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January 3, 2019

Hi Folks,

Well here we go again... 3 days after New Years, and we're getting another round of snow. Tho this time it's actual snow, not slush, freezing rain or the very heavy wet stuff that we got a couple of days ago. It's fluffy and light and everything a skier wants/needs. Tho as an old guy, non skier, climber/mountain biker living alone, it's not exactly what I would hope for. HA...

HOWEVER, on top of what we just had, it presents a new set of issues. Read today's Mount Washington Avalanche Forecast below, with particular emphasis on the LAST SENTENCE folks! I know I keep harping on this stuff, but when you read it on the Avalanche Center page, please take it seriously.

New snow and shifting wind will create touchy and widespread wind slab avalanche conditions today. As winds shift, very light density snow on the ground will continue to be picked up and loaded onto the weak layer of new snow thatís been falling since midnight. These avalanches are likely to be big enough to bury you in many locations. Approaching steep slopes or gullies from below would be a bad idea due to the touchy nature of the new slabs and the potential for an avalanche to release naturally. Avalanche danger will rise to CONSIDERABLE in all higher elevation forecast areas. Cautious route-finding is essential today. Lower elevation areas such as Webster slides and Mt. Willard may rise to MODERATE avalanche danger due to less new snow and wind loading.

I wasn't planning on going climbing yesterday, but I got a call from my friend Dave wanting to take a run up Standard, and I got sucked in. I'm happy he called and I did it. We got a late start, leaving here at 10, and there were 7 cars at the top of Arethusa at 10:30. That's a pretty good number for a Wednesday after New Year's, right? The parking lot was icy but the trail all the way down to Standard was well packed, tho quite narrow. The ice in the Amphitheater was building well, tho the only things that I would probably climb would be Smear, the Pegasus rock finish and possibly Hobbit. But that's better than what it was. There were parties on stuff in the Trestle Mixed area and on the little slab and all looked pretty good.

When we got down to Standard there were 2 parties finishing the first pitch so we took our time gearing up at the tracks and heading up. Dave led the right side to the cave, doing a great job for his first lead of the season. I followed and then led out the left side of the cave. I decided to move left and do the steep bit up the middle. It was good fun and the ice was fat. Right where there is a big hole in the middle, I went left up a little curtain and belayed right there. I had a great view of Dave from the minute he stepped out of the cave, and the ice for my 3-screw belay was great. In fact when I took down the belay, after he led the last bit, 2 of the screws we're really frozen in the ice and took real effort to get out!

The top of Standard is a mess. I wish there was a really easy way just to rap off from the second pitch. There is a lot of open water, blocks laying around and the curtain at the top has some really big stuff just barely hanging on the rock! I should have taken a couple of pix, but I forgot. Be careful up there folks.

As we were walking out we spotted someone over on Mean Mistreater, right of Walk In The Forest. Looked like their rope didn't reach the ground from what we could see. I'd be interested in knowing if it was climbable tho.

ICE FEST 2019:
Mark your calendars folks! Time to start thinking about ice! IT'S THE 26TH YEAR of the 2019 Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest: February 1st-3rd, 2019.
Here are some pictures taken today. The normal ones are on Facebook and NEClimbs.

Check out the cats on both Dropline & Last Exit. Rare for both getting done at the same time. Not so sure I feel good about the ropes crossing tho...

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

I climb as hard as anyone on earth. I just do it on easier routes.
Mad Dog
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