Archive for June, 2010

Recap on a Rest Day

Monday, June 28th, 2010

This weekend was a busy one. Despite one cancelled day of guiding down in the Gunks, there was enough climbing action to make a rainy Monday like this thoroughly appreciated.

Friday, 18th June: Full BAW Day

Double run to the Black Arches Wall (a.k.a. BAW) on Friday, out in the morning to meet Tom K. and TR Parallel Passage and Black Arch Arête, then back home for a short visit with Robin between her escapade to CT/RI and more local travels. Late in the afternoon, I went back out to prep for a climbing bout with Jason B.

Upon Jason’s arrival, he led Second Job with alacrity, then we moved over to Black Arch Arête, which was already set up for TR. Kevin and Val came out, and Jason helped get them established on their run of Second Job while I went to set up a TR on the newest official BAW route, Gun Show. Arriving at its base (it takes a bit to get there), I looked over my variation project and made a tentative decision to change plans slightly. Instead of TRing the standard line, I would try completing that cherry variation.

So we ended the night on a high note: sending the final project on the right-end face of the Black Arches Wall’s amphitheatre. Thursday’s feat with Matt Oakes (previous post) initiated the late-night completion of its more challenging variation, Side Show, wherein one climbs most of Gun Show’s difficult crack, then must head out right on a long, well-protected traverse to the outer corner. Just shy of that mark, the horizontal fades to a thin, unhelpful seam. A lousy foot nubbin and throw right seems to solve the problem, but pulling around feels desperately insecure. As darkness fell, Jason Brechko and I topped out and shook out tired forearms before rapping and packing for the headlamp-assisted exit.

My shoulder locked up painfully on the way out, so with two days’ guiding on the schedule, I was in serious need of some therapeutic massage by the time we reached home. Ra, back home once again, took command of that task, bringing on the pain relief. It’s wonderful to share life with so skilful a lady!

Saturday, 18th June: Guiding at the Gunks

Some sleep and all-too-soon a 4 a.m. alarm, quick cuppa coffee and on the road for New Paltz. Enough time to grab some groceries before arriving at the Gardiner (a.k.a Gunks) EMS Climbing School for the day’s work.

For the first time, I worked alongside fellow guide Jim. We had a group of six people, one of whom, Mark, climbed with me last week. Abilities ran the gamut from beginner to experienced intermediate, and it looked to be busy on the cliffs, so Jim ran ahead with Mark to secure a patch of rock for the entire gang while I finished outfitting the remaining crew. We arrived at the Ribs area, ready to go. Jim already had that route and its neighbor, Ribless, set up for TRing. I drafted Lon to belay me up the initial corner of Gorilla My Dreams, a good 5.6 intro to gymnastic-style climbing. After awhile lapping these lines, Jim led Rib’s upper pitch so we could TR that and people could rappel while I provided belays below.

Finishing that, we had plenty of time for more. Mark and Lon were climbing strongly, so we upped the ante a bit: Jim led the 1st pitch of Strictly From Nowhere while I took on the left-facing corner of Travels with Charlie. Those are very challenging; so after rigging my route (it’s a lot shorter than Jim’s lead), I went over and set a TR on a crack line right of Shockley’s Ceiling. This turned out to be quite challenging as well. The initial crack is perhaps 5.4, but the upper corner overhangs significantly on one side, pushing the grade to 5.7. Since that last bit can be avoided to the right, it makes a perfect combination for a range of abilities. Judy and Suzie opted to run the right side, while Mark and Lon tackled the left.

A full day’s worth of climbing under our belts, we stomped down Stairmaster and back to HQ. After saying good-bye to our gang, I found out Sunday’s booking was cancelled, so I headed homeward to a much-needed rest.

Sunday, 20th June: Back to the BAW

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Jamie nears the end of Critical Crimps. 

In the morning, I called to Jamie McNeill. He and Alysia were on their way up to climb at the BAW. After Sunday School, I confess I snuck out and joined them there. Still nursing a sore shoulder, I had no plans to tackle hard stuff, wanting more to just enjoy their company. I did end up cleaning Critical Crimps, which seemed to fit the bill as a challenging but not-strenuous climb: one finesse-style 5.10a move coupled with a jambalaya of 5.7 and 8 balancy moves. Great stuff. That was enough to satisfy my climbing appetite for the day; I took the belay duties over so Jamie could run a lap on Parallel Passage and work his direct start project of Plumb Line.

