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"March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb" goes the adage - usually with some modicum of reality attached. This week has been on the very-chilly side, so to speak, with the nights staying generally well below zero. While cold nights aren't at all out of the ordinary for March, the cold days and extremely cold nights we've been experiencing simply aren't the norm. Some of my friends just across the boarder in Maine have beed seeing a series of -20 nights! Now that's crazy cold IMO. The days are thankfully getting longer and the sun is stronger, however with the jet-stream continuing to dip down our way we locals haven't noticed it all that much.
Usually in March we get into a pattern where the ice starts building again. The warmish days and cold nights are perfect for a refresh on the trade routes that are so beat up by this time. However with the cold nights AND cold dry days we've been experiencing, the ice is brittle and has started to become a bit desiccated in places and can be brittle. It's yet another of the things to be aware of when climbing ice - and there are many! [wry grin] We can only hope that the weather, like our children, is just "going through a phase" that will soon change for the better.
I drove up into Crawford Notch a bit later than usual today. When I left the house at 10 it was still only 10 degrees, at the viewing area at Standard Route it was a breezy 13 and at the top of the Notch 12 in the sun. Surprisingly enough down in the Valley at 11:30 it was an almost-balmy 27! Go figure I drove into the North End to check things out and took a run on Thresher just for giggles. Compared to earlier in the season it was like a big slab, with the exception of the little bulge near the top on the left. Still it's one of my favorite places to get a little exercise on a busy day. I was surprised the there was only a single other person there on such a nice morning, but it was great that it wasn't crowded. By the time I got home it was an amazing 31 degrees in the sun. Now this is what I look forward to in March and it would be great if it was the beginning of the Spring that we are all looking forward to. Stay tuned -
Fixed Rope Controversy:
I'm not going to go into the whole thing here, but there seems to be a bit of a controversy going on, at least on the Internet, about the use of some "fixed-lines" on the steep icy section of the Winter Lion's Head Trail on Mt Washington. While I haven't seen them myself, my understanding is that there have been some ropes placed and left on that section of the trail to aid in getting less experienced travelers up and down.
This section of the trails is always a bit of a cluster when there are a lot of inexperienced folks out for their "Washington hike." It always reminds me a bit of the Hillary Step on Everest, obviously without the attendant real difficulties. Still, many beginners have their share of issues in that area, with folks who attempt to go up that way in a completely unprepared manner - sneakers and the like!
This bruhaha smacks a bit of the bolting controversy in the Mt Washington Valley. While there are good points to be made on all sides, the amount of vitriol getting thrown around is a bit on over the top IMNSHO. Unless those in charge get involved and issue some kind of ultimatum my guess is that this will reach some boiling point or simmering intensity and then will die out once again - until the next time someone gets all riled up about it. On the off chance you are interested, here's a couple of links you might find entertaining:
The music is a bit over the top IMO, but the images are fabulous.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective January 19, 2017
It's yet another mild day here in the Valley at 39 degrees, and even up in Crawford Notch where it was 34! The ice is OK in some places, but not overall good yet. For instance the Frankenstein Amphitheater is marginal, while Standard and Dracula are great. We need several days of seriously cold temps for things to settle in, Top outs on many climbs are poor, so protect where you can!
HERA Womenıs Cancer Foundationıs Climb4Life Boston 2014:
The HERA Womenıs Cancer Foundation, a
nationally recognized ovarian cancer nonprofit, will present its 3rd Annual Climb4Life Boston March 8-9 at the MetroRock Climbing Center in Everett AND at Central Rock Gym in Watertown. Climb4Life brings together beginner and expert climbers, ovarian cancer survivors, their families and supporters, and anyone else interested to rock climb, raise funds for ovarian cancer research and drive awareness of the signs and symptoms of the deadly disease. Climb4Life Boston is part of a national series that raises money for ovarian cancer research and awareness initiatives through rock climbing and hiking weekends. The event is open to people of all ages, abilities and skill levels. To register, visit http://www.herafoundation.org/c4l-boston-2014/.
Registration is $35 through Feb. 28 and $45 thereafter.
Climb4Life Boston 2014 will take place at two climbing gyms in the Boston metro this year! Registration includes admission to the MetroRock Climbing Gym, their ropes course, a treadwall climbing competition and beer tasting from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, March 8, plus the main event, yoga sessions and Climbing 101 seminar on Sunday, March 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central Rock in Watertown.
Ovarian cancer is a very serious, yet under-recognized womenıs disease. According to the American Cancer Society , about 22,240 women received a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer in the United States last year and more than 14,000 died. With early detection, about 94 percent will survive longer than five years after diagnosis. BUT, only 20 percent of ovarian cancer cases are caught early enough because there is NO effective early detection test pap smears do not detect the disease. So, for many women, by the time they are correctly diagnosed, the cancer has already reached advanced stages. HERA is committed to stopping the loss of women to ovarian cancer and works to achieve this through fundraising for ovarian cancer research and awareness initiatives.
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
And what joy, think ye, did they feel after the exceeding long and troublous ascent? - after scrambling, slipping, pulling, pushing, lifting, gasping, looking, hoping, despairing, climbing, holding on, falling off, trying, puffing, loosing, gathering, talking, stepping, grumbling, anathemising, scraping, hacking, bumping, jogging, overturning, hunting, straddling, - for know you that by these methods alone are the most divine mysteries of the Quest reached.
Norman Collie, 1894, from the Scottish Mountainering Journal