NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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August 30, 2012

Hi Folks,

Here we are and it's Labor Day weekend. Wow, has the summer flown by or what? I don't know why, but I just feel as if it's over before I really dug into it. Of course the good thing is that the weather has really moderated and it's been pretty darn wonderful for the past couple of weeks. With nights in the 50's or lower and sunny days only pushing into the upper 70's, what's not to like? Sure we've had a bit of rain, but it's really been fairly minimal - to the detriment of the late summer gardens of course. And even when it has rained, mostly because of a cold front moving through bringing drier air, by mid-day both the cliffs and mountain bike trails have usually dried out nicely. What's not to like about that?

Last weekend was a very busy musical one, with gigs in Massachusetts and Connecticut. I was lucky to have gotten out to Webster last Thursday before I left. When I got home on Monday afternoon, work and family took over and I didn't manage any climbing in the early part of the week. Fortunately I did manage to get out on the mountain-bike for a couple of hours on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Sitting in a car driving to and from gigs for 4 days really gets to me and I was desperate for some aerobic exercise. After taking care of a good portion of some of the piled up errands and little tasks that had piled up I managed to get in some of the trails over behind Birch Hill and Cedar Creek right out back of my house on Tuesday afternoon. It was easy to knock out 10 miles or so of single-track in about 90 minutes, door-to-door, and it was just what I needed for both body and mind.

Wednesday morning I met up with some friends at the Rob Brook trailhead off Bear Notch Road for a ride that wandered all around that area. Other than a ride up the Rob Brook Road one cold day last December before the snows came, I hadn't ridden up there in several years. I forgot how much nice single track there was, and just how funky the Nanamocomuck could be! [wry grin] From what I remember we rode up Bear Notch to the old RR bed on the left, rode in for about a mile and then took a trail on the right that climbed a long way uphill on an old snowmobile trail to an intersection with the Sawyer Pond Trail. From there we went left on the trail that had a lot of blowdowns, crossing the Rob Brook Road and then downhill almost to the river. We then caught the Nanamocomuck and swung back to the road once again. Other than the previously mentioned blowdown, everything was great until we got onto the Nanamocomuck. It was every bit as rootey and messy as I remembered. Still there were some nice sections of long RR beds and a couple of nice bridges over the swampy sections and one over the actual Rob Brook. This was a nice ride in an area that definitely is worth visiting. I would think that this would be a great place to ride in the fall, if it weren't for the deer and moose hunters. The foliage would certainly be spectacular.

I did get out climbing for a while today, Thursday. I got a call Wednesday afternoon from George Hurley wondering if I wanted to get out for the morning. I have tons to do, but for some reason climbing can almost always be worked into the schedule! [grin] We agreed to meet at a civilized 9:30 and go check out some new possibilities over at Humphrey's.

Last year I had gone out with Brad White to climb the then new route, Under Toe and when we finished I decided to lead Shifty Eyes. When I finished flailing my way up that, I rapped down in between the two routes and noticed some grass growing out of a couple of what looked to be pockets in the rock with some water seeping down from the ones in the middle. I pulled some of it out and was pleased to discover what looked to be crystal pockets with some good places for protection. I gave it a run on TR and filed it away for future reference. A few weeks later George Hurley and his partner Mike also noticed it, gave it a run on TR and even put a piece of red flagging tape on it to "hold" if for them. They never got back to it and in the meantime George had both his knees replaced! Earlier in this season I was over there with the Perez's and it was actually dry so we ran a TR on it and decided that it definitely would go as a trade line, but again we put it off.

So when George called yesterday he specifically asked about giving that climb a try. I was kind of reticent about doing it without the whole crew who had been a part of it over the pays year and said that I'd go over with him, but thought we should do something else and he seemed to agree. However when we got over there this morning it was obvious that George was really hopped up to give it a shot and who am I to hold a mid-70's guy with bionic knees from doing what he wants? [grin] We talked about the possibility of running it on TR to check the gear placements, but George decided that it would be more fun to just go ahead and do it ground-up. Well not really, since we had both run TR on it at one point, but at least he hadn't done it in a year.

He geared up and I belayed him from right under the start of the route. I didn't think that there was any gear on the boulder moves at the start, but he managed to find a small nut placement. Then he just pulled the start like it was no biggie. He got a cam in the first pocket, but he had taken only part of the gear from my rack so I had to toss him my TriCams for the second pocket. The gear was pretty good up to the wet spot but it took him a few tries up and down to get the sequence to make it to the last larger pocket. Another good Camelot and the was on to the easy ground and then to the Under Toe anchor. What an inspiration! I can only hope that I can manage as well when I get to be his age.

We tossed around a few names and finally came up with a somewhat appropriate Slippery When Wet and rated it 5.9. Much like Shifty Eyes, you really can't do this climb until well into the summer. Shifty Eyes usually dries out by June, if it's not a particularly rainy summer. Slippery When Wet may never totally dry out, I don't know. Regardless it's a pretty neat line and I encourage you to give it a shot, on lead or TR.


