NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 6:29a on 07/01/22 - Temperature: 57.2 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 57.2 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.917 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 72 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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October 1, 2015

Hi Folks,

If you hadn’t heard, or experienced it, you might find it interesting that the storm that blew through yesterday (Wednesday) brought over 5” of rain to our Valley! I don’t quite remember what the number was for Hurricane Irene, but it had to be close to that. Fortunately the winds weren’t all that bad, but it was sure what my dad used to call a “gully washer”! I had a Dr appointment in Portland in the morning what was normally a 1:20 drive at 8 AM took over 2 hours. SHEESH…

Apparently there was a fire in Center Conway and the road between North Conway and Fryeburg was closed so I had to take East Conway Rd, which if you know that area, is a total wreck. You can only imagine how it was in a pouring rain that even the wipers on high didn’t make it good. And then on the section of road between Sherman’s Farm and the bridge a huge dump truck filled with dirt had gone off the road into the ditch and was almost on its side! The fire department was there directing traffic and half the road was blocked off while a backhoe tried to pull the truck out of the ditch. When I got to Portland the rain was still coming down and it continued to rain hard until around 2:30 or so. Streets in downtown Portland were closed off and there were parking lots with a foot or more of water in them. On the way home it was hardly raining at all, but the road in Brownfield was closed to 1 lane while the DOT tried to deal with something that was causing water to pour over the road. Going across the Saco at First Bridge I could see that the river was very very high, but not overflowing the way it had been for Irene. Needless to say I was happy to get home safely.

I got a PM on the other day about a problem with the 2nd bolt on Gaggle of Geese at the Geriatric Walls at Humphrey's. Apparently the hanger was loose, they tried tightening it, and unfortunately the stud just spun. This happens on occasion when the rock isn’t solid and necessitates replacing the bolt entirely. I had also noticed recently that the hangers on Old Crow have some really crappy moldy webbing and a single rusty screw-link on them. I don’t know how this happened and I thought for sure that I had put ring hangers on this anchor, as I do with all my routes, but I wanted to replace them. These routes Joe and Judy Perez and I put up several years ago. We take maintaining our climbs fairly seriously so we went over there several days ago to try and fix the problems.

Joe climbed the 1st 4 bolts on Gaggle, lowered down, chopped the offending bolt and replaced it with a new one placed about 6 inches to the right. If you ever wonder how strong a new 3/8” stainless bolt is, check out the movie. Joe was whacking it with a 5 pound sledge!


I climbed High Steppin’ and traversed over to the Old Crow anchor to check it out. The webbing was horrible, no way I would rap on it, and the right hanger was loose. I had a pair of stainless ring hangers and my trusty wrench with me and I figured it would only take a few minutes to deal with. Unfortunately no matter how I tried, I was unable to unscrew the nut on the loose hanger. Of course I only had my short crescent wrench, and I was unable to even tighten it down! [sigh] I made sure the other hanger was snugged up, traversed back over to High Steppin, finished it to the top and rapped. I figured if I came back in a day or 2 with my 8” wrench, that would surely do the job.

I convinced my buddy Ian Cruickshank to come over with me a few days later to see what we could do. This time I had my bigger wrench, but I also had a Plan B! I had gotten 2 lengths of big chain from Brad White at IMCS and some huge quick links and was prepared to use them if I couldn’t replace the hangers. And what happened? Of course, in spite of my 8” crescent - which is actually pretty big, I could barely budge the nut. So I tightened it down the best I could and put on the chain. It’s not the best, but unless I am willing to go back with a drill and replace the bolt, it’s going to have to do. [wry grin] IMHO I will say that there is no way that anchor is going anywhere.
Valley Cycling:
I’ve been wanting to get up Jefferson Notch this summer, but it just hadn’t been in the cards until this past Sunday when I had a few extra hours before the Pats game. I drove up to Mt Clinton Road, drove down about halfway, pulled out the bike and headed up the road. The last time I was there I got rained on pretty heavily, but this time it was a beautiful morning. It was cool in the woods, but warm in the sun, just about prefect IMO. If you haven’t done this ride, I highly recommend it. It’s reality not all that steep, the fall leaf colors are wonderful and the view at the top of the Notch is amazing.


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Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

Because it is there.
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