Winter, Once Again

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The weather turned nasty over the past two days: first, a rain-filled Saturday, accompanied by a declining thermometer, leading to the second, a cold, blustery, snowy Sunday.
Scheduled to work in Lake Placid, I made the drive this morning ambivalently. It was cold at home, not just windy-cold, but low-temp cold as well, and the farther I drove north, the worse it became. The high peaks were swathed in white from base to peak. Soon, the roadside was, as well, from exit 30 onward, snow covered the ground. Cascade Pass was cloaked in a thick crust of ice, the road was downright hazardous. My ambivalence changed to pessimism. Practise Slabs? Nope, wet and icy, and worse, the wind was outrageous there (no surprise, that). King Philips Spring or Deadwater Cliffs would be the only options I could conjure up any hope of climbing.
I arrived at the store as the manager, Dennis, was opening up. We chatted as he did his morning tasks and I prepped for a guided trip I wasn’t even sure would happen. Just in case, I called Matt, who was indeed on his way. I would have to think of something. Turns out Matt is from Saratoga – should have asked him earlier! Knowing the Measles Walls would be out of the wind and get any sunshine the day might offer, I suggested we head right back south and climb on Crane today.
Away we sped, both of us back in the direction of home. An hour and a half later, we were hiking out to the Measles Walls. We climbed Cracklosis, both variations of Scared for Life, then moved up to H1N1, and finally over to Hydrophobia. Matt flashed Cracklosis, struggled on the variations but made it up both of them, torqued his toes past tolerance on H1N1, then sailed up Hydrophobia. Not bad for his first day outdoors, especially considering the chilly temp and frequent bouts of sleet we climbed through. We ran a couple rappels on our last route and called it a day. Walking out, we noticed the wind increase as we neared the Boulderwoods – the Measles Walls really do provide foul-weather harbor for desperate climbers – then Matt said good-bye and headed homeward. I finished organizing gear and did the same. The wind blew, snow swirled, the mercury plunged, but we had made the most of the day regardless.

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Oops, saved this at the wrong size. Looks like no biggy? Matt is at the top of Scared for Life’s left variation. The picture links to another that puts him in perspective. 

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Crane Mountain saves the day. This place is truly amazing.

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