After thoroughly torching his digit tendons in that fire, we considered our options, and decided to play around on the project left of Parallel Passage. I had no plans to strain myself on that overhanging crux, but watching Jamie pull through the moves made the temptation too great to resist. With a few droplets beginning to fall, I tied in and headed upward. This route looks a lot harder than it actually turns out to be: hidden holds just seem to sprout from the rock as one climbs. Protection, though bomber, won’t be easy or plentiful: there are several hard moves well above gear, so a fair amount of bravado will be called for; but the line is probably on the low end of 5.10b, much easier than it looks.

By the time I finished dangling up the project, it was raining steadily. Alysia had already shown herself the wisest of the crew by heading out; Jamie and I packed up and followed suit. Along the way of our exodus, we admired the path improvements of the past day. Anyone who has hiked this route will appreciate the work put into stabilizing the loose blocks through the talus pile.

We also surveyed the growing list of route projects Todd has collected on the TeePee Wall; a couple of these look stellar. They will make excellent end-of-day thrashers for climbers heading out from the BAW early enough to tackle them. Relatively easy walkarounds for TR set-up, handy trees, lovely lines: these will be a great addition to the climbing options on this part of Crane Mountain.

Postscript

Monday is here, wet and drear; and once again a welcome wetness forces a rest and recuperation day. Looking outside, however, I note a glimmer of sun flitting between mist wads and haze. Perhaps a walk to the summit wouldn’t hurt…

Gun Show Goes!

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Matt Oakes, a climber currently living in Lake Placid, IM’d me this morning, and we decided to meet at the BAW. Last night’s rain dampened everything, but the sun was shining at 10am, so I had hopes it would be dry enough to climb something.

I left home at 11, reached the BAW forty minutes later, and began TRing my project. I felt pretty good about it; after two runs, I was pretty sure it would go. Resting after another lap, Matt arrived.

We immediately set up for an attempt. At only 30′, it didn’t take long. We sat on the ledge above, enjoying the view, then spent an hour or so TRing the line and its variant before rain drove us out of the woods.

Tentatively, Gun Show is 5.10a G 30′. I give it one or two stars. The pro is good but a bit tricky to place, and trickier to pull. It’s a good, strenuous, short workout; the traversing variant will be even better.

Livin’ @ the BAW

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

My handy, cheap digital camera is broken, and the varying weather makes carrying my fancy camera a risky business. Thus, the paucity of pictures. Hopefully, the cheapy gets repaired soon! 

OK, I haven’t quite changed my address, but I’ve been spending a lot of time out there since returning from the Gunks Monday night. It looks like I’ll have dual citizenship for awhile: weekends at the Gunks, week days at the BAW.

Monday, 21st June: Gunks

After a stint guiding over last weekend, I tarried one more day down south, to meet Bruce Monroe and tackle Directissima. The weather continued hot and clear, though not as humid as Saturday had been, so when Bruce pulled in around 8:30, it was already warmer than I had hoped. Nothing like yanking tiny sidepulls in sweltering heat.

We walked down, I racked up, and hesitantly began climbing. Directissima doesn’t give you much warm-up, it starts out with a committing, greasy layback sort of thing right away. The pro is good, so long as you oppose it, but there’s no doubt backing off would be very difficult. I managed it, but with shaky legs and quavering arms; not a good omen. Somehow, though, I settled down and continued climbing, gradually becoming steadier and more focused on the task.

Once out of the tree shade, the orange-white rock was indeed hot and a bit greasy. I didn’t dawdle, but worked up and left to that lovely little niche on the arête. There, I placed two unconsoling nuts and shook out both arms. I know the script here: fresh arms (at least my scrawny ones) are required reading for the next twenty feet. Tippy-toe reach, swing up and out right. Right toe side press, high reach to a jug, pump. Left hand in left pocket, palm up, funky undercling. Clip the pin. High feet, real high feet – since shoulder surgery, I’ve lost an inch of reach – bypass the funky jug, tips on the Promised Land, pull and clutch. High feet again, boom!, the ledge. A bit of awkwardness, getting up on it, but it’s all good. I will survive.

So too, will Bruce. He cleaned the pitch with minimal difficulty, and joined me on the ledge. We continued to the High Exposure ledge, where Bruce took over the sharp end and on-sighted its Money Pitch about as smoothly as anyone ever has.

We had time for one more route before heading home. Since Bruce had never done Horseman, we walked down and put him back on the sharp end for an on-sight of that classic line. I forced him to run the entire route, directly through the overhanging corner, and it wasn’t quite as pretty as his send of High Exposure’s crux pitch, but there were no plummets or epics involved.

