Archive for April, 2010

Spring Again!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

The clouds blew out under a steady, strong wind overnight. We awoke to clear skies; soon, sunshine was streaming unfiltered on the rolling hills surrounding us. It was still cold, but no longer that bitter, winter-biting cold; just a blustery windchill.
Work took a bit longer today, so Ra and I arrived home almost at the same time. We changed and headed up to the Viewpoint for a bit of exercise before the sun went down. It’s a strenuous, short hike, rewarded by a wonderful vista of the valley through which runs Garnet Lake Road; a perfect after-work stretcher, with of course a few nice climbing options as well.
I ran ahead to get a couple of those in, and ended up doing Viewpoint Crack and Blue Streaks before Ra arrived. We chatted awhile, then I jogged down for a quick run up Every Creature’s Theme, a perennial favorite, before we both headed down the trail.

 evrycrtrthem0.jpg
I took no pictures (the one above is an old one), so you’ll have to trust me on this: the sky was that heart-piercing blue that makes you yearn for heaven. After so many days of grays, dim and shiftless, moribund muddy smudges to dark and threatening charcoals, the contrast of such an otherworldly, vivid color, heightens the sensation.
Tomorrow: FA Plans!

Making the Most of Miserable Weather…and Macros!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Busy working until midafternoon yesterday, I figured with April’s weather revisiting the mountain, there was no chance for climbing. In the morning, great dollops of snow fell, two-inch diameter clots of cottony gauze vanishing at first as they hit the ground. Throughout the day the temperature dropped, so by the time I left work the world was dotted in white. When I could see them, the conifer ridges were shimmering silver. Granular snow gyred along the pavement, the wind hurling it in dervish circles as I drove home. Winter may have left the mountains early this year, but she sent a nasty reminder of her nature so we wouldn’t forget her.

 

Cracklosis

 

Not expecting much, I made a quick run to the Measles Walls. Cracklosis seemed plausible, so I hopped on and managed to climb it, proving that it can be done wet, in approach shoes and gloves, while it snows: maybe it should be downgraded.

Arriving at the top, I walked over to the Upper Wall and set out on Hydrophobia. The gloves came off at the crux, but otherwise that went without much struggle. I walked down to the Under Wall and ascended Social Disease, scrubbing a bit along the way to clear slime from footholds. Near its top, I dropped my brush, so I went down to find it, couldn’t, so I climbed the route again. Halfway up, I spied the fallen tool, so at the top, I went back down and recovered it, then climbed the route one more time.

It began to snow again, solid bits of ice this time. I worked my way back over and down to the Lower Wall, made a last run up Measly Little Corner, then headed homeward.

Or began to head homeward. I had to pause several times along the way to take pictures of snow mingling with the fresh growth on the forest floor. The combination of vivid green and brilliant white snow crystals was irresistible. So I didn’t get many pictures of climbing, but I took a lot of close-ups of plants. Woo Hoo!

 

macro001c.jpg

 

moss001.jpg

 

macro004.jpg

 

macro003.jpg

 

macro002.jpg

 

macro001b.jpg

 

macro005.jpg

 

Love the E620!

Faceborg Assimilation

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

After finding out that all the Adirondack Climbing Info I want is on Facebook, I’ve caved to the social pressure and joined the social media fad. I’ve resisted for a long time, but with Forum Sites languishing silently, Blogs commandeered by Corporate Interests and the elite, I’ve been forced into this compromising position.

Well, okay, I also wanted to keep in touch with my family members, youth group members, and old friends, who are rapidly dispersing themselves across the planet.

CMS Dilemma

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Well, I’ve bounced back to my WordPress Blog for blogging, or something similar to it. In the meantime, I have to decide whether to dump Textpattern or spend the time making it work. Being unable to access my old articles is annoying, to say the least; struggling to format the page to look and feel the way I want it took look just doesn’t seem worth the bother. I was doing that on my own for years.

Of course, going back will require archiving what I have up on the Textpattern side (probably just copy/paste it into here), then browsing my site directories for what hasn’t been hijacked and deleted. I should do that anyway, to see if perhaps there’s a workaround.

And of course, I’ll be back where I started, trying to make the site have a consistent visual appearance, while also making it useful as an online guide to Crane Mountain’s rock and ice climbing and a depository for articles and reviews. That will also mean an increasingly cluttered main folder, as well; and a few technical problems I’ve yet to solve. Being a putz programmer, none of this will be easy.

Interesting side note, while chatting with Neil and Mike Saturday, Mike mentioned that he has an Adirondack Climber’s Facebook page up. Apparently, I’ve missed yet another boat, I’m still floating on the blogosphere, while the masses have jumped ship to social networking sites. Maybe if I stick around long enough, forums will come back in vogue…

Early on Crane

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

It’s at times hard to remember this is still April. Most of the snow is gone, even high on the mountain already. Poplar and birch have leaves out; red maples aren’t far behind. Things are about two weeks ahead of schedule; hopefully that means we get two more weeks of nice weather during the year, maybe a long, warm autumn, eh?

