the pictures I provide and make your own decision as to what to do. I feel a strong need just to "tell it like I see it" and hopefully that is what you want me to continue doing.
As always you need to make your own decision abut what you feel safe on. Some is is solid and well bonded now, some not so much. As for the most part the ground is not frozen yet, the top-outs on climbs where the ice does not go solidly to the top can be sketchy. You should always be sure to protect the last moves of any ice climb, and especially right now! Be aware of how well it will take gear and what's above you and never be unwilling to back off if you think it's not good.
It was quite cold last night and only about 17 when I left the house at 10. I went first over to the North end of Cathedral to see how that had fared. The Barber wall had some ice on it, but not really enough to climb yet. There were several cars parked at the gate and parties on several climbs. While I would not say it's fat, there are things to climb. Goofer's is coming in, but looks quite thin as expected and everything else looks pretty tough. Repentance and Remission are well on their way, as is Unicorn.
I was surprised to see ice coming all the way down the face of Humphrey's. However, as always, the full sun was poised to take it down before noon. The trees are making it tough to see fully into Black Pudding and my normally vantage pints are almost completely covered up. However it's obviously started to form. The real question has to do with when it connects to the mushroom at the bottom. I can't see it, so we'll just have to wait a bit to find out. The Barking Dog is also hard to see, but I think that there is climbable ice up in there now.
Looking down into the Texaco Amphitheater I could see ice back in there. The normal ice flows on the outside right do not look as if they have formed yet. I thought that the main slab looked a bit thin, but there was a party on it as I came back down the Notch at around 11:30 or so.
Thankfully Fang was no indication of the state of the ice at Frankenstein! Once around the corner to the Amphitheater, things looked much better than last weekend. Smear looked as if it was close to climbable, the pillars on Pegasus were filling in and the rock finish looked as if it was fine. Hobbit looked as if it was down, and tho I couldn't really see the little gully I have to think it's climbable. Chia is still thin, but Cave route looked surprisingly good. Of course Widow's Walk and Bob's were almost nonexistent.
From the road I couldn't see the Trestle Mixed area, but I heard that it had some ice and must be better and the slab looked much better than last weekend. Walk In The Forest looked pretty good and I through the trees it looked as if there was ice on Lost In The Forest as well. I would figure that those might be a good destination! Waterfall looked OK, but the copout looked thin, as it often is. Standard Left had filled in very well and looked as if it would be climbable, with a thin start. Standard itself looked much better than before, with the area straight up that had been open obviously filled in a lot. There were two parties there as I rode by.
Dropline looked drably from the front and through the binoculars the top didn't look good at all to me. I've done it in these conditions, hooking my tools in the lip at the top with gear 5' below my feet and my tools pulling through the loose moss. It wasn't a fun experience at the time. I have a feeling that it's in about that state right now. For some reason Welcome To Machine is not even close to being IN right now. Dracula looked reasonable, but the left side still looks thin to me. Again beware the top-outs as there are no turf shots! I couldn't see the Hanging Garden, but there is likely to be something to TR on at least. The slab to the right of the Blue Room Gully looks OK, as does the other slab ~200 yards further North.
There was a car at Willie's and it looked as if it had ice top to bottom. The biggest change IMO was on Willard. Where there had been next to nothing last week, there was ice almost everywhere. There were definitely things to climb on the Numbered Gullies and Great Madness looked as if it was very close to good-to-go. Around the corner on the upper tier there was ice on the East Face Slabs and to the right of Upper Hitchcock. I saw someone in Upper Hitchcock and watched them for a while. I could not see the ice and they took a while to get up a ways. I am not sure if that was due to thin conditions! Snot Rocket had quite a lot of ice on it, tho the normal start was not really there. The little trestle cut look OK and Elephant Head looked very climbable.
I am much more optimistic about the current state of the ice this week than last. As long as we don't get another rain event we should be good to go. It looked as if Santa has brought us a wintry present that we all can enjoy.
As you read this week's White Mountain Report and check out the pictures, please think about what it took to make it happen! During ice season it takes the better part of a day to go up into the Notch, check things out, take, process and post the pictures and write this Report. This week alone I took and posted 43 pictures! Year 'round there is also managing the NEClimbs web site, writing the normal Report and the ongoing expenses of paying for web hosting and the electricity to run the webcam and weather station. This takes up pretty much all of the income from 100 subscribers.
The DONOR LIST for 2011/2012 shows the up to date listing of donations received. As of this afternoon, Thursday December 29th, there have been a TOTAL of 65 DONATIONS! as I mentioned last week, that's 65 out of 1,200+ subscribers to the Report, out of about 1,300 UNIQUE visits to NEClimbs every day, and over 1.2 million monthly "HITS" every week! This is the least number of donations since I have started asking for contributions. I had hoped for 100, but so it goes… That said, sincerely appreciate any contribution, no matter how small. If you're interested, you can see the list from the link below. If you have made a donation and your name is not listed, please let me know.
Hopefully you will find that all of the information and community provided is worth the small individual contribution I'm asking. PLEASE REMEMBER, it's your contributions that makes this newsletter and the NEClimbs web site viable. PLEASE take just a minute out of your day to help support your NEClimbs and The White Mountain Report by going ON LINE via PayPal using almost any credit card. It's easy & painless. Just click the link below to make your contribution:
As always you can also contribute via check or money order for $20 OR make your contribution. Just make out a check or money order to NEClimbs and send it here:
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The White Mountain Report has been put out consistently since 1998. You can see almost all of the Reports on NEClimbs.com archived from as far back as September of 1999! So you get a sense of the popularity of the site, current traffic on NEClimbs.com is about 1,300 UNIQUE visits a day, generates over 1.2 million monthly "HITS" and The White Mountain Report newsletter goes out to over 1,200 subscribers weekly!
This is the last week I will be asking for donations for a while, so once again thank you so much for your support...
Here are some pix taken on Thursday December 29th:
At the suggestion of NEClimbs member Mark Sprague, I added a new section called Conditions to the Forum. While mainly intended for the rapidly changing ice season, it can be used for everything. It's a great place for folks to post their observations about the state of climbing in various areas here in New Hampshire and beyond. If you are out climbing anytime, but especially during ice season, please drop by the forum and post your observations. Obviously I can't be everywhere and it can be a very valuable resource. You can also post your pictures there or in the Photo Gallery. Of course you will need to register to do anything other than read. I hope you find it useful…
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
|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...|