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September 1, 2016

Hi Folks,

Since I know Iím going to be very busy with music over the next 2 weeks, including a great concert at the Camden Opera House with harmonica ace James Montgomery on September 5th, I set things up so I could get out more than usual the past 2 weeks. Last week it was Willeys Slide and Whitehorse. This week it was Mt Oscar and Mt Forist. Both of these are great areas, with some wonderful climbing.

Itís been a while since the Perezís and I have been into Mt Oscar, maybe even as long as 4-5 years. There was a period of time when we went there often, but itís kind of fallen off our radar for some reason. On top of that I rarely see mention of it. Itís about a 35 minute drive from the Valley, up through Crawford Notch, past Bretton Woods and left onto Zealand Road and park at the Sugarloaf trailhead. You are required to have a parking permit, so if you donít have one you should definitely buy the day pass because they absolutely do check!

Access is through a gated logging road opposite the trailhead, on the other side of the road. While you can walk it in about 20 minutes, bringing a bike makes for a very quick approach to the trail on the left, which is marked by a pair of cairns. This time I brought my fat tire bike and actually rode the approach trail uphill almost to the base of the cliff! Needless to say the ride out was fun! As I rode up the trail I saw another person with a fat bike, but no climbing gear. Apparently he was a hunter, checking on his game cameras. He said that he had gotten pictures of moose, but surprisingly no deer.

We saw no other bikes anywhere, but there was another party at the wall where you get dumped out by the trail. It turns out that the leader, Victor, was someone I had met a few years ago at the Gunks when I had been there with George Hurley. he was there with a group of people including John Chan, another person I kind of know. As always, itís a smaller climbing community than you sometimes think.

As it turned out Joe had forgotten his harness, so I had to loan him mine. This put a small damper on what we were to climb, but really not a big deal. He wanted to climb the 5.9 just to the right of Crescent. This, and the next climb to its right, have their first bolt quit high and always made me nervous. Joe, however, just cruised it. Judy did it on a TR and I pulled the rope and led it myself. The start isnít hard, just a bit heady. Credit Uwe Schnider and Craig Taylor for both of those. [wry grin]

Next we went down to the end to do Joe and Judyís route Perez Highway (5.9). As we walked along the cliff it looked to us as if there were a lot of new routes that we didnít know about. In addition we were surprised at just how clean the cliff was. In spite of us not hearing about folks climbing there, clearly people are. I hadnít climbed the Highway, so I got the first lead. Itís a very nice route, with captivating climbing right off the ground. All the bolts are well spaced and in just the right places. We seem to remember Jon Sykes mentioning that it was over bolted, but I donít agree. I was quite happy to have every bolt thatís there. [grin] After I led it Judy pulled the rope and did it and then Joe did the same and walked it.

While they were climbing I wandered left and checked out what looked like something interesting. We didnít have it listed in our printout and went up a slab and then over an overlap. We only had a single 70 meter rope, but I figured that the anchor had to be up there reasonably close, so I gave it a try. I got up to the shiny bolt below the somewhat dirty section below the overlap and was considering my next move when another party walked by. Joe asked them about the anchor and they said that it was quite a long way up above the overlap AND it takes 2 ropes to get off. [sigh] So rather than deal with figuring out how to make this happen, I left a bail biner on the bolt and lowered off. Iíd like to finish the route next time because the what I climbed was fun.

We had other things to do that evening so we left around 3:30 to head home. I had a gas riding the approach trail on the bike and it was an enjoyable ride downhill to the gate for us all. There is a clearing right before you get to the gate and on the ride up I had noticed a couple of large propane containers on the side of it. As we rode by there was a large flat-bed truck with AMC lettering and a couple of guys unloading lumber. I stopped and asked what they were doing and about the propane. Turns out that field is used as a staging area for helicopter deliver of propane for the Zealand Hut. Go figureÖ And the lumber was for tent platforms, probably for up at the hut. Pretty interesting Overall a very fun time at a place we donít visit that often. We all agreed we need to go in there again soon.

On Tuesday The Perezís, Frank Dahlmeyer and I all headed up to Mt Forist for the afternoon. Just like Oscar, itís really not that far to go. We got in 3-4 climbs with Frank leading Birthday Boy (5.9) and Business Trip Arete (5.8) and me leading Hostile Territory. Considering the arrow that was stuck into the grassy ledge at the start of Territory, it may be appropriately named. Frank made short work of BB, confirming that he thought it was indeed a 9. [whew] We both agreed that the Arete belts werenít close enough to the actual arete It would be much more appropriate and fun if the climbing was actually right on the edge. But, itís not our climb. Hostile is always fun, with entertaining climbing all the way. Again, another fun day of climbing under perfect bluebird skies.
Rumney Rendevous 2016:

Looking very good out thereÖ

There are lots of interesting places to ride that you might not think would be cool. One such place is Sawyer River Road. Iíve ridden up there in winter and summer, and it rarely disappoints. YES, it is a dirt road, but itís mostly in the shade, runs alongside the river and there are some very interesting old foundations in the woods leftover form the town of Livermore. Up at the top you can go right up to the trail to The Captain, or continue left on snowmobile trails that will take you all the way to the Kanc! All in all a worthwhile ride if youíve exhausted the Valley single track. I recommend it

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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

If I have learned one thing in my 54 years, it is that it is very good for the character to engage in sports which put your life in danger from time to time. It breeds a saneness in dealing with day to day trivialities which probably cannot be got in any other way, and a habit of quick decisions.
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