And yes, blackflies are terrorizing the neighborhood. I got my first eye-fly this afternoon, it took 3 1/2 hours for it to work its way out. Ugh, there’s no doubt that these things are part of the curse. I’m pretty convinced that eradication of them wouldn’t be the worst thing for the environment. For one, I think they probably cause a fair amount of death of other, much cuter animals. I figure, if blackflies cause one deer fatality (by pestering it until it becomes too weak or sick to survive), the biomass of that one deer is equal to something like a gazillion blackflies, and which would you rather keep around? Ecologists should go for that: eliminating a secondary consumer in favor of a primary one. Bring on the BTI, I say!

Insect pests notwithstanding, there has been a lot of activity lately. People have visited the Black Arches Wall several times: a couple weeks back with Jamie & Alysia, Bruce, and Brian; one short day with Tom Rosecrans, and another day, again with Jamie & Alysia, but also local climber Neil Dunkley and his climbing partner, Mike. Deservedly, this crag has begun to pull attention away from the early season fixation with the Measles Walls. With a good trail and high-quality routes between 5.6 and 5.11, this is the place to go when the days grow warm and long.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the Measles Walls are easy to ignore. One does have to pass by them on the way to the BAW, and they become a major distraction when the real quarry lies another fifteen minutes down the trail. During yesterday’s walk-in, we had a couple good reasons to pause there: Alysia wanted to tackle Hydrophobia as her first trad lead, and Neil had never experienced the unusual characteristics and climbing method of these little cliffs. So a historic occasion took place, two leaders climbing neighboring routes on Crane Mountain at the same time.

 Neil and Alysia on the Upper Measles Wall

I snapped photos as Alysia and Neil led up their respective routes, happy to enjoy the sunshine and the good company, at least until each reached the top and I could take a turn climbing. Everyone took a run on either or both routes, then we realized that daylight was wasting, packed up, and headed to the BAW.

Jamie & Alysia went ahead, I hung back with Neil and Mike to show them around, as this was their first time on the mountain. We passed the tempting boulders along the way, passed Todd’s projects wall, and came in sight of the BAW’s first section, the Isobuttress. I pointed out routes on this as we walked underneath it: Carpenter & Das, Recuperation Boulevard, Adirondack Rehab, E-Stim, all good climbs in their own right; but our main goals were farther along. Right of the Amphitheatre, Jamie & Alysia were up on the Patio; Jamie working his project while Alysia belayed patiently. Neil and Mike headed around and down to tackle Second Job, I ran around to set yet another TR on Black Arch Arête.

Neil led Second Job without a hitch, Jamie flung himself at his project with the usual dedication, while I snapped a few photos, gave advice, and helped belay. After their ascent, Neil and Mike had an appointment to make, but I managed to talk Neil into a run on Black Arch Arête before he left.

Jamie took a shot at his project; a sequency, strenuous, and technically-demanding direct start to Plumb Line. It took a long while to work out where pro could go and how it must go to be secure, where the belayer should be and how to secure him, so after much deliberation, he headed upward. It was not to be that day, he fell once at the low crux and once at the high crux, though he was able to pull the entire route clean, he has yet to link it without falls from the ground up. He is very, very close. Hopefully, he can get back out here soon and put that task to rest.

Jamie on Plumb Line

Alysia then took a spin on Black Arch Arête, climbing the entire route clean. We were in a hurry to beat sunset, so I pulled the rope after this while the two went over to climb something on the Isobuttress.

When I arrived, Jamie was just setting out to lead Carpenter & Das. This would make him the second person to lead the entire route; as no one else that I know of has done the first pitch or led through the crux roof – most have opted to go around it instead. I ran around to get in positon for photos for that event, rappeling down to stand nearby as he pulled through the difficulties.

 Jamie pulls the crux overhang on Carpenter & Das

It was getting late, and a stiff breeze did its best to remind us that this was indeed, still April, as the two reached the top and we began abseiling toward our packs and the trail homeward.

This was the first day here on Crane where I’ve spent the entire day climbing. I was tuckered out when I pulled into my driveway at 8:15pm, having been on the mountain for almost ten hours. Hopefully, we’ll all have more stamina as the day’s lengthen and we get the chance to be outside more.

Bouncing Around

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

In case it isn’t obvious, I’m currently bouncing between posts here and posts on the main website page. I’ve installed Textpattern on my main website, so now all the old links are unavailable. I could fix that easily enough, but just haven’t taken the time to do so. More importantly, and just as ignored, I haven’t yet learned how to modify Textpattern’s default layout to my liking. So yep, I seem to have two blogs on one site, all covering the same thing.