NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 4:29p on 06/25/22 - Temperature: 89.1 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 89.1 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.912 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 EquipmentInternational Mountain Climbing SchoolNorthEast MountaineeringMount Washington Valley Climbers CooperativeFriends Of The Ledges
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July 8, 2004

Hi Folks,

We've been in this cycle of several days of gorgeous weather followed by some rain. It's really not a bad place to be when it comes down to it, mind you. I get to do a lot of things outside, and I don't have to water the lawn or garden. Not a bad tradeoff, in my humble estimation. I was all fired up to go climbing today when, imagine to my surprise, I woke up and it was raining cats & dogs.

I should have known something was up when I came home from Delaney's at about 12:30 last night & shut the car lights off in the driveway. Since we don't have much in the way of light pollution out here, I can usually see the stars really brightly. Last night it was obvious that it had clouded up and there was this light smell of humidity in the air. Funny how that works, isn't it? So, when I woke up at 5:30 to the sound of rain drumming on the upstairs deck, it shouldn't have been that much of a surprise. Maybe it wasn't all that surprising, but it sure was a drag. Between the rain on Monday and work (yes Virginia, even I have to actually work for a living) I've only got in one afternoon's bouldering this week. Now that's a bummer! At least I've been out on the bike a couple of times to keep the juices flowing.

It was a really nice 4th of July weekend - not too hot, no rain, minimal bugs - just about perfect. On Friday Brad White (partner and senior guide at IMCS) and I got out for the afternoon to that new little crag below the Barber Wall. I'd been down there several times earlier in the season and it's a nice place to play around for an afternoon. All the routes are short, but they offer a number of entertaining problems. Brad led a nice 5.9 crack climb (No Guts, No Glory) put up by Mona L'Heurx and George Hurley. I did it in the early spring and found it delightful, and it was no less so this time. The crux is a thin finger crack and short headwall below the final slab, finishing on a easy, but often pinestraw covered slab to a rappel tree.

Brad made short work of it, but I have to confess to making one of the classic "second's mistakes" on this one. Brad had placed gear in the crack both low and high. He also placed a bomber red Camelot up high to protect the move over the top. What I hadn't realized was that he'd moved up to place that piece, backed down to rest for a minute and then fired over the top. I removed the 2 lower pieces and figured that he had placed the upper Camelot from some kind of stance. Unfortunately when I pulled up there I wasn't able to hang on and remove the piece so I pulled on over top of it, figuring I could squat down and remove it from above. NOT... Of course it was just out of reach, the rope was running down through the draw doing me absolutely no good - protection wise - and I was left standing there in a very humiliating position. <sigh> Of course the obvious solution was to tie into a bite on the rope to protect myself and then downclimb back to where I could reach the piece...and that's what I did. It's just so annoying that I didn't scope it out more clearly before I made the move. Of course that it shows how rarely I am a second!

After that I led George's route, Morning Glory. The description I was given rates it 5.9. Both Brad and I could take issue with that one. A tricky boulder move, thankfully protected by a bolt down low (and that's another story), leads to a slightly flaring crack and on to a tree. I agree that this one is in the 5.9/9+ range. Left of the tree you step up onto a slab and head up to a bolt. It's a bit run-out and you don't want to fall down over the overlap, but the moves are about 7+ friction, no biggie. There are two cruxes getting past the next 2 bolts to a slightly overhanging crack above. I would say that these are in the 5.10 range. The second of the two, using a knob on the right, seems to me to be on a par with the crux step-through on the second pitch of Lost Souls - around 10a. Move up and right, using the crack, beneath a headwall and pull up to a featureless slab and thank-god bolt. Now here's the real conundrum... I see absolutely no way, for me, to pull up and get situated on the slab from directly below the bolt. It seems much harder than getting over the overlap in the middle of Ego Trip, with even less in the way of holds! You can, however, step around to the right past a small bush/tree and swing over at about 5.9. It's your choice! Of course once on the ever-so-slighty-mossy slab you will need to pad up about 35' to a very small pro placement and then another 35' to the rappel tree. If anyone else has done the route I'd be interested in your perception of the grade. Your milage may vary!

