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What a great feeling, for the first time in several days I awake up to sun and clear skies! Walking the dog and feeling the warm sun on my face was so sweet. While several days of rain is hardly unusual for this time of year, and frankly good for my garden, it is a drag to go through day after day of damp dreary days. It puts climbing out of the equation and cycling on the low end of desirable outdoor activities. [sigh] At least things are looking up for the weekend. Even tho I'm going to be working all the time, yes it's Motorcycle Week, I hope you folks get the opportunity to take advantage of better weather.
Booty, Or Not:
How many times have you been climbing and found a nut, Tricam or cam firmly stuck in a crack and left behind? Or perhaps found a carabiner on a bolt at a crux move that someone has obviously bailed from? If you got the piece of gear out, or you easily make the move past the biner, did you cry BOOTY and exhaust in the joy of acquiring a piece that you didn't pay for? Just like pretty much everyone else, I've done that, and haven't thought too much about it. It's always been a part of the climbing experience.
But what about slings, rings or carabiners on an anchor tree…or perhaps even pins? Do you feel OK about taking them? Lots of times I will do a route and there will be a rap anchor on a tree that time, but the next time it's gone! I've even put up a new route and set up an anchor where I couldn't put in a bolt/chain anchor, only to come back at another time to find the slings and rings gone! Did someone feel that the anchor was somehow offensive, or were they so broke that they couldn't afford some sling and rings for their own route or other purposes? I know that many climbers son't have a lot of cash, but let's face it folks. How much do aluminum rings, or even steel heaven forbid, actually cost. A couple of bucks, at the most?
A friend of mine told me a story about how they did a popular ice climb last winter. At the top they found a fairly new cordelette attached to the normal tree anchor, and extended to a better tree back further, basically backing up the usual tree anchor. When his partner came up he got all excited and proclaimed the cordelette as BOOTY! My friend tried to explain that in fact this was NOT booty, but had been donated by a climber to the community as a public service and thus should be left in place. Interestingly, a five minute conversation at the top of the climb did nothing to dissuade the younger climber from this opinion. It was there, so it was free for the taking!
This was brought up to me personally recently. Some friends and I have been working on some possible new routes on a somewhat obscure part of a local craig. We did put up the first part of one route, put in an anchor and left a rope on the climb to facilitate getting up and down easily. This was on a part of the cliff that almost no one visits, and the rope was almost invisible unless you were right by it. This was not a new rope by any means, and one we probably wouldn't lead on, but it was perfect to jug on, to hang on while cleaning and to occasionally TR on while working on other routes alongside. As you know, the weather has been pretty funky off and on for the past couple of weeks, sometimes for 3-4 days at a time, so that rope has been there for a couple of weeks. After several rainy days the weather cleared for a day and my friends went back there to find footprints all around the base of the climb and the rope gone!
Needles to say, this was surprising to all of us. The rope wasn't new and certainly wasn't worth much, so this is not at all about the money. I'd never even consider leaving a good lead rope on a climb, it was just a convenience for those of us who were working in the area. Since there were brand new bolts on the line and the rock had obviously been cleaned recently, one would think that people would understand that this was work in progress. It's hard for my friends and I to grasp that anyone would think that this was abandoned property, on the order of a nut stuck in a crack or a leaver-biner on a bolt. But, maybe as an old-man I just don't grok how things work in this new society.
My friend tried to give it the benefit of the doubt, offering that maybe it was group, they did the climb, someone pulled the rope without even thinking and thought that the rope was theirs. Or perhaps it was not even climbers! I guess that's a possibility, I don't know. Still, if you know who took it, it would be nice to have it back no questions asked. Shoot - I'd even buy the party a beer, just to have a conversation about it. I'm always interested in understanding how the new society thinks. [wry grin]
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective February 4, 2016
In spite of the rain and warmup, there is still ice to be climbed in the Valley and Notches. Some additional caution is required after an event like this, but with reasonable care you should have stuff to climb this weekend. All of the larger climbs are still there and by mid-day Friday and Saturday should be good to go. Just place plenty of pro, check for bonding and beware of some of the top-outs and all should be good. For the time being I personally would NOT go under Repentance or Remission!
Instant Bug Report - BugCON 4:
Although there weren't a lot of blackflies out this morning when I walked the dog, they're absolutely out there, and this last couple of days of rain will assuredly bring out the mosquitoes again. Still, I did pick another tick off my leg this morning, so they're not gone at all! You've been warned.
Like several climbers in the area I've been helping Chris Martin, Senior Biologist for NH Audubon, band Peregrines for the past 10 years or so. It's been an amazing experience and one that I wouldn't have traded for anything. I have made it a priority on my schedule to be available every year to do this. I really enjoy seeing these wonderful birds flying around the cliffs, and honestly have no problem with the occasional route or cliff closing that their nesting occasionally requires. IMNSHO they are worth it. That's why I was disappointed to hear that the banding program in NH and in much of New England has been discontinued. Part of it has to do with the fact that the birds have come back quite well over the past several years, and partly because of lack of funds on the part of the agencies responsible for the banding activity. Here are a couple of pictures that I've taken over the years…
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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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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.