Chilly Fingers, Tender Toes

So the sun shone, that is excuse enough. Despite the subzero temps overnight and the forecast for them to barely crest over freezing, we went climbing. Emily at the top of Scared for Life

Todd Paris & I had plans to wander out and work on the projects along the South Corner Cliffs for the day. Todd heard that a group from WOLBI was hoping to climb somewhere today, as well. Knowing the pickings were limited at this time of year – one would either have to slog through snow to the Beer Walls, King Philip’s Spring, or most anything else in the High Peaks, or head for Stewart’s Ledge, with its paucity of easy/intermediate routes – we invited them up to the mountain for a day at the Measles Wall and maybe a jaunt out to the Projects along the BAW path.

I started early, and got a few TR’s up before the group arrived, six all told, including Todd. David, the group leader for this trip, is an experienced climber who I had met previously during the first year of the Rocksport Monday Night gig. Another David in the group also had some prior experience, but the rest of the gang was pretty new to the sport. That made things a bit tougher, because two of my TR’s were on stout, 5.8+ and 5.10a routes. Oh well.

We started people on Run for Rabies, the first semi-clean route on the Lower Measles Wall. It begins in a left-facing corner that is capped by a flange of rock 15′ up. The crux is moving from the lower rock onto the “flange” working up the next few steps. Fortunately, everyone was able to figure out a way up this, though for most it required some hand-warming time outs.

Emily Tops out on Scared for Life 

 I went up to place a TR on another nice route at the Upper Measles Wall, so I missed getting a good picture of Andrew on this route. Next time, Andrew!

With the new climbers putting one under their belts, it was time for the experienced ones to take a crack at the harder routes. Group Leader David (hereafter GLD) wanted to try leading something, so we put him at the bottom of H1N1. This turned out to be a good move, as the style of climbing for the Measles Wall is very different than most anyplace else, and it really tells on the sharp end. It’s a good introduction to the necessary “foot-hopping,” balancy moves of the entire Righthand face.

We moved up to the higher wall, where the beginners could work another fine line and those of us hardened to the sport could knock some knees on lead. Yeah, I was one of the jittery set, glancing nervously at the bolt so far below my feet. I opted out of the real crux and, tail between legs, reached over for the familiar finish of Full Moon Fever. Oh well, David, try for that FA another day…

The Other David on the Upper Measles Wall

Todd was itching to get to the Projects, so we gradually filtered up and over to the latest works-in-progress. By the time I got there, GLD was already working the main crack line on TR. He climbed through the lower difficulties well, and even took a shot at the direct finish, a line that will almost certainly press into 5.11 when clean. In its current dirty state, it’s a bit too hard to accomplish, at least for anyone of us today. Emily climbed partway up the standard crack line, and Dave#2 took a few swings at the direct finish before the WOLBI group had to call it a day and head out.

GLD on the project crack

Todd and I remained awhile so he could TR his other project, a series of cracks and flakes toward the left edge of the wall. The sun was dipping behind the mountain as he began, and it grew very cold the moment it did. After working the moves awhile, we both decided it was time to call it a day. We packed, headed out, gathering equipment along the way, and reached our vehicles around 5pm.

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