NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 6:29a on 07/01/22 - Temperature: 57.2 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 57.2 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.917 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 72 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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January 6, 2005

Hi Folks,

Did you make a New Years Resolution this year? Did it have anything to do with climbing? Maybe it was simply to do more of it. If so that's a good thing, but what might be better would be a resolution to work on your fundamentals. After all if it's good enough for all the major sports jocks, it should be good enough for you, and me.

fun·da·men·tal: adj.
Forming or serving as an essential component of a system or structure; central.

So tell me, when was the last time you got back to the core of your ice climbing? Are you like most of us who just get out there every weekend and do it, hoping that you're going to get better by the act? Well with ice climbing, perhaps more than with some other sports, it's easy to fall prey to the thought that we get so little time to climb we don't have the time to practice. Unfortunately that is precisely the wrong attitude to take. In fact the better you are at the sport, the better you will feel about your climbing and the more you will be able to do when you do get the opportunity to get out. While it's always best to work on refining your skills early in the season, there's no reason you can't do it any time.

A little time on a toprope or ice-bouldering with a partner is ideal. You can move up and down and observe each other's techniques. Often just an hour or so doing this at the start of a day's climbing can make a huge difference. If you have a limited amount of time you still can do the same kind of thing. The next time you're out, whether you are leading or following, ask your partner to observe you as you climb. Have them keep a running list and ask them to remind you to about them as you climb. Believe me it helps.

1 - Keep your heels down. It's natural to want to stand up on your toes as the climbing gets more intense, but keeping your heels down will significantly relieve the tension on your calves and make you more stable. In addition, depending on the placement of your crampon's secondary points, it will let these points engage so you will have more points in the ice.

2 - Just like on rock, if you need to hang keep your arms straight. Hang on your skeleton. Don't hang with your elbow bent as that's going to really pump you out. Definitely shake out when you have the opportunity.

3 - Concentrate on swinging the tool in a consistent arc and work on being able to repeatedly place the pick exactly where you want it to go. Imagine that you're pounding a nail and you need to hit the point of the axe right on the head of the nail.

4 - Chat while you climb. Of course you need to concentrate and too much chatter can be distracting. However, if you are talking you are breathing and breathing is critical to relaxation, and being relaxed is critical to getting through difficult sections of a climb.

5 - Protect wherever you can. There is no rule about only placing gear every 6, 8 or 10 feet. Put in ice gear where you can get a stance and where it makes YOU feel good. You never know when the ice is going to turn to crap, so if you find a good placement, especially at a place where you can get a flat-footed stance, take it!

6 - Protect BEFORE the topout. The top-out is one of the most critical times in an ice climb and it's easy to want it to be over before it actually is. In addition, don't set your tools too far over the top of a bulge before you make the move over. This will push your feet out as you make the move over the lip, making you wicked unstable. Keep your tools no more than a shaft-length from the edge, ice quality permitting. Move your feet up and mantle on the top of one or both tools to move onto the top.

7 - Practice placing ice screws. Do it with both hands. Keep practicing it until you can do it in your sleep!

There's lots more things to be aware of, these are just a few. Work together with a partner to practice your skills and you'll have a much more relaxed and enjoyable experience when you're out there on the ice.

2005 Ice Festival - February 10-13:
International Mountain Equipment (IME) and International Mountain Climbing School (IMCS) are delighted to announce the Twelfth Annual Mount Washington Valley Ice Festival to be held February 10-13, 2005. For the 2005 event they are partnering with the Cranmore ski area to host this event. It is considered one of the premier climbing events in the country providing a great opportunity to network, socialize, try new gear and participate in technical clinics and private climbs. The Mt. Washington Valley is one of the finest waterfall ice climbing destinations in North America.

Featured visiting climbers and guides attending this year's event include the Patagonia climbing ambassadors of Barry Blanchard (Canmore, Alberta), Mark Wilford (LaPorte CO) Steve House and Kitty Calhoun (Moab UT). Back for a sixth year will be Jack Tackle (Bozeman MT) and Jared Ogden. Attending the Ice Fest for the first time will be Sean Isaac (Canmore, Alberta), Ian Parnell (UK) and John Varco. Presenting slideshows this year will be Sean Isaac, Ben Gilmore (East Face of Moose's Tooth for which he and Kevin Mahoney received a Piolet d'Or nomination), John Varco and others.

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

Q - How can you tell Santa is a climbing bum?
A - He's got a beard, always wears the same clothes, and only works one day a year.
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