NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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August 14, 2015

Hi Folks,

What a great week it’s been, tho I’ve been so busy I can’t see straight. That said I’ve managed to get in a TON of music, some fun rock climbing, 2 great mountain bike rides, a road bike ride and a dip in the river on a very hot day. All in all not too shabby for an old guy. I hope that your summer is going as well as mine. And so, with no more ado, let’s get right to all the fun stuff.

More about Another Classroom:
Over the past coupe of weeks I have talked about the new crag that George Hurley found and started developing. Some friends and I were there earlier in the week and finished cleaning and outfitting the last 2 lines on the main wall. This makes for 9 routes on the wall, ranging from 5.4 to 5.6. Is all this effort on a trivial little crag “over the top”? Obviously I don’t think so, but you may feel differently. Al of us felt as if having a convenient place to go where beginning leaders can hone their skills, where some of us might go to teach a lesson or host a group, and that could be set up to top-rope without having to lead something would be a nice addition to the area. In my opinion, a visit is recommended. [wry grin]

Regardless, here are the routes, from left to right:

Purgatory Corner (5.3) All traditional gear. FA - George Hurley and Michael Kahn
Desperado Crack (5.4) All traditional gear. FA - George Hurley and Michael Kahn
Hipster (5.6) FA Jeff Lea and Joe Perez
High Moral Ground (5.4) FA Geoff Wilson and George Hurley
What Is Hip? (High Moral Ground Direct Direct) (5.6) FA Al Hospers and Jeff Lea
Hip Hip Hooray (5.5) Judy and Joe
Hippy Hop (5.5) FA Al Hospers and Judy Perez
Bagels + (5.5+) FA - George Hurley and Frank Dahlmeyer
Areted Development (5.5) FA - George Hurley and Michael Kahn

All routes are bolted except Purgatory Corner and Desperado Crack which are both all trad; High Moral Ground which is effectively a solo and has no gear at all except for a blue X4 to protect the top-out, What Is Hip uses the same X4 as High Moral Ground and Bagels + which requires using a sling to thread in the tenuous flake on the right.
All the “hip” names are because Judy Perez had just had her second hip replacement, Jeff has previously undergone hip replacement surgery and Al’s hip was bothering him. FWIW Judy’s FA lead on her climb Hip Hip Hooray was her first lead after her surgery 6 weeks previously!


Once again, kudos to George Hurley and Michael Khan for their efforts in finding this untapped resource.

Valley Cycling:
Finding new places to ride is very similar to finding new crags to climb. On Thursday I spent a few entertaining hours with my buddy Phil O exploring the myriad trails and logging roads crisscrossing the Marshall property that was recently purchased by the town of Conway. This is an amazing hunk of land that is basically between the top of High Street and West Side Road. If you’re looking for a fun couple of hours, you should check it out. You can most easily access the area by driving up High Street, off Passaconaway Road, to just before the high point where you would turn left to go to the Mineral Site. Look for a gate on the right, just past the last house on the right. This is a snowmobile trail. You can ride in on this trail and just wander around. Much of this property was recently logged and there are skidder roads all over the place. There are also old abandoned roads that you can still see that were a part of what was called the Ingalls Development, a proposed housing development that never got off the ground. It is a very cool piece of property that will be open to all.

2015 Green Mountain Conservation Organization Fundraiser Dinner:
There will be a dinner, auction and slideshow and video presentation by Freddie Wilkinson.


Instant Bug Report - BugCON 2:
As long as you’re not in a shady and damp area the current BugCON 2 rating seems to be about right. Keep your eyes out for ticks and bring some bug dope just in case.
2015 NH Peregrine Falcon Report:
This spring marked the 35th breeding season in the post-DDT recovery era for New Hampshire’s peregrine falcons.  Ever since a pair was first discovered nesting in Franconia Notch back in 1981, our state’s peregrine population -- once classified as federally endangered, currently still listed as state-threatened -- has been slowly rebounding.  The Granite State’s peregrines are now part of a thriving regional population of both rural and urban-nesting pairs. 

