NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 3:30p on 06/25/22 - Temperature: 88.7 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 88.7 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.917 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 15 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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September 11, 2014

Hi Folks,

There have been a few world-changing events that I will always remember where I was when I heard about: JFK's assassination, John Lennon's murder, and of course 9/11. We had moved to North Conway from Boston in 1997 and I was doing large-project contract software development from home. That morning I was working in my office and my wife had taken our 1 year old son to a Gymboree play time. I was on a web forum of developers, many of them in NYC, trying to resolve a programming issue, when someone on the forum said that there was something happening in lower Manhattan. They said that they heard sirens outside and they could see smoke billowing up from downtown, then we lost the connection. Alyssa came home a few minutes later and said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center and one of the towers was down! We turned on the TV and started watching in disbelief. The TV was hardly off for the next month and of course the rest is history.

One of my developer friends at the time, I don't remember his name, was working in Brooklyn and took this picture. He sent it to me right after it happened. It still has an impact on me.

RIP to all the lives lost and dreams shattered...

Back To Climbing Related Stuff:
Someone mentioned recently that it doesn't seem as if there as many people on Whitehorse and Cathedral as there used to be. When I first moved up here full time, in '97, on the weekends and holidays you couldn't find a place to park on Cathedral Ledge Road from the curve all the way down to the North End! If you wanted to get on Thin Air you had to wait in the queue and Standard Route on Whitehorse was a conga-line. Rick Wilcox has a picture of Whitehorse taken in the summer where there is a party on every route on the slabs. You might call it the "glory days", but I thought it was a PITA.

Through the early 2000's it seemed as if there was a decline in the number of folks at the cliffs here in the Valley. Many of us agree that this was due, at least in part, to the rise of sport climbing and decline in younger climbers learning how to lead trad. Of course there is a logical and very natural progression from gym climbing to climbing outdoors at places like Rumney. And as that took place, the weekend crowds at Rumney rivaled what it had been at the valley ledges. And even with all the various crags/areas at Rumney there were lines on the popular routes and the parking lot was always full to overflowing, even mid-week.

Over the past few years some of us have noticed a increase in folks leading trad again. Perhaps it's because after a while clipping bolts becomes a bit boring - I don't know after all, I'm not a sport climber. Regardless, the main cliffs here still aren't nearly as crowded as they were in their heyday. I think that's to do with the fact that there are a lot more cool outlying crags to climb at that are publicized in newer guidebooks or on the Web, and people are going there. 20140911Places like Mt Oscar, Humphrey's, Lost and Found Ledges, Echo Crag, Hall's Ledge, Chino Crag, Lost Horizon, Mt Forest and others all seem to be getting in on the action these days. For those who are looking for more hard-core adventure there's always Green's, Owl's Head or Sundown. I've been making an effort this summer to visit places that either I've never been or haven't been in a while. And in most cases, while I've been there I have run into other climbers. While none of them have been particularly crowded, the good routes are getting done fairly regularly, and IMO that's a very cool thing.
So yes, there is a point to all this rambling - I went out to North Bald Cap on Tuesday with my friend and master guide Paul Cormier. NBC is a surprisingly large cliff located up between Gorham and Berlin NH, off a gravel/dirt road that connects Berlin and Grafton Notch.,-71.0682945,2466m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

North Bald Cap is one of those cool backwoods cliffs that's actually not all that "out back", and if it were a bit more accessible it would be hugely popular. Believe it or not I can get full Verizon cell service from the base of the cliff! Sure the main access road is crappy, and you probably don't want to try and take a Prius in there, but any vehicle with reasonable clearance should be OK, it's really only actually about 20 minutes from Berlin and a Subaru can easily manage the logging road to get to the trailhead (such as it is). What's really surprising is that you can't see the cliff at all from the road, it's on the back side of the hill. I haven't measured it, but I'll bet it's bigger than Humphrey's. You also get a good view of the little cliff on the side of Mt Surprise, and while that's somewhat interesting and has a few climbs, it's really Bald Cap that's the prize here.

Paul and a few locals have spent a fair amount of time up there developing some nice routes. He's pretty sure that others climbed there over the years, but as what they did was never recorded, who knows what they were. Paul and his friend Wanda picked off one of the real plums on one of the first trips out there, October Sundae. It's a 5 pitch alpine 5.7 that has some of the most entertaining climbing I've done in a while. Nothing is particularly difficult, but it's probably not a 5.7 for 5.7 leaders. The first pitch goes about 40' of unprotected 5.6 friction that sets the tone for the route. [wry grin] In addition the route finding can be a bit difficult, but the climbing overall makes it well worth the effort.

Here's a few pictures of the day:


One very interesting thing about the day was that when we pulled up to the end of the logging road where you park there was a VW van parked near what was obviously a fire pit, however we didn't see anyone around. Then while we were climbing we noticed another car parked near ours. As I was following the second pitch another party came up behind us on the same route and turned out to be 2 people I knew - Jonathan and Jim. And as we rapped off we went past yet another party on the second pitch of the route we were on!

Bald Cap is just one of many crags that are just as cool as Cathedral, Whitehorse and Humphreys. So don't get stuck doing the same climbs all the time. Fall is here and it's a prefect time to branch out, go afield, search around and explore what else New Hampshire has to offer. I don't regret doing it, and neither will you.

Instant Bug Report - 1:
BugCON has been dropped to a 1 this week. Things are cooling down at night and if we get a frost, not that I'm quite ready for that yet, they will all be gone.

IMPORTANT NOTE - there was a reported case of a local person contracting EE, which is gotten through mosquito bite. It is not clear that they got it here, but it's worth knowing. Wear bug spray in the woods, and at twilight and early morning.

AAC Fall BBQ At Cathedral Ledge:
Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 25, 2014. Itís time for our annual Fall BBQ in New Hampshire As always itís BYOB and a grille item. The club will provide the grille, and side salads. †

When: Saturday October 25, 5pm till 9pm
Where: Base of Cathedral Ė picnic area opposite kisok
Contact: New England Section Co-Chair Nancy Savickas

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

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