Tuesday June 22nd: Back to the BAW

After a good night’s rest, I refocused on the BAW task list. It’s a long one. There are projects galore, most of which are barely started and all of which are hard, 5.9 is the easiest of the lot. I made the walk out Tuesday ambivalently. It was a hard fact to face, but I was tired. Three hot, steamy days of climbing had worn me down. Arriving at the base of my shortest project, I lay me down in the shade and rested, glancing over at that nemesistic scrawl wandering up the face nearby. Stupid thing is only thirty feet long, with a shelf 25′ up. 25′ of climbing, basically; and it kicks my butt every time. Steep, committing, and trickier to protect than it looks, I’ve flailed twice in attempts to lead the silly thing.

And it’s the variation I really want. Just before reaching that end-game shelf, a horizontal crack lies right of the vertical crack, fading out three feet away from it. A long reach in the middle of the hardest move on the “standard” line gains that horizontal, and the traverse that follows is epic: fifteen feet of good hands and lousy feet dead-end just before making the outside corner. A wild 5.10 move catches that corner, a blind sideways layback pull finishes the job. The pro is great, if you can hold on. Boy, do I want this one, all forty feet of it.

I finally rose and scrambled up the opening section of Tribulations to access the top anchor. Picadilly made me change plans at the last moment; I dropped my rope down the higher, main face instead of my project. Eatin’ Tripe & Lichen It winds up the wall here, and diverging from the original route, a thin crack moves through bulging rock to its left. I decided to look it over before ruining myself on “the project”. I have glanced over it before, but never given it a real shot.

This time, I rode down, placing directionals and cleaning the worst of the mess as I did. At the bottom, my 35 meters of rappel did not quite reach the base of ET&LI. Wow, over a hundred feet to the anchors. I began TRing my way back up. First, I found the opening moves going directly up the wide crack of ET&LI aren’t bad at all, though of course they’ll need big pro (anyone have a ten inch Big Bro?), and the transition from layback to chimney is awkward, strenuous, and dicey. Diverging from ET&LI starts out easily enough, but rapidly gets steep and tiring. There’s great pro to be had along the way, so it isn’t desperate, thank God. A scary stab fully engages one on the journey away from easy ground, and imaginative moves back and forth solve several dead-end situations. There is a final unpleasant, and slightly run-out bit to get under the big roof, but the pro below is solid enough to handle any falls, and the climbing isn’t hard, just tricky friction.

The roof is another story. There isn’t a good stance under it, just a sloping, polished slab. The overhang is cut deeply here, a wide V-notch tilted steeply overhead. Wonderful cracks offer bomber gear, and you’ll want it: the next moves are hard, pumpy, and continuous. Establishing oneself above the lip is a brutal combination of sloth-like laybacking, gorilla swings, funky toe smears, and an emergency stab, flame release hand-jam. It’ll be grand. One more run-out bit of balancy climbing will lay the baby to rest. Dunno when I’ll have all it takes to manage this one.

After a(nother) sufficient rest, I dropped the rope down my standard project and began lapping it. This time, I managed two runs without falls, with only a short rest between them. Well, maybe a middling long rest… In any case, my third attempt was a dismal, stoccato bit of pumps and hangs. I turned my attention to the horizontal crack, which still needs some cleaning.

While scraping sand out of that, a crashing in the underbrush below heralded Tom’s arrival. I met Tom while gearing up at the trailhead one day, as he and his wife were finishing up their hike of the mountain. Seeing my equipment, he asked about the climbing potential on Crane. We toured the Boulderwoods and the Measles Walls that day, and shortly thereafter Tom and Maria were testing the waters of that latter crag. Tom was curious about the bigger stuff, so I had invited him out here. After a brief – well, an hour – stint wandering along the top of the cliffs, he found me, thus rescuing me from the prospect of spending one more lame TR on the project.

I had watched Tom lead the 5.8 variation of Full Moon Fever, so I knew he could lead solid 5.8. Not feeling up to an attempt on the project, I suggested a run up Recuperation Boulevard. This he did, with minimal fuss along the sketchy starting slab (ah, what fun!). Joining him at the anchor, we switched roles. I led over to link up with Carpenter & Das, reveling in a chance to pull the roof directly once more. Get it right and this goes easily, but your first time underneath is likely to be perplexing. It isn’t an obvious move. Tom spent some time working it out, but solved the riddle without falls.

