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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Frankenstein’s Monster

There is a beast lurking in Crawford Notch…

It has razor sharp teeth, scythe-like claws, a tail longer than it’s body, and it’s a mean mother$%#&er!!!!

It is Frankenstein’s Monster, and it is wreaking havoc upon unsuspecting gumbies and seasoned hardmen alike.

It is:

Frankenstein’s Monster… the scourge of New England’s ice climbers

 A RED SQUIRREL!

Article by Patrick Cooke
 
 

That’s right, if you haven’t already heard, there’s a red squirrel ravaging packs at Frankenstein. He’s stealing our PB&J, hiding our keys, and racking up roaming charges on our cell phones. Does he know how to operate a zipper? #$%& no! Like his larger cousin, Honey Badger, he doesn’t give a $#!&, and is going to rip open that nice new $300 pack in search of the sweet sweet goodness of that already eaten gu packet you left in the lid.

With such a rare and vile creature on the loose, I felt compelled to seek him out and see why he is reigning terror upon New England’s ice climbing community. I found him along the tracks, standing over the ravaged corpse of his latest kill, a poor, defenseless Wild Things Andanista, half a foil-wrapped bagel with nutella hanging from his shark-like maw.

I approach him cautiously as he measures me up with his beady eyes, slowly tearing apart the bagel. “What the #$%& are you looking at, gigantor? You want a piece of me? I’ll tear you and your fancy jacket up so fast… you better be moving on! But leave your pack, I think I smell Jet Blackberry in there… I love that $#&%!” His voice is something like Mike Tyson on helium, though I have the sneaking suspicion that if I’m not careful he’s going to bite off more than the lobe of my ear.

At this point I’m starting to question the wisdom of this venture. Sure, there are about 33 people above me on/waiting to get on Standard Route, but they’re all looking down sheepishly, glad it’s not them about to stare down the beast. I figure I better do something to get on his good side and toss him a Gu packet.

The monster tears into the packet like a contestant on The Biggest Loser wants to tear into a Krispy Kreme donut. At my feet is a whirlwind of red fur, foil shards, and purple gelatinous material. The creature looks up, left, right, grabs a pack from the pile of offerings to the deified beast made by frightened mortals, and takes off up the tracks. I race to follow, seeing him make a turn up towards Dracula.

Once I find myself at the base I see in the little nook on the left a guide consoling a client rocking back and forth curled up in a near fetal position muttering “why me, why me, why me.” The brute accosted the poor man, ripped the tools from his hands and was in the midst of campusing up the middle line when he lets go of the pack he stole.  I jump aside just in time to avoid getting clocked, hearing the “WHOMP” of the pack exploding into the snow next to me. “SUCKERS!” He’s topped out, and I see two black objects come flying off of the top. “ROCK!” We scramble out of the way as the two stolen tools are returned to their owner, their structural integrity questionable at this point.

*****

A high-pitched maniacal laughter echoes from our left, from the top of the Coffin, moving towards Dropline. I take off down the climbers path and turn the corner just in time to see a small red ball running down Dropline. He’s down-soloing the hardest line on the cliff, face first, as if it were the escalator at the mall. He’s long gone by the time I arrive, huffing and puffing, at the base of Dropline. The maniacal laughter continues though, and I find the bushy-tailed vandal atop the pile of packs below Standard.

“Jet Blackberry, I love that $#!&. 2x caffeine! WHAHAHAHAAHAH” At which point he rips open another pack. As he’s tearing through the contents of his latest victim, I ask him why he terrorizes us so. “Dude, I live here, you all are trespassing. Do I come to your house and piss all over it? Seriously, what are you, 33? What’d you do, some kind of Freaky Friday thing where you swapped prostates with a 70-year old man? WTF?”

I ask if he’s ever considered being civil and asking people to change their behavior, but he ignores such an idiotic querry.

“Hey, what else you got on you?”

“Oh, me, sorry, that gu packet was really all…” Before I know it I’m thrown onto my back and flipped over, the leviathan ripping into my pack in search of any food I may have.

“Mother @#$%er I know you’re holding out on me!”

As he shreds my pack I manage to slip it off my back and drag myself away from the carnage in a panic.

“Run! Run! RUN!” I hear from up above on Standard. Looking at the beast I see a murderous gleam in his eyes.

I run… I don’t look back, I just run. I swear I can feel his hot, fiery breath at my heels, but I just run.

