NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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June 2, 2020

Hi Folks,

I'm seeing more climbers out on the cliffs and posting about what they are doing on social media. Certainly not what one might imagine at this time of year, but more than I've seen in a while. I'm not saying it's good or bad, just observing. I have to hope that people are taking all this seriously. I am really Jonesin' to get out on the rock and I'm thinking about the best way to approach things. I've been talking with fellow climbers, guides, doctors and others and I do have a few thoughts about how to proceed cautiously to start. More on that soon...

I went through Pinkham Notch this morning and snapped these pix:

All photographers say that while having a good camera and good technical skills are important, being in the right place at the right time is even more so. It doesn't matter the equipment or skills, if there isn't something to take a picture of, you got bupkus. [wry grin] Here are a few pictures I've taken EARLIER this week that only exist because I was there, with a camera. In the case of the climbing pictures, I was out weeding my garden, looked up and noticed someone on Camber. I ran inside, grabbed my camera and snapped off this series over abut 15 minutes. Unfortunately the bugs got bad I ended up going back inside, but I think these are fun.

These two below were taken with the iPhone right in my yard, I was coiling the hose from watering the garden and noticed the snake by the deck and the Robin eggs are actually in a nest in the hedge by my breezeway. I hope the snake doesn't find the eggs!
It's been brutally hot the past several days; 84 on Tuesday, 92 here in the Valley and 90 at Zealand on Wednesday and 95 in Berlin on Wednesday. Today, Thursday, it's "only" 89! But at least there is a breeze so it's not as bad as it could be. Thank goodness. On Tuesday we had a thunderstorm blow through Pinkham that made a mess of the road up just below the overlook before you get to the top of the notch. It undermined the road on the left side going up and it's down to a narrow 2 lanes up there. Coupled with the DOT skim-coating in Dana Place and it's down to 1 lane, you can easily sit there 15 minutes.

RIP Dick Devallian:
Last night and this morning were quite a depressing time for me. A friends and fellow cyclist was struck from behind and killed by an SUV yesterday afternoon. The incident took place on Rt 16 just past the RR tracks north of the Scenic Vista in an area called the Intervale Flats. I've known the rider for many years and ridden with him at times here & there. Even at 83 he could ride me into the ground. When I went to France to ride in the Pyrenees 10 years ago he gave me a lot of great advice about things to do and rides to try. Not just a cyclist, he was a very well known and beloved member of the community and an artist. He will really be missed.

When I moved up here I used to ride on the road a lot. I had a number of years where I notched over 2,000 a season. I have a great Serotta TI bike that is a pleasure to ride long distances and that climbs very easily. But over a couple of seasons I noticed that it was becoming more and more dangerous to be out on the road. Finally, after a series of near-misses and 2 road-rage incidents, I decided that the road just wasn't for me any more. I already had a mountain bike, but I upped the ante for full-suspension and switched to basically spending all of my time in the woods. While not always completely safe, at least I wasn't dealing with the crazies and the folks on their phones.

This spring however the traffic for about 6 weeks was almost minimal and I got back into riding the road. It was fun and it felt great to be out on the bike just blasting along. However, over the past 3 weeks the traffic has ramped up again and it started feeling just as dangerous as it had felt before so I moved back into the woods. This incident has really solidified my thoughts about staying off the road and has me seriously considering selling my bike. We shall see.

Peregrine Falcon restrictions are posted at the following eight New Hampshire cliff sites in 2020:

Cathedral Ledge (north end, right of “Cathedral Roof”, left of “Diedre”) in Bartlett, NH
Eagle Cliff (south end) in Franconia, NH (EAGLET IS OPEN!)
Frankenstein Cliff (front/lower cliff) in Harts Location, NH
Holts Ledge (near cliff top overlook) in Lyme, NH
Painted Walls in Albany, NH
Rumney Rocks (Main Cliff) in Rumney, NH (RUMNEY IS CLOSED)
Tsunami Wall in Woodstock, NH
Woodchuck Ledge (right half of cliff) in Albany, NH

Peregrine Falcons are also present at roughly a dozen additional NH cliffs where no closures have been posted because recreational use and risk of repeated disturbance is believed to be minimal.

  Climbers who encounter an aggressive falcon during any climb at a NH cliff are advised to alter their climbing plan, and to report the incident to NH Audubon or to NH Fish & Game.   

All posted areas will be reopened no later than August 1.

  - Chris  

Chris Martin
Senior Biologist, NH Audubon


I've ridden a lot lately, even on the hot ones - not today tho... The bugs have been intermittent, but when they're bad they are REALLY bad. Like at Bear Paw in Fryeburg. That said the trails are generally in great shape. I'd say some of the best shape I've ever seen this early in the season. Zealand Road was a nice change yesterday and it was a little cooler than down here in the Valley. I'm trying to ride in places where there aren't any crowds so I'm avoiding the usual Valley stuff, except at off times; early morning, high noon and the like. I'[m also riding solo all the time as well. Since all this virus stuff started I've been avoiding going into places like Levitt's for their chocolate donuts. But when I got an espresso in the coffee shop in Fryeburg they had a single donut and I couldn't resist. sweet it is.

The bug situation is very area-dependent. Here near the cliff it may be minimal one time, and another I will be out working in the yard and have to go inside and spray down with dope! For some reason it's more mosquitoes than black-flys right now. again at least that's the case here. 3 ays ago I rode at the Bear Paw trails in Fryeburg, near the Maine Visitor Center, and the mosquitoes were almost to much to bear - even with DEET! Yet I was up on Zealand Road on Wednesday and tho it was very very hot, there were no bugs to be seen. However, I took a walk in the woods between Cathedral and Whitehorse on Tuesday and picked off 3 ticks when I got home! All this said, I wouldn't go anywhere without bug juice right now. YMMV

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.

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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

In 1961 I led this chimney in a state of metabolic uproar. At the base of the pitch I smoked several cigarettes (the first and last ones of my life). This was to calm me. Then I spooned half a jar of honey. This was to ensure superhuman strength. Mort Hempel, my partner, watched this silly ritual with mouth agape and eyes exploding with fear.
Steve Roper
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