We finished off on Decrescendo, George Hurley's very nice 5.6 route all the way to the right by a small gully. This one lives up to its name: solid and well protected 5.6 moves up a gently overhang face to a bolt, stepping slightly right and pulling over onto a very easy slab & up to a 2-bolt anchor. This one is well worth doing.

On Sunday I went out with Alyssa and ran up Funhouse. It was another beautiful day, tho a bit hotter than Friday. There were other folks all around and I was surprised we could even get on the climb. The party of 3 above us was another bunch of locals out on one of the most popular climbs on the cliff on one of the busiest times of the year. What were we all thinking of? <grin> To keep out of their way I decided to do the original line of the climb. It goes to the left of the crack that most people climb, which happens to be the line of Pooh. I think that it's a bit harder, but more fun - especially the final face moves past an old ring-piton to the belay trees at the top. First acensionist Joe Cote remarks about the first ascent:

"I felt like we were inside a Funhouse at an amusement park. We also were very surprised that it went at only 5.7. We certainly didn't think that there were any routes left that would go so easily."

Needless to say we are all happy that he and Larry Poorman put this one together back in 1969.

Danger, Danger Will Robinson:
One thing else to be aware of... I saw more loose rock on the ledges on Sunday than I've ever seen before. I don't know why it's more this year, but there is a lot. Alyssa knocked off one substantial chunk off the second small tree ledge, fortunately missing everyone below and clearing the Riley dog by a mere 6-10 feet. Up higher there were some very large pieces, one which was just resting on a slab, poised to cause someone a world of hurt. I moved that one, but there is a lot more where it came from. This whole area always has a lot of loose stuff around and it's surprising to me how often I see folks climbing without helmets. There are always folks moving around up on the big ledge and I've seen stuff knocked off many times. I feel as uncomfortable hanging around at the base of any of those climbs without a helmet as I do driving without a seat belt. In New Hampshire of course the latter is YOUR CHOICE!

Queen Creek/Oak Flat in Jeopardy - from the Access Fund:
Access to portions of Arizona's Queen Creek/Oak Flat area - home to the Phoenix BoulderBlast (formerly, the Phoenix Bouldering Contest) - may be lost forever if a mining proposal to extract billions of dollars worth of high-grade copper is approved. Resolution Copper's proposed mine - believed to be the largest copper ore body in North America, and located thousands of feet beneath the US Forest Service- managed Oak Flat area - could cause substantial ground subsidence requiring the area to be closed to public entry. The mine could affect hundreds of bouldering problems and roped routes, resulting in the largest ever loss of climbing resources in the US.

The Bug Situation:
I lowered the Instant Bug Report to a three last week. Someone asked why it wasn't a 2 or less, as they had been out with no bug dope all day on Saturday and never gotten bit. I did the same on Sunday and it is a real temptation to do so. we've even been eating dinner out on the back deck again with no problems. However, that works fine until the sun goes down behind the cliff. Once that happens we're into black flies, gnats and mosquitoes. The later you stay out and the deeper in the woods you are, the more likely you'll be carried away, or fall down from blood loss. So I'll stick with my current rating. <grin>

Need For Speed:
Can you believe it? Apparently Alex and Thomas, those amazing Huber brothers, have climbed the 16-pitch Zodiac route on the right side of El Capitan in under two hours! They systematically worked the route, finally coming in well under their previous record of 2 hours 10 minutes. A large crowd of climbers gathered in El Cap Meadow cheered them on. Their new record is 1 hour, 51 minutes, 34 seconds. The Zodiac goes free at 5.13+. (Thanks to Chris Lemay for forwarding me an article about this by Dougald MacDonald.)

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

The wall was the ambition. The style bacame the obsession.
Alex MacIntyre
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