  In 2015, NH Audubon staff and volunteer falcon observers confirmed a total of 20 occupied territories in NH, down from a record-high 23 territories we documented in 2014.  We did not find any immature-plumage (1-yr old) birds as members of NH breeding pairs this year.  We confirmed incubation of eggs by 16 (80%) of the state’s 20 pairs.  Of this year’s 16 incubating pairs, 12 (75%) were successful in fledging at least one young.  The 12 successful nests is also down from a record-high 14 in 2014 (see attached chart).  A total of 31 young fledged in 2015, an average of 1.94 young fledged per nesting pair, which is above the state's 34-year average of 1.65 fledged per nesting pair, and the third highest fledging total we’ve recorded in the post-DDT era.  

Two NH nest sites (Brady-Sullivan in Manchester, Peaked Mtn in Piermont) fledged 4 young in 2015.  Unexpectedly, nearly one-third (10 of 31) of the state’s fledglings came from urban nest sites in the Merrimack River valley in 2015, including 3 in Concord (see attached photo), 4 in Manchester, and 3 in Nashua.  We also documented a new territory at Mascot Pond in Gorham.  Diamond Peaks in the 2nd College Grant was inactive in 2015 after fledging young for the first time in the post-DDT era in 2014.  NH also lost claim to the I-95 Bridge nest site this year when that pair chose to lay their eggs in a scrape on the Maine side of the state line in 2015.  We hope they come back to NH in 2016!  

In a collaboration with Stantec and BioDiversity Research Institute, we continued to monitor the daily year-round movements of an adult female nesting near Newfound Lake via the lightweight solar-powered satellite transmitter fitted on her in May 2014.  She spent all of last winter in a 60mi x 30mi area of eastern Pennsylvania, and returned to NH last March in a northward migration that took just 3 days.  We also placed a motion-sensitive game camera near this nest during the 2015 breeding season and were rewarded with some outstanding images.  

NH Audubon has scaled back significantly on the time-consuming and logistically complex task of accessing remote nest ledges to band falcon chicks.  Seven juvenile peregrines received ID bands in 2015, including 4 from Brady-Sullivan Tower in Manchester (see photo), 3 from Rattlesnake Mtn in Rumney.  Of the 357 fledgling peregrines that have been color-banded at New Hampshire nests in the past quarter-century, a total of 86 (24%) have eventually been re-sighted (either alive or dead) and reported to us and to the federal Bird Banding Lab.  

Ongoing efforts to determine the banded status of New Hampshire’s breeding adult peregrines in 2015 yielded the following results.  Of 40 known individuals, the banded status was determined for 19 individuals (47%) and remained unknown for the other 21.  Of the 19 birds where banded status was confirmed, 16 individuals (84%) were unbanded, while only 3 (16%) were confirmed to be banded.  With the exception of an extensive banding program still underway in Massachusetts, the majority of New England’s young peregrine falcons are now fledging from nests without being handled or banded by biologists.  Notable band encounters in 2015 included Nashua’s breeding male, 6-yr old “black/green 5/9”, who is a grandchild of Manchester NH’s falcons.  A Manchester offspring from 2001, 14-yr old “black/green *6/*4”, continues to rule the roost in Lawrence MA.  And yet another Manchester-raised bird, 3-yr old “black/green 72/AB”, is now the breeding male in Haverhill MA in a 4th floor nest first found by Steve Mirick.  

In a budgetary move, the USFWS suspended triennial post-delisting peregrine breeding site monitoring at selected sample sites in the eastern U.S. without conducting monitoring in 2015 (original protocol called for monitoring in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, and 2015 breeding seasons).  We look forward to the USFWS publishing results from these surveys conducted since peregrines were federally delisted back in 1999.  

A really big “Thank You!” goes out to all those who support ongoing peregrine falcon recovery efforts in New Hampshire, including natural resource managers, private landowners, volunteer observers, corporate partners, and rock climbers.  Management activity at breeding sites is supported by a federal State Wildlife Grant to the NH Fish and Game Department Nongame Program.  Additional monitoring support for two breeding sites located near the Groton Wind Farm was provided under a contract with Stantec, an international environmental consulting firm.  And of course we always appreciate the generous support of NH Audubon members and other individuals. 

NH PEFA graph 1981-2015.pdf

  - Chris

  Chris Martin
Senior Biologist, NH Audubon

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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

Pucky lads, a wee bit over their heads.
Doug Scott after encountering two climbers on Denali suffering from exposure
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