*****

Hopefully someone’s selling a pack on the classifieds

Let it Snow!

This winter has been a bust for snow in New England, but have a look at some of these photos!

Note: An email with these photos has been traveling around the web titled “Winter in Russia” but “Surfer Bill” has informed us that many of the photos arn’t, but they are fun anyway. We have made the corrections to our post. Let it Snow! is a better title….thanks Bill – See his remarks below.

 

 

 

  Photos submitted by Tim Creamer fowarded from George Walsh

Is Winter Cancelled?

Is this just a dream?

Earlier this month, NEice staff meteorologist, Smike, hedged his bets and gave a gloomy November forecast for ice aficionados: “Warm temps with a short bout of cold over the next 15 days. (Go grab some extra rock time) End of the month will crash into winter and it should hang on this time.”

Recent evidence, however, suggests that he has not given us the whole story.

Article by Patrick Cooke

At first glance, Smike’s work looks like the work of a professional: it’s populated by maps and graphs, and includes fancy weather-related initialisms like NAO, MJO, and NKVD (what can I say, the guy has some scary connections). Furthermore, he can use the term “Bermuda High” without arousing the suspicions of a police K-9 unit.

Have we been mislead?

Despite his professional reputation, Smike’s recent actions call his veracity into question.  On facebook Smike posted “Has anyone seen my winter around here?”.  Shouldn’t Smike know that he didn’t predict winter weather this early in November, or is he holding back on a darker truth that lies around the corner? We take it for granted that winter will come eventually, but how far off is eventually?

Smike did not do himself any favors when this reporter contacted him about his prediction:  The meteorologist’s first words were “What my FAIL on weather?” – hardly the words we hoped to hear.  With the qualifications of our own in-house expert called into question, we were forced to seek outside counsel to get to the heart of the issue.

The Expert Weighs In

Sitting back on a folding chair on a beach in the Virgin Islands while sipping daiquiris, this is not the Jack Frost you know and love.  He looks haggard and run down, a man beaten down by his own biting winds.  His take on Smike’s forecast?

We're all hoping for something better than this!

“What do you want? I give you snow in October and all I hear is whining about it being too early, I didn’t get to send my 5.12 yet, I can’t find my ice scraper… nothing but bitch, bitch, bitch.  You know what, I like it here, so fetch me another drink and then sod off!” (who knew Jack Frost was a Brit?)

Undeterred, this reporter continued to push Frost about when we could expect his return to the Northeast.  Unfortunately, Frost’s comments  were not fit to print.

For fear of angering this guy (Jack Frost, not Mrs. Claus), Kris Kringle declined to comment for this story

Where does this leave us?

“Yeah so, I make this @#$% up. Put a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout in front of me and I’ll say whatever you want!” *  Smike graciously agreed to speak again after the failed interview with Jack Frost.  A disgustingly rich malt beverage in hand, he was much more forthright about his methodology when it comes to the science of predicting weather patterns: “You know, the guys on TV look at the facts and are right only about half the time.  Does anyone call them out? No. You figure I do this for free, so why not just make it up as I go along? It’s not like you’ve got anyone else waiting in the wings.” **

In this case, he is correct.  Whatever his failings as a meteorologist, it’s not like NEice has a plethora of weathermen jumping at the opportunity to bring us all bad news.  When pressed for a Turkey-Day prediction, he stood by his original claim: “I still think my 30/70 odds or ‘real’ ice holds ;-)” ***

 

*Not necessarily intended to be a factual statement

**Yep, I made that one up as well, sorry Smike!

***He actually said that one

 

Special thanks to Smike for playing along.  The weather right now absolutely sucks (at least for ice climbing), and Sunday is supposed to be absurdly warm.  Let’s hope Smike’s prediction for a cold and stormy December comes to pass!

