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December 23, 2021

Hi Folks,

It was VERY chill Thursday morning. Down to 5 when I was woken up at 4:30 by the deck snapping and popping, and I know it's cold when that happens! 12 degrees and breezy in the Notch at 10:30am, and it never got above 20 or so all day even here in the Valley. It looks as if it's going to be very cold tonight, low single digits, and stay generally cold through the weekend. I guess this is a nice Christmas gift for all of the ice climbers out there. Personally I'm pretty psyched... I hope everyone has a great holiday week.

So I'm an Apple computer kind of guy, with an iPhone, iPad and Apple watch. One of the things I really dig is how it all connects together. When I get a text message, it pops up on all my devices pretty much at the same time. I've had an Apple Watch since version 1, and I love it for a lot of reasons. But unfortunately this fall it got banged and fell apart. It wasn't able to be repaired, so I sprung for one of the fancy new ones. One of the coolest things was that it can tell if you've fallen, asks you to confirm if that is the case, and alert someone you have programmed as an emergency contact if you don't respond. For someone like me who lives alone, rides the bike by myself a lot and does a little ice soloing in the winter this is a potentially good thing. Of course you do need cell service for it to work properly and it doesn't preclude letting someone know where you're going when you go out by yourself. When I was out climbing recently I noticed one possible foible... The watch interprets the impact of using your ice axe as a possible fall! YIKES! I've never had it do this while out pounding around in the woods on the mountain bike, rock climbing or any of my other normal activities. Just ice climbing! And of course that's one of the activities that I'd really like to have it be aware of. But since I don't want it randomly notifying Brad or my friend Mona that I've had a problem, when all I'm doing is some climbing, I guess I'll have to turn that feature or the watch itself off when on the ice. Kind of a bummer, but nothing else do do except accept the fact that I can't account for every eventuality.

And speaking of that kind of thing, here's a very interesting article by Will Gadd. I think it's well worth the read, even tho it's somewhat about morbidity. I found it particularly interesting, as I do most of what Will has to say.

ICE FEST 2022:
Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest is on the books for February 4-6, 2022. Stay tuned for website and registration updates, guest guide information, and party details. Plus, with any luck, there WILL be a party this year! If you have questions, call IMCS at (603) 356-7064.
VERY IMPORTANT - all attendees are required to provide proof of vaccination. No test results will be permitted. So, be sure to bring your card and picture ID, or you won't be able to participate.

I've gotten a couple of messages that seem to indicate the PDF I posted last week isn't the whole story. I'm hoping that is the case and I'll update the story when I actually have more info. Stay tuned...

Thanks to all 113 contributors to this years fundraiser. Believe me, I sincerely appreciate your support. The books for the 2 winners of the guidebooks have been mailed out and should be there before Xmas. If you still want to make a contribution, you can do it here:

You can contribute any time via check or money order if you like. Just please make the check out to Al Hospers and send it here:

92 Bow Lane
North Conway, NH 03860

SOME LOCAL/NATIONAL PANDEMIC STATISTICS AND THOUGHTS: I'm just going to post this observation by my friend Victor Lazaron who is a surgeon at Memorial Hospital. You know how I feel, and I think he puts things into some perspective -


We're number.....8.

Ok, we haven't dropped much at all. We're still seeing high case rates, 88/100,000. Not much lower than when we were number one with a rate in mid 90s. Thing is, many other states have really taken off with Omicron and passed us. We are still mostly delta. That will change soon.

Wash DC. 158/100,000
RI. 124/100,000
NY. 112/100,000
NJ. 92/100,000

Recent growth in case rates -14 day change
Wash DC. +540%
NY. +126%
NJ. +104%
HI. +670%
FL. +509%
GA. +174%
LA. +192%
TX. +138%

Omicron is spreading very quickly. Cases are going up almost everywhere. Should we be worried? Yes. And maybe.

There is some evidence that Omicron produces milder disease with lower hospitalizations and deaths than Delta. We don't know for sure, but early data from Europe suggests a hospitalization rate between 30-70% of the Delta variant. Two caveats:

1 Europeans are more vaccinated than we are. The data is from the UK and Denmark, both of which are 75% vaccinated compared to our 61%.

2 if omicron infects more people than Delta but puts fewer of them in the hospital that could still be an enormous number of people needing hospital beds at a time when they are in short supply. Today it's hard to find ICU beds in the Midwest and northeast. Add 400,000 omicron infections PER DAY to that (a current estimate for Jan) and if only 2-3 percent need hospitals (best case scenario) that will still overwhelm the health care system.

So YOU are pretty unlikely to get a severe illness from Omicron, but society as a whole looks like we're in for a bad ride. One last thing- data reporting gets all funky over holidays. We won't have much good reliable US data for a couple weeks.

Get vaxed
Get boosted
Wear a mask


PS I was at the hospital this afternoon to get some stitches out. There was an Air Force Reserve person at the check in desk doing that job. All hospitals, including ur little one, are understaffed now. I took a minute to wish him a Merry Xmas and thank him for doing the job.
v New Hampshire:
2 new deaths reported
1,088 new cases reported
9,149 Active cases

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

Lightly hazed in blue mist, the tiny, clustered town - pale pebbles and mica flashes of light - was no more than stony shingle at the bottom of a deep pool.
Dermot Somers
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