NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 9:59a on 07/01/22 - Temperature: 72.2 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 72.2 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.869 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 26 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
Equinox Guiding Service LLCMooney Mountain GuidesNorthEast MountaineeringSavage Mountain GearInternational Mountain Equipment
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January 27, 2005

Hi Folks,

I was really surprised that there weren't more folks out over the weekend. I guess part of it was that we'd just had the 3-day Martin Luther King holiday, and also the fact it was pretty cold. Thursday was actually pretty balmy - sunny and about 17 all day - but the weekend prediction was for highs of about 7! On top of that there was a snowstorm predicted for Saturday night and Sunday.

I got a call Friday morning from my friend & EMS guide Travis. We talked about trying the Myth, but after he observed another party backing off the first pitch, we decided it probably wasn't prudent. We wandered around Cathedral a bit, finally settling on trying Super Goofer's. In case you don't know, it's a very cool runnel that comes down in the corner of the Big Flush, just left of the Airation Buttress. It doesn't always come in, but when it does it is a really neat climb. It's been on my tick-list for a while. It was cold, but as long as we kept moving it wasn't all that bad. as we hiked up the hill past Standard we ran into the party that had backed off the Myth. It turned out to be Jim Shimberg and his partner Matt. Shim was on his way up Diagonal. The pillar looked really good and I had been surprised that no one had attempted it previously. That said I've done the dike pitch up to the headwall several times and I can imagine how committing it can be in the winter in crampons. Later he told me that the pillar was detached from its base. I can imagine that the upper offwidth was entertaining at the least.

It never got above 7 degrees, but out of the wind it was tolerable. Fortunately I had on my new Wild Things EP jacket and pants. They are quite warm and surprisingly lightweight. The jacket fits me great, but the pants are a bit on the loose side in the legs. It would be nice if they had a bit of elastic in the bottom. Still, they were great In conditions like that.

Goofer's itself looked really fat and good but we decided to go up the Flush gully on the far left instead. Travis did it up with a few rock moves into a corner and up some dribbly ice to the ledge, where we belayed from the big tree on the right side. Tho it is dead, there is a live one directly behind it and it was obvious that neither is going anywhere. That location provides the belayer with a good view and excellent protection from falling ice, and I was happy to have it.

Travis headed up to the runnel. He had brought a pretty reasonable rock rack as well as a reasonable complement of screws. As this was a George Hurley route, I thought that bringing the rock gear was a promising idea. This was immediately reinforced by his placement of a #2 Camelot and green Alien right off the ground! He was able to find some foot placements out on the rock on the right of the runnel, allowing him to stem a bit. Just underneath the umbrella at about 2/3 height he knocked off a really big chunk of ice, making me really happy to have been behind the tree. <grin> He got in a couple more screws and made the pull over the umbrella in to a niche at a stance. Tho it was solid, it was also obvious that it wasn't over yet. Fortunately he was able to get in another screw and a great red Alien. Now he was cooking. A couple of more awkward moves and he pulled over onto some great New England turf and onto the ledge.

He put me on belay and I started up. I was leashless as usual and it was interesting to be seconding. I hooked the tools over my shoulders as I removed screws and gear. It was a bit on the insecure side to be doing that in such brittle conditions. Getting over the umbrella was definitely the crux and a very neat move. I was very surprised to see water slowly dripping out of a crack just below the top. It dripped on my tool and ran down my glove, freezing before it made it to my jacket. As I have about 6 inches on Travis, I was able to hook a sapling at the top-out, making the final move somewhat easier. With very limited room at the belay, he lowered me back down and followed quickly. One more rap and we were down, but definitely not out. As we hiked out we commented on how the temps had obviously dropped over the past hour, but we hadn't really noticed. It was a great time, with an excellent companion and another great climb off our lists.

In the report on the ski-mountineering accident in Huntington Ravine last week I stated that the 2 individuals attempted to ski down Central Gully. This was not correct. They were skiing in the area below the gullies. One of the individuals was successful, but apparently the other got off their line and got into the ice, sliding down and into the rocks and causing himself severe injury. The first skier came back and stabilized his friend. He then took off for help and decided it was quicker to ski down to Pinkham than to hike back up to Ho Jo's at Tucks. They reported the incident and a rescue proceeded from that point. I am sorry for any confusion.

Yet Another Incident:
Tuesday morning two ice climbers from Connecticut (Damian McDonald and Susanna Saarkangas) were rescued from the Alpine Garden above Damnation Gully on Mt Washington. They spent a night out in sub-zero temperatures and high winds. According to their own comments, they spent the night at the Harvard Cabin on Sunday night. They left the cabin at around 11 AM Monday to climb Damnation. The leader had done the climb before, but this was to be his partner's first climb. They were unprepared to spend a night out and according to one report had neglected to check the weather prediction for the day.

They were moving extremely slow and the cabin caretaker saw them on the second pitch of the gully at around 4 PM! As they got to the top the conditions had deteriorated significantly and it was dark. They did not descend the gully because the second had never rappelled before. Unable to traverse to the Escape Hatch, they huddled by a cairn near the Nelson Crag, eventually building a small snow cave and stomping around to keep warm.

The caretaker notified the authorities that they 2 had not returned and the Snow Rangers got notification at about 10 PM. Conditions at this time were -6 and 70 mph gusts. A team of approximately 20 searchers went out at 6 AM, some up Lions Head, some into Huntington and some on the Auto Road. At this time temps were -17 and wind gusts were 80 mph with fog and blowing snow. About 9 AM the climbers were spotted above Central Gully and were found by members of the MRS and AVSAR. They were led to the Auto Road where a snowcat took them to a waiting ambulance and the hospital in Berlin where they were treated for hypothermia and frostbite. They are expected to fully recover.

Great Deal On Mid-Week Guiding

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Give us a call today at 603-356-7064, e-mail us at or check out our web site at We can help you attain your own High Ambitions.

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Every midweek day Monday - Friday
(excluding Ice Fest Feb 10-11/2005) until the end of March.

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Midweek Private $185

Weekend Semi Private (group of Two) $160
Midweek Semi Private (group of Two) $140

Weekend Group of three $130
Midweek Group of three $110

All prices are per-person, with one guide

It is Time to Climb!
International Mountain Climbing School

Towed At Black Pudding:
According to Brad White from IMCS a party went up to climb Black Pudding on Wednesday. When they came back their car was gone. After some inquiries it was determined that it had been towed by the Bartlett Police after a complaint by the snowplow driver. Apparently they were parked on side of the road opposite Black Pudding, near a driveway north of the climb. They thought they were far enough off the road, but apparently the plow driver and the police didn't think so. This is the first time that this has taken place to my knowledge. It might be a good idea to consider parking up nearer Humphrey's or down by the Saco Crag. IMCS called the police department and they said that it likely would not have been a problem if it hadn't been snowing that day. Besides the inconvenience, the cost of this incident was a cool $140!!!!! Word to the wise...

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

Life is brought down to the basics: if you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain... Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall it's great when you stop.
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