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So folks there's good news and bad news - here's the good news, 'cause I know you want it first. We've had some of the nicest early spring weather that I've eve experienced here in northern New England with almost 2 weeks of picture perfect days. Everyone was indulging in a veritable orgy of spring skiing, rock climbing, cycling and every possible outdoor activity. Honestly it couldn't have been a whole lot better. Over 9 days I managed to get in 3 days of rock climbing, 4 good road-bike rides and a great mountain bike ride. Humphrey's was close to totally dry, several of the notch passes were open enough to ride and the mountain bike trails were firm, tho unfortunately not the logging roads. WOW - what more needs to be said about it?
Now the bad news - It's not like that now! Although everyone was hoping that the wonderful weather would last right into the beginning of summer, that was not to be. After a couple of days of downright cold temps and even light snow flurry activity, we've now settled into some fairly typical March/April fare. A few reasonably nice days in the 40-50 range and somewhat more dreary, damp and cool days. That's what it is today: overcast, low 40's and damp. The only saving grace is that there is no wind to speak of, unlike the hard freeze and 30+ gusts we had on Monday.
Then there is this kind of silver-lining thing that may be happening. The downside of the unseasonably warm temps is that the mosquitoes, blackflies and ticks came out. Of course the blackflies weren't biting yet, but they were out there. And what's worse, the ticks were out - waaaay too early. I came home from climbing at Humphrey's on Saturday and found a tick in my pants! Not a good sign IMNSHO. So the good thing about the couple of cold days is that it should have knocked down the bugs. At least that's what I'm hoping. I was out on the Mountain bike the other day and didn't find any ticks or see any bugs of any kind, and I'll take that as a good sign.
One other note - The cold temps have now caused some of the ice that had pretty much totally gone away to come back. By no means enough to climb, but definitely enough to cause damage if it somas off & hits you. I was out on Wednesday and could see ice up on Cathedral above Thin Air & Standard Route as well as over the Mordor & around Diagonal. There is also quite a lot of ice that reformed up high above the Whitehorse slabs, especially on the right - some of which is substantial. I would be very careful again until we get another really warm spell and preferably a warm rain. As I stated before, Humphrey's and the South Buttress are your best bets for early season fun.
I'm figuring that we are just going to have to grab the nice days that we're get given when they happen and be thankful. Heck, what else CAN we do, right?
Last fall there was some graffiti that appeared on top of Cathedral, Whitehorse and on a boulder on the South Buttress Trail. Thanks to Sara Garlick and a crew the stuff at the top of Cathedral got cleaned off and a plan was made to get to the other in the spring. Well according to a friend, the crap at the top of Cathedral has reappeared! Needless to say this is a real drag and somewhat surprising. It's one thing to drive the car up to the top of the cliff and throw down some paint on a nice day, quite another to hike up the road in the snow and do it. Of course the same applies to that on Whitehorse and the B/B trail. There is not much we can do about it other than make it go away again. The thing about graffiti is that graffiti begets graffiti. We've been pretty darn lucky over the years to have had very little of this kind of thing. Let's hope that if we demonstrate that we're not going to let it stay there, maybe they will give up. Not likely, but it's a hope. I'm sure that there will be a crew put together to clean this stuff up, so stay tuned.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 4, 2016
In spite of the rain and warmup, there is still ice to be climbed in the Valley and Notches. Some additional caution is required after an event like this, but with reasonable care you should have stuff to climb this weekend. All of the larger climbs are still there and by mid-day Friday and Saturday should be good to go. Just place plenty of pro, check for bonding and beware of some of the top-outs and all should be good. For the time being I personally would NOT go under Repentance or Remission!
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.
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.
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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...