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So there I sat on a Thursday morning and it was absolutely bluebird - who woulda thunk it? Especially after a whole day of rain on Monday, a crappy Tuesday and a blustery, cloudy, chilly Wednesday that threatened to rain all day long. And now, as here I'm getting this newsletter out onto the wire, we've slipped into a very cloudy setting that goes with the weather prediction of rain and possibly a snow shower in the high elevations tonight! Hey New England - this is your normal Spring, right? Let's face it…we've been living in a dream since March, an unreality, a fantasy. It's been great, but now we're back to getting our feet back on the ground at last.
Last week I got out on both rock and on the bike, but this week I've only managed the bike due to the weather. We made another trip up to Found Ledge on Thursday which was a productive one, yielding a new route by Judy Perez on the far right side of the Little Slab. You can read about it below. This time there were 4 of us - Judy, Joe, my friend mason and myself. When we got to the pulloff on the Kanc we were a bit surprised to see another unfamiliar car, however we hiked all the way up and didn't see anyone. As we got setup to climb another party of 2 came wandering up and it was our friend Dave G and his partner Ed. Apparently they had stayed on the right side of the stream instead of crossing over and got lost. However, they heard us talking and found their way. It was nice to see someone else out there.
I climbed Cast of Chickenhead to setup a toprope so Judy could finish cleaning her line, Since Dave and Ed had brought a rope and full rack I suggested that they check out the route on the far side of the Main Cliff that I had recently heard had been done called 29 Years Later (5.7) by Larry Bolemer and Fred Bachler. The route had been done 7 years ago and I had been eyeing the line for years, but until last week I didn't know it had been done. They decided to give it a try and headed over. Joe and Judy setup to work the new route and since we didn't have another rope to climb on, Mason and I decided to go over and check out Dave and Ed.
When we got there Dave was near the crux of the climb, just before you step off the the vertical and onto the slab. He acquitted himself well, padded his way up to the tree belay and Ed setup to follow. When Ed got up to the balance-crux, which included a hand traverse out to the right, he didn't like the way it felt and got David to lower him. Since there was no way for David to get down and get his gear, he only had a single rope, Mason volunteered to follow the pitch in his hiking boots. Mason is a great climber so it worked out well and he managed it without incident.
Back over at the Little Slab, Judy and Joe had finished cleaning (more or less) and placing the bolts. I got back just in time to snap a few pictures of Judy as she sent the route in her ever-so-lovely style. Then for giggles I climbed my route Elvis Is In The House (5.9), and as always it keeps my attention. Mason pulled the rope and led it while David led Judy's new route. Then I took a turn leading it, as did both Joe and Mason. We all were in agreement with Judy that it was a lovely climb. [grin]
As always the hike out quick and comfortable. As we crossed the stream we noticed that the woods were so full of pollen, it was almost like smoke. The leaves were just budding out on the trees and brush so it was still easy to walk almost anywhere through the open woods. Less than 15 minutes from the slab and we were back at the cars. All in all a wonderful afternoon of fun climbing in a beautiful location with a compatible crew was thoroughly enjoyed.
I can't wait for the next time. I still need to get on some of those cracks...
New Route At Found Ledge:
Last week I was honored to get out to Found Ledge for a second time this season. This time we climbed many of the old routes on the Little Slab and Judy Perez sent a new climb located at the far right side of the slab which she named "Lovely". You can see it on the home page of NEClimbs. It's a sweet little climb and we all hope you get out there some time to enjoy it. Here's the details-
Lovely 5.7, 70'
Directions: Hike up as to Found Ledge. The Little Slab located is between the Main Wall and the Lumberjack Wall. Lovely is the rightmost climb on the slab.
Description: As are all of the climbs on this slab, Lovely is a clip-up. In fact you can come out to Found Ledge and spend the day climbing the 5 routes on the Little Slab and the 2 routes on the Littlest Slab, left of the Lumberjack Wall, with nothing more than a rope and draws.
Pitch1: Follow a line of bolts in a (mostly) clean stripe on the right side of the slab up, trending left to a 2-bolt anchor which is shared with Cast Of Chickenhead. 5.7, 70'
Descent: rappel from 2-bolt anchor
History: FA Judy Perez with her crew on April 19, 2012
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 16, 2017
At this point almost everything is IN and in pretty decent shape and I'm raising the ICECon level to a 4. The thing now is simply getting around. With all this snow you might not want to be the person breaking trail. [wry grin] Tramping out to the more obscure spots will definitely require snowshoes and a heads of for avalanche danger.
Instant Bug Report:
Well the bugs are starting to come out, but they aren't in full force yet - at least for the most part. I've heard that a bit to our south, like in Pawtuckaway, they are brutal, but that's not the case here in the Valley quite yet. I suppose that's got to do with the chilly nights. That said, there are definitely ticks out so be aware for you and your pets.
Wildlife biologists and volunteers in New Hampshire work very hard to identify the specific nesting locations used by theses state-listed Threatened raptors as early in the Spring season as possible, and to develop temporary closures that accomplish our Peregrine Falcon management objectives with minimal impact to recreational climbers and hikers.
This 2012 seasonal closures in New Hampshire are as follows:
Cathedral Ledge (part of upper left only), Bartlett, NH
Eagle Cliff (Spire area OPEN!), Franconia, NH
Frankenstein (lower south-facing wall), Harts Location, NH
Holts Ledge, Lyme, NH
Owls Head (right end only), Benton, NH
Painted Walls, Albany, NH
Rumney Rocks (Main Cliff), Rumney, NH
Square Ledge, Albany, NH
Woodchuck Ledge (upper right only), Albany, NH
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
When the slab cut loose, my mind calculated trajectories, analyzed terrain, and fed me its conclusions: no way out, you are going to die. This conclusion seemed to free me to experience the fall. Tumbling, catching air, then the loudest sound I've ever heard — probably the sound of both legs breaking or how to get hit by a Mack truck.