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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June 29, 2017

Hi Folks,

July 4, 2017. Frequency. Annual. Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776.

So here we are already at the July 4th weekend and it's low 60's and raining. Go figure. Frankly it's hardly felt like summer since the 3 day heat wave we had over a month ago. We've had severe rain squalls blow through almost every day and temps rarely get out of the 70's. It's an unusual summer, but as always that can change any time. And honestly it's better than the severe drought we had last summer!

I haven't been able to climb quite as much as I would have liked so fat. That's mainly due to having to work or do other stuff on the nice days. What can I say? I was happy when Brad called on Tuesday and suggested climbing something on Wednesday, and my schedule and the weather actually cooperated for a change. [woo woo] Unsurprisingly it rained overnight and we postponed our proposed 9:30 start until 11:30. Since it became sunny and breezy we decided to check out Whitehorse and hope that it dried off.

When we got to the parking lot below the Hotel, it was surprisingly almost full. We grabbed our rack and my double ropes and walked up to the base of Standard Route. A guided party of two was at the Toilet Bowl belay so Brad suggested doing the original direct start up to the base of the arch. A single round of rock-paper-scissors gave the first lead to Brad. He decided to only carry all 7 of my Tricams, a gold and blue Camelot and a dozen slings. I would follow and bring the rack. He headed up and made short work of the pitch since there is only a single placement at about 70' and another a little higher. I followed and was at the ledge pretty quickly.

The Arch was my pitch. Brad passed me the slings and rest of the Tricams and as I got ready to go, I realized that I had left the rack sitting on the Launching Pad ledge some 60 meters below. [oops] We looked at each other & I looked up and wondered if I could do it with what we had? He responded that with a full set of Tricams and 2 big Camelots it would go. I agreed and headed up. It's been a long time since I have climbed something with only the gear that I used to climb with 30 years ago. But it was somewhat liberating. I felt light since there wasn't this big clump of gear on my back. I've done Standard many many times over the years, and the Arch is a place where every few feet there is a handhold or pin scar. But I placed much less gear that I would if I'd had the full complement of camping devices, and it still felt great. And of course that allowed me to climb pleasantly fast. In what seemed like no time at all I was at the "pinch".

The other party leader was just heading out so I clipped in and brought Brad up. The other second was gone when Brad got there & we discussed what to do next. There was a party of 3 on Lunch Ledge already, and with 2 more coming up, we decided it was too crowded for us. Brad decided to angle directly over to the headwall and traverse to the "Smile Belay". That's one of the belays on Beginner's Route. He did that fairly quickly, narrowly avoiding putting a Tricam in a pocket containing a wasps nest! Just as I started across it started to rain. Just a tiny shower that only lasted a minute and there was no clouds above us, but it was entertaining.

I followed and we decided that we would rap down. We had my doubles and by angling climbers-left we were able to get back to the Launching Pad in 3 raps. It was pretty cool. And of course the rack was right where I left it. [wry grin]

Climbing is always entertaining, and always a little more so when you have to stretch yourself; a little or a lot. This felt so Old-School, and yet perfectly natural. I've seen Henry Barber out on occasion and he usually has a very minimal rack of passive gear. Right now I can understand his feeling on the matter. I have a friend coming up over the holiday and I'm thinking that it would be a gas to climb all the way to the top with nothing but nuts & Tricams. I've done it in the past with only nuts and Hexes so that should be fun. We'll see...

Have a great 4th.
In spite of the off & on rain showers, the trails are in great shape. I recommend the stuff up somewhat higher, like Tent Boulder, Rattlesnake, Outer Limits and the like. Enjoy it...

Blackfly population down a bit, ticks bad but stable, mosquitoes HORRIBLE!!! I have friends that are climbing in bug-nets and the like. If you get a day where it's breezy, you may be OK. Otherwise - good luck with it.

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Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

And what joy, think ye, did they feel after the exceeding long and troublous ascent? - after scrambling, slipping, pulling, pushing, lifting, gasping, looking, hoping, despairing, climbing, holding on, falling off, trying, puffing, loosing, gathering, talking, stepping, grumbling, anathemising, scraping, hacking, bumping, jogging, overturning, hunting, straddling, - for know you that by these methods alone are the most divine mysteries of the Quest reached.
Norman Collie, 1894, from the Scottish Mountainering Journal
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