Crane Mtn. Rock Climbing Guide: Firecamp Area

I’ve had a lot of people ask about the location of several routes at the Firecamp Area. With the development Bruce and I did over the past two weeks – and the excellent climbing between and on the cracks of this face, this is a good time to present a pictorial guide to the area. 

Firecamp Rock Routes

Combining good height and exposure with a lot of route development, the Firecamp area is a popular climbing destination. The top of the cliff lies about 200 yards west of Crane’s summit, where the cliff passes beside a ridge at the top of a 20′ high cliff. Between the main cliff and this small outcrop is a sheltered patch of conifers.
Walking around the small outcrop and breaking through this thicket, one stands about 100′ above the forest floor below. In a notch at the eastern edge of the open rock, hidden by foliage, is a rappel anchor tied to a tree. From here, a 60m rope angled slightly (climber’s) left will reach the base of the cliff near Carl’s Climb. The anchor lies where Exit Lite tops out, about 20′ right of the top of Thank You, Cindy.
One can approach the base of the cliff walking, though this is not recommended, by either:
a. cutting off the main trail where a 20′ cliff, striated with regular vertical crack lines, stands about 10 yards in the woods, and scrambling up a gully along their left edge, or
b. cutting off the main trail 100′ below the 30′ tall ladder. Walk westward for 6 or 7 minutes, until the herd path nears the top of those 20′ tall cliffs on the left.
At this point, continue west awhile, slanting up toward the foot of the main cliff. Look for a large flake leaning against the cliff at an overhanging wall; this is the start of Original Exploit.

Routes are described left to right, west to east.

1. Brighter Visions 5.6 PG
This route is about 200′ left of the large flake. It begins on a slab lying along a steep, overgrown dirt cone leading up to a cluttered corner system.
Climb the lower of two seams to the large overhang, then traverse around this to the right, passing under a higher rock buttress and battling up a vegetated gully to its right, then step out on its peak to belay.

2. Darker Dreams 5.8 PG (5.7 X)
This route takes the higher seam to the overhang, steps right and climbs through a notch to a ledge on the left side of the buttress.
Climb up the crack on the right edge of the buttress’ face, make a difficult move right to gain the narrow, outer face on the edge of the buttress, then ascend this without protection to the top.
I honestly didn’t know what I was thinking, and thought as much several times along the route.

3. Dartmouth Notch 5.8 G
Look for a cairn under a low overhang, behind a tree.
Walk up into the cluttered gully left of the cairn, climb a slab on the right to a large crack in a left-facing corner with a bulging face to the left. Climb this to a small stance, then go up through a gap onto a sloping, dirty ledge decorated with a tangle of baling wire (it hangs down on the lower face as well). Escape as desired. “Dartmouth 1974” is carved in the rock near the top.
Strongly NOT recommended.

4. Gunga Din Chin 5.10d TR
This route begins just right of the cairn under the low overhang behind the tree.
Climb the slab to the bulging outside corner. Ascend this via wide cracks to a stance below the eponymous overhang. Climb the outside corner on the left side under the overhang, and make a long reach to get around and past the overhang. Climb the steep face via the wide crack to the top.

5. Uncertain  5.6
I honestly can’t recall what I named this route. It is often wet, but when dry, it is a nice route, despite the frightening huge boulder near the top.
15′ right of the cairn, around a rock outcrop, climb the notch and up the large corner facing right. Step on or around the perched block at the top and escape left through the notch. A direct finish through the overhang is 5.10a.

6. Paltry Show 5.2 G
20′ right of the aforementioned cairn, at an inside corner. Climb the corner and work left along a ramp of flakes and ledges below Gunga Din Chin’s overhang and a steep wall until one can climb easily up to the top.

?: 5.7 G
This route was probably climbed by Neil Knitel ca. 1996, thinking he was on Thank You, Cindy. It looks really good.
Update: I finally pulled it together and climbed this notch today. It is really good! Still not sure what to call it.

7. Original Exploit 5.9 TR
Chimney up behind the flake leaning against the wall and get on top of the flake. Step up and left to reach a friable knob and climb through the notch, up a steep wall to the top.

8. Thank You, Cindy 5.7 G
Probably the best route here. 20′ right of the flake is an easy scramble to its top. Behind the flake’s right edge is an inverted V-shaped overhang with a hand crack underneath and along its right edge.
Climb up the crack to pass the overhang, and follow the left-slanting crack onto easier rock to reach a right facing corner (V1). At the corner, climb up (V2) to another inverted-V overhang, swing left onto the outside corner, and climb straight up to the top.
V1 5.3 G: Step down and climb directly left to pass the outside corner, then climb up and left on easy rock to reach the top.
V2 5.7+ PG: Before reaching the second overhang, there is another crack leading out left around the corner. Follow this, then head straight up the outside corner.

NOTE: All of the following climbs can be hybridized with each other, linking diagonal sections of one route by climbing straight up between them, much as Dairy Aire does.

9. Amid the Flood 5.7 R
10′ right and below the start of Thank You, Cindy, at a right-facing corner. Good climbing, lousy pro. Begin at a corner with a slabby left face.
Climb the corner to its end, step up on a pointed boulder on top of the lefthand face, then climb up into an open book left of the main corner. Continue up the face above, linking cracks back and forth as you work up to the top.
Update: I finally got enough nerve to climb this route without a TR; thus the probable down-grading. It is still “R” for pro: a fall at the crux would bounce into that low corner’s slabby face.

10. Carl’s Climb 5.7 PG
6′ right of Amid the Flood, at a small, slanting, left-facing corner/overhang.
Climb up the corner to gain a right-slanting crack. Use this to move up and step right onto the face, then climb up through the overhang, then up and left to meet the right-facing corner of Amid the Flood at a point where one can reach left to gain a diagonal crack. Follow this to the top.
V1: Everywhere that Man Can Be 5.7 PG
Continue straight to the top instead of following the slanting crack up and left.

11. Dairy Aire 5.5 PG
At a small corner right of the start of Carl’s Climb, left of the open-V start of Seam Ripper.
Climb up and step left to good holds running along the edge of the Carl’s Climb overhang. Step up to the crack of Seam Ripper, then up and right to the crack of Cruise Crack, and continue up, passing all the diagonal cracks. At the headwall, step up and right to reach the top.

12. Seam Ripper 5.8- PG
At the base of the open-V corner near the right edge of the main wall.
Climb up and through the corner, then step left to gain the left-rising crack. Follow this to the top.

13. Cruise Crack 5.5 G
Begin at a hand crack that ends at a small, square ledge of rock near the bottom of a vegetated gully. Climb the crack to the top.

14. Nervy 5.4 PG
Begin at the crack that fades before reaching the right edge of the face, at a small dirt ledge.
Make a few moves to reach the crack and follow it to the top.

15. Trouser Flute 5.5 G
Begin at a crack that reaches the gully beside a white birch tree.
Climb the crack to the top.

16. Exit Lite 5.5 G
Begin at the corner with a wide crack, under the headwall.
Climb the corner and follow the left-rising crack through a right-facing corner to the top.

2 Responses to “Crane Mtn. Rock Climbing Guide: Firecamp Area”

  1. Valpine says:

    The pictorial looks good Jay. Makes me want to get up there.

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