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I'm trying hard to keep a positive attitude, but with the weather being what it is it's tough. In general it's not like June is usually a great month for outdoor activities, and in fact it's often not. Looking back at last year it was a lot like this, but going through all my archived Reports over the past 10+ years for this week, it obviously does vary a lot. While it's pretty much always humid, it's just not always a full-on rainy month. Unfortunately this year we're going through one of those patches where we're likely to be at the top end of recorded precipitation! Not something that many of us are too enthusiastic about.
I have gotten out climbing a number of times over the past few weeks, but altho it's been enjoyable in some ways, it's been a bit of a pain in others. I've been working through a bout with some overuse tendonitis in my left wrist, which coupled with some arthritis in my left thumb has made pinching uncomfortable, to say the least. Then I took a tumble on my mountain bike last Sunday, leaving me with a very sprained right thumb! [sheesh] It was bad enough that I went to the local walk-in clinic to get an x-ray to confirm that it wasn't broken. It wasn't, but I was advised no riding or climbing for a week and to ice it regularly to give it a chance to heal and for the swelling to go down. Needless to say I use my hands for so much - climbing, riding the bike, playing bass and guitar and working on the computer - so this is a very real hassle. While the climbing and riding can be postponed, the computer and music are pretty much requirements in my life, so this ain't a good thing!
On top of the pain, which is still pretty annoying at this point, it's made me aware of just how important the concept of "opposable thumbs" is. Try squeezing the release on your automatic transmission with an injured thumb, or pulling up your pants, putting on a pair of tight fitting socks, opening a tight lid on a jar, brushing your teeth or god-forbid placing a stiff cam. And fuggidabout meeting someone who wants to shake your hand firmly! It's a bit beyond frustration to me right now. I don't like to whine, but I do hate being injured.
At least I live in a place where I have other options to keep my energy level at bay. Tuesday I hooked up with buddies Phil Ostroski and Ian Cruickshank and we hiked South Moat for a little cross-training. As one of the area classics, I'm sure many of you have done this hike. From the new trailhead on Passaconaway Road it's 2.7 miles each way. The trail winds through the woods, sometimes steeply in places, with hardly any views at all until the summit. Tuesday we hiked in the mid-morning, getting to the top right before noon. I wish we could have started earlier, but getting these guys out before their 3rd cups of coffee is tough! By the time we got going it was really hot and humid. The blackflies in the woods for the first half were awful, in spite of a copious application of bug dope. Fortunately at the summit rocks there was finally a bit of a breeze and in spite of the haze it was quite nice. I don't hike all that much, other than on the way to a climb, so it's great to be out with 2 other old guys who are also old friends. It sure makes for a compatible crew.
With sunny daze and cold temps, the ice conditions have remained great for the most part since the reboot. It's turned into quite a good late season, and that looks to be going to continue at least for another week or two. Even the climbs that are usually starting to fade by this time, are still doing well. That said, with these longer days climbs in the direct sun are starting to feel their age. Lake Willoughby is a good example. With a fair amount of ice still standing, much of it is punky and generally unsafe. Be aware that things might not be quite as good as they seem! And on top of that, so to speak, is the snowpack. The Notch got the better part of 18 inches out of this one, and that has not begun to settle yet. Many climbs like Cinema, Shoestring, the large slope below Great Madness and even Willies have a LOT of snow on them. I suggest that you might want to give those a few days, like at least until Sunday, before giving them a shot.
Yup, Another New Route at Humphrey's Ledge:
Joe and Judy Perez and I have been poking around on the right side of Humphrey's this spring. We found and cleaned this interesting line which is worth checking out if you get some spare time and the weather cooperates. There is an old fixed line up there, so if you do check it out, please leave it in place. We would like some people to climb this on lead in order to get a consensus grade.
Even the Rain 5.8 (?)
Directions: This climb is located about 240 feet to the right of the Wiessner route in a corner above a large flake leaning on a fallen tree. Follow the climber's trail along the cliff, crawl under under a fallen tree, continue on the trail slightly uphill to a buttress where the trail drops down again. The route starts at the obvious somewhat rotten corner.
NOTE - There is a single bolt with a red tag on it on the face to the right. Ignore this as it is not part of the route.
Description: Delicate lay-backing and careful foot work makes this an interesting climb. The upper crack in the dihedral requires small gear. At the second bolt look right and note the large area of rock that is a lighter color. If you look down you can see one of the huge flakes that came off the cliff from this area!
Pitch1: Climb through the chimney and up dirty ledges below a large oak. Continue to a big ledge above the oak and traverse right . Follow a series of bolts to the crack and dihedral. Climb the dihedral to a comfortable ledge with a two bolt anchor.
Gear: Normal rack with small gear for the dihedral above.
Descent: Rappel the route
History: Joe Perez, Al Hospers and Judy Perez. May 2013
Instant Bug Report - BugCON 4:
I'm staying right at the BugCON 4 this week. I've seen it worse, but it's still bad - location dependent of course. I can personally attest that my back yard, the base of Humphrey's and the trail up to South Moat are all pretty awful right now. [wry grin] Not to mention that I found a tick crawling across my kitchen counter top yesterday as I was eating lunch in the house!
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