NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 9:29a on 07/01/22 - Temperature: 67.9 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 67.9 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.881 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 31 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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October 6, 2017

Hi Folks,

It's been a hell of a week, that's for sure and I've been in a real "state" the whole time, starting on Sunday with the Las Vegas shootings. It has completely blown me away that someone could do something like that. It wasn't an act of terrorism, foreign or domestic, but more likely an act of pure evil. Once again it points out just how fine the line is between good and evil.

Then on Monday I'd just done a great bike ride with a buddy and was picking up some veggies at the local farm stand when a good friend called. It's not unusual for him to call since we've known each other for 40 years and talk regularly. However he asked how I was doing in a way that made me think something was up, and indeed it was. He said that rock musician Tom Petty had a massive heart attack at home in Malibu and may not have survived. I immediately hung up and called LA to try to check in with my dear friend Ron Blair, the bass player for the Heartbreakers. Needless to say he wasn't answering the phone, but I left a long message.

What you should understand is that I started college at the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1965. I met Tom Petty very shortly after. He was a talented and driven young man then and many of us figured that he was going to go somewhere. His band Mudcrutch and one of my bands played a number of mini-concerts together. I became friends with another UF student named Ron Blair. He was a good guitarist and keyboard player and we became good friends, roommates and were in a couple of bands together over that time. He moved on as many of us did and eventually ended up in LA where he eventually hooked up with Petty and became a founding member of the Heartbreakers. Ron left for 10 years and then returned after his replacement passed. I reconnected with Ron around that time and we've gotten together in LA and when they were nearby on tour. I had just seen them in Boston a couple of months ago and Tom looked and sounded great. It was huge shock to hear that he passed away at a paltry 66. Couple that with the tragedy in Las Vegas and needless to say it isn't a good week.

My band Sounds Clever & the Valley Horns had a gig at the Fryeburg Fair on Tuesday night and that kind of brought me out of my depression. I've been playing music for over 50 years and when I've gone through difficult patches, music has helped me get through. I know that Tom felt the same way. Here's a quote from a 2008 NYT interview:

"Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life," he once said. "There's not some trick involved with it. It's pure and it's real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things."

That is truth for me. Climbing or riding can block out problems for me for the duration of the event, but it's music that helps me heal. Still, it's going to take a while to get over Tommy's death at only 66 with IMO still a lot to say. [deep sigh]

I was poking around on Facebook Wednesday morning when I spotted a post by Jon Sykes about a fire in Franconia at Lost River Gorge. Apparently the fire started in Kinsman Ridge over the Gorge. Jon said it was right where many of the new climbs are that he and others have been putting up. The Forest Service has been using 2 helicopters to drop water to put out the fire. Due to all the huge boulders & caves in etc area it's likely that it won't be completely out until we get some snow! If you are thinking about going climbing up there you might want to call the Lost River Gorge to check if the area has been reopened.

That said I did get out to climb on Wednesday afternoon with Brad. we decided to do what we had planned to do several weeks ago, but got sidetracked by Rapid Transit. I led up Thin Air and belayed at the sideways pin in the traverse. From there we lowered down and top-roped the first pitch of Adventures In 3D. This is definitely not a climb I'd ever consider leading, since there is little to no gear, but it's a fun top-rope. From there we moved right to the Thin Air anchor and I TR'ed Windfall. I'd led it many years ago and it's tricky. The crux is getting over the overlap, but it's still a bit runout here & there to the top. Brad opted for Thinner, which is a bit easier, but has it's own set of obstacles. I haven't led that one in 10+ years, so that might be a fun one for the future. Brad pointed out there are actually some horizontal placements if you have the right cams and that might make it less spicy!

While Brad was climbing one of the IME guides traversed over to the lower Windfall Belay, having climbed Toe Crack. As he was bringing up his second another party, with no warning, threw a rope over the ledge above and someone rapped down from above. Their rope was all twisted and got tangled in the guide's rope and for a few minutes there was a bit of a cluster. The repeller got it straightened out and swung way over to the right to the tree by the Standard Route chimney. Just another day on the cliff. Go figure...

Regardless, it was a gorgeous day to be out and it served to take my mind off everything that was going on.
As I was driving home Wednesday afternoon, a Frank Zappa song came on my iPod that at least provided some clarity - at least in my own mind:

Questions, questions, questions, flooding into the mind of the concerned young person today. Ahh, but its a great time to be alive, ladies and gentlemen, and that's the theme of our program for tonight...

Its so fu^&#ing great to be alive is what the theme of our show is tonight, boys and girls. And I want to tell you, if there is anybody here who doesn't believe that it is fu^&#ing great to be alive, I wish they would go now because this show will bring them down so much.

And that's all I have to say...

In case you had forgotten, the 25 annual Ice Fest is coming up. Mark February 2-4 on your calendars and stay tuned. It's going to be a good one!

It's a great time to be out riding in the White's. If you really want some amazing foliage views check out the Rob Brook area off Bear Notch Road or Town Hall Road in Intervale. Both are moderate riding in wonderful locations. You're Welcome! [wry grin]

Nada, nope, none to speak of... Just gotta love this time of year.

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.

NEClimbs & White Mountain Report On Facebook:
Join us and LIKE us on Facebook. I'll try and post some interesting pix every Thursday and the latest Ice Report in the season, tho certainly not the whole Report. Here's where you can check it out:

Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

Just a reminder - a guidebook is no substitute for skill, experience, judgement and lots of tension.
Charlie Fowler
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