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This is what I think is a thoroughly appropriate quote from head snow ranger Chris Joosen's Mount Washington Avalanche Advisory on Wednesday -
It’s the kind of day where one minor issue can spiral into disaster, a.k.a.- “no mercy conditions”.
In point of fact the past several days have been like that. Our wood stove has been cranking along full blast since Monday and there is still a little chill in the house, especially after midnight and at 5:30 in the morning. Going outside to walk the dog can be an exercise in stamina, for both dog and me. Driving the kiddo to school in your toasty warm car with no boots and a light jacket can turn into a tragedy if you have a problem. As Chris said, there's just no room for error in this kind weather folks. Just remember that 8 degrees can quickly turn to -10 with with wind-chill, yielding a case of frostbite in less that 10 minutes. If you are out hiking or climbing in this weather bringing a pair of mittens and some hand and foot warmers can make all the difference. There is a reason that the Wildcat Ski Area closed down for Wednesday and Thursday folks - they want to protect both their customers and their employees - and it's no joke.
Take care out there...
Avalanche Accident In Huntington Ravine:
As many of you may have have heard, there was an incident on Central Gully in Huntington Ravine last Thursday (1/17) that involved a party of 12. Three climbers, part of the Ascents Of Honor group, were swept 800' down from very near the top of the climb, one of them sustaining significant injury. It was only through luck that a real tragedy did not occur and the other 9 weren't directly involved! Local climber and Conway Daily Sun reporter Erik Eisle has written an excellent article about the incident:
There has been a lot of discussion in the local guiding and climbing community about the incident, some of which you can read on the NEClimbs Forum. An excellent analysis of the accident and conditions surrounding it is available on the US Forest Service web site here:
While it is always easy to second-guess someone else's decisions, there is usually something to be gained from analyzing an incident such as this. That's one reason I read the ever-popular Accidents In North American Mountaineering every year. I suggest that you read these reports and give it some consideration. If you spend a lot of time in and around the mountains, you may be in a similar situation someday.
Fundraiser in Boston at Metrorock for Ovarian Cancer:
March 2-3, 2013 - Whether you're a beginner or experienced climber, a courageous cancer survivor, a person whose life has been affected by cancer, or just someone looking for a weekend of fun – Climb4Life is for you!
Join us for the 2nd annual Climb4Life Boston! This event is part of a national series that raises money for ovarian cancer research and awareness initiatives. Whether you are a newcomer or an old pro, HERA brings together men, women and teens to climb for a cause. You are the heart of the event. We need your strength to help fight ovarian cancer and save the lives of women and girls!
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.
Be sure to check the Ice Report Page for the full assortment.
20th Anniversary Mt. Washington Valley Ice Festival:
The MW Valley Ice Fest 2013 is almost hear - it's this February 1-3. You can dead about the details here - http://icefest.blogspot.com/. Make your plans and get your hotel accommodations in place 'cause this is going to be a big one! The number of clinics, guest guides and fun things to do are huge and make it better than ever. PLUS the weather is cooperating and we've got beaucoups ice for you to play on!
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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
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.