NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 11:59p on 07/04/22 - Temperature: 56.9 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 56.9 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.982 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Rising Slowly - Humidity: 51 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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September 24, 2020

Hi Folks,

Amazingly enough it's Fall already. Yup, the Autumnal equinox was yesterday (September 23); the day when day and night of equal length, marking the start of Autumn. Earlier in the week we had 3 consecutive days of chilly weather, coupled with 3 mornings of frost. One of which was a hard-frost! So like it or not, winter is certainly on the way.

Don't get me wrong, I really dig winter. Frankly if I didn't like it, I shouldn't be living up here. In the 23 years I've lived up here, I've seen lots of folks move up, last a year, and flee back to more moderate climes. Not because they didn't like to ski or ice climb or winter hike. But mainly because once we get into December, it's usually pretty unrelenting. The days are short, it's cold all the time and there is usually a lot of snow to deal with.

Usually that doesn't bother me. But this year is likely to be different. I like to have dinners and get togethers with friends, but of course those aren't going to happen. I'm going to see if I can do some outdoor fire-pit get togethers, but that will depend on the weather. I guess we will just have to see how much of that we can pull off. It will also depend on if we get the "second wave" of the pandemic. Plus all the indoor/bar band gigs are not going to happen. I've been offered some indoor gigs over the winter, but I just can't see myself doing it. It's been great playing outdoors, but inside is not what I want to do. [go figure]

The other down side of this particular winter is mental. With the pandemic going on and possibly a surge happening, the economy in poor to pitiful condition and the current political and cultural situation, many people are feeling the pressure. I'm a person who rarely feels depressed, but I've certainly felt down at times over the past 6 months. I can only imagine what it would be like as you are someone who suffers from depression or alcohol-drug dependency. I have seen the following posted on Social Media, and think it's worth reposting here:

"The relapse and overdose rate has increased by 30% since March 2020. Mental health issues related to our lock down and the pandemic are especially hard for people with depression. NAMI, The National Alliance on Mental Health has a 24-hour helpline: 1-800-950-6264."

Brad and I were planning on meeting at Whitehorse to go climbing on Tuesday late morning. I got there a few minutes before him and the lower parking area was jam-packed! Not a single open space and license tags from all over the place, even Colorado. Amazing that there were that many folks out climbing on a Tuesday morning. I'm unwilling to poach a parking spot in the upper lot. We ended up going some place else, but it was very surprising.

According to the weather pundits we are currently in the driest September on record! And that's with records going back into the 1800's! There are no-burn warnings throughout NH so I decided not to do my fire pit on Tuesday evening. The rivers and streams are very low at this time and fire chiefs have expressed concern that it has become difficult for rural areas to be able to pump water out of ponds and streams to refill their tank-trucks! Area wells have been running dry and drill companies are backlogged for months. The places that are generally muddy in the power lines between Thompson Falls and Walmart are totally dry and on Wednesday when I rode the Rec Path near the Eastman Road bridge over the Saco I was amazed at just how low the river was. There were rock slabs showing that Phil and I had never seen before! While I love being able to get outside in this nice weather, this is too dry. We literally need days of rain to make up the deficit. Hopefully we will get a lot of snow early in the season, or it's going to be a very scratchy ice season folks.

The Friends Of The Ledges are sponsoring cleanup and trail maintenance events starting at 9am on the third Saturday's in October and November. "The increase in visitors to Cathedral Ledge State Park and Echo Lake State Park spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic has created a more critical need for trash clean-up and trail maintenance within these beloved natural areas." Please signup here:

I meant to post this link a week ago, but forgot.
One of the few actual cycling events in the Valley was Bike For Books. It generally too place during fall foliage season and was to support the North Conway Public Library, just down the street from IME. There were always several routes ranging from short and easy trails in Whittaker Woods, to a full 20+ mile Tour-de-Valley. It was cancelled last year because they were undergoing a major construction project, but was hoping to come back this year. Unfortunately due to the coronavirus that was not to be. However my buddy Phil and I decided to do the full Valley loop yesterday. Even without the B4B event, he and I usually do this ride once a year, just for giggles. With a very nice day on tap, we decided that yesterday was the day. This was in fact the first ride I've done with anyone else since the pandemic started.

We don't ride single-track or paved roads for the most part, opting for forest roads and public trails. We decided to ride counterclockwise, starting from Echo Lake - Cathedral Ledge. Our route goes into the woods at Hale's Location by Joe's Alibi and continues up the logging road (a.k.a. Red's Trail) to High Street and down to Passaconaway Road. Hanging a left on the pavement, we ride to West Side Road where we turn right and then left through the covered bridge. Navigating through the parking lot by the State Liquor Store we carefully cross Rt 16 and enter the subdivision by the dialysis center. Unfortunately it's hard to explain how we connect to the Conway Rec Path that runs along the river. We look for a green power box on the left at what looks like a driveway that actually is a street, following the public trail that goes between 2 newish houses. The trail follows the Saco, eventually going under a bridge and then connecting to the small park behind the Police Station. Turn left and cross East Conway Road, angle slightly right and take a left on a gated dirt road that leads to the large Conway Power Station. Find a small single track on the left side of the facility and follow that trail to the RR tracks which you will follow until you spot a short trail on the right leading to a dirt road that runs parallel to the tracks, Redstone Street, and take a left. In Redstone look for Mountain Street and turn right past some houses, through the gate to a forest road where you take a left. This goes past the Redstone Quarry on the right and the Swenson Trail on the left and dumps you out to the power lines. We took a right and followed the power lines all the way back to the Peaked trailhead at Thompson Road. From here we turn right, then left on Hawke Road eventually continuing onto the power lines all the way to where it exits behind the old Cranmore Athletic Club. We follow Old Bartlett Road, past Mt Cranmore on the right, to Whittaker Lane where we cross Kearsarge Road into Whittaker Woods at the power lines, continuing all the way across until it drops down to the RR tracks. We cross the tracks and follow single-track to the Fitness Trail on the right that leads to memorial Hospital. From here we can cross 16 and enter the Shed Woods. On the right side of the overlook there is a single-track that leads down to the river, out into the field and to First Bridge. From there it's a right turn and easy ride past the strawberry fields and home.

All in all a great early fall ride. Strava says 21.82mi, 2:48:49 ride time and 1,221ft elevation gained. While I agree with the distance and time, I am not so sure about the elevation. Regardless, it's a great adventure and is recommended.

Once again, the bugs are darn near gone depending on where you are.

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.

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Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

Writing about climbing is boring. I would rather go climbing.
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