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BugCON 3: blackflys in blood feast and/or bad mosquitoes
3 out of a possible 5
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May 22, 2014

Hi Folks,

I've had discussions about using helmets with all kinds of folks over the years. Sometimes about climbing, sometimes about cycling and even occasionally about motorcycling. This winter I was talking with someone about downhill skiing and the topic of helmets came up. It's one of those topics that everyone has an opinion about and I am surprised at how many people still are adamantly against wearing them. Personally I can't remember the last time I went climbing and didn't wear mine. It's really just something that I do 99.8% of the time. The 2% is when I've gotten on a toprope and just forgotten about it. And honestly folks, that's a pretty rare occurrence. I know for a fact that I've never led a route, ridden my mountain or road bike (as an adult) or ever ridden a motorcycle without one!

I know that I've talked about this before, so why bring it up again now? Well I came across the following personal account of a local climber who had an accident, was not wearing a helmet and has been dealing with the consequences ever since. And frankly, it would appear that she will be dealing with them for the rest of her life! For the most part we all have the right to make these kinds of decisions on our own. That said, if you are doing something like climbing, cycling or riding a motorcycle I simply can't understand why you wouldn't want to stack the odds in your favor. Anyway, I will leave it at that. Take a few minutes to read the article at the end of link below. It may, or may not, change your mind about helmet use.

Climbing This Week: I've been going through a round of physical therapy trying to avoid doing something about my torn rotator cuff. It's been really making a difference and I'm feeling a lot better and hardly favoring the shoulder at all. I've been doing it on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, so when I decided to go climbing on Tuesday afternoon, I was a little worried about pushing things. Joe, Judy and I decided to try a couple of climbs that I've been hearing about on Cathedral that we hadn't done before. That's right, there are a couple of climbs on the cliff that none of us had seen, much less climbed. [wry grin]

I've heard a lot of my friends talk about an old John Bouchard climb called AP Treat that I've been meaning to check out for a while, my friend Bob Ahearn found a neat crack that he cleaned that's 50' to the left and we threw a TR onto Sticks & Stones. All were good fun and well worth an afternoon's efforts.

I don't know what Bob calls his climb, but it's a nice find. I led it and I'd guess it's probably 5.6. It's short, with good smallish to medium gear and well textured rock. Joe & Judy also led it and agreed with the rating.

Sticks & Stones is one of those crazy test pieces that is fun doing on a TR, but insane as a lead. It's about 60' high, with a single bolt for "protection" at about half height. That said, it's great fun on a TR. Sure I could just about imagine leading it, but I know full well that it would also be terrifying. There is a great story about it that's in the guidebooks so I'll leave it to you to hunt it out.

On the other hand AP Treat is one of those climbs that, considering the person who put it up, you would fully expect to be R rated. Amazingly, it's just a really nice 5.8. At first I thought there was only a pin and bolt as the only gear. As it turns out there is a great placement for a small cam after about 20' of easy climbing, another good placement in a crack on the middle ledge. Coupled with the pin and bolt, all in all there is gear right where you want it! The crux is the final move over the headwall right at the bolt. It's surely 5.8, but there is a wonderful solution pocket up over the bulge that makes it a very sweet move. We all really liked this climb and I'm sure we'll make it back up there this fall to take a run on them again. I highly recommend it.

Here's a couple of pix:

You climb enough around here and you're going to see all kinds of animals. I've seen snakes, frogs, beaver, bear, moose, deer - you name it. On my first climb up Standard Route on Whitehorse many years ago my then-girlfriend spotted a huge toad in the middle of the arch, just below the pinch. Several years ago I saw a bear in early December in the woods above the top-out on Thresher! 2 years ago I spotted a very cool looking snake in the crack above the Classroom on Cathedral. A couple of days ago Dave Lottmann sent me a great picture of a Grey Tree Frog he spotted in a crack near the top of Upper Refuse. Just goes to show that if you keep your eye out, you never know what you will see out there.


Instant Bug Report - 3:
I hate to say it, but we're now at that stage where the blackflies are out and biting! How bad they are, depends on where you are and how much of a breeze there is. I was biking up off the Ovarian Brook Trail on the Kanc on Monday and there were no bugs at all. When we were climbing on Tuesday there was a nice northerly breeze and tho they were around, they didn't really bother us at all. On a MTB ride on the west side on Wednesday there were some mosquitoes when we stopped for a break, but no blackflies. However when I was working in my garden this afternoon I got eaten alive before I put on bug dope! I don't think I would go out now without at least bringing the bug dope. You may luck out, but if you don't you are going to be miserable.

2014 Kismet Rock Foundation Village Variety Pass:
Kismet is a non profit based in North Conway that provides an education in technical rock climbing to deserving children who cannot afford such an opportunity.

If you donate $50+ to Kismet, you'll receive a card in the mail good for:
-1 free pizza at Flatbread in North Conway (yes, a large!)
-1 free 12oz hot or 16oz cold coffee drink from Frontside Grind
-1 free ice cream from 18 degrees Celsius at McKaella's Sweet Shop
-10% off full price purchases at IME

It's a pretty cool promotion...the money goes to a great organization and you get some tasty food and a discount in return.

You can learn more about Kismet, read the full mission statement, and donate at:

Peregrine Closings Peregrines are nesting at the Summit Cliff at Rumney. The entire Summit Cliff, including Northwest Passage and Flea Surgeon, is now closed. The Asylum on the left, and The Monolith on the right are also closed! Peregrines are nesting at the Summit Cliff at Rumney. The entire Summit Cliff, including Northwest Passage and Flea Surgeon, is now closed. The Asylum on the left, and The Monolith on the right are also closed!

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 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:

Remember - climb hard, ride the steep stuff, stay safe and above all BE NICE,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

Because it is there.
George Mallory
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