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Yes, it's cool…or at least it is in the morning. The past several days it's been in the mid-50's to low-60's when I've gotten up at around 6. A couple of mornings it's even dipped down into the mid-40's, making it feel a lot like early spring or fall. This is darn close to perfect sleeping weather. With daytime temps in the low 80's and almost no humidity, this week has been one of the best stretches of weather we've had this summer and a real contrast to what much of the rest of the country has been experiencing.
Last weekend, which was darn nice for the most part, was taken up with playing music with the band so I only got out on the bike for an hour or so during the day. Then the wife and kiddo left for vacation Monday, and while one would think that that would allow this Kat to play, it turns out I've had a lot of stuff around the house to do. if you're a homeowner, you know exactly what this can be like. Scraping, sanding, painting, stacking, planting, and even weeding [yuck] - the whole gamut of stuff that just really screams to be done when summer days are consecutively this dry. Now I don't want you to shed a tear for me, as it's not like I haven't done anything fun. In fact I've been grabbing several hours of play-time pretty much every day. Just not often a whole day.
Of course the nice thing about living right here in the Valley is that I can do something for a couple of hours, and not have any travel-time to do it. For example, I rode the mountain bike over to Whitehorse to do some bouldering over at the Citadel Boulder one morning. It was fun to combine both things into one 2 hour session. Then I got in 2 fun mountain bike rides around lunch time. Neither was more than a couple of hours, but both got me a pump. That's what I've been looking for these days, real aerobic exercise. That and a bit of a change in diet is finally starting to knock off a few pounds.
Since I've been taking care of my business, today I actually allotted myself a close-to-full day of fun. I called up a crew and we all headed out to Found Ledge, out off the kana. Over the past year or so Joe, Judy, I and the occasional other friend have been going up there, working some new routes and generally enjoying the sweet location. This morning we had a bigger crew consisting Joe Perez, Jeff L, and George Hurley.
Joe, Jeff and I met at my house at 9 and the plan was to meet George at the trail at 9:30. When we got there we found George's car, but he had already started up the trail. With 2 nifty new bionic knees he's moving a bit slower so he got an early start. We caught up with him about 3/4 of the way up to the crag. It was great to see him out hiking into a cliff like this, not something he would have been doing even 3 years ago.
It was a warm hike, but when we got to the Little Slab half of it was in the shade and there was a little breeze. It was very nice. All of us but George took turns leading the various climbs, warming up for a new route we'd been planning on doing on the far left of the slab. There's a story behind this one…
Joe, Judy and I have been coming up to this area for the past few years. When we first went there, there were 2 routes on the slab - A Little Slab Will Do Ya and Cast Of Chickenhead. We put up 3 more - Brilliant, Elvis Is In The House and Lovely. At the end of last fall we spent a day cleaning a line about 20' left of Elvis Is In The House, but didn't get back to it before the winter came. Sometime over the winter we heard that Jonathan Garlough, a climber none of us knew, had gone out to Found Ledge and in the process of climbing on the slab soloed the line. As a 5.11.12 climber it was nothing for him and he gave it a name and grade and noted it on Mountain Project. Obviously we were all a bit disappointed; partly because we had put time into it, partly because it wasn't in keeping with the rest of the routes on the slab and because it would likely never get repeated. It just seemed like such a waste of nice rock!
Then, sometime over this past winter, Joe andJudy ran into a guy out hiking somewhere and it turned out to be Jonathan. Apparently they chatted and the topic of this line came up. Jonathan told them that he figured it had been cleaned and didn't mind if we went ahead and bolted it as we had originally planned. So, early in the spring we went out there to check it out. We did some more cleaning and marked it for the bolts,but we didn't have the drill. Joe and Judy came back out and drilled the holes, but when we came out to finish the job it was wet. [sigh] Right after that we started into the wet/dry/wet/dry cycle that we were in for quite a while. So now, 6 weeks later, we finally got a string of dry weather and a time when we could get out there.
After getting nicely warmed up on the other climbs, I took a toprope run and put in the bolts as I went. In keeping with the other routes we made it reasonably well protected, 3 bolts in the lower section and 3 in the top. I lowered off, pulled the rope and gave it a run. We all took turns leading it Since it was amazingly dry, the rock was particularly coarse and you could argue that the climb was probably 5.6. However usually the rock is not quite that dry, so we figured that it probably should be close to 5.7, thus we decided to give it a 5.6+ rating. This puts 6 nice routes on The Little Slab ranging from 5.6+ to 5.9. It's some fun climbing, in a great location that you can go and enjoy in solitude for the better part of a day. And it's accessible with really only about a half-hour walk in.