Dragon Tales

By Pedro I Espina

Have you ever seen how water, trapped between rock and
ice, is forced by gravity to dance along an
intricate labyrinth of micro-channels on its way
from the high snowfields to the river below? Every
spring in the highlands, this dance is repeated as
winter withdraws until next year. Occasionally,
water is temporarily detained by the night’s cold,
but in the morning, as the geese fly north, the
sun once again sets it free on its path to the
sea. This is the way in which dragons die.
My youth was full of tales of knights who,
centuries ago, slew dragons in the name of love,
glory, and God. The lonely speckle of the shining
armor moved forward even as fear engulfed him. As
the duel began, a wind of fire submerged our hero
in a kiss of death. Thrusting shield ahead, he
blindly slashed the air in search of the beast,
his panic forgotten in a fight for survival.
In those tales the hero never died. Triumphant, he
rode his horse back to the safety of the castle
where he joined in the company of fellow knights
until death called again. I envisioned them
sitting by a fire, drinking, eating, laughing, and
sharpening their tools prior to dawn’s call to
battle. For those men their purpose was clear,
their brotherhood comforted them, and the world
outside seemed as mysterious and inhospitable as
the dragons themselves.
Adulthood replaced the dragon tales with a 9 to 5
reality that numbed the spirit and dulled the
mind. In the adult world, distinction is found in
a never-ending quest for larger numbers, and honor
is reserved for multimillion-dollar athletes and
minimum wage soldiers. Loyalty is to the god of
Money and brotherhood is a four-letter-word used
to describe radicals on the 11-oclock news.
As I grew older, I was indoctrinated in the
numbers game and dedicated a decade and a half to
the search for elusive distinction in the academic
world. I betrayed many and was betrayed by a few
others. As brother was murdered, a dollar in my
pocket became my friend. Love proved disposable,
and the dream of parenthood was forgotten, as a
dog became my child. When at last, I had
extirpated from my life all who cared for me,
prescriptions consoled me and cynicism became my
lover.
In pursuit of another way to spend my disposable
income, I came across a group of men for whom the
rules of adulthood did not apply. The source or
frequency of earnings did not torment them and for
these men, the comfort of a woman was optional.
Numbers were few, but most important, they were
meaningless. Their worth was based on the love
they felt for each other and for the game. In the
place where they gathered, money, titles, and
social status were of no use and as they sat by
the fire, ate, drank, and laughed, time had no
meaning and serenity was ubiquitous.
In the beginning, I was not prepared for life in
the Bivouac. Although I was among the first
outsiders to be granted access, I tried to modify
it to suit my adult values. I found strange that
in this place liquid barley was used as legal
tender and the sanctuary of a cold three-wall
bathroom seemed rudimentary. My numbers did not
matter, for there was always one that could beat
them with little fanfare. I felt insignificant and
in search of shelter, I labeled them as misfits.
Nonetheless, they embraced me as they waited for
the mystery of the brotherhood to cast its spell.
Every fall, as the geese migrated south, I
pilgrimaged north to the land of ice dragons and
the shelter of the Bivouac. Ice climbers, bigger
than life, gave me friendship, advice (or Beta),
and cheered me on my small lizards slays. In time,
I became one among them.
At the Bivouac two rules are enforced – “Keep the
door closed” and “There are no rules.” Social
niceties are simple: bring beers for all when you
get your own, do not impose tobacco products on
others, and fill the wood stove once per visit.
Newcomers are brought one at time, and their
behavior is the responsibility of those who bring
them. The nights are filled with stories, the
aroma of cannabis mixed with poor personal
hygiene, and the sound of ice tools being
sharpened. Women who do not seek to shape the
behavior of this rendezvous bunch are welcomed and
dogs are treated like anyone else.
Every morning, a ritual is repeated; at dawn
alarms go off, the stove is lighted, packs are
stuffed, and the Gore-Tex armor is clothed.
4-wheel drives are loaded and quietly the knights
go in search of ice dragons. During the first few
winters, would-be dragon slayers serve as page
boys (or belayers) and in return they are taught
the craft of ice climbing – the sound of a good
tool placement, the efficient way to place ice
screws, the proper way to sharpen a tool, and how
to avoid swollen knuckles. Because frozen
waterfalls – like dragons – come in all sizes and
with all sorts of temperaments, every occupant of
the Bivouac has a project to fear, from
Chouinard’s to Premature Birth. Poke-O-Moonshine
is the favorite playground and on a good day, most
of the Bivouac’s inhabitants lay siege to its
frozen smears and mixed ground.
One day this past season, as I went to Poke-O in
search of the infamous dragon known as Positive
Thinking, I found few options when various teams
of climbers waited for their turn to test their
steel. While time vanished, Gary and I searched
for alternatives and the improbability of The
Runnel turned into the thing to do. The first few
moves through a dry crack were strenuous, but the
availability of a piton 20-ft up made escaping a
real possibility. At the piton, the water drip
between rock and ice indicated the clear
delamination of the late winter ice. Carefully, I
pressed my crampon front points into the ice sheet
hoping for it to remain integral under my weight.
Inch by inch, I moved up as sweat dripped down my
back. The runnel – no wider than 8 inches anywhere
– was mostly delaminated too. For the first time
in that winter, serious injury was a distinct
possibility and as I moved up, I felt the creature
creeping under my weight.
With the swing of an alpine tool, the dragon
finally awoke. Forty pounds of ice came crashing
onto my face almost knocking me off the climb.
Hanging from one tool, I slowly regained
consciousness as blood poured from my left eye. As
retreating was not practical, my only option was
up. Trying to continue, I scanned for a tool
placement when a golf ball-sized chuck of ice came
crashing into my forehead adding insult to injury.
My friend Ian, realizing the seriousness of my
condition, encouraged me from above; below, Gary
readied himself for a running-downhill belay in
case both, the Runnel and I came crashing down.
Once I regained awareness, I focused more than
ever before. My mind diminished the climb to a
small sphere of influence, which protected me. A
questionably placed nut ran down the rope as I
moved past it. Ian continued the encouragement –
“Why we do this? Because it is fun…” A few feet
higher, a glove flew down and landed on my face.
What else could be sent from above? – I wondered.
When I reached Ian and the safety of the belay
station, I knew that my scholarship had paid off:
in slaying this dragon, I had put to rest many of
my demons. And that night, when the Bivouac door
opened, my brothers cheered for me.
In his book The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint
Exupéry wrote – “Grown-ups never understand
anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for
children to be always and forever explaining
things to them.” If it has been a while since you
grew up and numbers are important to you, I am
sorry to have bored you with this tale of children
trapped in grown men’s bodies. However, for those
of you who quietly still believe, know that there
is a land of ice dragons and a brotherhood of
ice-climbing knights waiting for you in the
Adirondacks’ winter lands.

