NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
BugCON 2: some mosquitoes, possible blackflys swarming with minimal biting
2 out of a possible 5
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October 11, 2018

Hi Folks,

Well well well... So here we are in a very similar pattern to last week. Couple days of rain, couple of daze of sun, now back to rain. The main difference being the temperature. The sunny days were warm - REALLY warm. In fact darn close to 80 degrees. If this isn't our classic Indian Summer, I'll be surprised.

There was one very strange thing about it tho. On Tuesday mid-day I went into my garage to get some bike stuff off my workbench when noticed something very strange. The old iron vice that I've had forever, was wet! Now I'd gotten the roof re-shingled a couple of years ago so I knew it was highly unlikely it had leaked in the rains the 2 days before and I couldn't see any other signs of leaks. When I touched the vice I realized it was quite cold. In addition it was humid and 75 degrees and actually the vice was sweating! What does this have to do with climbing, you ask? Good question...

So I made plans to go up to Mt Forist & climb with Matt Bowman on Wednesday. There was no rain on Tuesday, Tuesday night and no predicted rain for Wednesday morning. However, when I got up Wednesday morning, my back deck was damp. And the road in the Notch on the way to Gorham was wet as well. Needless to say, when I met Matt I asked if it rained that night, and he said no. We hiked through the woods to the base of the cliff and it was all wet. And not just a little, but really dripping! Little ledges were sopping, the ground was damp and it really felt humid. How could this be, it hadn't rained in at least 36 hours? Even more interesting was that at the height above the top of the trees the rock was bone dry.

I hated to give up, but I wasn't exactly enthusiastic about climbing on wet rock. The plan had been to climb 2 pitches of the climb right of Madigan, on the far right of the area. I decided to walk a little right and traverse left on a grassy ledge to clip the first bolt. I managed that, but didn't like the move up to the next ledge & stance. So Matt lowered me down and he made quick work of it. He's climbing very well these days. He brought me up and I headed up the next pitch. His new pitch starts off to the right, about 2/3 of the way up this pitch. It looked like a long unprotected way across to his anchor, so I climbed to the last bolt below my pitch's anchor, clipped a draw, down-climbed a bit and traversed to his anchor. When I brought him up he just came over to my stance and left my draw to be picked up on the way down.

His pitch/route is called Third Avenue. It climbs up a fairly steep slab. over an overlap, up another slab (5.8) over a smaller overlap (hollow) and angles left to a 2-bolt belay. The plan was for me to lead this to confirm the grade. I headed up, enjoying the friction on the black rock. In a weakness under the center of the first overlap I plugged in 2 cams. It looked as if it would be a little tricky getting situated on the upper slab, so I said why not? I noticed a little lip just right of the gear, so I put my left foot in the crack next to the gear and my right on the lip, which immediately broke off underfoot! Fortunately met left foot was solid and I had a fairly good nubbin to hold onto with my right hand. It certainly did provide some entertainment value.

I moved onto the slab and up to the next bolt. Now there is a greenish streak on the left and nice black rock on the right. Both looked about the same grade and the next bolts were in places where I could clip whichever side I went. I took the black rock for about 3/4 of the way, stepping into the green streak just below the next small overlap. Tho it had place for gear, it was very hollow so I stepped over and padded up 6' to the next bolt. From there the route trends up and left to another 2 bolt anchor. I brought Matt up and we rapped down in 3 rappels, grabbing my draw on the way. Back down at the start the rock was still wet, even tho the sun was out and it had to have been very close to 80 degrees.

I agree with Matt's assessment that his pitch is probably 5.8. The climbing was nice and it has just enough spice to make it interesting, the broken lip on the first overlap notwithstanding. I hope he finds a good way to hook it up with another climb, or finds a separate line of its own. Nice job Mattie...

Here's also a couple of shots of local foliage. It's been pretty sweet.

ICE FEST 2019:
Put it on your schedule now. You don't want to miss it. Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest is February 1-3.

Until a couple of years ago the main ride in Bike For Books was a full 24 mile circumnavigation of the Valley. Lots of single track and some forest and logging roads. Due to the cost of having a police detail stopping traffic on Rt 16, that has ended. However I still like to do that ride and so my buddy Phil O and I did it on Tuesday. This time we did it backwards, starting at Echo Lake. It was a beautiful day for 2+ hours on the bike, with great views and fun riding. You can check out our route on Strava if you're interested. We've still got lots of great days to ride before the snows come, so get out there.

Some one asked me why I was still having a Bug rating? Well Matt Bowman and I knew why yesterday. There were a surprising number of mosquitoes in the woods at Mt Forist. If we'd been top roping I probably would have even considered a dab of bug dope too.

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.

NEClimbs & White Mountain Report On Facebook:
Join us and LIKE us on Facebook. I'll try and post interesting pix every Thursday and the latest Ice Report in the season, tho certainly not the whole Report. Here's where you can check it out:

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

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

When I began climbing, the rope symbolized trust. Sport climbing turned the rope into 60 meters of vague social contract. Ice and alpine routes reminded me why the rope is a sacred climbing icon; it signifies the unbreakable bond between partners.
Johnny Blitz
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