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Tom tackles the crack-crux (friction-crux lies below) of Recuperation Boulevard.

We lolled on the ledge for awhile, enjoying the view. I pointed out the profile of Black Arch Arête, we discussed the potential lying on the South Corner Cliffs profiling the southern skyline, and identifying some of the mountains in the distance east of us.

Back at the base, we decided to run over and climb Second Job. Tom led this as well, very smoothly, making excellent use of old-style gear as he placed several Hexcentrics along the way. Nice to see someone still using them regularly. Before reaching the Attic anchors, rain drops began spitting down, scattered at first, but gradually building. By the time I joined Tom in the Attic, it was beginning to look like we were in for a soaking. I fiddled with a piece of bootie for awhile before the gusting drizzle convinced me to give it up and head down. Tom’s old-school 50 meter rope barely made it to Second Job’s ramp start, but we got down without a hitch.

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Tom leads past the crux of Second Job.

We walked out in that steady, light rain, our shoes and pants thoroughly soaked by the time we reached the trailhead. We rode down to my house, rehydrated and shot the breeze for a half hour before Tom headed homeward. Great way to spend a day!

Wednesday June 23rd: BAW and MW

The next day dawned dry enough to send me back out there, but it was too damp to tackle hard stuff. I spent an hour or so scrubbing slime off E-Stim before Val arrived. Today’s schedule was a trip up Full Recovery, probably the best tour of the Isobuttress. Currently, it starts on E-Stim, working through the crux section of that route, then traverses left all the way to the anchor above Recuperation Boulevard. Then, it traverses to link up with Carpenter & Das, just as Tom and I had done. Several 5.5/6 moves make for a sustained, fun run up this section of the BAW.

Valerie struggled on E-Stim’s strenuous moves, but worked without much effort up most of the rest of the climb. She is truly coming along well. The traverse moves around the upper overhang gave her a bit of pause, but she worked those out as well, and soon we were enjoying that same view, relaxing on the ledge before rappeling back down.

At the base, we discussed options. There isn’t much else at the BAW for a recuperating climber to tackle. Val has already done Crossway, so we decided to head out to the Measles Walls and finish the day on something there. That turned out to be Cracklosis, as most everything else was pretty wet, still. Sitting in the shade of the trees, the Measles Walls don’t dry quickly once the leaves are out. Val took a couple runs on this, and wouldn’t y’know it, Tom came walking up the trail. He wasn’t in climbing mode, was just heading out to gander at the possibilities and help with the trail some. Fantastic! We chatted for awhile before obligations forced us to pack up and head homeward.

Postlogue

So, today started out rainy and wet. Finally, I’m taking care of “paperwork” (this web stuff). But the sun is shining right now, and friends are callin’ to climb. Looks like another day at the BAW….

More BAW Intros

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Special Thanks to Jessie Herrmann for the great photos!

Finally had the chance to take Praters out to Crane Mountain’s Black Arches Wall. The morning dawned overcast, damp, and drear; but by 9:30am, a strong breeze had pushed out the low-level clouds and lent some hope for drying the cliffs, so we called it a “go”, meeting around 11am for the hike in to the BAW. I coaxed neighbor Jessie Herrmann in to accompanying us and taking some pictures while we climbed.
Forty minutes later we stood below the Isobuttress, contemplating our options. Carpenter & Das was streaming. Recuperation Boulevard’s bottom slab was wet. The base of E-Stim was wet, but looking at it, I felt we could make a go of the latest addition to this cliff.
Full Recovery starts on E-Stim, pushing through its crux section, then traverses left to the fixed belay at a spruce tree mid-cliff. The second pitch ran up C&D Without, which was dry. In fact, it looked like the entire route, save for the beginning, was dry.

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Leading through the crux moves of E-Stim. 

I led up, protecting the lowermost moves in case I slipped on the damp start, climbing past the worst of the wetness to reasonably dry rock above. The left side of the wide crack was still sopping wet, but it captured all the runoff, leaving the right side dry, and I made good use of the situation by climbing over there for the most part.
The traverse was easy enough, familiar terrain by now; and in short order I was hauling up rope and belaying Ken for his turn at bat.

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Ken’s turn wrestling with E-Stim 

It was a challenge for Ken, but he made it up the crux section, then wandered over to the belay perch to join me.

Jessie had to leave as Ken finished up the route, so that was the end of the photo shoot. We all said thanks and good-bye from our various stances, and waved as she walked away.

