NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 3:30p on 06/25/22 - Temperature: 88.7 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 88.7 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.917 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 15 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
International Mountain Climbing SchoolMooney Mountain GuidesNorthEast Mountaineeringthe American Alpine ClubInternational Mountain Equipment
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March 25, 2004

Hi Folks,

Well, there's only a handful of reasons that the phone rings after 9 pm, and when I hear MRS President Rick Wilcox's voice on the other end I know exactly what the reason is. Monday night's call definitely wasn't one that I wanted to hear. The official word was that 2 hikers had failed to return from a trip up Mt. Lafayette on Sunday. Their car had been found at the trailhead, a crew had been unable to locate them on Monday due to weather conditions and the local Mountain Rescue Service was one of several groups being mobilized to help in the search.

This would be the second day's search for them, which meant that they had been out for two nights! We met at the trailhead at 8 AM the next morning. There were lots of folks from a variety of rescue groups, including a significant contingent from our local MRS. All were under the expert direction of Lt. Todd Bogardis of NH Fish & Game. Shortly before 9 AM the National Guard started ferrying teams up in their Blackhawk helicopter. Paired with Rick, I was a member of the first two teams to be dropped off on the Mt. Flume ridge. Rick and I were to head southwest across the ridge and down, connecting with the Wilderness Trail out to the Kanc, while the other team was to follow the ridge line northeast across to Lafayette and back down the normal trail. Other groups were to be deposited in a variety of locations. This was a great idea since it got us up there quickly and we would be fresh for the search.

The flight took all of about 5 minutes and was very smooth. Unable to set down on the ridge,the copter hovered while we jumped out. The rotor wash was quite something and it was an epic experience. Here are some pictures:

Alain Comeau looking at the Blackhawk
our superb copilot
the takeoff
swinging past Canon
inside the cargo area
getting ready for the search

Interestingly enough there were moderately fresh tracks on the ridge and down the trail that Rick and I were searching. We kept an eye down the various gullies as we went across. I will say that this is not a place to be in a whiteout or on a very windy day! Eventually we moved down below treeline and there was quite a lot of snow in the woods. No matter what it looks like in Massachusetts, or even along the road, it is STILL winter up in the mountains!

Around 10 AM we heard a transmission stating that the missing hikers had been found. We heard one more stating that they were lifting one person and that they were being assessed. By this time we were well down in treeline and we made the decision to hike off. The ridge line kept us from hearing any more radio traffic, so we didn't know the status of the victims. The trail was steep in places but reasonably well packed so we made good time. At the junction with the Wilderness trail we were able to make contact with 2 members of Fish & Game. They met us at the Visitor Center and gave us a ride back to the trailhead. We heard from them that the woman had not survived.

I was very energized all morning. The whole way down Rick and I were happy that the people had been found and hopeful that both were OK. It was very depressing to me to hear that we were only partially successful in our endeavor. From what I hear, the details of the incident have been well reported in the news media. Here is a link to a story on the Boston Herald.

I do want to make a few observations... I went climbing at Frankenstein on Sunday morning. When we walked in down the tracks the sun was out and the temps had to have been in the upper 30's. There was almost no wind. We did one climb and when we got to the car at 11:45 it started to rain, which quickly turned to sleet, snow and back to sleet. By the time I got home here in the Valley it was raining and it rained off and on all afternoon. By dinner time the wind was blowing and the ambient temperature had dropped from above 40 to below freezing. Continuous wind speed was around 16 MPH with gusts to 25. By midnight the wind chill was around 10. The winds continued all day Monday and the ambient temperature continued to fall, finally bottoming out early Tuesday morning at about 5 F. When I got up at 5:30 am it was only 7 F. All in all the outside conditions here in the Valley were brutal. I can only imagine what it was like on the top of Mt. Lafayette at over 5,000 feet!

