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November 30, 2017

Hi Folks,

While I'm usually pretty laid back about early season ice, even I'm getting kind of antsy to get out and swing my tools! I'm not all that excited about hiking into the ravines or the Dike, so that means possibly scratching up something, rock climbing or riding my bike these daze. Fortunately I was actually able to combine 2 of the three today.

I got out fairly early to take pictures today, leaving the house at around 7:15. The light on Cathedral was quite nice, so that was a plus. After a stop for coffee and a bagel at Bagels Plus, I headed up to Frankenstein. It was one of those chilly bluebird days that really felt warmer that it was. The car thermometer registered 25 in the Notch as I was taking pics of Frankenstein from the road. The only thing that looked even possible was Standard so I drove up the Arethusa driveway and parked at the top near Bill's house. As I was getting out my stuff he came out to do some wood cutting and we had a short talk. He mentioned that last winter some folks had ridden their fat tire bikes down from the top of the Notch and that gave me an idea. I happened to have my fat bike in the back of the van so I pulled it out. You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I had cleared limbs and sticks off the tracks so I figured it would all be OK.

I started out riding down the side of the tracks in the gravel, but that wasn't all that nice, so I tried in-between the rails and it was great. Of course having a front suspension and a suspension seat post helped a lot. It took me less than 10 minutes to get over the trestle and to Standard Route. That was very cool. I did a little video of me riding on the trestle which you can see on Facebook. Standard didn't look very good to me do I rode on down a bit further.

Just past Dracula I saw a guy walking the tracks in a red vest and hat and when I got to him it turns out he was a hunter! He was carrying what looked like an AR15 and was looking, he said, for deer! Go figure. If he saw something I hope it wasn't on the road side of the tracks!!! He said he had walked down the tracks from the AMC, but I find that hard to believe. That's almost 5 miles, but who knows?

I got to that little slab past the Hanging Garden at the far right end of the ice area and it actually was OK. I'm sure you couldn't get in screws and I never took a full swing, but it was fun to just climb ice! I went up about 2/3 of the way, traversed left and wandered down through the woods. Thoroughly enjoyable, tho hardly challenging.
Here's a few conditions pix from today. The rest are on FaceBook and

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In case you had forgotten, the 25 annual Ice Fest is coming up. Mark February 2-4 on your calendars and stay tuned. It's going to be a good one!

Lots to ride out there. I got in 2 very different rides today. The first was down the RR tracks at Frankenstein all the way past Hanging Garden to the little practice slab. The second was at the Albany Town Forest off the Kanc. Both were great. Here's a couple of pix from #1.

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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

To truly raise the standards of free climbing, you can't sacrifice style or purity for a higher number.
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