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While we have had fairly spring-like conditions for the past week or so, things are going to change starting tonight. The NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory which will be in effect from 8am Friday until 2am Saturday. The full weather report is below, but the gist of it is that there is an expectation of somewhere between 2 to 6 inches of snowfall over the advisory period. While this is a late weather event, it is not unheard of and I'm kind of happy that I haven't put my snowblower away quite yet. Not that it's probably going to last all that long, mind you.
So far this has been a fairly uneventful Spring as the snowmelt has been surprisingly gradual and controlled. "So Far" being the operative words! We haven't had any big rain events, so the rivers haven't overflown their banks and we haven't had any ice-jams so far. That's meant that the ground has been able to absorb the melt so the mud-season aspect of Spring has been pretty minimal. All that said, we almost assuredly WILL have some big rains, the creeks WILL rise, we're going to get some mud, the crevasses in Tuckerman and Huntington will form and the ice up there will fall! It's all just a matter of time. Stay tuned...
The trail up to Humphrey's has been totally free of snow and ice, there doesn't seem to be any ice up above the South Buttress of Whitehorse and even many of the mountain bike trails are firming up - at least the ones like the Rattlesnake Ridge in Redstone. However, regardless of what's been going on here in the Valley, up on the Mountain winter has not abated. If you've kept abreast of the daily avalanche reports, you will have noticed that there have been a number of avalanche events. The link below has some particularly good thoughts by Chris Joosen about what's happening up there and about what the Moderate rating actually means.
Today's avalanche report holds a LOW rating in most locations. However, based on the upcoming weather event, that will most likely increase beginning on Friday and throughout the weekend. I strongly urge you to check the Avalanche Report before venturing into the higher elevations.
NOTE: The Harvard Cabin is closed for the season. The only camping permitting on the eastern side of Mount Washington is at Hermit Lake Shelters.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective November 29, 2015
Ben Maxwell was in Tucks on Sunday and said there were a couple of reasonable lines.. I got an email from fellow guide Matt Shove who was up in Huntington Saturday. He climbed rock and said that in his opinion the ice on the mountain "has been set back to Zero!" and not 5 minutes later I saw a post her on FB by Ben Maxwell and Joe Cormier saying that they climbed 3 pitches of ice in Tucks Saturday. Needless to say that was ribbons of ice, in-between dirt and grass, but apparently it WAS ice! And then Paul McCoy posted 2 pix of what looked surprisingly like ice somewhere on the mountain. So, I have to assume that while there IS ice to be climbed, it's still fairly minimal. So there you have it...
Notes About Spring Rock Climbing:
Several folks have emailed or PM'ed me on NEClimbs about climbing rock in the Valley right now. IMNSHO the only "reasonably safe" place to climb rock here right now is at Humphrey's Ledge, the South Buttress of Whitehorse left of Atlantis Corner and Sundown Ledge. Almost everywhere still else has ice and snow up above it , some visible and some not so much, and it IS going to fall down over the coming weeks. We need a week of warm sunny days and some significant warm rain before it will clear out. Here are some pix I took Thursday morning that you should find interesting:
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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.
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The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
Life is brought down to the basics: if you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain... Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop.