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September 16, 2021

Hi Folks,

So The Boss came back from walkabout/drive-around so I finally got out climbing this week. WOO WOO... I haven't been to the South Buttress in a coons age to do Hotter Than Hell & the Inferno Crack, but he talked me into going over to the Echo Roof area. Turns out it was a good call.

I'd been hearing about just how good a job the WM Trail Collective crew did on the area below Echo Roof, and I was not disappointed. It's really amazing! The trail getting up there has been been turned into stairs and there is a retaining wall where once there was a funky slope and quite honestly it's all fantastic! I stuck a couple of granite chips into some cracks in between 2 blocks and voila, I had a place to hang my rack and draws! Arguably the only thing missing are a couple of blocks to sit on while putting on your shoes...but I digress.

Tuesday was a gorgeous day to be out climbing. I led Holy Land to the bolt anchor in the Pocket and then tensioned over right and climbed the ramp to the other anchor. That gave us a setup to climb all the lines in that area. After doing those I tensioned over to the next set of anchors to the right, which allowed us to climb the climbs just left of Echo. This is a system we've both used over the years when we guide in this area. Thanks to Yohan, Mike, Trail Collective, FOTL, et al... It's always been a really great area to climb that's now even better.

While I was there I noticed the new bolts under the roof that are an aid line going out and over the lip. I'd noticed a couple of bolts and a pin many years ago and never knew who started it. Last year I believe that Ben Maxfield finished it. Great job!

On the same topic, I've always noticed this lone carabiner on the wall just right of the roof and wondered what's up with that. Anyone have any ideas? I'm pretty sure it's undocumented. I'd love to hear about it...
I did a review on of John Branch's new-ish book Sidecountry last week. It's a collection of sports-related stories/articles he wrote for the NY Times. Check it out. It's a great read (the book that is). HIGHLY recommended...

The number of active infections in NH has continued its increase again today and, at 4,030, these current case counts are the highest since early February! YOW! State health officials also report another increase in new cases: 614 new cases on Thursday, with 53 of those identified from Sept. 14. 172 of the new cases are under age 18.

So far this academic year, the state has identified 25 clusters in K-12 schools involving 146 people. State epidemiologist Dr. Chan said clusters range in size from three to 16 people. “This is a remarkable number of clusters to occur in schools over a two-week period,” Dr. Chan said. “The majority of these are occurring in children.” Dr. Chan says schools should implement universal mask policies before these clusters occur, but many school boards have chosen mask-optional policies. In spite of this spread, Gov. Chris Sununu and Education Commissioner Frank Edleblut have emphasized the importance of local and parental control in mask decisions.

In spite of these increases, the pushback from some parents in meetings has become increasingly contentious. Note this from a news report on the school board meeting a few days ago -

The state’s school COVID dashboard does not accurately reflect the number of COVID cases, which is quite disturbing. It looks as if this may be another winter at least as bad as last year, which is VERY disturbing on so many levels. We are at a point where we could squash this virus down fairly rapidly if people would cooperate by getting vaccinated and masking where appropriate. As someone who grew up getting all the appropriate vaccinations, it's hard for me to grasp the active pushback against science. [sigh]

And here's one more grim statistic to put things in perspective for you. Since the pandemic began, 1 in 500 Americans have died from COVID-19!

New Hampshire:
4 new deaths reported
614 new cases reported
4,030 Active cases UP from 3,079
126 patients are currently hospitalized
1,452 total deaths

United States:
Confirmed: 41,768,039
Deaths: 669,831

Confirmed: 226,921,100
Deaths: 4,668,022

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.



I decided to get in a couple of more difficult rides this week instead of just puttering around on my normal single-track loops. Monday was a beautiful day so I opted for Jefferson Notch Road. Only 6.58 miles from the Base Road, but it's a pretty good 960'. It's a ride I do a couple of times a summer. No, it's not that hard, but it sure keeps on coming at you. Fortunately there weren't any cars on the road this time while I was there. Then yesterday I wanted to grab something before we had the big storm front come through, so I did Cathedral Ledge Road from my back door to the top. It's only a round trip of a little over 3 miles from the house, but it's a pretty solid 600+ feet. I can still do both with no stops, so I would say that's a plus. I'm not fast, but I'm pretty steady. If you're looking for some climbing, these both should be on your list.

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

There are two kinds of people who climb mountains. Those whose hearts sing when they are in the mountains and all the rest.
Rheinhold Messner
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