NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
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February 16, 2023

Hi Folks,

A weather front passed through this morning bringing thunder, lightning, sleet and now rain. At 9:30 it's 37 degrees. It's going to get warmer and then temps will drop down into teens overnight! Looks like warmish days and chilly nights next week. Looking very March like... Kind of an interesting week last. I had 3 gigs last ween and 2 this one. Fortunately in spite of the weather being up and down, I actually got in some ice climbing with Brad. Quite honestly it couldn't have been a whole lot better - for an old guy... LOL

Right now the weather definitely feels a whole lot like early March. So I go out Thursday morning and there is a warm breeze, obviously coming from the south, and I start sneezing. I look at my weather app and they mention that there's a lot of pollen coming up on these winds! [go figure] Clearly the days are longer (sunrise is now at 6am), the sun feels stronger, the daytime temps are more moderate, nights are generally in the mid 20's and the ice vacillates between hero and punk. On Tuesday night I rain into to a guide who said he climbed Dropline that morning and not only was it plastic, but there was ice all the way down to the ground - no funky mixed start! Go figure. Matty Bowman did the backcountry classic Yukon Gold on North Bald Cap twice early this week and both times it was great. But is that going to hold out? Your guess is as good as mine. The weather prognosticators are talking about a full week of moderate temps, with only one day going touching into real February territory. My guess is that if it stays on this trajectory, things will last a bit longer and then start to drift down into real March-like conditions. I'm hoping for more actual cold, but I'm not seeing it in the long range forecasts.

I finally got out a couple of days in a row this past week. Nothing difficult, but fun nonetheless. I rode the bike over to the North end on Saturday and took a run up Thresher. It was warmish and there were a lot of folks out. Turns out it was AMC Ice Program weekend. I used to be a part of that, starting when I lived in Boston in the mid 90's, and I saw a ton of folks I haven't seen in years. So nice to catch up...

I had so much fun I called up Brad to see if he was interested in heading up to Dixville to grab Parasol on Monday. Happily he agreed, so we met up at 7:30 and I drove up. Observing the river on the drive it was interesting how little was actually frozen, and how cool it was even in the notch. We got out of the car around 9:15 and it was breezy and 26 degrees - not too bad. The trail was well packed and there was more snow than I remembered from last year. I had done it 2x with Matty Bowman very early in the season and 2x with Brad in March. This year the climbing was pretty different. With Matty early season last year there was very minimal ice, even at the bottom. While with Brad there was a lot of ice and snow, even snow covering what is usually a talus field below the start of the ice pitch. And this year the Parasol isn't even there! Go figure. Still the climbing was fun and it was great to be out with one of my best friends and favorite partners for a change.

Kudos to the Paul and Lisa McCoy and all the IME/IMCS staff for pulling together a great 30'th Ice Fest. What could have been a real mess, turned out amazing. In a way like what happened last year with the massive snow dump on the first day. I didn't hear of anyone getting frostbite, hypothermia or having a major problem in what was absolutely some of the coldest days on record. It was amazing. I'm very grateful to have played a small part in it. And if you went to the show on Friday it was great to be a part of the climate presentation. The short film that was shown is in final editing and will be available for general showing pretty soon and I'm excited about that. Stay tuned...

Do the math folks...

New Hampshire:
10 deaths directly related to COVID this week
1,055 active cases
32 Current hospitalizations being treated for COVID
2,973 Total deaths due to COVID-19

United States:
Confirmed: 103,063,243
Deaths: 1,116,289

Confirmed: 673,621,333
Deaths: 6,859,534

Most of the snowmobile trails are groomed & packed out now and the SnowDog groomer for the new trails in Bartlett is back in service and Rogers Crossing trails by the Saco are great. RECOMMENDED

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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

The grades for crack climbing in Indian Creek are hard, harder, and anatomically incorrect.
Jack Tackle
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