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November 10, 2016

Hi Folks,

Well folks, it’s been a hell of a couple of weeks, and like many people I’ve been totally caught up in the runup to the election. So much so that it’s been hard to focus on hardly anything else. But it’s over, at least the question about who will be our president for the next few years is resolved. Now it’s time to start paying attention to what he’s going to do… I know, I know - you’re asking yourself WTF this has to do with climbing and the outdoors, but bear with me for a minute here friends.

In case you haven’t been paying attention for the past generation or so, there has been a movement afoot by one particular party, not going to point fingers folks, to sell off our public lands to business interests to like oil and strip mining companies. Word has it that Sarah Palin is possibly on the list for Secretary of the Interior under the incoming administration, and if that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what would. While this could happen with any administration, we’ve been fortunate to have had 8 years of an administration that has more or less been pretty good environmentally. What I’m saying here is that based on some of his pre-election rhetoric, the new guy is not exactly a total unknown as to how he feels about our natural resources. It will behoove us all to pay attention and to make our views known when things start to move in a direction that will have an effect on the lands that are an essential part of the activities we all love. The havoc and devastation that could be wreaked on our public lands would be difficult, if not impossible to reverse in our or our children’t lifetimes…if ever folks! Just pay attention!

Thanks to my friend Craig John for pointing this out to me, and please note that I did paraphrase some of his words.

I know everyone is all woop-de-doo about the upcoming ice season, but I’m still in rock mode. I got spoiled last year with the late season climbing, and honestly it ain’t too shabby right now. I got out with Brad at Mt Forist in Berlin last Monday and it was actually very nice. When I got up at 6 the temp was in the mid-20’s AND driving over Pinkham it was only in the mid-30’s. However after picking up a quick cup of coffee at the White Mountain Cafe, things started really warming up. By the time we had hiked up and were at the base of Madigan, the sun was feeling positively balmy, or at least in the upper 40’s or lower 50’s.

Brad wanted to do a warmup on a climb he put up several years ago, Lichen It (5.6), about 100 yards to the right. As we walked down the trail I noticed this big thing right in the middle of the trail that turned out to be a dead male deer! We didn’t see any blood, only some scuffs on its side, so we assumed that it had fallen from a ledge somewhere up on the cliff. There weren’t a lot of flies around it yet, so it had probably happened in the previous 24 hours. What a bummer…

We skirted around it, not wanting to pickup any of the likely ticks that it carried, and continued down to the route. The cliff was mostly dry, with only a few places with water streaks. Not bad at all. Brad took the lead and made the easy look very easy. [wry grin] I decided to give it a shot in my approach shoes, so I tied in, scrambled up the little hill to the start and Brad took up the slack. It was then I realized that I had left my helmet down by my pack. [sigh] Oh well, I was only following, so I just went ahead and followed the pitch. I did ask him to keep me snug. In close to 40 years of climbing, I can count the number of times I’ve climbed helmets on the fingers of one hand. Needless to say it felt good in a way, but uncomfortable as well. Much like driving without my seatbelt. Regardless, I made short work of what was some fun climbing. Brad spotted a couple of bolts out on an arete on our left, so as I rapped down I tensioned over to check it out. It looked interesting, but I couldn’t tell if it needed gear, and we had nothing but draws, so I continued the rap down. FYI the rap is EXACTLY half of the 70 meter rope, a 60 will NOT make it!

I could see that the climb we were eyeing from Lichen it seemed to start on a ledge through some bushes and trees, so I trailed the rope and headed up to the base of the buttress and brought Brad up. I didn’t have Matt Bowman’s little guide and the climbing looked easy, so I decided to give a shot leading it in my approach shoes. This time I did bring my climbing shoes, just in case. There was a nice looking crack with gear to start, leading to a slab and a bolt. I did a couple of more moves to a bolt, but the climbing looked thinner above, so I decided that putting on my rock shoes might be a good idea. The climbing was entertaining all the way, with a mix of bolts and gear and a move near the arete that was particularly nice. At the last bolt I realized that I had run out of draws, so I used my spare double length runner and an older beiner. At the anchor I then realized that I was within 10’ or so of the end of our 70 meter rope! Hmmm… When I looked at the guide later it said that this was 2 90’ pitches with a 2 bolt anchor in the middle - go figure! I never spotted the middle anchor, but then I’m old. FYI the name of the route is Chuck Taylor All-Stars (5.7). Since we only had a single 70 meter rope, we rapped down and climber’s-right to the Lichen It anchor, which was actually about 10’ shorter than our rope. Just so you know! From there it was just the one rap to the ground. Just as we got to the deer on the walk out we ran into Kevin, the man who owns the house where we park. he is a climber and very nice guy. All in all it was a great

After the election stuff I needed some stress relief so I pinged Brad this morning about going out this afternoon. He had to work in the climbing school and could only get out for a couple of hours so we agreed to meet at the Other Classroom, the little cliff up at the top of Cathedral Ledge. Including the corner & crack on the left, there are a total of 7 fun short climbs there and you can do them all in a couple of hours. We both climbed everything except the corner and it was perfect for our needs. He even brought a full set of Tricams, which was all we needed for the crack. If you haven’t been there, you should check it out.
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As always, I try to get out at least every other day. It helps to keep me sane through all the political stuff that’s been going on. I had a great ride on Tuesday morning over on the Marshall Conservation Land. Interestingly enough the trail elves had bene out leaf-blowing the upper part of Shumway, making for a very quick and enjoyable downhill. Check out the picture. There is still some very nice riding out there to be had folks, get on it.

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Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

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