NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 6:00a on 07/01/22 - Temperature: 55.7 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 55.7 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.918 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 74 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
the American Alpine ClubFriends Of The LedgesMount Washington Valley Climbers CooperativeInternational Mountain EquipmentInternational Mountain Climbing School
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March 19, 2020

Hi Folks,

Oh boy... So as you all know, we are now in the middle of an unprecedented time in our lives, perhaps in human history. The pandemic COVID-19 virus has spread across the world, invisibly infecting people everywhere. It makes no difference where it came from, or distinction between races or political parties. It is NOT a "Chinese Virus", it IS a global virus. There is no room for blame on anyone or anywhere. The ONLY thing for us to do, is to take whatever measures are needed to address it NOW.

Testing, washing our hands thoroughly and Social Distancing are currently the best things that we can do at this stage of the cycle. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons - and remember I said that blame isn't a good thing - we don't have enough testing YET. However, we CAN practice hand washing and Social Distancing. There's been a lot of explanations about proper hand washing. 20 seconds of thorough washing with soap and warm water on the top and bottom of your hands and wrists will remove most germs. and keeping those hands away from your face as well.

Social Distancing, basically staying at home as much as possible, is one of the most important things to do now. I have posted a few observations and thoughts on the NEClimbs Facebook page regarding social distancing and travel. In my, and many people in both the general and the medical community's opinion, it's a bad idea to travel at all. And frankly, coming up here for a climbing trip is a particularly bad idea. Why you ask? After all, you're away from the city, out in nature and the fresh air, not bothering anyone - right? Wrong... Fellow IMCS guide Michael Wejchert wrote the following yesterday on his FB page:

"If you or anyone you know is considering coming up to North Conway to climb, ski, or recreate in the coming months, consider this: our local hospital is teeny and going to be overwhelmed. We are equipped--barely--to deal with our local population. But we've also noticed a massive influx of people escaping to the mountains. (We see you!) Even if only one of you is contagious, consider the ramifications for the local population and for the healthcare workers who are already working around the clock. Please consider the local healthcare workers--many of them climbers and skiers--who are dropping their vacations, their travel time, and their climbing days to combat an unseen and unknowable danger. And then think: is my ACTUALLY social distancing, or am I driving several hours to a place I don't live?"

And here's a bit of climber/guide/husband/father Bayard Russell's observations posted on his FB page today:

"Between the two hospitals closest to Pinkham Notch, Memorial Hospital in North Conway and Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, we've got about 50 beds. In Carrol County, where North Conway is located, with a population of about 48,000 we already have 3 cases of COVID-19 unrelated to exposure to other known cases and travel. That means the disease is being transmitted within our community and there are likely many more cases we don't know about."

Read that AGAIN folks! Think about it, 50 beds for 48,000 residents! And a little more...

"Let's just troubleshoot here for a minute. Say you come up from Boston and go skiing. You're being responsible, you think, and you don't stop on the drive, just pile out of your car in Pinkham and go ski, alone. No contact with anybody, all clean, until you crater and require a rescue. Suddenly, you are in intimate contact with as many as 20 volunteer rescuers and you're about to be loaded into an ambulance and taken to an ER in a small, rural hospital that's ill equipped to deal with you in a community that already has the coronavirus. The rescue team is going to treat you as if you have COVID-19, but we are already short on masks and may be carrying you in a litter, 6 of us at a time, bumping into each other and sweating. Almost every one of those volunteers will have a family or loved ones they are in inescapably close contact with. The circle of exposure to you, and from you to all of them, is much greater than just those hardy souls in front of you; and potentially much greater when you land in the ER."

I couldn't have said it better. However I wrote something similar on my FB page yesterday, and was somewhat surprised to get some blowback about it. Look, I UNDERSTAND the NH Live Free Or Die philosophy. I GET just how independent and resourceful climbers are. I HEAR those who say that they've had problems in the past and have always self-rescued and would never put others in jeopardy. And SURE, nothing's going to happen, UNTIL it does!

Let me put a little bit of perspective on this... The virus is HERE. In fact, it's been here! We just didn't know it. And yes, it's where YOU ARE TOO! You may not realize it yet, but almost assuredly someone you know IS POSITIVE! Yup, this is NOT A HOAX. No matter what FOX new says, or has said. And no, this is NOT THE FLU. It's way worse. The only reason we aren't seeing the numbers that China saw and that Italy is seeing now, is because we haven't been testing. Not in big numbers yet. Let's not point fingers as to why that is the case, just accept that it is. There are positive cases in Fryeburg Maine in the schools, there is a case at the Attitash Grand Summit in Glen and there is a positive case of a Doctor at MEMORIAL HOSPITAL in North Conway. And that doctor has possibly infected an administrator at the local nursing home! How many people do you think those people have had contact with? I'll answer that rhetorical question - MANY!

Here's some other info for you:

Most if not all local guide services are CLOSED.
The bars and restaurants in the area are CLOSED. Yes ALL the bars!
All the schools are CLOSED.
Settlers Green is CLOSED
Even the local music store is CLOSED!

Rock & Snow in New Paltz is CLOSED to in-store customers and The Gunks Coalition is recommending that climbers NOT come to any of the Gunks areas. Here's what they posted:

"Out of an abundance of caution, and in keeping with recommendations from the CDC, The American Alpine Club, the Access Fund, and policies enacted by our fellow LCOs, the GCC is imploring all climbers to comply with national standard recommendations regarding COVID-19. This means not traveling to the Gunks or any other outlying climbing areas, large or small. As the curve steepens, the local communities around New Paltz are among those at higher risk, with limited infrastructure and medical resources to deal with a surge in COVID-19 cases. We know you want to climb - we all do. But as with many other groups we are imploring you to stay put and act as responsible world citizens."

Also, here's 4 hints/tips that I've been using that you may find useful:

1) Before AND after pumping your gas and using the touch pad on the pump, hand sanitize. Remember, you may be a carrier!
2) If possible use the Tap To Pay feature on all credit card readers.
3) Hand sanitize before AND after using the touch pad at the grocery or other stores.
4) Keep a squirt bottle of sanitizer in the driver-side door pocket of your car and use it every time you get back in the car when you're out.

Help us all by staying home. Exercise if you can while staying away from others, ride that bike on the trainer or take a walk in your neighborhood. We will come through this ONLY IF we all do what's necessary.

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

He who seeks fear shall be followed by fear.
Ancient scottish proverb
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