Visiting the Empress

Robin and I had the day off, and since it looked like the pick of the litter this week, we decided to make the most of it, head for the High Peaks, and climb for awhile. As we pulled off exit 30, Robin decided to head for Chapel Pond Slab and climb The Empress. We had been there earlier this month, during the terrible hot spell, and consequently, had turned back after two pitches.

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This time, the weather was spot-on wonderful. We climbed in sunshine the entire time, a strong breeze (OK, at times really strong wind!) kept us cool and the bugs away. We passed our previous highpoint in no time and continued, pitch after pitch.

We didn’t have to rush, either. One other pair of climbers climbed the Regular Route while we moseyed up our chosen line. Where all the summer climbers are is a mystery to me, especially when the weather is good after so much bad stuff. Maybe the Ironman scared them all away.

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We tarried at the belays, snapping pictures (I dragged my camera up the entire slab) as we ascended, snacking at the wooded ledge just below the crux crack, and in general making it a nice, laid-back affair.

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Despite our relaxed pace, we made the top in good time. Ra was psyched to get there.

Of course, we forgot to carry our shoes along, so rather than attempt the walk-off in climbing shoes, we opted to rappel. With a short rope (don’t ask), this took about as long as the climb up, and was a bit frustrating. Definitely bring shoes and use one of the walk-offs if you climb the Slab. Regardless, we managed the feat (and Ra learned how to rappel) without incident.

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After that long adventure, we headed for the Noonmark Diner for a great dinner and dessert. Perfect.

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