NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 10:30a on 07/04/22 - Temperature: 71.5 °F - Wind speed: 2.0 mph - Wind chill: 71.5 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.949 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 13 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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November 2, 2017

Hi Folks,

I know last week's Report was also about the rain, and unfortunately this one won't be at all different. However, this one isn't just about the rain. Although this unnamed tropical storm wasn't a hurricane, it has definitely rivaled the last big storm to hit here in Northern New England, August 2011's Hurricane Irene. That one made a mess of roads, washed out bridges and wrecked numerous people's homes. Unfortunately this storm did much of the same, at least in New Hampshire and Maine.

So basically a tropical storm came through Sunday evening and lasting overnight that brought some big winds and dropped 4+ inches of rain across NH and Maine. Couple that with the previous rains the week before that soaked the ground with about 3" of rain, and many trees came down. And of course the Saco, Swift, Androscoggin and other rivers and creeks rose, and fast.

I woke up at 6 and our power was off, but I figured they would get it back on fairly quickly. Honestly I didn't hear that much wind here overnight, and the power folks usually get us back up pretty quickly. I had a PT appointment in Conway Village scheduled for 7:30 so I used my cell to call at 7 & they were open and had power. So I left at 7:15 and as I drove down West Side Road my view of the Saco on the left side of the road looked like it was flowing and doing some flooding, but nothing more than a spring thaw. There is a brook that goes under the road a little ways before the RR tracks that was running pretty good. As I made the left turn at the corn field before the turn to the covered bridge, I noticed the water was starting to fill up in the field on the right! I thought about calling and cancelling my appointment and going home, but I didn't. This was a significant error in judgement.

I finished my appointment and headed home, but the road was closed! HMMM, not a good sign... I headed into North Conway and noticed that the river looked quite high as I went by the scenic overlook on the left side before the Burger King intersection. My wife called and asked me to stop & get her coffee at the Frontside on the way home, and I did. Several friends were there and they gave me the news that First Bridge on River Road was now closed! Upper West Side Rod is rarely closed, so I hopped in the van and headed toward Bartlett. As I rode by the big scenic vista past the Moat I could see that this was rapidly turning into a big event. When I got to Glen the road was blocked just after the Red Parka Pub! I asked if Upper West Side was closed and they said yes! [sigh] I called the wife and told her that her coffee was not getting delivered and suggested that if power wasn't on soon that she start our generator.

I headed back to town and took a turn down to River Road, parked in the Nereledge lot and walked down to where the police & fire folks were blocking the road. The river was exceptionally high with water flooding almost to the Japanese style house on the right. From what I hear there was a woman on the bridge later on who tried to walk across and got stuck. Some people never learn!

It was clear that I wasn't getting home for a while so I got a snack in town and decided to catch the noon matinee of Bald Runner at the theater. What the heck, right? It was a good movie and when I got out I stopped at Hanford for some sushi and headed back towards town. I called my buddy Phil to see if I could crash there for the night in case I still couldn't get home and was headed for his place around 3:30 when I got a call from Brad. He said that Upper West Side Road was open and that I could get there by going over Glen Ledge to avoid the Glen Ellis flooding!!! [woo woo] I gave it a shot and it was just fine. On the way I called a couple of friends who were also trapped and they managed it as well. It turns out that there were several places on lower West Side Road that were flooded besides near Conway Village. One was near the strawberry fields north of Frechette Oil and the other where I'd notice the creek rising near the RR tracks.

When I got home my wife had apparently managed to get the generator working after much difficulty with "old gas". Of course a little over an hour later the power came on and we are able to get some food and watch some news before the power went off again at around 8:30 and needless to say this indicated that it was time for bed. [yeesh] I woke up at a bit after 6 and just as I was making some coffee the power came on again. [yipee] My son got up to go to work in town and I wanted to go to the gym so we headed out to see if we could manage it. Amazingly the river had gone down enough for First Bridge to be opened and life started getting back to normal, at least for us. As recently as this afternoon some friends in Denmark Maine and Sebago still don't have power or cell service. I have heard that Sawyer River Road was washed out again, but I haven't checked it out myself. I wouldn't be surprised tho. This was a big event and I think we'll be finding problems for a while.

Here's a few pictures taken on Monday:

If you are on Facebook or anywhere on social media, there are a ton more. It's pretty amazing.

BTW here's the link to the archives of my Report from the week after Irene if you're interested:

Dorchester NH118 Townhouse Rd. to Rumney end
Gorham - Dolly Copp
Newport Reeds Mill Rd
Ossipee NH 171 East
Plainfield Stage Rd East of Town Garage
Randolph Pinkham B Road Dolly Coop Campground
Warren NH118 from NH112 to NH25

I have heard that Bear Notch Road is closed, but I don't know for sure.
2017/2018 FUNDRAISER:
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92 Bow Lane
North Conway, NH 03860

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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!

Since Friday was a bit damp I decided to take a ride up Sawyer River Road with my friend Ian on Saturday morning. There were no cars in the lower parking lot when we got there around 10:30 when we headed up. A pair of trucks passed us about a mile up and we saw them parked at the old Livermore foundations just above the house on the left. From here on up all of the pull outs and parking areas were full all the way up to the gate above the Sawyer Pond Trail! We continued to ride up another mile until the double-track started to go downhill. We turned around there and headed back. It was very interesting how beautiful the foliage was for the first several miles, but how it was all gone on the upper half. Tho we knew a storm was in the forecast, needless to say we didn't know what was coming our way.

On Tuesday I rode the Marshall trails with my buddy Mikey. We were both surprised how little blowdown there was, only a single tree on Upper Shumway. It wasn't even that wet or muddy, due to the elevation and how dry things have generally been.

I rode on the east side Wednesday with my buds, Phil & Mikey. We started at Thompson Falls parking, rode up EKG, across Sidehill, across the stream at 4 Corners (which is high), down Old Sidehill (wet in places), across the power lines to Muffler, out (left) on Muffler, back 1/2 way on Pillar To Pond, out onto the power lines and north (somewhat wet) to where the little bridge leads to Anthill & Knot. The bridge is underwater & tricky to get across stream. Rode the Knot to the Pump Track and back to the car.

In general the trails surprisingly good, considering. There are some sticks and a few wet places here & there. We cleared 2 large blowdowns, one on the lower section of the newish reroute of Sidehill and the other on Muffler. Tho we did clear off some large sticks, there are still plenty of smallish stuff. there is a picture of the log that Mikey and I rolled off Sidehill. I will say that it would be great if this all got leaf blown some time 'cause it's hard to see the trail in places for the leaves.

The picture below is of the tree we rolled off Sidehill.

FRED BECKEY RIP: I would be totally remiss if I didn't mention that Fred Beckey passed away in Seattle from congestive heart failure at the age of 94, after an 81 year climbing career. I only met him once at a slideshow and book signing at IME several years ago. He was considered the quintessential "dirt-bag" climber, having never married or desired to do anything other than climb mountains. Here are some links about him:

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Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

The future of Yosemite climbing lies not in Yosemite, but in using the new techniques in the great granite ranges of the world.
Yvon Chouinard
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