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Ken on the traverse of Full Recovery 

Zack made short work of this, of course. He’s climbing very strongly in the gym, and only needs to develop more endurance for the outdoor stuff.

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Rarin’ and Ready to go. 

 Soon, we three were strung out near that narrow shelf, and it was time for one of us to get off and away. That would be my job: a bit of rope managment and away I went.

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At the Belay Anchors 

The upper pitch was wonderful: dry, airy, pleasant climbing. Only a few spots were wet, no place difficult, and each step opened the view wider around me.
I clipped the top anchors and the other two came up, both climbing this last pitch confidently. We three rested on the little ledge awhile before affixing a rappel.
We had heard Jessie talking to someone shortly after heading out, and soon the mystery conversationalist was revealed: Todd Paris came walking over to say hello to us. He was on the mountain working on a project for the afternoon.
I thought this might be a propitious occasion, and changed plans a bit. Ken and Zack rappeled; I remained with a rope to set up a TR on Black Arch Arête, while they went over to look at Todd’s project awhile.
Once my TR task was done, I joined the gang over by the TeePee (a.k.a. Todd’s Project) Wall. Together, we discussed our options. Ken was pretty tired, BAA was definitely outside his comfort zone; but it would be an excellent challenge for Zack. Todd took Ken out to the Measles Walls to TR Hydrophobia, while Zack and I went back to climb BAA.
That turned out well, thanks to Todd for stepping in with assistance there. Zack and I both pumped ourselves pretty thoroughly on BAA, then headed out, too late to catch Ken and Todd on the rock, as it turned out. They were already well on their way to the trailhead before we reached the Measles Walls.
Todd had already left, and we didn’t dawdle either, pulling out minutes after we last stragglers arrived at the car.
I dropped Ken and Zack at their vehicle at about 6:30pm. The sun was shining, the rain had held off, and we were safely back in civilization. Perfect day.

Ongoing Rain.

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Pretty much says it all. We climbers voluntarily go out, bruise, batter, and scrape ourselves to exhaustion for fun, and do it smiling. But hit us with four rainy days in a row – especially on the weekends – and we wail like the Israelites in the Wilderness. So coming up with reasons to be thankful for this wet spell goes against the grain, but here goes:

First, MCA graduation was yesterday, and Lord knows twould’ve been hard to pull myself off the mountain to attend it, had the weather been luscious. So without resentment, I was able to enjoy the ceremony and proud to see so many young people I know swing that tassel. Congrats to Hannah (great presentation, btw), Beffers, Scottie, Rachel, Fluffy, Shin, and the rest of the gang.

Second, it must help wash away the grime I scrubbed off El Muerte Rojo. Heh.

Third…well, it’ll make me appreciate good weather more??

So it’s a no-sun Sunday, looks rough for tomorrow again, then Tuesday dawns nicely – but I’ll be motoring to Massachusetts that day. Ugh! Maybe a desperation run to Rocksport is in my future…

Weather Woes

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

So much for Farmer’s Almanac. June will be dry. Not quite accurate from my POV.

Worked as an Spec Ed teacher sub at an Elementary school today; quite interesting work. Good kids, no rough bits; but challenging to teach Earth Science stuff with no props and very few fundamentals preplaced. How does one define “mineral” without any other complicated terms? Describing a few helps, but distinguishing them from plain ol’ rocks…

Spent the afternoon and evening working on erosion control at a nearby climbing area. Far too wet to sneak a TR in before dark. This is tough weather for rock climbing, even for someone willing to deal with a little dampness. This is a LOT of wetness.

Weekend Update

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Wonderful weekend, despite the weather.
Rushed home Friday, with a tight window between work and a meeting. I met Tim Trezise and co., 3 in total, at the trailhead, and while we packed gear, another 3 arrived to join us. The seven of us hiked rapidly out to the Black Arches Wall (a.k.a. BAW), pausing only a few moments to point out various snippets of the Measles Walls along the way.
We got to work immediately upon arrival: Peter roping up for a lead of Parallel Passage, Tim doing the same for Second Job.

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Both worked up their respective routes and were soon setting dual TRs on both their own lines and the routes next door to each. For Peter, that would be Plumb Line, a stunning crack line and currently the hardest route here; for Tim, the delicate face climbing of Critical Crimps.
I had barely enough time to fling a TR on Black Arch Arête and belay Tim on it before having to sprint out to make that meeting (a tad late, as it turns out), leaving my gear there for the good folks to carry out for me.
Saturday’s forecast was gloomy, and with no one willing to risk a day on Crane with rain, I figured to spend it working on some routes in need of scrubbing. As I began packing, a strange pair of shoes tumbled out of my knapsack. Hmmm. A quick call to Tim and the owner was divined. Peter would need to return to Crane Mountain to regain his shoes. Looking out the window, I couldn’t help but think the increasing sunshine might make his visit longer than a mere retrieval-and-run affair.
I wandered out to the Measles Walls in any case, and spent a few hours scrubbing the crud that had built up on El Muerte Rojo. While taking a break, I spied a tall, lanky figure walking toward me. Peter had taken the bait, and in reclaiming his shoes, was coming out for another bit of climbing.
We decided to climb on these short crags today, as he and the gang had danced with darkness the night before at the BAW; that and my run rendered us both a bit tired.
Peter started out on Hydrophobia, leading up this enjoyable, easy line and then stepped over to set a TR on Cat Scratch Fever.
We both ran both lines, then moved left. Peter led Full Moon Fever, then I led up El Muerte Rojo, sketching worse than ever on what turned out to be an incredibly slippery combination of moss and water. Natural Teflon, or awefully close. I fell four times getting off the ground.
That was more or less “it” for the Upper Measles Wall. We moved down to the Lower, where Peter became one more notch in the Center Line’s growing list of attempting FA’ers. We also TR’d H1N1 while there.
Our toes were aching by then, so we opted to move to the Over the Measles Wall, where we could TR the hardest line here, Resistant Strain. That rebuked us both, though Peter came very close to snagging it before we finally surrendered and headed out. Once again, home late, hungry, dirty, and exhausted: perfect condition.
Of course, Sunday dawned drear and wet, and honestly, I needed the rest!

Guide to the Lower Measles Wall

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

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It had to happen.

Guide to Over the Measles Wall goes Online

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Over the Measles Wall Climbing Routes 

Come and Get It.

Aloha Monday

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

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Thanks to Matt Hagar and Todd Paris for manning the camera while I climbed!

Monday ushered in the end of a wonderful long weekend. Fair weather marked the entire four days, and with the fortuitous culmination of Census work on Saturday, I was able to take adavantage of it every day. Described earlier, Friday afternoon was spent at Stewart’s Ledge. Saturday I played around solo at Crane Mountain’s Measles Walls, Viewpoint Slab, and Summit Cliffs. Sunday was a return to the Measles Walls with Robin and a posse of other climbers for a sociable time climbing there. Monday coaxed me out of my home turf once more.

When I left home, I noticed a slight haze, odd, since it didn’t feel particularly humid. As I drove north, the haze thickened, and soon it was obvious from tint and smell that the haze wasn’t humidity but smoke. I guess Quebec has a huge forest fire going right now, and its smoke settled thickly in the High Peaks all day long.

I picked up Todd Paris, we kidnapped Matt Hagar, and drove to Chapel Pond, then walked up to the Tanager Wall above the pond’s eastern edge. There, we started out on Brightly Colored Males, a route you want to do if only for the name, but once you get there, it’s an obvious attraction, and the easiest way up the wall. Even so, it is a challenging layback, requiring commitment to that uneasy, feet-high position that just squeals “Inverted Fall!”

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I’m just reaching the layback point of Brightly Colored Males.

TR set-up for neighboring, harder routes is pretty simple, though in the future I would bring a static line along to make it easier. The 5.9 variation of BCM is well worth a run, and the 5.12a direct finish is possibly the most possible for me of any I’ve ever attempted at that rating. I couldn’t pull it off, of course, but felt that, with a bit better conditioning and shoes, I might have. That would be a bizarre feat, indeed.

To the left, another TR set-up allowed us to sweat it out on Lifelong Affliction, a deservedly four-star 5.9, left-slanting crack, as well as the more technical lines of Tenacity and Veracity. All of these routes are short, only 50′, but well worth the trudge up Chapel Pond Gully. A few hours is all that is needed to lead one and TR all the rest.

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Todd leads the run-out start of Silent Spring.

Todd then roped up to lead Silent Spring, and we all followed to the ledge. The belay lies close to the TR anchor point for the short routes left of BCM, so this 5.5 provides an easier, albeit slightly less protectable, means of accessing the top of those routes. I led the second pitch, we all rode that one, then rappelled down and called it a day.

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Matt raps down off the Brightly Colored Males anchor.