NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 10:29a on 07/01/22 - Temperature: 76.3 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 76.3 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.855 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 23 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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September 15, 2016

Hi Folks,

Every year around this time I go to a music-related conference on Star Island, a very cool rocky island off the coast of Portsmouth. A great group of 10-20 compatible musicians get together ever year around this time to play a wide variety of music and generally have a party. There are breakouts during the day, a happy our jazz performance before dinner and a concert and jams every night. All in all itís a place I go to reconnect with friends and to recharge my musical and mental batteries. Interestingly enough itís also a place where I can get in some fun bouldering.

The entire island is pretty rocky. Besides the buildings, there are trees, scrub and a lot of rocky knolls; mostly along the ocean. Last year I was wandering around with my friend Jeff and his wife and they pointed out a ďcutĒ on the west side of that actually bisected the island. On the side facing Portsmouth, 10+ miles away, it was about 30í deep and 12-15í across. I scrambled around on it a bit, but didnít really do any climbing. This year I actually brought a pair of old rock shoes with the intention of doing some actual climbing.

I had a few hours available on Sunday that I figured would work and the weather looked OK, so I brought my rock shoes with me to lunch and figured I would head over there afterward. As I was walking out of the dining hall one of the young waiters walked up and said; ďrock shoes aye?Ē I responded positively and we chatted for a few minutes. It turns out he lived in Jackson, just down the road from North Conway! Go figureÖ

I wandered through the winding rocky trails that went through the low scrub to where I thought I remembered where the cut was. First I found some more shallow depressions with a few steeper sections. It was a nice place to warmup, so I put on my shoes and played around for a bit. Some of these were 10-12í high with nice holds so it was a lot of fun. There is a cave that I had heard about where you can crawl about 25í right down near the water, but I decided to pass on this. I wasnít sure what state the tide was and have no interest in being down there with the tide coming in.

I kept traversing along, going up and down until I was almost on the other side of the island. The cut is much more vertical here and itís 20-30í deep. There is some water at the bottom and you can see out to the ocean. By now there were clouds building and the seas I could see were starting to get somewhat rough. There was a guy watching me and I asked him to take a few pictures of my last climb. I downclimbed to the waters edge and left to what was one of the steeper sections. The holds were all somewhat big and solid, tho I tested everything as I went. It was really fun, but I could tell that there was a storm front moving in from the shore side. The waves were starting to break against the island and occasionally some water would come up into the cut, so I knew it would be my last climb.

Just as I finished and retrieved my phone/camera, some of my friends came up. They reminded me that every several years there is a rogue wave that washes away someone, and occasionally they arenít found! Of course this was a cue for the wind to pick up and it to start raining. We sprinted to a nearby barn where we waited out the passing line of thunderstorms and spent the time chatting about music and climbing. All in it was a fun interlude in a very musical 4 days. Just goes to show that you can often find fun climbing in some unexpected places. [wry grin] I canít wait to get back out there next summer.

Here are a few pictures:

Over the past week it seems really apparent that we are in that glide path towards winter. Days are cooler, nights chillier and here and there the swamp maples are starting to change color. Thatís not to say it wonít get warm or even hot again, just that fall is almost upon us. As dry as it has been, I think we are in for an early leaf season, and perhaps one that will be a bit more dull color-wise than usual. It will be interesting to see what happens. Regardless, itís getting dark much earlier now and light later. Bringing the headlamp along for all but the early morning and mid-day hikes and rides is a must. In addition having a warm shell or fleece with you is a good idea.

Getting caught out overnight without either or both probably isnít a good idea. Most especially in any of the higher elevations. Iím starting to see temps on Mt Washington in the low 30ís with wind chill in the mid 20ís so itís time to take the weather seriously again folks!
NADA, except for a few stray mosquitoes here and there. EnjoyÖ

Starting to move into fall, which means that leaves will be coming down. While it will look nice, they will be covering the trails a bit - making it harder to see some of the rocks and roots in the single track. Just something to be aware of. Regardless, itís a great time to take some longer rides in places that take you up high. I highly recommend Mt Clinton Road, Jefferson Notch, Town Hall Road and Sawyer River Road as great places to go this time of year. Check them outÖ

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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:

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

I've tried many sports, but climbing is the best. The beauty of this sport is that no matter how good you get, you can always find a way to challenge yourself.
Randy Leavitt
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