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Summer it seems like we've barely known ye! It's hard to believe that not only have we've already reached the mid-point of Summer, June 21, but here we are already past the 4th of July. I don't know if it's the wacky warm winter, the very early and long lasting spring, the cool nights, the long dry stretches, the long wet spells or the couple of heat waves with consecutive 95+ days, it just hasn't seemed like any summer that I can remember in my 16 years of living in the Valley. My garden has been kind of late in producing and my lawn not quite as lush as it should be, but both are finally coming around at last, but regardless of the funny conditions here in New England, least we haven't had the problems that are going on out west.
It's just been a crazy week with the holiday week, music rehearsals and performances, climbing, biking, a kiddo out of school for the summer, wife working close to full-time and all kinds of things going on. I just got in from a half-day guiding over at Echo Roof with a nice guy who lives in Florida. Amazingly there were no bugs and it was under 80 degrees! Neither of those are likely to last. I managed get out climbing Friday and Saturday, again both times over to the Echo Roof and Ethereal Buttress area. Can you tell I like it over there? [grin] What was surprising was that both times there weren't nearly as many folks on the cliff as I expected. We'd had a thunderstorm come through Thursday night that soaked things down so we waited 'till the afternoon on Friday and headed over to the Ethereal Buttress. As we walked along the cliff we could only see 2 parties up on the cliff and no one down further. Over a whole afternoon of playing on the Buttress and only a single party of 2 came by and didn't stay. On Saturday I took some old friends and their teenage niece back over to Echo Roof for some toproping. Just after we got there a fellow guide came up with a family group of 2 adults and 4 kids of varying ages. We set up a bunch of ropes to share and all took turns and on the various climbs. It worked out quite well and shows how with a little cooperation guides and recreational groups can coexist.
On a totally different topic, I'm looking to get a new mountain bike this summer/fall and have been checking out what the new technology has to offer. My old Canondale Jekyl is a serviceable full suspension bike, but it has a limited range of travel and is heavy. I've been hearing a lot about the new new 29'er bikes that are all the rage and was excited when a friend offered to loan me her new Rocky Mountain Altitude for a week. I've been out 3 days in a row on all of the local trails that I ride all the time. I put in what is probably 30 miles in total, with what likely amounts to 2,000 feet of climbing. It's been on mostly single track with lots of roots and rocks, pretty typical New England MTB terrain.
I'd read a lot about how well the 29er's can roll over stuff and climb, but I was a bit skeptical. Now I'm a convert. They do have some quirks in regards to tight twisting trails, but I'm certain that I can get used to that fairly easily. IMO the plusses far outweigh the negatives. I was able to climb more stuff easier and roll over much bigger stuff that I can on my Jekyl. Couple that with about 2 more inches of travel and I'm a very happy rider. It's going to be tough going back to my old bike next week! Now I just have to start saving my pennies. [grin]
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 23, 2017
The warmup has really hit us hard everywhere but in the higher elevations. Anywhere in the direct sun is dam close to toast right now. The Amphitheater at Frankenstein is off the radar, or certainly should be. You can probably do the Pegasus rock finish, but that's all. And I would be VERY careful walking under anything over in that area. As of today, Thursday Feb 23, Standard Route still looks OK. I also spotted someone climbing on Waterfall, tho I'm sure that the normally funky top outs are worse. The bottom of Dropline fell down, but Dracula still looks good. I was pleased to see that Willies still looks good. The snow has compacted and I saw what looked to be blue ice. The left side of Willard is basically gone, but Hitchcock, The Cleft, Left Hand Wrench, the far right slab and Elephant Head are still climbable. Other than the Barking Dog and North End I would write off Cathedral Ledge. I know people are going to ask about Repentance, etc and frankly I would caution away from it. In fact anything that is supposed to be attached to rock is suspect. Not to mention the fact that there is a LOT of stuff hanging around above you on Cathedral at this time.
If you are looking for something to do over this and the July 4th weekends, check out my band the Black Mountain ramblers which is a Texas swing band. The venues are cool and I promise that the music will be hot. Don't forget to say hi if you drop by.
Friday, July 6 - Jukebox Junction, North Conway, 7-10
Saturday, July 7 - Bayside Grill, Wolfboro - 8-11
Instant Bug Report:
I backed the BugCON rating down to a 4 this week because it seems that the blackflies are not quite as bad as they were. That said I still wear bug spray most of the time if I am out in the woods or going to be standing around on a day or in a place where there isn't any breeze. The mosquitoes can still be pretty bad. BugCON notwithstanding the ticks are definitely bad in places. I was out riding the MTB on Monday and had 2 on me halfway through the ride.
2012 seasonal closures in New Hampshire are as follows:
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: