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March 22, 2012
Whew, what a week this has been. It's almost impossible to believe that we still aren't through the month of March, and in fact just passed the first day of Spring! Almost every day for the past week we have been blessed with temps more appropriate for mid-June. I think everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop, and yet day after day here we are, enjoying what most definitely feels like summer.
Regardless of what may or may not be coming down the pike, everyone I know has been taking the maximum advantage of the days we have been granted. I'm sure that the sick-day count for all of the area business has gone through the roof. Whether it's grabbing incredible spring-skiing on Mt Washington or Wildcat, getting out on the road bike or heading over to a warm and dry crag to climb some spring rock; it's just been close to impossible to stay inside right now. I have a lot of programming and music work to be done right now. Every day I start out with the best of intentions, and then around 11 it all goes to hell in a hand-basket. I look out the back window of my office and I can't do anything except head out the door. Since last Saturday I've ridden up the Kanc, climbed 3 times at Humphrey's, ridden around town 3x and done a bunch of spring yardwork.
work 2 / fun 8
I must say that the climbing at Humphrey's has been great. Monday still had some seeps in various places, by Tuesday it was almost all good and by Wednesday it was almost as good as any late-spring season. Amazingly enough there isn't even any snow in the woods! Sweet… I have climbed several routes at the Geriatric Walls area including Daddy's Got New Shoes, 3 Brushes, Old Crow, High Steppin' and Easy As Puddin' Pie. all were plenty dry and are getting drier by the hour.
Folks have been asking me about Whitehorse and Cathedral. I haven't been up to Cathedral yet, but several people have told me that it's still pretty wet and I believe it. In addition there are a lot of nooks and crannies that are still hiding ice. Places like the Big Flush, Standard Route and anywhere around Repentance and Remission would be suspect. Over the years there has been quite a lot of ice fragments come out of Standard Route much later than you would ever expect. In addition there is still snow on the ground all the way up to Goofers and Recompense. It's kind of annoying...
Whitehorse also has its annoyances. While the slabs "look" good, they can definitely be treacherous right now. There is still some ice and snow on the upper slabs and hidden in the corners of the upper headwalls. There is also a massive amount of snow on the ground along the base of the cliff. In spite of the week's temps, I personally stay off them at least until we get a good couple of warm rains. That said, the South Buttress looks like it's in great shape. That's a part of the cliff that gets full sun most of the day, so it clears out the ice early. Sure it's a hike, but no one wants to get hit by a hunk of ice coming down from 700 feet above. Several years ago a local climber was on Short Order on a beautiful early spring day. A hunk of ice came out of the Mistaken Identity corner and showered them and their partner with ice, one piece hitting his wrist and fracturing it! Not fun at all…
For those who are interested in access to some of the back woods climbing areas like Green's Cliff and the Captain, that's still pretty problematic. Bear Notch Road is still gated and will likely be so for several weeks more. I rode the bike up there today and there was still a fair amount of snow up high. While the woods are clear in places, it's quite muddy. I would be very surprised if the Rob Brook fire road will passable for a couple of more weeks. Sawyer River Road is still covered with snow and Evans Notch is closed and there is a lot of snow still in the shade on the road. Patience will be rewarded!
While this winter does seem to have been particularly mild and short, it's not completely unusual. NEClimbs.com has White Mountain Reports archived from 2004. I went back through the late March ones and it's pretty common for the Ice Season to be over by the first day of Spring. Occasionally I've been still climbing on April 1, but that's actually not that usual. Sure we've had some very warm temps earlier than usual, but more often that not the lower-elevation ice is usually done by now. Check 'em out for yourself - they're kind of cool.
So here we are in rock season. Get that rack, shoes and chalk all ready to go. There's warm rock and a dry climb in your future - enjoy it.
It's all over folks... That's right, it's the third day of Spring and the 2011/2012 ice season is done, over, toast. I know there are folks who will say that there is still ice to be climbed here & there, but IMNSHO it's all OUT. While there is still some ice and snow on Mt Washington, even that's going fast.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this season a good one. We all will look forward to next year... As of now the Ice Report has been replaced by the Bug Report so stay tuned for that, hopefully later rather than sooner.
Yup, it's getting to be that time of year folks. Incubating peregrines were confirmed at Rumney Main Cliff on Wednesday afternoon, 3/21/2012. Chris Martin of NH Audubon plans to place temporary closure signs at Main Cliff on Thursday morning. Currently there are no plans to close Summit Cliff. Please cooperate with these climbing restrictions.
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
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