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March 19, 2015

Hi Folks,

I canít quite go along with any of the platitudes about how spring weather is supposed to be because itís been all over the place for the past 2 weeks! Cold, warm, blustery, balmy - you just canít bet on what itís going to be at any time. Most recently after several truly spring-like 40+ degree days, we blasted right back into winter. In fact we had one day that started out as a calm sunny 40 degrees and by 3:30 it was howling and full conditions. If you donít believe me just ask my friends Grammy & Frank about their late start on Standard Route! That said at least itís been sunny for the most part.

About 6 weeks ago we had a major wind storm that caused a lot of damage in the area. We had some large branches that blew off in our ears, damaging our deck and the siding on our house. Yesterdayís winds were almost as intense, reaching 40+ here at the cliff. The only good thing is that the previous storm knocked off most if not all of the stuff that was going to come off and we have come through basically unscathed. Iíve been riding my fat tire bike a lot on the various trails in the area and there has been quite a lot of blow-down. In addition I have seen some pretty big stuff in peopleís yards and a big tree that narrowly missed someoneís roof on Hurricane Mountain Road. And speaking of getting around in the woods, this cold snap has firmed things once again so youíre not postholing right now! Of course ireís also set up some ice on the roads and trails so Microspikes and styled tires can be useful, if not required.

Iíve been looking for another adventure ride on the FT bike and started thinking about Jefferson Notch Road. Since itís a snowmobile corridor I figured it would be well packed out. I took a ride up there this morning for a recon after I took my conditions pictures. First I checked out Mt Clinton Road which is usually a snowmobile trail. Strangely there was no indication that the snow machines have been using it this season. Go figureÖ I drove in on the Base Road and of course there were many snow machines on those trails. When I got to Jefferson Notch I hopped out and checked on the road and it looked pretty good. Iím thinking that if it stays chilly Monday might be a good possibility. I donít want to be out there on days where there will be a lot of sled traffic. While I was there I also looked at Mt Clinton and again there were no machine tracks. Maybe Iím missing something, but thatís not as it has been for the past several years. For those of you who are into this winter biking thing I can recommend Sticks & Stones, Middle Mountain Trail, Pudding Pond loop and most of the snowmobile trails on the east side.

Since I was there already I kept going all the way up to the base of the Cog. As always the view from up there is pretty amazing. I didnít have a wide angle lens for the camera so I didnít get any good pictures, but I must say that itís worth the drive. Unsurprisingly youíre actually at a pretty good elevation up there, over 2,000í, and it was a lot colder and windier up there that at the top of Crawford Notch. You could see a good plume on the summit and the snow blowing across the saddle between Washington and Monroe so you know it was pretty brutal up there. As soon as the winds die down and we get into a bit warmer spell, itís going to be a great time for upper elevation ice. I canít waitÖ

As always, here are a few interesting pix from this morning:


As always, more pix are on NEClimbs Ice Report and Facebook.

Widowís Walk is one of the well known test-pieces at Frankenstein. I did it on a sunny spring day about 10 years ago when the whole things was filled in. Itís been a while since that has happened, but this year a big column formed on the right side thatís been standing for a couple of weeks. Lots of folks have done it and my 80 year old friend George Hurley has been chomping at the bit to get on board. He joined up with a bunch of folks a bit over a week ago and did it, and then went back again and did it again. Itís a solid Grade 4-5 climb in anyoneís book, but even at 80 he made it look easy. Iím hoping Iím in his shape when Iím his age, but Iíve got to guess that itís in the genes! Who knows what heís going to be ding at 90! ThnX to Paul Henry for forwarding these pics along.


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.

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

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

You put up with the grind of work or school as long as you can or is required. But then, one day, the phone rings one too many times, or the line at the gas pumps seems unending. The air smells bad. The food foul. 'Enough of this' you cry. You grab your ice tools and are gone.
Duane Raleigh
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