Archive for April 19th, 2011

More About Tom’s Crags

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

The plural form is correct, btw. While there isn’t a lot of tall to any of the crags, there’s a lot of small outcrops with one or two potential lines worth investigating. We walked the public access route today, in part to get an idea of the time involved approaching these cliffs (1+ hr. to the farthest ones), and in part to get a more complete picture of what is available. Turns out, there is one more small crag between the tall one we found last week and the public access point.

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This crag lies closest to public access. On the right, it continues about 70′, directly away from the camera. 

 It isn’t grand, but I think there is room for six or seven lines, two or three of which would provide decent climbing.

We had come in above this cliff, so when we hit the Main Wall, Tom stayed by it to look around, while I traced a lower path backward to look at the cliff. Returning to him, I passed this boulder along the way. It’s a good sign that you’re five minutes from that main wall.

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Big boulder, plenty of room for sending action. Any takers?

We didn’t spend a lot of time at the main wall, we had already done that last week. Suffice to say, there’s room on this cliff for a dozen routes, spanning (my guess) from about 5.6 to 5.ludicrous. I estimate it is 80′ tall.

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The tallest section of the main wall. Some very tempting possibilities here. 

Heading back to Tom’s Main Wall, we stopped first to reinspect a small cliff for its potential.

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Tom snapped a pic of me during a close inspection of the cliff.

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There is room for 5 or 6 routes on this little crag.

It was Tom’s turn to walk around awhile. I’ve been fighting a bug and was feeling lackluster by then. Tom looked his main cliff over closely, noting that the rock was already dry, despite the rain last night and the cold, damp conditions all day. Earlier posts show these cliffs, so I’ll forego more pictures. 

So there’s a lot available here. Two of the cliffs reach close to 100′. Both are very steep. There are at least a dozen outcrops taller than 30′, probably more like twenty, and a few of these are 50′ or more at their highest. In addition, there are several good boulders, though these are not clustered together tightly. To date, we’ve led two routes, top-roped one other successfully, almost got another on TR, and got thoroughly spanked one more. Plans are afoot to lead a few of these and TR several more lines. I’m psyched!

Making Lemonade…

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

…when life hands you lemons. Winter just won’t let go this year. It seems to be cold all day, every day, with frequent rain and snow. Still, we stout-hearted Adirondack climbers are making the best we can of the situation.

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Todd Paris, the man, the myth, the… missile.

Todd Paris came up to climb Monday. It snowed overnight; Crane wore a thin white veil with fresh icicle trim. Flurries cavorted in the gusts as we walked obstinately out to the Height-of-Land Walls. Arriving at the 5.6 variation to Raindance Roof, a short bit of ice-coated rock at the start greeted us. Undaunted, we climbed the route anyway, tensioning across the glazed section before finishing the route in normal fashion.

At its top, we hauled our packs and struggled up the hillside to Blueberry Ledge. Everything was wet or icy or both here, so we moved left, around the base of the Eyebrow Overhang to the project Todd started working back in December. Hints of sunshine flickered once or twice as the wind tore the clouds away momentarily. Perhaps this was a good sign.

Todd roped up for an on-site attempt. I looked up the line: a nice crack led up to a slanting ledge, beyond that, a slab, several of those knobs Crane is famous for speckled along its length, led in fifteen feet to an obvious weakness. Above that, the angle appeared to ease. Getting onto the slab looked to be the crux. Except for a decrepit stump, I could see no pro for that move, nor any for the entire slab’s length. It looked dirty and damp, given last night’s weather, it certainly was.

No matter, Todd headed up, moving easily up the crack, placing one cam in it, to the ledge. Having nothing else, he slung that stump, which flexed visibly when he tested it. He toyed with the next moves for awhile before committing to the step up, moving flawlessly onto the slab. A hidden horizontal provided real gear, allowing him to gain a quick six feet more, but the going got tough again. The knobs diminished for a body length; Todd could stretch to reach a sloping one above his head, but his feet would have to use more subtle purchase, all of it dirty. He brushed and scrubbed those dimples as best he could, eyeing as he did the alluring safety of knobs galore just beyond his reach. A few false starts, and then he committed to the moves. He stepped firmly on the slab and moved up a bit more. He stood just out of reach of those big knobs, one move away, his last pro six feet below. Finally, Todd stepped up, smearing lichen-covered, sloping rock, straining to reach those holds.

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Todd attempting his project in wet conditions. He made it about 6′ higher. 

Suddenly, he was off, sliding to the horizontal that held his pro, tumbling head over heels, and bouncing across the ledge system onto the slope below. I was yanked six feet upward, coming to a stop just a few feet lower than Todd did. In all, Todd had fallen twenty feet. His last piece held firm, and miraculously enough, the bounce had probably saved him injury from hitting that ledge.

We weren’t about to try that trick again, so we took the smart way, walked around, and spent awhile scrubbing wet crud off the route before taking turns TRing it for fun. It’ll be there for another day, and now it isn’t quite so mucky at the crux.

The hints of sunshine had passed, once again flurries were swirling in the air. A breeze kicked up, making those low-40s seem much colder. We both decided to head lower on the mountain. Those Measles Wall routes seemed like a good place to wrap up the day. We walked down the BAW path to the Upper Measles Wall, and I led Hydrophobia, then set a directional over Cat Scratch Fever. The flurries were quickly coalescing into real snowfall as I descended.

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Todd sets out on Hydrophobia.

Todd cleaned Hydrophobia, then we took turns on Cat Scratch Fever. By the time Todd’s turn for the latter route came, snowmelt was beginning to slicken the rock – which makes 5.9 friction quite difficult.

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Clawing his way up Cat Scratch Fever. Yeah, that’s snow, lots of it.

It had become ludicrous to continue. We deemed ourselves done for the day. Enough lemonade already, let’s get on with Spring!