NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 12:00p on 07/04/22 - Temperature: 73.6 °F - Wind speed: 2.0 mph - Wind chill: 73.6 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.949 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Steady - Humidity: 11 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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February 2, 2006

Hi Folks,

I consider myself a realist, at least as far as ice conditions are concerned. I feel compelled to "tell it like it is" while at the same time I don't want to come across pessimistic. Recently some folks have said that I've been down on the state of the ice. Frankly I don't think that is the case.

Every time I have gone out this season, whether on my own or guiding, I have been successful. I've done some really good climbing on my own, as well as had fun on many of the classics. In fact I went out today with Brad White and I did Last Exit and Brad and I bagged a couple of cool pillars in the Hanging Garden. In point of fact the ice we did couldn't have been a whole lot better.

The fact is that most years everything isn't always IN at the same time. However, if you are moderately competent and flexible in your plans, there will always be something for you to do. By flexible I mean willing to head uphill if the temps in the lower elevations are too warm, or look for climbs in refrigerated areas. By moderately competent I would say be able to climb 3+ easy 4's and feel OK on occasional mixed ground. And frankly this shouldn't be all that big a deal if you ice climb in New England very much.

That said, I feel perfectly comfortable when I say that things in a particular area are OUT. When lately I have advised that the Frankenstein Amphitheater is altogether OUT, that's because I walk over the trestle, put the binoculars on the climbs and feel that I wouldn't be comfortable up there myself. That's not to say that there isn't some ice up there that someone couldn't climb. Of course there is. Hey, there were folks up on Chia a week ago in conditions that frankly I thought were terrible. Of course that was their call. But I wasn't willing to even walk around those climbs, much climb them in that state.

I judge IN and OUT by two answering these 2 questions:

1) do I believe that the climb can be led by a competent climber in its consensus rating;

2) would I personally be willing to do it?

Really straight ahead. Subjective? You betcha. But that's exactly what I'm offering you folks - my opinion. Of course every leader makes their own assessment of the state of a climb at the moment they stand at the base of the route and look up at it. If they want to climb Dropline on a 50 degree day after 3 days of rain, that's their choice. They may get away with it, they may not. Over the years I have done a lot of climbing, in a variety of conditions and I know when a given climb's in a state that I wouldn't want to be up on it in. Your mileage may vary, and of course remember - this is New Hampshire folks, it's your choice...
Local Climber Jim Gagne Readying for Seven Summit Bid: As many of you may know, Jim leaves in just six weeks for Mount Everest. This is the seventh and final climb of his Seven Summit quest. It's no walk-up and Jim has been preparing for this event for many years. I've climbed, biked and hiked with Jim and I'm personally confident that he is as ready as he will ever be. I'm betting that conditions permitting he'll be successful the first time out.

Jim will be doing a slideshow of his climb on Mt. Vinson in Antarctica as a fundraiser for his quest. It should be a great show and sendoff for Jim. Donations are $10 and greatly appreciated. All are welcome! Please pass the word.

"Antarctica, Mt. Vinson" slide show on Thursday, February 9th,2006 at 7:00 PM, at Plymouth Ski and Sports, Main Street Plymouth.

Any questions, or comments contact Jim at

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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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