Archive for May, 2011

Deluge 2011

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Well, we’re home. The car isn’t; won’t be for awhile, but it’s close. Sky High Road is accessible, albeit by an 18-mile detour and several iffy swatches along the way. Currently, the only way to get to Crane Mountain is via Wevertown/Johnsburg, swinging around the entire massif via the long end of Garnet Lake Road. The “south end” of Garnet Lake Road is, first off, difficult or impossible to reach directly from Warrensburg, and it has a problem: the bridge below between L. Cameron’s and E. Russell’s is washed out. A 25′ wide, 10′ deep hole now resides in its place.

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What a mess. But wait, there’s more. If one should manage a hop across that gap, Sky High has one of its own:

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Then, there is the washout section, which just happens to be its worst right at my driveway. This was generated by the culvert above my driveway clogging up in conjunction with my neighbor’s culvert overflowing. In these scenarios, Sky High Road and Glen Creek merge; with the creek invariably winning.

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There’s more up the hill, but the neighbors told me this was the worst spot and the only “impassable” one. After a few hour’s work with them, we managed to “reca-passitate” it and get one of their less burly vehicles down to Garnet Lake Road. Which, Robin discovered, is passable now from the other direction (coming out in Johnsburg near the post office, an 18 mile trip from the church), so Crane Mountain is “open” once more. Unfortunately, the fix didn’t connect my driveway to the outside world, so it looks like that will be my chore for tomorrow.

Pastor Herrmann measured 3 1/2″ of rain in one hour. It all had to go somewhere, and in doing so, it took a lot of Thurman Roads along with it.

The house seems to be no worse than ever, though Robin just reported a flying squirrel in our bedroom. Ah, the joys of country living!

Vermont, Along Rt. 100

Friday, May 6th, 2011

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We’re here in Vermont, taking in the sights. So far, a lot of the idyllic Vermont countryside, some rugged, schist-sided hillwalking, and a search for moose, in vain. We did however, see a lot of signs, including of course the ever-popular “Moose Xing” ones. But also:

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We stopped at a pretty waterfall, where we noticed an old, abandonned log road skewing up toward the top of the falls. Away we went, up that old road. Near the height-of-land, I noticed the mega-scat littering the ground and saw the deep impressions left by the moose’s tracks.

We pressed on, slightly apprehensive, as the log road turned to follow along the stream. After awhile, we came to a fresh line of red paint blazes running uphill away from the creek, and since it looked like we might get a view from up there, chose to follow the blazes.

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At the top of the ridge, we didn’t have an open view, but we did find one more sign of our elusive giant quarry. An old rub gave us some idea of just how tall these critters are.

The paint marks led us down the ridge via a steep, damp slope, often cluttered with pieces of schist or obstructed by small cliffs of the stuff. No climbing on these crumbly, sharp-edged outcrops, the ones we walked by were too mossy, wet, and broken to make any attempt.

However, as we drove farther north along Highway 100, I did spot one sweet-looking crack beside the road. It looked as if somebody has cleaned it up recently, and I think it is on public land (no trespassing signs, anyway), so perhaps someday I’ll get back and take a shot at it.

We made it pretty close to Montpelier today, ate great pizza at the Zachary’s in Waterbury, then walked it off on 3 miles of the Waterbury Recreational “trail” (really,walking along a couple back roads). Tomorrow, we’re heading to the capital and the surrounding environs for another day of touring and hiking. Maybe we’ll get to see that moose.

Filling in Between the Lines

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

We’ve added a variation to the first pitch of Recuperation Boulevard. Two, actually; one a good alternative lead that ups the ante by one grade without greatly changing the protection level, the other a good TR option.

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Tom leads the 5.8 variation of Recuperation Boulevard (yellow). The green arrow shows the 5.10d TR move. 

It began last Saturday, while climbing with Tom. After a run up Recuperation Boulevard’s  standard line, we both thought a variation heading directly up the face above the casket-sized alcove might be possible, so we shifted the anchor to the right and began working the line. Both of us flailed away heartily at different ways to climb the steep face without success. I could see that it would be possible if we allowed the initial start up the flaring chimney, but excluding that option, we couldn’t manage the feat, and after torturing ourselves for an hour or so, let it go for awhile.

Monday came, with no calls to keep me busy, so I decided to risk a drenching and head out to the BAW. After a few hours’ work scrubbing and tidying up a winter’s worth of clutter, it still hadn’t rained, so I headed up Full Recovery. Rigging the rope at the top, I heard Tom’s halloo below. Rappelling down, we had a handy top rope set before I touched down at the bottom, so we began working the variation once more, and once more got shut down. I pulled the rope and we decided to give the easier method a shot on lead.

Tom set out, and without any real difficulty, reached the anchor. His lead adds a nice 5.8 option to the route, and of course, gave us one more chance to find a solution to that lower bit.  This time, Tom switched feet on the key hold and pulled off the move, albeit barely. It looked way too stretchy for me to manage (Tom is 6’1″, I’m 5’5″). On my turn, I flailed away at an intricate set of crimp and bump moves, and after awhile, thought it might go in one shot, but no amount of trying could link all those tenuous moves. I finally took a lesson from Tom’s playbook, and managed to emulate his line. At 5.10c or d, it’s a strenuous, tenuous move, but it goes, at least on TR. Without contriving protection via the regular line before tackling the move, a fall would result in one’s back would hitting that alcove, so we deemed it better to remain a TR variation.