Trad Climbing

You know you’re a trad climber when…

All your draws are 12” long • your kid climbs harder than you do • you’ve worn out a set of cams • there is scar tissue on the back of your hands • you shave the back of your hands • you have six partially used rolls of tape in your pack • you quit sport climbing because you can’t do any of the routes • you see lots of sunrises on your climbing trips • you say, “what?” when your leader says, “take!” • your ledge is set up in your room to hold all your climbing gear • you have climbing shoes you can wear all day • you don’t care when your gym membership expires • you enjoy guilt-free eating • you don’t know what your body-fat % is • you ask your partner how much water to bring along • you do a first ascent and report the names of both members in your party • you drop your belay device and you still know how to belay • you read back-issues or mountain gazette • you know how to turn a crack ‘n up into a beak • you know what a beak is • you wake up at 2:00am to go climbing • your drill uses a hammer • you take a nap in the middle of a climb • you spend three hours removing a fixed cam • you don’t want beta • you think a bong is a type of piton • you remember when climbing gear didn’t have springs • you take a forty footer • you summit a desert tower • you know what an abalakov hook is • you still use a gear sling • there is a holster on your harness • you rappel six pitches in the dark • you rappel six pitches in the snow • you drill from a stance • you’re looking down at the birds • you own a hammer and a haul bag • you have sex on a belay ledge • you’re on day 2 of a sport climbing trip and you can’t remember what you did on day 1 • you drop your water bottle and it takes five seconds to hit • your rack is worth more than your car • your best memories are from the epics you’ve had • you have a great day of climbing then find out you didn’t do the route you thought you did • you spend a night hanging in slings • you miss work on monday because you epic’d on sunday • a whole block of chalk fits in your chalk bag • you dump your S.O. because he just doesn’t get it • you wear out a set of jugs • you drive all night so you can climb all day • you drive all night because you climbed all day • you’re up so high the trees look like broccoli • your rack of pins is heavier than your rack of draws • your slings have knots in them • you know who larry penberthy is • you know the difference between a copperhead and a circlehead • you think “beta” is a video tape format • you can shit and and belay at the same time • you wear socks in your climbing shoes • a long approach doesn’t deter you from a good climb • a good job doesn’t deter you from a good climb • Hendrix runs through your head while you’re climbing • you coil your rope • you’ve set up a belay with the only piece of gear left on your rack • your climbing pants don’t stretch •

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