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New Hampshire ice beta--guidebook, where to stay, conditions
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By Derek DeBruin
Oct 24, 2011
Hello all,

I'm planning a trip to North Conway to climb ice in January and had a few questions:

1) What's a good guidebook for NH ice climbing? Recommendations on where to go for a selection of WI3-4?

2) What are good places to stay around North Conway? How's the winter camping? I'm not above staying in hotels/motels, but would need them to be reasonably priced as I am hoping to climb for about 3 weeks.

3) What are conditions usually like in January? I'll be there from about January 9 to 27 or so. I assume the ice has usually been in for a while at this point? What about conditions on Mount Washington? I am hoping to climb something in Huntington's, but I don't know what avalanche conditions are generally like in mid/late January.

Thanks in advance.

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By Candemir Orsan
Oct 24, 2011
1. Rick Wilcox's guide
amazon.com/Climbers-Guide-Nort...

2. North Conway has hostels for the price conscious.

3. Unpredictable. It can be brutally cold in NH during Jan.
For many year we've had a late Dec. early Jan thaw/sunshine which means you may find non-existent or early-season ice conditions.

Your best resource will be: neice.com

Very active and welcoming community.

Have fun.
Candemir.

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By DavidLG
Oct 24, 2011
+1 on the guide book. Try the Cranmore Inn for a room. Be sure to call and ask for Bob Prendergast as he is the owner and a decent person, and as always is the decision maker on price negotiation. The Inn is 1 block from IME where Rick Wilcox presides and sells his guide book. Ice climbing is only minutes away from the center of North Conway at Cathedral Ledge or less than 25 minutes from Frankenstein Cliff where there are many ice climbs.

David G

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By "H"
From Manitou Springs
Oct 24, 2011
Axes glistening in the sun
+1 on Wilcox's book. You used to be able to "walk in" to I think Blackberry crossing campground in the winter if I remember correctly. I did that when I took some classes during the Mt Wash Ice Festival back in the late 90's.

Depending on what kind of ice you are doing you could hike up to Harvard Hut and either camp out or stay in the hut. Get up early depending on snow conditions and climb in Huntington Ravine.Did that as well. Don't remember if we paid to camp out near the hut. We did hang out after long days of climbing in the hut and chatted with the host.
I do remember that it can be as cold as a witches tit. I remember some -50 degree nights with windchill.

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By clemay
From Boulder, CO
Oct 24, 2011
Derek,

Go to neclimbs.com, you will get more info on where to stay in the North Conway area.

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By john strand
From southern colo
Oct 24, 2011
You should be able to rip it up on 3-4 over a few weeks. Frank's is gonna be mobbed but that's OK , Good for partners and such.

Do Huntington's in a day way cool.

Evan's Notch is good to and check out some of the Kanc drips

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By Nathan Stokes
Oct 25, 2011
The AMC Highland Center has a 16 bunk bunkhouse with various service options at Crawford Notch, not as close to North Conway, but in the middle of it all. They also have another Lodge in Pinkham Notch. I had good luck using Homeaway to rent a private place for a week one summer which came with a kitchen, etc and was a pretty good rate.

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By Tom Fralich
From Fort Collins, CO
Oct 25, 2011
Think about going to the Adirondacks too. You might get pretty tired of Conway with the amount of time you have.

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By KathyS
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Oct 26, 2011
Me at the summit of Inner Course (5.4) in the Outl...
I've stayed at the hostel in Conway and found it comfortable and affordable (twenty-something a night).

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By Derek Doucet
Oct 26, 2011
If you're going to be in this neck o' the woods for that much time, you MUST get to Lake Willoughby. It is, without question, one of the very best ice crags in the country. You probably won't want to spend much time elsewhere once you've been. Other must-do areas are Smuggler's Notch, VT and the Keene Valley region of the Adirondacks.

Early January can be hit or miss. Much will depend on the timing of the almost-annual January thaw. That said, with a multi-week stay, and a williness to explore a bit, you're essentially assured of finding some great climbing.

Enjoy!

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By Nathan Stokes
Oct 26, 2011
Course if the ice isn't in you can always do some peak bagging, the above tree line stuff gives wicked views on the right day and there are plenty of interesting things to hike even if they aren't Rocky Mountain heights.

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By JSH
Administrator
Oct 26, 2011
JSH @ home  photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker
On neclimbs.com, sign up for Al Hospers' weekly email report. That will give you a good idea, through December, as to how things are shaping up, and what's in (btw, what some consider 'in' is not what others consider 'in', especially in re: Cannon). This summer/fall has been fairly moist, so as long as the cold actually comes, it should be a good year.

The past two years, my buddy Brian has come out from Utah to climb NE ice. And as someone said above, January really can be hit/miss. There's usually some kind of thaw in there somewhere. Two years ago, everything was pouring down around his ears, it was hard to find something cold enough to climb. Last year, it was 0 on a warm day. YMMV!

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By doligo
Oct 26, 2011
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
Derek Doucet wrote:
you MUST get to Lake Willoughby.


I think he said grade 3-4...

I second the Smuggs though - great place with many NEI3-4 stuff that comes in early. Keep an eye on neice.com reports.

January, you should be able to find some ice to climb if not in the valley then up in higher elevations.

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By Derek Doucet
Oct 26, 2011
dolgio wrote:
I think he said grade 3-4... I second the Smuggs though - great place with many NEI3-4 stuff that comes in early. Keep an eye on neice.com reports. January, you should be able to find some ice to climb if not in the valley then up in higher elevations.


Oops, missed that. But in any case, even in that grade range, the Tablets are pretty tough to beat...

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