NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 11:30p on 01/18/19 - Temperature: 26.7 °F - Wind speed: 3.0 mph - Wind chill: 25.1 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.989 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Rising Rapidly - Humidity: 49 %
IceCON 5. Superb New England ice climbing. Even many of the climbs that form rarely are IN.
5 out of a possible 5
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May 2, 2013

Hi Folks,

If you listen to other people tell you what's in good shape, or not, you certainly run the risk of getting yourself in over your head. While that's more often the case in ice season, it can take place on the rock just as well. Hmmm… George Hurley came over this morning to go climbing and I'd figured we'd go over to the Geriatric Walls at Humphrey's to get a variety of pitches of different types. However, he'd heard from a friend, that their other friend had said that Three Birches was dry. That's pretty rare for this time of year and that was enough for George, so off we went!

At the base of the climb we both commented that while it wasn't overtly seeping, it didn't really look "dry". But, George was still up for it and I was happy to let him have a go. I guess I first did Three Birches in '88 or '89 with John Gonoza, a friend from Boston. When I followed it I thought it was stout, but not ridiculous. Of course I was 25 years younger, 30 pounds lighter and had no real sense of the grades. When I led it myself several years later, I couldn't believe it was "only" 5.8, but I managed it OK. As the years have gone by I've felt that it's gotten slicker and of course now I know that it was never really 5.8. But then, that's Cathedral grades for ya!

George still climbs hard, but he has a bit greater aversion to risk than he had in his youth. In this case when things didn't feel that good to him he pulled on a piece here and there to get through. At 78, and with 2 bionic knees, I surely don't begrudge him those points of aid. Of course I watched him float numerous grade IV ice climbs this winter and I know that earlier in the week he had followed Cold Day In Hell and led the crack pitch on Hotter Than Hell. So I know the man can still do-the-doo!


Then it was my turn, so I headed up pitch 2. There's a few so-so moves up some flakes to a really nice finger crack, then you layback a nice but somewhat unprotected flake that takes you to a small niche at the base of a headwall. The moves over the little headwall definitely keep your attention, especially since your gear is all down below your feet. And then after all that, the little unprotected slab, tho not difficult, will server as a bit of a stung in the tail. It's always surprising how heady unprotected 5.6 slab can feel with your gear 30' below you! Needless to say, George followed all of it in good style.

We were using this as a warmup for our trip to the Gunks next week. We went for 2 days last fall, but this time we're going for 4 and it's going to be a great time as long as the weather holds out. Of course that means that the White Mountain Report for next week won't come out until Friday afternoon. I'm going to try and post some short comments about our shenanigans on the NEClimbs forum while we're away, so check in there if you're interested.

Local Boys Make Good:
Check this article about local guides Peter Doucette and Silas Rossi. These guys are really pushing it…
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective January 17, 2019
I raised the IceCON rating to a 5 today. It's unusual to get a 5 rating this early in the season, but this one has certainly been special. All the climbs in the Amphitheater are IN, as is pretty much everything else at Frankenstein. It's really pretty impressive just how much ice there is out there right now, in spite of how sunny it is. Just goes to show what snow and cold will do for things. That said, we have a VERY BIG round of snow coming in on Saturday evening through early Monday. Predictions are for 2 feet, but if we even get half that it's a big deal. If you're planning on climbing on Sunday just be aware of what that much snow means and please drive safe on the way home.
Huntington Ravine options, but beware snow  
Repentance IN - P2 start tricky Click to see route picture.
Standard Route IN - top pitch is much better Click to see route picture.
Dracula IN Click to see route picture.
For the full current conditions report, CLICK HERE

Instant Bug Report:
There are lots of bugs out there, but the mosquitoes and blackflies don't seem to be biting yet. HOWEVER, the ticks are pretty bad right now. While I was climbing at Cathedral on Thursday, I found 4 on me. My son has found them on him when he came in from walking the dog in the back woods. George says that in Sandwich where he lives he and his wife can't go outside without finding 3 or 4 on them when they return! Just be aware and do a thorough tick-check when you come in.

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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:

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Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

Then came a bigger fear. Not the threat of imminent injury, but the fear that if I didn't go back up, I would be a chickenshit forever.
John Sherman
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