NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 10:29p on 07/04/22 - Temperature: 62.0 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 62.0 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.969 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Rising Slowly - Humidity: 40 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
Savage Mountain GearMooney Mountain GuidesMount Washington Valley Climbers CooperativeInternational Mountain EquipmentNorthEast Mountaineering
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December 11, 2014

Hi Folks,

So where are you located? If you're in southwestern New Hampshire or eastern Vermont you probably got hammered by the nor'ester that come though this week. If you were on the north side of Mt Washington you may even have seen as much as 13 inches! As usual, the seacoast saw more rain than anything, but if you were here in the Valley, you were inundated with the prognosticators predictions of 5-10" of white stuff, followed by rain, followed by sleet and freezing rain, followed by snow. So what did we get here in our lovely little Valley, bupkus folks, bupkus…

Well of course I don't really mean we got totally nothin'. We got an inch or two of snow, with a little freezing rain, followed by 2 days of rain and temps in the upper 30's and low 40's - certainly nothing that we wanted. At least the previous week's storm brought a reasonable dump of the white stuff that was even light and fluffy at the start. Lots of my friends got all excited about the ski conditions, and from everything I hear they were pretty darn nice. Enough to get them up on the Mountain skiing the Sherburn or at Wildcat or Bretton Woods. But this wasn't so good for that, unless of course you are a complete addict or just like the GLOP.

But what does all this mean for this week's state-o-the-ice you ask? If you check NECLIMBS on Facebook, you likely remember that Brad White (IMCS) and I climbed on Standard Route last Friday. It wasn't perfect, but it sure wasn't too bad. It was cold, things were firming up and we were both convinced that it was going to get better, and it did for a few days before the storm. There were folks up in the Ravines, Ace Of Spades in Franconia Notch got climbed, a couple of folks did Fafnir and the Dike and a strong party even did Promonade at the Lake. The consensus was that we were in for a good early season of ice climbing. And then, and THEN - this storm happened. Honestly I was feeling as if there was no real reason to drive up to the Notch today, that everything was going to be gone and we would be right back to ground-zero. And that was a pretty reasonable guess since it was 40 degrees at 8 AM and had been raining off and on all night and morning. But I figured what the heck, I'd just go for a ride. After all I owe it to you, my loyal readers - right?


Well - I did get a little encouragement just driving up West Side Road and looking over at Cathedral - there were drools and dribbles of ice above The Unicorn and even some on Diagonal. Tho it had fallen off yesterday, it was reforming in spite of the warmth! Then I noticed that there was still a ribbon in Black Pudding and runnels and stuff forming left of the Barking Dog. It made me check and recheck my car thermometer, which stubbornly kept reading 39! HMMM As I drove up toward the Notch it got progressively more foggy and even started to rain. Now this was getting me into a real funk. I couldn't really see into the Texaco Amphitheater, and as I pulled into the lower lot at Frankenstein the Fang wall was totally dry. Of course that's not all that unusual for this time of year, but it didn't bode well. I take the pictures for the Frankenstein Amphitheater at the Dry River Campground. I get out of the car and posthole back to the chain across the entrance where I can get a good view of the whole thing. By now the rain had turned to big heavy snowflakes and there was fog, so it was almost impossible to get any pictures, much less see what was in there - but amazingly there WAS ICE! That's right, I could actually see that there was some ice on both Smear and Chia. I couldn't see Pegasus at all and Cave and Widow's looked dry, but there WAS ice there. Glory Hallelujah.

A bit further down the road I looked up at Standard Route with hopeful eyes, and in fact from what I could see through the snow and fog there was even more ice than there was last Friday. After all the warmth and rain, how could that be? Well I din't know, but the fact was indisputable - and I have some horrible pictures to prove it! I couldn't see anything at all of Dracula or Willie's Slide, but I would almost bet my boots that there is ice up on Willie's. The snowfall at the top of the Notch made it almost impossible to see the detail on Mt Willard, but there was ice on Great Madness and I thought I could see ice on Gully #1. Cinema was all white, but I really have no idea about what's up there. And while I could see that here was ice on Snot Rocket, very unfortunately I couldn't even see Hitchcock or the Upper tier at all. Both of the Cascades were also pouring water, but completely surprisingly Elephant Head still had a fair amount of ice in it. I'm not sure it is climbable, but it will be in a few days if it gets cold. Brad passed me some interesting pictures taken on last Friday from a party who climbed on Mt Avalon, behind Mt Willard. The ice looked amazingly good, but of course who knows what it's like now.

I saw some pictures of Huntington Ravine the other day and it looked like there was still some ice of there that could be climbed. Of course right now that comes with some amount of danger due to all the weather events that are still ongoing. YMMV In addition there was the first avalanche incident of the season avalanche on Monday that injured a climber who had climbed Damnation and was coming down Diagonal when he was caught. I won't rehash the details here, because there is an excellent analysis on the Mount Washington Avalanche Center web site and written by Snow Ranger Jeff Lane. There isn't anything I could or would add.

Of course the name of the game right now is COLD. There is a gracious plenty of water "in the system", we just need more consistent cold temps. Of course that's what has kept the ice standing up in the Notch, it's colder up there than it is down here - by far. The predictors are spewing talk of mid-30's during the day and 20's at night, which would be just fine for what we want. Based on their previous track record, I'm not sure what to believe, but I'll keep my fingers crossed. With any kind of luck some things should come back into shape in a few days. We'll all keep our fingers crossed, right?
I know I know, you're getting sick of me asking you for $$. But it's that time of year, and it's what I do. Consider it a Christmas present if you will. [wry grin] But just think about it, I get out there every Thursday to check the conditions and take those pictures throughout the winter so you know what's happening. What it would be like without this weekly Report? Your email in-box would be sad. And what's worse, you would have to make your plans for the weekend with minimal knowledge of what's going on at Frankenstein, Mt Willard or Mt Washington. And who wants that, right?

So, please take a minute out of your busy day to make a token $20 annual donation to support NEClimbs and the White Mountain Report. Shux - $20 is probably less than what you spend at Starbucks every week! As of December 11th, out of the 1,233 who got the White Mountain report last week, 50 of you have contributed to this year's fundraiser. It would be great if 100 people would contribute.

You can make your donation of any amount ON LINE. It's painless and you can use pretty much any credit card. Simply click the link below to make your contribution.

As always you can also contribute via check or money order for $20. Just make it out to NEClimbs and send it here:

92 Bow Lane
North Conway, NH 03860

The White Mountain Report newsletter has been put out consistently since 1998. I have archived almost all of the Reports from as far back as September of 1999 and you can read them online at any time! The current traffic on is about 1,450 unique visits a day, has over 1.4 million monthly "hits" and this funky little newsletter goes weekly out to over 1,200 subscribers every Thursday. The expense of the running NEClimbs and putting out The White Mountain Report go on year 'round. PLEASE REMEMBER, it's your contribution that makes this newsletter and the NEClimbs web site possible.

THANK YOU for your continued support...

BTW here are a few pix from this morning:


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.

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Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

It lasted but a year of two, till all the routes were done. The pace so fast that most forgot that climbing could be fun.
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