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November 21, 2019

Hi Folks,

Well there certainly are folks "getting on it" out there right now. I've seen pictures of Shoestring, Hitchcock, Standard Route, Dracula, the Black Dike, Lake Willoughby, Grafton Notch, an unnamed slab off Rt 2 on Shelburne and a variety of climbs in the Ravines. From all of that it would appear that there must be tons of ice to climb and that it's forming rapidly. Well I'm not exactly sure that's a good conclusion to draw...

I kind of had the same thoughts when climbing P 1 of Standard last Thursday. I watched a leader run up the first 2 pitches of Standard Route apparently easily and smoothly, only to find out that it was very thin, and IMO only 1 step below desperate. Of course it turns out that leader was one of the local masters of the genera; one who regularly climbs on a level and with a risk factor that's far above most mere mortals. Go figure...

Honestly it's really hard for me to recommend much of anything right now. At least as far as it would be appropriate for the majority of the weekend-warrior climbing community. The ice is thin and in many cases unbonded to the rock. "Gully climbs" that are normally very moderate can contain rock that's not well frozen together, as is in mid-season. Water is running heavily everywhere and it's generally hard to get around in the woods. Look - I'm NOT saying that you shouldn't get out on the ice now. What I AM saying is that if you do go out, really exercise caution and vigilance, and consider climbing well below your ability level. When I had a look at the North End of Cathedral this morning, I could hear some ice falling off the cliff in different places. Thus I didn't walk around as I do at other times. Just looking up at the slab that's left of the pillars I could see quite large chunks of ice at the base and down the hill.

That ain't only patches of snow on the ground folks. Just sayin'...

Early in the week Matt Bowman and I took a drive up to Dixville in hopes that Parasol Gully was IN. Interestingly enough P1 hadn't formed hardly at all and we decided we didn't feel like we wanted to posthole for what would probably be 45 minutes up the gully over to the right to be able to avoid P 1, just for 1 pitch of ice. Turns out we could have driven over to Grafton and found some climbable ice, but so be it... It was a nice morning for a drive.

Today was a beautiful day with temps in the low 40's and probably would have been a nice day at Humphrey's Ledge or on the South Buttress.

I guess I'm just saying is that it's still very early in the season and good ice will be here soon. Stay tuned.

A benefit slideshow for Friends of the Ledges about the early days of rock climbing on the Colorado Plateau, presented by George Hurley. Suggested donation of $10.

George is an 84-year-old rock and ice climber who lives in New Hampshire, he has established hundreds of rock and ice routes around the country. The slideshow presentation begins with the first ascent of Shiprock in October 1939. Hurley entered the desert climbing game in the 1950ís. In 1962, he, along with Lyton Kor and Huntley Ingalls made the first ascent of the 900-foot Titan and returned in 1966 with TM Herbert and Tom Condon to capture the second ascent. From 1966-1988, Hurley and Bill Forrest made first ascents of most of the spires in the Valley of the Gods in the southeast corner of Utah. In the 1980ís, Hurley, Earl Wiggins and Katy Cassidy climbed towers near Moab. Included in the slideshow will be photographs of the first ascent of the Titan (1962); Standing Rock (1962) and Castleton Tower (1961).

I've seen this show and I personally feel it's very good. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. And on top of that the Tuckerman Brewing Company makes GREAT beer!

YUP - It's November, so it's time to start putting out the weekly ICE REPORT. I've been writing the Report for 21 years, since 1998. Red Sox radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione says, "Can you believe it?" I guess I do...

I truly hope you find this weekly White Mountain Report and web site are enough to warrant making a small donation to support what I do. As always, absolutely any amount is welcome, so please take a minute to and go ON LINE and make your donation via PayPal. And you don't actually NEED a PayPal account, you can use almost any credit card. Just click the link below:

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Thank you once again for all of your support...

ICE FEST 2020:
Oh Yeah...That's Right. It's time to think about ICE FEST 2020 folks! I know the the web site & Blog haven't been updated yet, but you should put the date on your calendars and start making your plans. # 28 is going to be a fun one that's for sure.

I do have one teaser for you... The main presenter for this year will be the most amazing Mark Richey! Mark is a great human being and a phenomenal climber. His most recent achievement was on August 5th, 2019 pulling off the First Ascent of Link Sar, a 7040 meters peak in the Karakoram. A spectacular summit with an amazing team that included Steve Swenson, Graham Zimmerman and Chris Wright. The route took six days of difficult climbing of over 30 technical pitches, over approximately 8,000 vertical feet from ABC and about 11,300 feet from basecamp.

Right now the trails are a mix of mud, ice and slushy snow. Basically CRAP. If you absolutely MUST get out, the best riding is on trails that are up high and get good drainage, and probably on a fat tire bike with studded tires. But the best thing to do would be to wait for the ground to actually freeze and firm things up.

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

Frostbite ? I consider that a failure.
Marc Twight
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