Sweet (a.k.a. Found-A-Line)
The climb starts on a little rise about 15' left of the "eyebrow" which is just left of
Elvis Is In The House.
Climb past 3 bolts to a small ledge. Step up and continue past 3 more bolts to the anchor which is shared with Elvis Is In The House. 20 meters 5.6+
Only draws are necessary for gear.
Rap from the 2 bolt anchor.
FSA: Jonathan Garlough (solo)
FA: Al Hospers, Joe Perez, Jeff Lea, George Hurley, Judy Perez
To round out the day we went over the the far right side of the Main Wall, all the way down to the end. There is a line there that I had sussed out years ago, but it turns out was done in 2004 by Larry Boehmler & Fred Batchelder and named 29 Years Later. They had put in 2 bolts by hand on the lead on the upper slab and then continued up a 5.1 slab to a large pine tree up another 50'. I had asked if they minded if I added an additional bolt beside their second one to make it an anchor. That way folks could simply rap from the anchor instead of going to the tree and then making a funky traverse off to the right and having to walk back around the edge of the cliff band and back to their packs. They agreed sand so we went down there to make it happen.
I hadn't led the route myself, so I gave it a go. The start has a cool boulder move straight up about 20' to a flake where you can get a blue Camelot. Then you make an entertaining hand traverse out right with reasonable gear to a place where you can balance your way to stand on the flake. It's spooky, but cool. There is a bolt on the lip to protect the move up onto the slab and then you pad up about 15' to what now is the anchor. They had rated it as 5.7, but I have to feel that it's more like 5.8. That said, the gear is fine and the climbing is really entertaining.
So all in all it was a great day. If you get the chance to go out to Found Ledge I highly recommend it. Especially when it's as dry as it is now.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective April 17, 2015
I know, I know there are some folks who will say that this or that climb is still IN, but believe me there really is no safe ice in the lower elevation now, so the rating has been dropped to a 1. This indicates that the only ice is in the higher terrain now. And in fact, other than climbs that have some significant part of them in the shade, like Pinnacle, everything else should be considered suspect. That said the skiing is supposedly amazing right now so grab it while you can. Starting next week we will move fully into rock season and will switch to BugCON ratings.
Hospers Family Chipmunk Relocation Program:
Last year the chipmunks in my yard started eating the tomatoes I have growing in pots in front of the house. They also were eating the snow peas in the garden in my back yard. Needless to say it made me crazy to go out for a tomato and find one on the ground with 2 bites out of it. So I decided to start trapping them and got one of those Have-A-Heart traps, and in just a few weeks I had trapped over a dozen chipmunks! I would relocate them to various places around town, always on the other side of the Saco. After the first 6/7 relocations I stopped seeing the eaten tomatoes. However in the late fall and over the winter I started seeing a lot more chipmunks in the yard. Yes, nature was working to fill that void!
This season I decided to get a head-start on the problem. About 2 weeks ago I got the trap out and started at it. In just 2 weeks I've managed to trap and relocate, 8 chipmunks, 4 red squirrels and 1 brown squirrel. I'm planning on keeping the program in place until I start having fruit on my plants, and then see what happens.
A friend told me I should put some spray paint on their tails to see if they come back. I've read that they will find their way back to their nests from miles away. It would be interesting to see if that is true. Hopefully just being on the other side of the river will be good enough. Right now it's man against rodent!
New Attitash Crag Trail:
As you may know, the river channel is now somewhat deeper than it was before the hurricane. Unfortunately the huge log that was across the deep pool is also gone.
Walk to the river bank using the description used in the guide book. Once you reach the bank walk up river about 800 feet to where the river becomes narrower and faster. Just beyond this narrow section, the river widens quite a bit and the water is very shallow. Walk across the river here. You may want to bring some old shoes or flip-flops for the crossing as it's all rocks. Once on the other side, follow an orange taped trail that diagonals up the slope to the base of the crag. Do not walk back along the river to the old trail that ascends the slope. The new route is about five minutes longer, but it is easier to ascend the steep slope on this new trail.
Thanks to Joe and Judy Perez for this!
Instant Bug Report:
BugCON has been at a 4 for the past 2 weeks and I'm going to leave it at the same level for another week. With this dry weather both the blackfly and mosquito population have been dwindling fairly rapidly. However, in the wrong place or with no breeze they still can be more than annoying.I'm hoping that by next week we'll be down to a fairly moderate 3. Let's hope so….
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.
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The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
To reach beyond what you are you must ignore the rules and the fashions of the day. Or, better yet, cast them way out in your peripheral vision - not to be forgotten but to act as a vague reference point, to ensure the necessary level of intensity and adventure.