Archive for August, 2010

Tom Sends Project

Sunday, August 29th, 2010


Thursday broke the spell of dampness that had shrouded Crane Mountain – and much of the Northeast – since Sunday. I headed out along the BAW path, intent on doing some much needed path work in the morning and perhaps top-roping something in the afternoon if conditions allowed. I called Tom Lane to let him know I was heading out that way, just in case his line was dry enough to tackle.

Tom’s line was quite wet in the morning, so that looked to be a nonstarter, but I was able to get a lot of work on the path done, and during that work, the sun shone and a good breeze filtered through. By noon, it wasn’t dry, but it was probably good enough to give it a go. Another call (love that reception out there!), but he wasn’t home, probably doing chores or something.

Or walking in to the project: a half hour later, Tom came in, gear and all. He looked over the conditions and declared it feasible. This was all a Good Thing, since my plans for the weekend had radically changed moments earlier (hate that cell reception out there!). I would be away for most of the weekend, now, so the attempt would have to be today or next week.

A little tidying up around the base and we were ready. Tom racked up, tied in, and began climbing. The damp section was, fortunately, easy going; past the “first crux” the line was dry. It was a bit harder than usual getting past that point, but not terribly so, and at the last stance, Tom pulled out a handy scrap of towel and cleaned his shoes before launching through the difficulties above.

Like Todd’s a couple days earlier, the FA was clean and efficient; Tom sketched on only one move, but held it together and finished well. Oddy’s Crack of Horror goes at 5.10b G, is 45’ long, and is named for a cat with multiple claws and temperament to match – so take a guess what that final crack feels like.
Highly recommended.

Todd Sends Project

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010


It stood there alongside the BAW path for over a year: that enticing crack running up and slanting right, cleaned and ready. So long, in fact, the wall garnered a name – the TeePee Wall – from its state of affairs, a set of projects Todd meticulously cleaned, planning to send, before winter weather and life got in the way.

Yesterday, weather and schedules coincided. Despite the long spell of rain, Tom Lane, Todd, and I hiked out individually, met at the Black Arches Wall, then headed back to the TeePee Wall for a look. Tom’s project, one of Todd’s erstwhile lines, was streaming a thin veneer of slop down its lower half. That would have to wait for another day. But with his target route dry enough, Todd opted to take a stab.

After a little tomfoolery, dangling on variations of the route on TR, we pulled gear (directionals are needed for a TR, lest ropes get damaged. Don’t ask!), Todd racked up, Tom took over belay duties, and I headed up to play photographer.


Rest Stance above the crux of Peney for your Freedom

It took very little time, went smoothly, and in a few minutes was settled in stone. Tom tied in the middle and ascended, while I rappelled and waited my turn on rope’s end. We sat on top, cheering for the occasion and congratulating Todd, then went back down and spent an hour or so dangling once again on a ludicrously hard variation.

Todd named the route Peney for your Freedom, in memory of a fellow climber killed in Afghanistan this year. It goes at 5.8+ G, is 40′ tall, and rates 3 stars. Near its top, a short, vertical crack offers a direct finish that goes at 5.9+ TR, while to its left, between it and English Channel, is a line that weaves up the face, occasionally snitching holds from Peney, to finish up in the shallow scoop at the top at 5.11b TR.

Recommended – just be careful if you utilize a TR. The rock texture is like coarse sandpaper. It has already destroyed one rope from a poorly-constructed TR set-up.

Now, if only the weather would dry up enough for Tom to send that sadistic little crack line off the right end…

Crush Time!

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

This happens every year, and it still catches me by surprise. Summer season may start at the end of June, but in reality it’s pretty slow until the end of July. Then, things switch into high gear suddenly. August whizzes in, leaving me with that “Where did July go?” sensation, and it’s a rollercoaster ride for a month and a half.

A guiding schedule that was bleak (to put it mildly) is now a hectic back-and-forth between Lake Placid and the Gunks, with occasional visits home. The driving and the nights away are rough. When I am home, there are dozens of things to catch up on (this blog being one of them), phone calls to make/take, planning for this year’s Southern Adirondack Rockclimbers’ Festival, chores to ignore do, and family to settle in with for a few moments.

I’m not complaining. Whining a little, perhaps. But overall, I’m a very blessed man. Wonderful wife, fantastic children. Great office.

And not all the busy things are business. Business-related, by sheer dint of me being a rockclimbing guide. It’s my job to scope out new areas, to try out new climbs, to explore strange new rock formations… Or at least my job is a weakly viable excuse for these things.

Progress continues on Crane
I sent my last project, Torcher, in the middle of July, with Jason Brechko. That route troubled me for a month; but somehow, I always seem to get inspired when Brechko shows up. Like Side Show, we managed squeaking that one in late in the day, with no time for anything else.

Jamie McNeill had the same outcome with his project, the line left of Parallel Passage. He sent it handily with Alysia and a Vermont friend cheering him on. Not sure of the name yet, but it’s probably 5.10b PG.

Michael Gray accompanied Mike Prince to the TeePee Wall and sent Todd’s erstwhile leftmost project, a 5.10a (5.9+?) line with a tricky pro placement at the crux. He dubbed it English Channel, because it lies west of Paris’ ongoing project (that right-slanting crack next door).

Tom Lane joined the FA antics by cleaning and sending the thin crack that joins a “trough” higher up, left of E-Stim on the Isobuttress. Lane Change goes at 5.10a. Attempts were made at the seam to its left, but aborted after much shredded skin and blood loss. There’s a project up for grabs. Anyone?

My new route searches are taking second fiddle to the SAdkRF. As are most things. Please keep checking the website for updates on that, as it’s an important, fun event for climbers in this area.