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March 11, 2021

Hi Folks,

While it was in the upper 50's in Crawford Notch today, and warmer in the Happy Valley, when you see cute young ladies walking around in t-shirts and Topsiders with no socks, you know we're really close to Spring! Just sayin'...

I got out climbing on Tuesday with Frank from Bagel's Plus. We decided to go have a look at Goofers on Cathedral Ledge. I've done it many many times over the years. This time is was in fairly reasonable shape at the bottom, but it got a bit funky at about 2/3 of the way up. It's a climb I often put in very few screws, but this time I put in a few more than usual, mainly because I didn't think about half of the ones I put in were worth too much! But it wasn't cold and it was just fun to get out. We rapped from the bolts over to the tree on the left and then from there right back to where we started. We walked off down and to the right under Three Birches and Fun House, to stay away from the stuff above the Thin Air and Diagonal/Mordor areas. It was interesting to see what it looks like over there and very where we looked the cliff was pouring water.

Here's a couple of pix:

At this time I would definitely NOT walk anywhere under the cliff at this time. There's just too much ice up there and it's coming down. Sure, there will still be some ice to climb for another week or perhaps two, but it's been a long winter and it sure's starting to feel like Spring to me. I don't know about you but I'm starting to look for my rock shoes and rack. We're going to be on warm dry rock before we know it. [wry grin]

As always the full set of regular pictures are on Facebook and

One year ago today the WHO declared that COVID19 was a global pandemic and all of our lives changed. It's difficult to overstate the effect that this had on every facet of our society. In only 1 year scientists have done something almost unimaginable. They have created and tested a vaccine that is proven to be amazingly effective in protecting us from the COVID19 virus.

But there are those who even at this stage of the game, with well over 500,000 Americans dead from the virus, refuse to get vaccinated! And yes, perhaps surprisingly enough, this even includes climbers. Making an assumption that climbers are smart folks who surely understand that vaccination is essential to kick this virus so we can all get back to life as close to normal as possible, is just like assuming that all long-haired musicians are liberals. Oh yeah...that's right...I remember... Ass-U-Me!

Let's put it this way... Climbing rock and ice is an inherently dangerous occupation, right? And as climbers, we are accustomed to evaluating potentially dangerous situations, constantly considering the consequences of what we do and then do what is necessary to protect ourselves and their partners. It's basic stuff... So simply consider the consequences of not getting vaccinated! Getting vaccinated can't 100% guarantee you won't get sick, like plugging in that cam does not 100% guarantee the placement won't fail. But in the case of the vaccine it pretty much guarantees that even if you get sick, you won't die! Like putting in that piece right off the belay is a smart move so even if you fall your partner has a good probability of arresting your fall. Think about it - and if you and your partner are both vaccinated, you can ride in the car to the cliff together, WOW. Share a beer together after the climb, or even share a tent or a portaledge. DOUBLE WOW Sure, maybe you won't be able to go to a sporting event with 100,000 other fans screaming for your favorite team or fling yourself into the mosh pit at a concert this year. But you can do stuff like hugging your grandparents, or in my case my sister or my grandkids. And the more of us that get vaccinated, the more of those things we all can do.

I'm all about playing the odds. I run that screw in right off the belay, I wear a helmet every time I climb or ride the bike, and I got my first shot as soon as it was offered. I'm really excited about getting my second next Thursday. That means I can get together with my friends the Hurley's and my other climbing partners, all of whom have gotten their shots, and go climbing together. We can have dinner together and get back to something close to a normal life. And maybe, just maybe, I'll even be able to play some gigs with my full band once again. All of which I so very much miss.

The President is saying that by May 1 everyone will be able to get a shot. So as all of the healthcare experts say - when a vaccine is offered to you - PLEASE take it! No matter which one.

Thank you...

New Hampshire:
4 new deaths reported.
341 new cases reported.
The state's COVID-19 deaths total 1,191.
Active cases total 2,114.
75 patients are currently hospitalized (as of March 10).
Testing positivity 5.12%.

29,214,412 Confirmed
530,712 Deaths

118,455,888 Confirmed
2,628,453 Deaths

The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracking map:

I find JHU's Daily COVID-19 Data in Motion report to be very informative. It shares critical data on COVID-19 from the last 24 hours in a short 1 minute animated video format.



While I have been sticking with my daily walks, I also got in 2 good rides this week; one from the gate at the Albany end of Passaconaway Road to the covered bridge and up a little bit of Boulder Loop, and the next day one from the covered Bridge, counterclockwise up to the height of the Boulder Loop Trail, back down and then a mile down the Nanamacomoc ski trail towards Bear Notch Road. Both rides were quite good. I was planning on doing the whole Boulder Loop but realized I'd forgotten my Microspikes for the steep bit on the left side, so I decided to just enjoy the downhill back the way I came. It was a glorious day on all counts.

On Monday I had some errands to do so I thought I'd try something on the East Side for a change, starting at Hemlock Lane behind Walmart. I was surprised that the regular trails like Swamp, Grout and Outer Limits weren't rideable so I decided to do the snowmobile trail that leads to the Kennett sand pit on East Conway Road. I was quite surprised that there were several stretches where there was no snow and it was muddy! It was close to 40 in the sun, so I really shouldn't be surprised.

The trails will certainly be soft for the next day or two and I urge you to not ride until we get the chill down on Saturday as you will make more of a mess that the boot-postholers, who are already making things funky in a lot of places.

Today I brought the road bike and rode just from Willies up to the Highland Center and back. 56 degrees at around noon at Elephant Head!

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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

I was damn glad I was with George. He was solid. I told him of my confidence, and he replied that he felt the same way. I might be lousy on 5.10, but he reckoned I had a high survival potential.
Chris Jones
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