NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 10:59a on 07/04/22 - Temperature: 72.6 °F - Wind speed: 3.0 mph - Wind chill: 72.6 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.951 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 12 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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July 6, 2017

Hi Folks,

Well there's nothing like a good summer storm, and we sure did get one last Saturday night. Many folks compared the band of thunderstorms that came through the state to hurricane Irene, and while that was certainly not the case, it was quite intense. Tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings dominated the TV and radio and there were pictures of a waterspout on Sebago lake. It was quite intense and we got almost 4" of rain here in the Valley.

Fortunately for us power never went out and no trees fell in our neighborhood. There were however, numerous reports of road washouts in the East Conway, Woodstock and Franconia areas. There is still a tree partially down on Passaconaway Road and cones on the side of the road where it's obviously settled. We've had a lot of storms come through this summer but clearly this was the worst one. Fortunately the 5 days following the storm were gorgeous, allowing for good climbing and biking.

I've gotten out climbing a couple of times this week, both in places that I go rarely. On Monday my friend Martin came over from Freeport and I convinced him to check out Hugo's Horror revisited on Mt Willard. We both have climbed lots of ice up there and I've even climbed rock in the Hatties Garden left of Gully # 1 and the upper tier. years ago I followed Across The Universe, but this was the first time I've done anything other than that on the main slabs.

I knew that you were supposed to walk down the tracks and go up at the Cinema talus field. As we walked the tracks I checked out the usual ice climbs, and it was very interesting to see how they look in the summer.

Unfortunately I mistook an earlier talus and headed up too early, ending up just right of the start to Universe where a party was starting up. A fairly easy bushwhack-traverse left took us to where we wanted to be, after passing by another party on Space Time Continuum. In spite of 4+" of rain less that 48 hours earlier, the slabs were generally dry. What was surprising was seeing 2 other groups! Go figure...

A quick rock-paper-scissors gave Martin the first pitch to the tree ledge belay. I got the second pitch with the lovely headwall and cracks and some nice climbing, tho a bit runout, to a nice 2 bolt anchor. Martin cruised P3 and brought me up. Tho the mosquitoes and black flies were brutal on the ground, with a slight breeze they were basically nonexistent on the cliff. I got P4 and IMO it was the real money pitch. There were a couple of headwalls that required thoughtful climbing and in one case what I thought were a couple of 5.7ish moves above minimal gear. I got to the 2 bolt anchor, just below the tree ledge, but frankly didn't like what I found. Tho the bolts looked good, the hangers were loose and the slings looked pretty old. Unfortunately I didn't have a wrench or any webbing to replace what was there, so I traversed right to the Space Time belay about 20' right which looked better. All in all some good climbing and I heartily recommend the route.

NOTE: all the pitches are long, around 170-180 feet. Thus you will need to have 2 ropes to rappel the route! A 70 will NOT do the job.

Martin came up, rapped down and left to the belay on Hugo and I followed. The rappel would have been a piece of cake, however...

We had a bit of a miscommunication about which rope to pull, purple or yellow. Obviously it was purple... It was a bit surprising to both of us that the knot pulled all the way to the other side of the aluminum ring. Skinny ropes I guess [sigh]. Prussiks are good things...
Brad called me on Wednesday to see if I wanted to climb on Thursday and I just had to say YES! I had some stuff to do in the morning so we decided to meet at the pullout to Lost Ledge at 10:30. We hiked up, loosing the trail for a little bit about 100 yards from the cliff and doing a bit of a bushwack. [sheesh] We started off on Chris Graham and Bob Ahern's 5.7 Rattle Can. I led it first, Brad took a run on TR and then he led it. I led Hallie Haley, another nice 5.7, and we pulled the rope and he led it. A nice start to the morning.

I wanted to lead the harder 5.8 that the Perez's and I had rebolted in the fall of 2014 so we moved left near the big oak tree. As we were getting ready Brad dropped a carabiner down off the path right behind the tree. He stepped down to pluck it up, and as he did he stepped in a ground-hornets nest! Needless to say we moved away quite quickly, but not before they swarmed up, stinging him 3 or 4 times on his left ankle! [OUCH] I gave Brad a couple of Benedril from my first-aid kit and we decided to try the climbs we had planned on, hoping that his ankle wouldn't swell up too much.

I wanted to lead the line that Joe & Judy Perez and I had rebolted in the fall of 2014. It climbs a moderate slab, to a bolt, up and a little right to another lonely bolt and then steps back a little left and climbs a quite steep section (crux that feels like 5.9) to another bolt where it continues up just right of the large bowl containing a small tree and on to a 2-bolt anchor. We had all thought this climb was Vector, and the second bolt was on that climb. However, as I was being lowered off, I spotted a very old rusty 1/4" bolt on my right obscured by moss! As I got further down I spotted a pocket that would likely take a #3 Camelot and lower still another crappy looking 1/4" bolt. I had Brad TR me for a few minutes and I worked through the line up to the second bolt and I could see where the line went. Tho it's a bit more runout than Lost Arch, it would certainly be doable if cleaned and rebolted.

When Jerry Handren had detailed the routes in his new guidebook, both Brad and I felt that there was something funny about the order of the routes in this area, but we couldn't figure it out. He had mentioned Vector, but his description made it sound like it as an obvious route, which this is not. It looks to us as if this many and moss-covered line is actually Vector, the climb we rebolted in 2014 was Lost Arch and the climb that goes up through the little overlap and left of the tree-pod is David Lottmann & Bob Ahern's route Found Arch. WOO WOO!!! MYSTERY SOLVED!

Since I've climbed all of the routes here except this one, I want to go back out there soon and clean it up, replace the bolts and lead it. I really like the rock and routes at both Lost and Found ledges. If you haven't been there, check both out. They are well worth the hike.

Trails are fantastic right now. In addition, the local NEMBA has placed a bike repair station with a stand and pump at the Marshall Trail area. It's located just past the gate. Thanks to the NEMBA crowd for their constant efforts on behalf of the Valley mountain bike community.

It just depends on where you are! Bad black flies and no mosquitoes on Mt Willard on Monday, bad black flies and mosquitoes at Lost Ledge and no black flies but HORRIBLE mosquitoes at the Marshall trails on Tuesday. Bring DEET no matter what!

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

You can grunt and heave, sweat and strain, wear yourself out, and unless you simply forget about it and step up, you won't even get off the ground."
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