NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 1:29p on 06/28/22 - Temperature: 70.8 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 70.8 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.985 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Rising Slowly - Humidity: 24 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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May 13, 2004

Hi Folks,

OK, OK, I admit it. I simply don't enjoy crack climbing yet. There, I admit it and you can yell it from the tops of the cliffs. HE DOESN'T LIKE CRACKS! While the security is nice, I'm simply not someone who enjoys pain. And, any way you cut it in my book

crack climbing = pain

Pain in the toes sure, but mainly for me, it's the pain in the fingers. Maybe it's just the musician in me - doing something that hurts my fingers, makes me very nervous. Hey, when I was really playing a lot in the 70's & 80's I was one of those people who wouldn't even wash dishes because I was afraid of loosing my calluses. I wouldn't take a shower within 6 hours of a performance!

Anyway, so what do you do when you don't like something? You do a lot of it of course... <wry grin> On Tuesday I went over to the North End with Maury McKinney of IMCS and climbed cracks. And I really mean we climbed cracks. We did Birdnest, Bailsafe, They Died Laughing and The Slot, plus the direct finish to the Slot. Here's Maury just cruisin' Birdnest. The first one was a bit of a pain, but I have to admit by the time we were done I was getting my crack-legs under me.

Last nite Jeff C and I had an hour after an early dinner so we whipped up to the top of Cathedral, walked around to the Lookout Crack ledge and I did the last pitch of the Prow. I forget how much I like that climb until I do it again. It's such an exposed position, the gear is sooo good and the climbing is truly wonderful... Hey, it makes me forget about the fact that it's actually a crack, even tho I try & jam the whole thing just as an exercise. Here's a shot of Jeff coming up for the first time. You notice that he isn't looking down! <grin>

Now I have to confess that this is the scene of my ever first leader-fall many years ago. I was doing it for the first time after having led Fun House, Black Lung and Upper Refuse. I wasn't climbing 10's at that time, but I had heard that the gear was good so I figured, "why not give it a try?" The step down off the ledge and into the climb was a bit entertaining, but once in the crack out on the slab the climbing was superb. I did turn around to look out from a stance, probably not the best thing to do, and the exposure was breathtaking. It looks like you were right at the edge of the world. Placing good gear all the way (yes I sewed it up folks) I got to the little headwall, somehow found the good stem and fiddled in a purple Metolius under the bulge. (This was before I had the right RP that fits in the slot above the bulge.) Anyway, as I was jerking on the cam to make sure it was good, it pulled and I went. The medium nut I had placed in the crack about 2' below was perfect-o so even with the rope stretch all I did was take about a 6' fall back onto my feet. No harm done, but it certainly did get my attention. Now I was embarrassed, but the really cool thing about taking that fall was that it solidified something that I already knew intellectually - THE SYSTEM WORKS! I don't think that you really know that unless actually you do it.

So, of course whenever I go up & do that climb I can't help but remember this little episode. Mind you it doesn't inspire any fear, only the memory. And actually, considering that it ended well and I learned a good lesson, it's actually a pretty reassuring one.

Oh yeah, one other thing... I wonder if everyone else is as happy as I am to have the root-handle right there in the niche? Makes ya wonder if the climb should go up a grade when the root is gone? <grin> How many other places are there around here where nature helps out on the climb in this manner. The tree at the top of the Pegasus Rock Finish comes quickly to mind. Can you think of any others?

More About Pins:
There is more to pins than just someone stealing them. Really... This just in -

"...last weekend we rapped off p3 of Pathfinder on those two fixed pins at the top of the pitch.  As I lowered over the edge I had the pleasure of seeing the right pin shift a good quarter inch.  The pins seemed totally solid for a body weight rap, so I was definitely surprised.  Slowest, smoothest rap I've ever done.  If you need to bail off this pitch, back it up with a nut!  Unless, of course, you like that spicy feel while you're rapping."

