NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 6:00p on 01/26/20 - Temperature: 37.1 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 37.1 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.478 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Rising Slowly - Humidity: 100 %
IceCON 2. Some trade routes are climbable, even in lower elevations.
2 out of a possible 5
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October 17, 2019

Hi Folks,

I was woken up this morning at 5:15 by some seriously rain and howling winds. Of course I knew this Nor'easter was coming and was ready, but it was sure something. Winds have died down right now at 7 AM, but it's still raining. We got well over an inch of rain before midnight, and another inch + since then. If this was a month or 6 weeks later we would be looking at 3-4 FEET of white! Personally I'm happy with the rain...

Of course this rain and wind will pretty much put an end to the leaf peeper season. All it takes is an event like this and all the leaves will be off the trees and onto my yard. SHEESH But it's really been a spectacular one this year, and it's brought in a bug infusion of money to the Valley. Of course that doesn't mean that Fall is actually over altho. As long as we don't go directly to snow and winter, there is lots of great rock climbing to be done. Stay tuned folks... Just for reference, here is a picture I took on Sunday morning.

My riding buddy Phil and I have been talking for the past month about doing an "old guys" hike some time. (And yes, we do resemble that remark!) So he texted me Monday night asking if I was interested in hiking the Caps Ridge Trail to the top of Mt Jefferson on Tuesday morning. I've ridden my bike up the road to the trailhead 4 times this summer and have thought several times about doing the hike. His assessment was that if we wait another week it may be too cold or, heaven forbid, icy and snowy for this year. So I said YES. We left his house in Intervale at 9:15 and the drive up through Crawford notch was amazing. Foliage was just past peak, but was absolutely stunning. We were wondering how many cars would be in the parking lot, as from what we had heard the trailhead lots everywhere in the Whites were overflowing for the past week. This time there were only about 10 cars: some from NH, a few from Maine, 2 from Massachusetts and one from Canada. Quite the mix...

Caps Ridge is the shortest hike in the White's to get you above treeline and the views in every direction are pretty amazing. I've hiked it several times, the most recent 10 years ago with my then-10 year old son. That was on a nice summer day, and it still was chilly on the summit. Pretty typical Presidential Range weather. It was sunny and the temps were in the mid-40's when we started out. Predictions were for upper 40's in the valley, but upper 20's and wind gusts of 30 or so on the higher summits. On the drive we could see frost on all the summits, so we knew it was chilly, and having done this kind of thing many times, needless to say we were prepared for almost anything.

As always typically the case, the trails in the Whites are rooty, rocky, occasionally muddy and generally on the funky side. And of course this trail ups that ante by a significant factor. As is so often the case, I forgot just how funky this trail is. Swampy at the start, not too bad in the lower section, steep in the trees, nice to the intersection, somewhat rocky to the Caps, steep scrambling over the Caps themselves, and then lots of "rubble hopping" for the last 2/3 mile to the summit. We saw a couple of folks coming down here & there and a solo hiker passed us as we came down the second Cap. When we arrived at the summit there were 2 French Canadian women taking pictures.

The wind was blowing steadily out of the North at the top and I was glad to have brought my puffy jacket and some gloves. I would guess it was below freezing with the wind chill. There was rime ice on the scrub, tho fortunately not on the rocks for the most part. Even with the sun out, the rime wasn't melting! The views in every direction were amazing. Surprisingly we could see cars on the Mt Washington Auto Road across the Great Gulf. Considering that there was still frost on the Mountain, we were surprised. There was also a sailplane silently flying all around the peaks, probably for over half an hour! It was quite beautiful. We hunkered down on the lee side out of the wind, had a snack, took some pictures and warmed up. After probably a half hour we headed back down. The ladies had gone down earlier and we saw another group of 3 young hikers that came across just below the summit, perhaps coming from Adams?

I was little faster than Phil at picking my way through the rubble on the way down and I got a bit ahead and I spotted a young hiker making his way up the trail quite quickly. I'm pretty cautious going down through this kind of thing as I definitely don't want a problem up there. He came alongside and I said hi. His response was to ask if I was OK and if I needed any help getting down!!!! [HA] I didn't think I looked bad, but who knows. I told him I was doing just fine and he blasted on by. Go figure... At the intersection, probably around 3 or so, we met a young couple on their way up. They seemed to be moving pretty well.

By the time we got to the first Cap temps had dropped and winds were down to a reasonable level and we both stripped off our warm stuff. Instead of going over the first Cap as we had done coming up, we took the trail around to the left. And at the second Cap we took a trail around to the right. Interestingly enough we caught up with the Canadian ladies who were going pretty slow and who had obviously gone directly over. Once over the steepest bits they were faster than us, especially on the trail before the pothole boulders. Around this time the young man who had asked if I was doing OK passed us going down and moving very fast. Near the potholes, at about 4 PM, we met a man and his young daughter on their way up. She looked to be around 12, was dressed in tights, a cotton sweatshirt and sneakers. He had a good size pack. I mentioned that it was quite cold above treelike and he responded that he had lots of warm stuff in his pack.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective January 23, 2020
My goodness, what a difference a few days and a little cold weather will make. The ice has filled in again and we're almost back to reasonable early/mid-season conditions. Last week the middle of Walk In The Forest and Willies Slide were both dramatically gone. As of today both were pretty much filled in. I spoke with a guide who was on Standard 2 days ago who said the middle like wasn't great, but this morning it looked good. I also spoke with someone who described penguin as "epically fat!" There are some predictions for either a rain, mixed or a snow event on Saturday night into Sunday. As long as we don't get a full-fledged rain event things will be great. Keep your fingers crossed folks. (Maybe the toes as well..)
Huntington Ravine options - beware avalanche danger  
Repentance building well  
Standard Route good, MUCH better Click to see route picture.
Dracula IN Click to see route picture.
For the full current conditions report, CLICK HERE

Of course the lower part of the trail coming down is always longer than you expect it to be, and we were quite happy to get back to the car. Strava calculated 5.46 miles and 2,674 ft elevation gained. That sounds about right, but the 3:23 hike time has to be off by 2 hours, who knows why. Here are some pictures:

Tho I haven't been out that much, but from what I see it's been damn good. Now if we just hold off one the snow for a bit we will have at it a while longer. I don't think this rain will have much of an impact since it's been quite dry and the ground should really soak it in.

We'll have to see what happens this coming week. I was working outside the house yesterday putting away lawn and deck furniture before the storm and there definitely were some mosquitoes still out there. Stay tuned...

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

When you get to the summit of the mountain, keep climbing.
Tibetan saying
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