NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 9:29a on 07/01/22 - Temperature: 67.9 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 67.9 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.881 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 31 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
International Mountain Climbing SchoolFriends Of The LedgesEquinox Guiding Service LLCThe ACCESS Fund, Protect America's ClimbingMount Washington Valley Climbers Cooperative
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August 26, 2004

Hi Folks,

Sink or swim, that's what all us kids did. I still remember my grandfather tossing me into the middle of the pool at the YMCA in Macon, Georgia. This was when I was probably 4. There were several of his friends right there so I wouldn't have stayed under very long, and I most certainly wasn't going to drown. Of course I knew it was coming, but still it was a shock. Fortunately, like most of us, I popped up to the surface like a cork and dog-paddled my sputtering way to the side of the pool to echoing applause. From then on the water and I were inseparable.

So, once again, what does all this have to do with climbing? I got an email recently from an acquaintance containing several pictures of his 7 year old grandson leading his first climb over at Lost Ledge. Obviously the kid had climbed before. He knew how to clip bolts, tie into anchors, and even how to belay his second up the climb. In fact he seemed to have all the techniques reasonably well in hand, adults were supervising everything and the climb was very moderate by any standard (we're talking 5.3 here). I've seen first-time adult leaders who didn't look as relaxed.

Still, you certainly have to admit it was not without risk. In this day and age it's rare for people to take risks with their children. The government and other "interested parties" try so hard to protect people from themselves that something like this could easily be labeled as child-endangerment. (You'll notice I'm not naming any names here either!) You know my parents would probably have been arrested by today's standards for allowing me to ride my 1-speed Huffy 15 miles to the beach and back by myself on many summer days when I was about 10 years old. Heck, my grandfather hauled me all over the North Georgia mountains up to about a 5.5 grade starting when I was 6. All we had was an old hemp rope tied around our waists. Who knows what the climbs were like really, but the exposure was prodigious to me at the time. And god forbid the authorities find out who took their 8-year old up Pinnacle gully in the winter! Are we getting just a bit too, over the top with this kind of thing?

The proud grandfather of our fledgling leader says;

"No matter what you do someone will complain. Well let them. I was right there with him the whole time. He was so proud of what he did and I was too. I look at this and see other Fathers getting their sons and daughters out and spending more time with them."

The young climber had this to say;

"I am proud to have done my first lead climb today on a Mr. Joe Cote, Mr. Bob Fraser, Mr. Jeff Fraser, & Mr. Al Lapadde route, 'Carpet Slabber' a 5.3 climb at Lost Ledge. Thank you guys for doing a nice climb for beginners like me. I did have some trouble getting the carabiner in that funny bolt Mr. Cote. I also did Gawking at the Broad Squad just last week (5.5), but I top roped that one. Oh yea my sister followed me up both climbs she's only 5, I'm 7."

Here are a few pix you may, or may not, appreciate - I certainly do:

at the first belay
good rope management
starting second pitch
belaying the second

In this day and age I'm sure that there are those that will say it's terrible to put a kid that age in any kind of dangerous situation. But, hey...I certainly did many things at least that dangerous when I was that age, and probably you did too. Maybe it was luck that we all survived, but I think not. Just think about all those 7 year olds doing back flips on the balance beam in gymnastics or jumps on their skateboard. Hmmm... If you don't think you can get seriously hurt anywhere you are sadly mistaken!

In any event, congrats to the young man, his parents and grandparents on a job well done. It's obvious that he is enjoying himself. Hopefully he'll still be climbing when he's on the parent side of the fence and will be able to infuse his children with the enjoyment of this wonderful sport.

Mt. Washington Hillclimb:
I was fortunate to be able to help out a couple of friends who rode the Mt. Washington Hillclimb last Saturday. It's a very special event and one not to be missed if you have the opportunity to see the finish at the summit. My hat's completely off to anyone who can complete this ride. It's the equivalent of a 5.13 testpiece. As usual I am completely blown-away by what spectators were wearing on the top of Mt. Washington for last weekend's bike race. As usual, so many people completely underestimate the conditions up there. I saw folks in shorts, t-shirts, blue-jeans, name it. This was on a day when the temps were in the low to mid 40's, 45 mph winds, blowing rain and visibility at about 50'! The most disturbing thing was the people who brought small children dressed the same. I don't know if anyone got hypothermic, but it was perfect weather for it. I was in full rain gear & polypro clothing and just barely felt comfortable standing around outside for a couple of hours. Go figure... Here's a coupe of picture, one of the winning rider, which will give you an idea of the conditions:

Overall winner
Jim Gagne at 57th

Access Fund Adopt-a-Crag:
It's that time of year again. September 4 & 5, 2004 here at Cathedral Ledges and Whitehorse Ledge Climbing. It's the Access Trail Reconstruction. For more info, click here.

Quincy Quarries Climbfest - September 18, 2004:
After a five-year hiatus, the Quincy Quarries Climbfest is BACK!  Everyone is welcome, seasoned climbers, friends, and anyone curious about rock climbing. The historic Quincy Quarries, once over 200 feet deep and filled with water, have recently been drained and filled with 710,000 tons of "Big Dig" dirt. Gates open at 9 AM and there will be a Speed Climbing Competition starting at 1 PM. For more information and directions check out the website.

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

There are all kinds of values to be gotten out of climbing. Sometimes you can take a girlfriend up a climb and get laid for it.
Steve Wunsch
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