Word has it that the victims were experienced hikers. That said, the weather reports up here were for deteriorating conditions. I know because I had read them Sunday morning. They went up above tree line without full gear, got caught and paid the price. It is a very unfortunate situation and I am very sad that it turned out this way. I can assure you that the members of Fish & Game, the National Guard and the various rescue teams involved did their absolute best in a difficult situation over 2 days. Everyone I saw was highly motivated and very professional. I am proud to have been a part of this effort.

Access Fund Grant for Auburn Ice Access Project, Massachusetts:
The Access Fund is giving $250 to the Friends of Auburn Ice Canyon. Access to one of the only ice climbing venues in eastern MA is threatened by conflicts with adjacent private landowner. Funds will help defray the cost of producing informational signs and brochures directing climbers to parking and access routes.

Peregrine Cam Now Live - Chris Martin - Audubon Society:
Live streaming video from the peregrine falcon nest box located on the 13th floor of the NH Tower building in downtown Manchester, NH is now available again for the 2004 falcon breeding season. Visit the Audubon Society of New Hampshire's web site, <> , to learn more. A direct link to the falcon cam page is .

If you are not familiar with how to activate and operate the viewer software, please take the time to read the instructions that are available on this page. Thanks again to our great partners in this project, Spectra Access, Inc., Tower Realty Group, and the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department.

International Mountain Equipment Rental Gear Sale

Friday March 26th – Mon 29th
Store Hours - Sun-Thurs 8:30 am - 6:00 pm / Fri, Sat 8:00 – 9:00 pm
2733 Main North Conway NH 03860 (603) 356-7013

Huge Deals on Rental Gear ==> 35% - 50% off

All Rental Gear is in Excellent Condition


===> PLUS <===

All Winter Clothing 40%off !!!!!
All Ski Gear 35%off !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All Ice Climbing Gear 25%off !!
And Selected Other Gear 25%-40%off

Please no phone orders, or holds. In Stock items only no rainchecks

The Access Fund's Most Endangered Climbing Area Program:
We need your help in identifying the most endangered climbing area in your region.

Please respond to this request no later than April 16, 2004. Send your response to Shawn Tierney at: or 303/545-6772 x105.

What is needed from YOU:

1. The name and location of the *most endangered climbing area;
2. The reason(s) that the area is endangered, based on one or more of the following criteria:

An area that is facing unreasonable restrictions or closures due to:
- Land use planning and policy changes
- Presence of cultural/historic resources and/or endangered species
- Overuse and impacts to natural resources
- Development pressure

For more information, please read the posting in the General Climbing section in the Forum.

Everest Challenge, It's A GREAT Cause:
Saturday, March 27 at Petra Cliffs in Burlington, Vermont!
Check-in at 4pm; climbing from 5pm 'til 9pm; prizes, raffle & party after!

Win great gear while supporting rock and ice climbing access in Vermont! Challenge participants will each ascend Petra Cliffs' climbing wall as many times as possible to attempt a group total of 29,035 feet, the height of Mt. Everest. The Challenge benefits CRAG-VT’s goal of opening the Bolton Quarry to rock and ice climbing.

State-O-The Ice:
This will be the last "State-O-The-Ice" ice report of the season. I've had a great time climbing ice this year and I hope that you have as well. It's been great fun getting out there every week, shooting the pictures for the Report and sometimes running into you folks. In fact it's been the ultimate excuse for going climbing: "But honey, it's Wednesday. I HAVE to go out and shoot pictures for the Report."

Hopefully you all have had as much fun as I have. After all, why else would we do this absolute craziness of clawing our way up a frozen icicle with sharp pointy objects on our appendages? <grin> Have a great rock season.

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 some 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:

Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

You put up with the grind of work or school as long as you can or is required. But then, one day, the phone rings one too many times, or the line at the gas pumps seems unending. The air smells bad. The food foul. 'Enough of this' you cry. You grab your ice tools and are gone.
Duane Raleigh
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