NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 8:59a on 07/01/22 - Temperature: 64.7 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 64.7 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.890 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 44 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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August 14, 2014

Hi Folks,

Well once again it's been an interesting week here in the north country. Lots of great weather on Monday and Tuesday, followed by a pretty good storm overnight and full day of rain on Wednesday. While we dodged the flash-flood bullet here in the Valley, the river did rise quite a bit late on Wednesday and Thursday. Interestingly enough, it was really muddy as well. A kind of reddish brown that I don't see too often. Not sure what it was upstream that caused it.

Over the spring and summer I've been going out on the MTB with my friend Phil and we have been trying to ride all the gated logging roads on this side of the Kanc, starting at the Sugar Hill viewing area up where the real hill starts, and working our way back down. It's been a real gas. Some of the roads dead-end pretty quickly, some wind for miles up on the hills overlooking the valley. We've also ridden a long way up the Mt Potash, Hedgehog and Olivarian Brook trails. It's all been good fun-just something to do that's a change from riding the same trails all the time. Kind of like climbing the same routes at Cathedral and Whitehorse! [wry grin]

On Monday we decided to do some of the last ones on our list. We tried one that didn't pan out at all. Then we rode a neat old XC-ski loop neat the Potash trail and then rode it & the Hedgehog trail. We would have ridden further up Hedgehog but the river crossing didn't look good to us. Much further down the Kanc towards Rt 16, past Passaconawar Road we found a gated road that I've been curious about for many years. It's actually a paved road! Every time I have ridden by it on my road bile I have wondered what it was and filed it away for further exploration.

We parked by the gate and immediately noticed that there was no forest road number, which is somewhat unusual. As we headed uphill we also noticed that the road was in a surprisingly good state of repair and was actually crowned, with the asphalt actually curved down on the sides, not cut off. Neither of us had ever seen a road done like this. It makes it so that the runoff doesn't undermine the sides of the road. Pretty cool! The road winds steeply uphill about a mile I guess, ending at a landing where another unpaved road continues uphill. We followed this a few hundred yards to a lovely meadow on the right side. I noticed that there were fresh tire tracks in the high grass and decided I would check it out on the way back. We continued to wind our way uphill for probably another mile, crossing several places where the culverts were obviously removed, with the road getting more and more overgrown. Eventually we got to another smaller open area and a very narrow trail. I followed it up another hundred yards or so until we just got tired of the alternate ride and hike-a-bike. [sigh] I did walk a little further and the road/trail did continue to go on up the hill. The trail did have indications that it has been hiked this summer, so I think it would be well worth the effort to see where it goes.

After grabbing a little snack and some water we turned around and rode back down to the meadow above the road. I followed the tracks up into the field and spotted something black on the ground. As I rode closer I was amazed to see that it was a dead black bear. It was in a grotesque pose and from the way the truck tracks were in the grass, it had obviously been dumped there! There was fur all over the ground around it, a cloud of flies and it's chest had been torn open and its insides exposed. Clearly it had been put there within a day or two and the carrion animals had been at work. At first we thought it might be poachers, but since the gate is locked, we figured it was more likely road-kill and dumped there by Fish & Game. We didn't get too close because of the smell, the flies and the fear of ticks.

Later that afternoon I called over to the Forest Service office on the corner of the Kanc and Rt 16 to see if they knew what the deal was with the paved road and anything about the bear. The people I spoke with told me that the road had a name, but they didn't know why it had been paved. They didn't know about the specific bear, but they thought that F&G had most likely been responsible. It was some info, but it still felt like a bit of a mystery to me. On Thursday morning my son and I were riding back from the local dump when we saw a F&G truck pull into the gas station. I pulled over and introduced myself to the officer, who was very nice. I explained what I had seen and amazingly he was the officer who had actually dumped the bear up there. He said that in fact he had done it the day before we found it, and in fact it was road kill. he also said that the road had been paved by the state many years before and the field was often used to dump dead animals. It reminds me of the road-kill dump up by Mt Oscar. There has to be a place to put all the carcasses of the animals that are killed on the road all the time, and I guess that this is as good as any. It was an interesting little mystery that I enjoyed getting to the bottom of.
Lost Ledge:
Last week I went out to Lost ledge with my friends the Perez's. It was kind of a bookend to climbing at Found Ledge the week before. I tried to get a crew together, but everyone else was busy. Too bad for them. [grin] When we got to the pull off we were surprised to see 2 other vehicles there! That's pretty unusual for a place like this. On the hike in we were amazed to see a lot of red flagging tape n the trail and a bunch of obviously fresh yellow paint on the trees. While I'm happy to see some marking on some of these obscure climbers trails, I found this to be a bit over the top. I had seen a similar thing at Found Ledge, without the paint. I hope that this is not going to be a new fashion! When we got up to the cliff it turns out that one of the other parties was my friend Rich Page and his SO Rene.

The main reason we went in there was to check out a new climb that our friend Chris Graham had put up on the far right of the main slab. It's called Rattle Can, for reasons that will remain hidden in obscurity. Anyway, we all led it and it's a very nice little 5.7 addition to the area. The bolts are well spaced, in appropriate context for the area. We climbed a number of other routes as well and really enjoyed the day. If you up for a weekend, you could do well by climbing a day at Lost and another day at Found. There are plenty of climbs at both places at a variety of grades and they are both well worth the relatively short hikes. A really nice thing about Lost is that there are a number of very easy climbs on the Carpet Slab at Lost that are perfect for beginning leaders.

Heads Up On Found Ledge:
Michael Mullins sent me an email about a bolt on Sweet (5.6+) on Found Ledge. Apparently one of the hangers on one of the bolts on the headwall came off. Unfortunately the nut was lost, tho the hanger was found. We climbed that route the week before, so I'm a bit surprised that happened. That has never happened to me before. Regardless, I will try to get out there in the coming weeks to fix it and to check all the nuts on all the climbs. I did notice a couple of loose nuts, but didn't have a wrench with me at the time to do anything about it. [sigh]

FYI if you come across a route with a missing hanger and you must continue, you can make do with a wired nut if you have one. Tho you may not have gear with you if you are at Found Ledge since all the climbs on the slab are bolted! Take the nut. slide the metal part down a little bit opening the loop. Put it over the bolt stud and then cinch it up. if you fall straight down, it will catch you. Obviously an outward fall would not be a good thing!

Instant Bug Report - 2:
Still the same rating overall. Enjoy it!

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Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

My mother used to rock me and she used big rocks.
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