NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 7:30a on 07/01/22 - Temperature: 59.9 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 59.9 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.909 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 58 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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March 5, 2015

Hi Folks,

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy…it’s been a very busy week. Between riding the bike, going climbing with Brad, climbing with George, more on the bike and climbing with Matty today I’ve spent more consecutive days doing stuff outside than I have all winter. Go figure! Does it have anything to do with the fact that the temps have moderated a bunch, I would say that might have just a bit to do with it. Plus it just felt right to be out more than usual.

Some friends posted on Facebook that they had climbed Mt Carrigan last week. It’s one of those things that most people I know do in the summer or fall, when you can drive up Sawyer River Road, all the way to the Signal Ridge trailhead. I’m not saying that folks don’t do it in the winter, many do, but it adds another 4 miles total onto the fairly long hike. My friends rode their bikes up Sawyer River Road to the trail, rode the amazingly packed-out trail about 2 miles, hiked to the summit and then slid down the trail on these cool sleds! Needless to say this got my attention. So on Friday I took the bike down to SRR and headed up. The road was pretty well packed out from all the snowmobiles, so as long as I stayed on the right it was good. A couple of groups of machines went by as I pedaled up, one led my my ex-band partner SwampDog Kenny. I paused for a few minutes at the camp on the left for some water and a bar. I really like that house and would love to own it myself. I continued up to the Signal Ridge trail and decided to ride in a bit. I only went in about 1/4 mile because I was by myself, because it started snowing fairly hard and because once off the road I figured no one would know where I was! Regardless it was really cool. I wasn’t to do it again and ride out to the main intersection soon. The ride back down was really neat, with several snow machine groups passing me headed down. All were respectful so it was all fine - except that I do hate their smell!


On Saturday Brad White and I ran up to the top of Crawford Notch to hit up Elephant Head. I haven’t done it this year yet and it’s been in great shape. Brad wanted to try climbing in some new fancy ski boots the had gotten. Turns out that they took his regular vertical-ice crampons just fine and he was able do climb with them just like he does in his Baturas. Who woulda thunk? It was a bluebird morning, tho fairly cold and somewhat breezy. When not climbing we hunkered-in out of the wind by the rock buttress on the left. Without the breeze the sun was very nice and warm. You could put your bare hand on the rock and it was almost hot! I put a pair of gloves on a piece of loose rock and when I lifted them off the rock fell down. Amazingly, under the rock was a clump of ladybugs! I thought that they were all dead, but when I poked them a couple actually moved. That was somewhat surprising, tho I know that somehow they survive the winters pretty well. Of course I do occasionally see spiders on the ice in the middle of the winter as well as “snow fleas” so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised.

T ElephantHead_ladybugs.jpg AG

I guided on Sunday with a group of 17 Boy Scouts from southern NH. There were 3 other guides and we went to Lost In The Forest. That’s a popular place to take groups because you can setup 3-4 ropes on the bulges and 1 or 2 on the steeper stuff on the right. These boys and their leaders had all climbed to varying degrees before, so it was a fun day. Fortunately it also was sunny and the temps were quite moderate.

Monday & Tuesday I had to work on the computer, but managed to get out on the bike here & there. I’ve been leaving it in my van so I can just grab a ride on the spur of the moment.

Wednesday I went out with George. We had planned to go up to Frankenstein to climb Penguin. Unfortunately we both forgot the rope, so when we got there we were out of luck! [sigh] We headed back home to get one and decided to climb on Cathedral instead of driving back up to the Notch. We’ve done Unicorn together many times so we figured that was a reasonable option. I’d heard that the slab you use to access the Unicorn Ledge wasn’t good, so I climbed the little gully to the Thresher ledge, George led Thresher and we walked up the trail to the trees just over the Unicorn corner. As I rapped down to the ledge with the stump I looked for screw holes to see if it was being climbed. Strangely I didn’t see any except for 2 in the bottom 20’, tho I did see a lot of pick and crampon holes. When George followed he was surprised that he didn’t see any as well! We were also intrigued that there was a big hole abut 20’ up and there was little to no ice on the right wall. Often you can get a little stem off the right wall, but this time that wasn’t going to happen. I hadn’t brought but 2 stubbies, neither of us felt great about leading it so we top roped it instead. It didn’t matter to us since all we wanted to do was to climb.


We walked off from the top and worked up a bit of a sweat since by now it was about 35 degrees! The snow was so soft that it really balled up on our crampons, forcing us to take them off. That was the first time this season that either of us had experienced this all season, it has been so dry.

I got a text from my old friend Matty asking if I was into climbing Thursday and I said “why not?” I met him at Attitash, drove up together while I took my pictures and hiked into Frankenstein. I had hoped to get on Penguin, but there were a ton of cars in the parking lot and we had spotted lots of parties on Standard as we drove in so we opted for Bob’s Delight instead. I offered him the lead, but he wisely declined. I say “wisely” because it turned out that the upper 2/3 of the route was pretty baked-out! [sigh] I must say that I was very happy to have brought all 3 of my long screws. Needless to say, Bob’s won’t get a thumbs-up this week.


All in all it’s been a really fun week. With the weather finally moderating and the days long, I think that we’re going to have some great late-season climbing coming up. Maybe even some 3 or 4-sport days pretty soon! Woo Woo…stay tuned folks.
As always, here are a few interesting pix from this morning:


As always, more pix are on NEClimbs Ice Report and Facebook.

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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:

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Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.
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