Slippery When Wet 5.9 - 50'

Directions: The climb starts up between Under Toe and Shifty Eyes. There is a flat face right where you start and you can see a line of pockets starting about 16' up.

Description: Water almost always seeps out of the last pocket and down into the next to the last one, hence the name. Thus, this is a climb to be done later in the summer after a dry spell, unless you just like wet climbing. Regardless, it's a pretty cool fully trad line.

Pitch 1: Make a boulder move up an improbable blank face to a stance. Plug gear into the first pocket, and continue up past several more. At the last pocket move up and slightly right to a ledge then step back left into the bushes to the Under Toe anchor. 50'

Gear: standard rack #3 Camelot to green Alien, larger Tri Cams are useful

Descent: rappel from 2-bolt anchor on Under Toe

FA: August 30, 2012 - George Hurley and Al Hospers

And Speaking Of Moose:
While we were mountain bike riding this Wednesday morning my friend Peter M brought up the topic of moose. Out of a group of 7 locals, it turns out that only one of us had seen any moose, or even any moose tracks for that matter, this summer. We all found that pretty surprising. I personally usually see moose several times over the course of a summer and tracks in the woods many times. However, this year I haven't seen a single moose. A recent study by NH Fish & Game points to an increase in parasites like ticks as contributing to the population decline. I couldn't find the actual report, but here's some info about it.
Instant Bug Report:
BugCON drops to a 2. The chilly nights have beat them back now and I'm hoping that this is the beginning of the end for them, at least for this season.

2012 American Alpine Club Northeast Craggin' Classic:
A three-day festival of climbing, camping, slide shows, crag stewardship, dancing, and fun on Sept. 21-23 in North Conway, New Hampshire.

Registration is now open: festival tickets, clinic spots, and campground reservations are now available at Brown Paper Tickets.

  Friday, September 21
    * All-day guided climbs available at discounted rates from EMS,
      IMCS, Winkler Mountain Guide, and Synnott Mountain Guides
    * Post-climbing slacklining, snacks, and beverages at the beach in
      Echo Lake State Park
    * Evening slide shows at Zip's Pub, Cranmore Mountain Resort
    * Mark Synnott and Ed Webster talk about what makes Cathedral Ledge
      one of the best cliffs in the world.
    * Jason Kruk, a young rising star in rock climbing and alpinism
      circles, talks about his home granite in Squamish, adventures in
      the Canadian Rockies, and the first "fair means" ascent of the
      Southeast Ridge of Cerro Torre with the subsequent removal of the
      controversial Maestri bolts
    * Camping at Echo Lake State Park (campsites limited, ]pre-registration required)

  Saturday, September 22
    * Morning gear demos, coffee, and beach yoga at Echo Lake
    * Stewardship trail-building project with the NH State Parks
    * Half-day skills clinics: Self-rescue, Anchors 101, Rappelling
      Systems, Multi-pitch Systems (pre-registration required)
    * Post-climbing slacklining, tug-of-war contest, and beverages at the
      beach in Echo Lake State Park
    * Evening slide show and dance party at Zip's Pub
    * Doug Scott, the legendary British climber known for pioneering
      big-wall and high-altitude ascents, presents his show: Big Wall
      Climbing Around the World
    * DJ Mon Voyage Neon returns to North Conway to spin dance tunes
      after the show
    * Camping at Echo Lake State Park (campsites limited, pre-registration required)

  Sunday, September 23
    * Morning gear demos, coffee, and beach yoga at Echo Lake
    * Kismet Cliff Run: one of New England's toughest & most
      beautiful trail runs
    * Half-day skills clinics: Self-rescue, Anchors 101, Rappelling
      Systems, Multi-pitch Systems (pre-registration required)

4th Annual Kismet Cliff Run:
The Kismet Cliff Run is one of  New England's toughest and most beautiful trail runs! Enjoy twisting singletrack, brutal climbs and swooping down hills around the soaring cliffs and granite boulders of North Conway, New Hampshire. Choose the classic 5 mile course, or new this year, the 14 mile "Beast of the East" course which summits majestic North Moat Mountain.

The KCR is now a part of The American Alpine Club's "Craggin' Classic" series. Based in Echo Lake State Park, come join fellow climbers and trail runners with fun events all weekend long!

When:Sunday, September 23, 2012
To register and FMI:

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 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:

Remember - climb hard, ride the steep stuff, stay safe and above all BE NICE,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

All ice is dangerous. Grade 4 pillars are pumpy. Grade 5 pillars are pumpy and dangerous. Except for certain rare days of triple-high biorythms and favorable planetary alignments, grade 6 is beyond reach.
Dougal McDonald
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