NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 12:30a on 07/21/19 - Temperature: 78.5 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 78.5 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.554 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 100 %
BugCON 5: climbers AND belayers require mosquito net & DEET for survival
5 out of a possible 5
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January 24, 2019

Hi Folks,

All righty, righty...So it's 48 degrees and raining here in the Valley folks. I guess we're finally getting a taste of that winter thaw stuff that we always hear about. We've gone from big winter storm on Saturday-Sunday, bitter cold for several days earlier in the week, a moderate day Wednesday and now it's warm & raining - HARD.

Right now I've got 6" of water in my driveway because the ground is frozen and the water has nowhere to go. There are flood-watches everywhere because snow is melting and running into the streams and rivers and all the roads are covered with ice & slush. It's a bit like a Spring thaw. I went climbing with Dave Karl yesterday and decided to do the pictures then rather than today. Turns out that was a good idea because with the rain and accompanying fog I doubt I could have gotten any pictures to speak of. Not to mention that the roads are really bad right now. I'm just as happy being home writing this and practicing my bass.

Of course the real question on everyone's mind is how the ice will hold up? Well, considering the predictions are for temps falling to the teens or single digits tonight, teens on Friday daytime and low single digits on Friday night; I gotta think we'll be all right. In fact I honestly think the ice will actually get a needed refresh. That's my story folks, and I'm sticking to it. [wry grin]

I wanted to get out for some exercise on Saturday before the storm, so I thought maybe I would hike up the hill to check on Barking Dog and Black Pudding. I wasn't planning on doing anything more than possibly soloing something easy so I took minimal gear. On the road below Barking Dog I ran into a fellow guide who had a group up there, so I passed on that and decided to check out Black Pudding instead. Since there was no possibility of snow, I figured I'd take the chance and park at the wing-out right below the climb. Always a risk of getting towed if the DOT was in a bad mood tho! As I was getting my pack on I noticed 2 folks, obviously climbers, walking down the side of the road from the direction of town and headed my way. Turns out it was Hannah, a local young lady I know, and her partner Mickey, planning on climbing Black Pudding. After a little chat we hiked uphill together. We all soloed the little slab to the pillar and I watched Mickey do a great job leading the pitch. I did happen to have my harness and they were nice enough to let me climb the pillar and then lower me down. It was good fun. FYI the ice was hard and brittle and there was no water or moisture at all. The climbing was hard, but fun and I was really happy to have actually done something entertaining.

http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20190124/BlackPudding_03.jpg
http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20190124/BlackPudding_12.jpg

The snow we got on Sunday, followed by some freezing rain/sleet, coupled with wind drifting from some strong gusts on Monday really piled things up in Crawford Notch. At the top of the Notch the snow on the tracks across from Elephant Head was pretty amazing. I gotta think that getting to the Mt Willard climbs must have been some serious wallow. On Tuesday I saw some video on Facebook by Matty Bowman of folks post-holing and literally crawling down the tracks to Standard Route from the trestle. It was crazy and made me go get some snowshoes from IMCS on Wednesday morning before I picked up Dave. Tho some folks had beat out a bit of a path down the tracks and up to Chia, it would have been a real slog without them. From the road we had seen someone on Chia that it turned out was Matty and partner. He was heading up Pegasus when we got to the climb and so Dave led Chia. We were both surprised that there was some water running in places. In fact at one point Dave poked through and got some hydraulic action! The walk-off trail was actually packed so we did that.

http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20190124/DK_Chia_2.jpg

We walked back to Pegasus and I led Hobbit. The lower gully is in great shape and is fatter than usual and I didn't even see any rock. Passing by Gandalf on the right wall, I noticed that it is much thinner than it was when I led it last season. It would probably go, but the protection would mostly consist of tied-off super-stubbies! That said, Hobbit itself is fatter than I've seen it in a while. I did a lot of hooking, but I hardly stemmed out on the rock like I usually do. Go figure... And yes, I did reuse some of the previous screw holes! There actually are only so many places to place protection on that climb. Unlike Chia, there was no water running or moisture that I noticed on the climb at all.

http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20190124/DK_Hobbit_2.jpg
http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20190124/DK_Hobbit_6.jpg

I was able to butt-slide all the way down the hill from the base of the climb. Good fun... We didn't wear our snowshoes on the way out as there had been more folks hiking in and out so it wasn't too bad. A good day on the ice before the weather was going to crap.

ICE FEST 2019:
Mark your calendars folks! Time to start thinking about ice! IT'S THE 26TH YEAR of the 2019 Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest: February 1st-3rd, 2019.

http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20171122/IceFest_2019.jpg
Here are some pictures taken today. The normal ones are on Facebook and NEClimbs.

http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20190124/AngelCakes.jpg
http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20190124/ElephantHead_right.jpg
http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20190124/Frankenstein.jpg
http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20190124/LHMonkeyWrench.jpg
http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20190124/MtWillard_upperTier.jpg
http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20190124/MtWillard.jpg
http://www.neclimbs.com/wmr_pix/20190124/SnotRocket.jpg

VALLEY CYCLING:
Things had just started to get back to reasonable in a lot of places, until this latest mess. As much as I'd like to get out today, that ain't happening. It's clear that we'll be riding on a sheet of ice starting Friday and riding without studded tires and MicroSpikes will literally be impossible. On the good side, the snowmobile club has opened and groomed Sawyer River Road at last. I'm thinking of heading up there on Friday since I have both! It's a great ride with generally less snow machine traffic than Bear Notch Road, and you can pretty much ride as far as you like on the snow machine corridor.

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:

http://www.neclimbs.com/mobile

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:

http://www.facebook.com/NEClimbs/

Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire


It is better to retreat off a good climb than to succeed on an indifferent one.
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