Is it just me, or does this sound an ideal place for a (heaven forbid) 2-bolt anchor? Those pins have been problematic forever and probably should have been bolts in the beginning. I don't believe that you can back them either. Hmmm.... Is this retrobolting?

Don't Forget to Dress for Dinner - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????
Reuters - Tue 11 May, 2004 21:13
Seven men who enjoyed duck and caviar at more than 22,000 feet in the Himalayas pitched a claim Tuesday for the record highest altitude formal dinner. One Australian and six British men made it to the top of the 23,113-feet Tibetan peak Lhakpa Ri near Mount Everest carrying tables, chairs and white tie dinner suits earlier this month. Gales forced them back to 22,326 feet for the sumptuous meal.

"Great party," team leader Henry Shelford said by telephone after returning to Britain. "Shame about the atmosphere."

The Guinness World Records said it was verifying the claim that the team, who did not have previous mountaineering experience, had broken the previous record of 22,204 feet for the highest formal dinner, set by Australian climbers in 1989.

On Saturday, June 12, at 5 p.m., the New England Section of the AAC will host a barbecue in the heart of the White Mountains in Albany, New Hampshire. Bring slides, fishing gear and something to grill. The event is at 17 Bridge St. in Albany, rain or shine. Directions: For more information, contact Nancy Savickas at

Former AAC director Bill Stall, an editorial writer for the "Los Angeles Times," has won his second Pulitzer Prize. Stall won the Pulitzer for editorial writing for his commentaries on California’s state government. In 1994, Stall was part of a "Los Angeles Times" team that won a Pulitzer for spot news coverage of the Northridge, Calif., earthquake. Stall served on the board from 1992 to 1998 and is a member of the AAC’s Policy Committee. He has written editorials on the Forest Service fixed-anchor ban and about solo climbing.

Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo invited five climbers to test out its new ape house and discovered that the “escape-proof” exhibit was not as secure as they’d hoped. The 12,000-square-foot outdoor yard of the exhibit is guarded by a 12-foot overhanging wall. Five climbers volunteered to test the wall and, with bouldering pads at its base, they quickly found six routes to the top, ranging in difficulty from V0 to V4. The zoo now will go back to the drawing board and try to eliminate the small holds on the wall; they’ve promised to invite the climbers back in June for another round of testing before the apes move in.

Swiss Climbing Champion Killed in Afghanistan:
The Australian - May 11, 2004
A Swiss passport found with two men who were beaten to death in an Afghan park belonged to a former world-class competitive climber, police said today. The passport was in the name of Geneva native Elie Chevieux, 30, cantonal (state) police spokesman Christophe Zawadzki said, confirming reports in local media. Chevieux was second in the world competitive climbing championships in 1995 and Swiss champion in 1996 and 1997. His body was found in a Kabul park on Sunday. Police said the men, who were wearing baggy Afghan dress and woolen hats, had been beaten over the head with stones or bricks. An Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman said they had also been stabbed and that one also showed signs of strangulation.

Nothing to Do With Climbing:
Like most of you I am plagued with the emails containing viruses and the like as attachments. Most of these are things that there is no possible reason for someone to be sending anyone else, unless they are a virus. These are attachments with extensions like SCR, PIF, EXE, COM and the like. Recently I created a rule in for my wife in Outlook and one for me in Entourage that looks at the name of and attachments that some in, and automatically deletes them if they have an offending extension. It's easy to do and seems to be pretty foolproof. Here is the list of attachments to toss that I came up with:


In my experience absolutely no legitimate emails ever come through having an attachment of these types. You should also be careful of ZIP files as they may well contain one of these other files. I hope that this helps...

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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Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

In 1961 I led this chimney in a state of metabolic uproar. At the base of the pitch I smoked several cigarettes (the first and last ones of my life). This was to calm me. Then I spooned half a jar of honey. This was to ensure superhuman strength. Mort Hempel, my partner, watched this silly ritual with mouth agape and eyes exploding with fear.
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