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Cold, Rain, and Snow!

Cold, Rain and Snow. It the past week we have had it all, which has produced interesting conditions. The ice climbing at this point in the season is usually fat and safe everywhere but now it is fat and maybe not so safe. It is these conditions precisely that make ice climbing interesting and uniquely dangerous. In a 48-hour period the ice went from fat plastic climb anything to funky, brittle, delaminated ice that if attacked blindly could result in huge collapse. The good news is that the rain and continued melt freeze that February often brings will sure things up quickly.

There was a lot of talk about “will it be a short season this year?” This cycle is almost as reliable as ice in NH. We often have the melt down then conditions rebound and unique opportunities come up. The remaining weeks of the season are sure to be interesting as the second half of winter always has a few surprises for the waiting ice enthusiast.

I was up on Mt. Washington yesterday (sorry dead battery means no pictures). The conditions were about as good as they get for climbers. Firm neve snow with good ice, strong winds and no people. We climbed North Gulley in Huntington’s Ravine. We choose it primarily because the winds were cleaning it out while depositing snow in some of the southern gulleys. There is less snow in the ravine then last year but the climbing conditions could not be better. We did encounter a few ice dams, but they should firm up with a few more cold days. The other notches seems just as fat but the top outs are the concern. Watch the last body length of climbing as that is the area possibly delaminated that concerns me the most for collapse.

There is plenty of time to have some fun still in winter and MAA is enjoying every day. Today I am off with my three girls to ski and have a picnic.

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