NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 10:30p on 08/07/20 - Temperature: 63.6 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 63.6 °F - Barometric pressure: 30.071 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Rising Slowly - Humidity: 100 %
BugCON 3: blackflys in blood feast and/or bad mosquitoes
3 out of a possible 5
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April 9, 2020

Hi Folks,

It sure seems as if all of life has been turned upside down now. Not only has the Covid-19 flu changed life as we know it, we went from 3 gorgeous 50 degree spring days to pouring rain, puking slush to a massive dump of heavy wet white stuff pouring from the sky. And we even had a huge clap of thunder right around 3 that shook the entire Valley. WOW...

So I don't have anything to say directly about climbing right now. I'm not climbing at this time. And if I was, again which I am NOT, I wouldn't talk about it! So if that's all you care about, all you reads this newsletter about, you might want to simply delete this one. However I do think I have a few useful things to say...so please read on.

As the year turned from 19 to 20, it really felt as if this was going to be my best year ever. I was having a good ice season, I'd been out on the fat tire bike a lot, I'd been keeping my weight down by going to the gym 4-5 times a week and I was playing lots of very cool music gigs. It felt as if this was going to be one of my best years ever. The only thing lacking was a significant-other, but that wasn't the end of the world at this time. Tho I missed the partnership, honestly I was so busy it wasn't a big priority for me. While I had gotten some inkling that there was a virus in China, there was no clear indication that it would be much more than another variant of the regular flu. And then somewhere in mid-February, things took a turn. I'm not going to regurgitate the timeline, because you all know it by now. But suffice it to say, the shit hit the fan!

I've tried to post on-line about how important it is to social distance and stay at home as much as possible. Some people seem to get it, and yet some do not. For some reason some feel that suggestions/requests/regulations simply don't apply to them. We don't have a Shelter In Place order in NH, but we do have a Stay At and/or Close to Home one. The response to proposals to not recreate further than 10 m lies from your home has been met with a variety of responses, including:

"Enjoying the great outdoors is a natural right. I don't need your F-ing permission to do that. God gave that right to me the day I was born. So please F-off with this type of stupidity."

SHEESH

Immediately after the Loon Echo Land Trust closed all Pleasant Mountain trails effective April 2, 2020 until further notice, hikers clogged the Bald Peak and Ledges Trail trailhead parking lots even tearing down the TRAIL CLOSED signs!

WTF?

On this Tuesday there were 8 vehicles in the climbers lot at Whitehorse at 2:30. If I remember correctly one car was from MA, 2 from Maine and the others from NH. I saw a party at the pinch on Standard Route and another on Hotter Than Hell.

One simply has to wonder what part of Social Distancing and "don't recreate further than 10 miles from your home" don't people understand? Or do some think that these rules/suggestions don't apply to them? Needless to say I don't have a good answer to this obviously rhetorical question.

I wish I would have been able to ask those climbers if they were climbing with your significant other? I'm truly curious. Because, if not, you are not Social Distancing, right? I mean let's be honest - how could you? You and your climbing partner touch everything; rope, gear, slings, carabiners, whatnot... And at every belay you are most assuredly not 6' apart. 99% of the time, in my personal experience, you are within mere inches of your partner. Hmmm... Social Distancing, yeah, right!
So let's ask another question... Forgetting the idea that you could get hurt. I know, I know you NEVER have an accident and of course you would absolutely self rescue, even with that tib-fib break, and you never go to the hospital or to a doctor! OOPS, moving right along 'cause that's a whole 'nother issue. So, are you wearing a mask and gloves when you climb? Do you carry hand sanitizer and use it at every belay? NO? If you don't, it would appear that perhaps you are willing to put both yourself and your climbing partner at risk to satisfy either your need to "feed the rat", or possibly stand up for your belief that "nobody can tell you what to do!" Does that sound about right? HUH...I guess that I don't understand this position... Do you honestly believe that YOUR right to climb Trumps (sic) my and my families' right to live! IMO that's a fair question, tho I guess it does in fact sound a little like the anti-assault-rifle argument after some of the school killings.

I'm not going to belabor the clear scientific reasons why social distancing, hand washing, sanitizing and for the time being simply not traveling away from your home area, make a difference. You're smart and if you really don't know you can Google it yourself. But the reality is, it does make a seriously significant difference in the spread of ANY infectious diseases. A month or so of restricting our personal contact can go a long way towards flattening that curve we've all heard about. No one is asking you to stand on your head for a month, are they? We haven't asked you to totally stay inside with the wife, kiddies and mother in law 24-7 have we? You can go out and do some local recreating. Walk, run, ride the bike, rake the yard for gods sake. Just don't do risky things and stay near home.

Lastly, why do I care this much about what YOU do? well partly because I'm over the age of 60 and a male - so I'm in the at-risk category. And I sure as hell am not ready to die for the economy (sorry Glen Beck) or for anyone else. But it's more than that... I have two grown kids with underlying respiratory issues. And the longer this goes on, the more at risk they are. If we don't do what needs to be done, it's going to drag out through the summer, into the fall or beyond. Let's not let that happen.

PLEASE

Matt Bowman sent me the following link to a study about social distancing while exercising. I have talked about this topic with my riding pals Phil and Mikey before I even saw this study and we all decided a few weeks ago that riding in a group was probably a bad idea. This article clarifies that concept. I've been out a few times recently on my road bike and seen people drafting. I didn't think it was a good idea then and when I passed others I would swing over to the other side of the road. Oh, what was I saying about how close you are at the belay?

https://medium.com/@jurgenthoelen/belgian-dutch-study-why-in-times-of-covid-19-you-can-not-walk-run-bike-close-to-each-other-a5df19c77d08

And regarding the impact this pandemic is having on the professional mountaineering/guiding industry, here is a link to a British study. Thanks to Todd Swain for this one. I'm certain it's basically the same in our country, and frankly all over the world. And as an aside, I'm pretty confident that if you changed the name from Outdoor Industry to Music Industry and multiply the numbers by 100, the percentages would be close to the same.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2020/04/covid-19_-_an_impact_report_on_the_professional_mountaineering_industry-72267

Stay Safe And Stay Home

SOLO OF REPENTANCE AND REMISSION PRESENTATION:
Enjoy a multimedia presentation about a solo ascent of Repentance and Remission, the steps that led to the climb, and the amazing denizens of North Conway who enjoy the bizarre sport of ice climbing! We'll be taking donations for the International Committee of the Red Cross to support their coronavirus relief efforts worldwide.

This fundraiser is going to be held on Facebook Live on April 10 starting at 7PM.

WEATHER:
I will no longer be including the local weather with this newsletter. If you don't live here, you have no need of the up to date conditions in the Valley. If you live here, you know already what it is...

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


I had great times leading at Devil's Lake, where the ground was never too far away, and hard to miss if you should happen to fall to it.
Andy Cairns
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