Archive for April, 2012

Crane Mountain Group Day #3

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Another bushel of visitors to Crane’s southeast flank today. Valerie arrived at our house at 9:30, and before we headed up the road, Tom came along. We three headed uphill, parked at the shortcut, and headed into the woods, but not before Lauren, Scott, and Jeremy arrived. The developing squad hiked in together until reaching the far end of the TeePee Wall, where Valerie and I headed up to set a rope for her to do some route-scrubbing.

Val cleaning house on Crane Mountain 



Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

April is out for blood, enthusiastically vengeful. Maybe March, finally furious, maddened by its warm, comfy tenure, hired a hitmonth. Whatever, we’re watching this last week draw a damp, cold cut across the jubilee of climbing we had so early embraced. Yesterday’s walk to the Amphitheatre spied nothing worth climbing, and the path was polka-dotted with clumps of coagulated snow at every cliff. Whether the weather or something other is to blame for the funkiness, I’m in a moody mood.

Maybe Levon is at fault. I’ve had his craggy southern voice crooning in my head since the day he died. I don’t usually feel so linked-in to the music crowd, but this year, he and I, in one of those strange coincidences, almost met. Sort of. Which tells you just how close we weren’t. After working one of those cold Catskill guiding days, I was heading homeward, listening to a local radio station, when the announcer mentioned a concert at Levon’s place, going on that very night. I knew that concert wasn’t far away. Literally at a crossroad, I contemplated turning to hunt the place down and join in. But weariness and homesickness pulled rank and pushed me back to Thurman. For some reason, I was disappointed to miss this one. Now perhaps, I know why.

Don’t ask me what the connection is. I’m about as Yankee as they come. But I miss that man.

It surely has something to do with my erstwhile employer. I’ve banged my head against a corporate wall for three fruitless years. I made a big investment in time and money, wooing another hopeless cause. Finally admitting that it was a bad investment stings a bit. I’ve gone through the denial, the rage; now I’m floundering in the surrender phase.

Aging doesn’t help matters. This winter has been rough, in a beat-the-old-guy-with-a-club kind of way. In-the-knees, specifically. They were unhappy companions all winter, and continue nagging me now. There are several key skills my lifestyle (and career!) cannot be without, and bipedal transportation is one of them. Aching through the days puts a dent in one’s enjoyment of anything, and the foresight I’ve acquired regarding physical decay doesn’t paint a rosy picture up ahead. Ignorance, in this case, would be better, if not bliss.

All the funk will pass, soon enough. It has to. The sky will clear, it’ll get warm. My knees are responding well to therapy. I’m getting old, but I’m still able. Levon is gone, but I can still hear him singing. There’s a long list of things to do (miles to go, and all that, Mr. Frost): Lord willing, there will be time to do most of it.

New Summit Route

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The latest route is the righthand line. Sweeper & Swept Away are shown to the left.

So much sunshine had to be used. After work, I motored directly home, changed, and headed for the summit ridge. Just above the short ladder, I cut across the marsh and walked up to the Rockslide area. Here, two routes, Sweeper and Swept Away, lie on the right edge of the freshest rockslide area. Walking eastward, I came to a short face scored with a wide vertical groove and several other, narrower ones. Climbing up, fighting my way past a dead spruce to gain the ledge, I then moved a bit right to a vertical crack a few feet left of a brush-and-tree choked corner system. The crack stayed on open, steep rock, curving slightly, rightward around a bulging narrow buttress. I climbed this (felt 5.7ish), then entered an easier corner system to a brushy ledge. Rather than deal with all the vegetation, I hand-traversed right out a perfect horizontal crack onto a slab to finish. It’s about a 100′, and turns out to be better climbing than I expected.

Underworld Roof Again

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Another foray to the Underworld Roof, this time with company: Tom Lane and Peter Whitmore wanted to see this mythical beast. Rappelling down it, they were impressed. Peter decided to give it a go.

Peter starts out on his attempt.


Back for More

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Lukasz made it up late last night, looking to get some Crane Mountain climbing under his belt. We didn’t rush to get out the door in the morning: we needed a little extra sleep, and with temps well below freezing, the rock would need plenty of time to warm up. Nevertheless, we succeeded in hitting the trail by 9am. With ice crunching underfoot, the wisdom of that feat seemed overrated, but as we rounded the bend, sunshine greeted us. As usual, the southeast flank of Crane is well-protected from the wind, so despite the

Lukasz launches into the 5.10a variation of Muckraker 


Alas, Elantra: R.I.P.

Friday, April 6th, 2012

I won’t be zipping along in my snazzy lil’ blue car anymore. I knew it was decaying to the point where “safe” was no longer an applicable adjective, but I didn’t know just how deeply it had dived into the danger zone until last weekend. After seeing $1600 of needed repair work before pulling off the last wheel – and suspecting another 1K worth – we chose to get what we could out of the Elantra and buy another. No complaints about the Elantra: with 172600 miles on its odometer, it was one of the best cars we’ve ever had.

We found a used car that fit most of our requirements, its only obvious fault being an automatic transmission (I tremble in fear of CoO on that account), but having desperate need and no other appealing alternatives, it made it to the finals and won (if being driven into the ground by the Harrisons can be construed as “winning”). Introducing our new car, a 2008 Kia Rondo:

Yep, that’s Jesse Maiolo again. He must cringe every time he sees us walk in!


Crane Mountain’s 2nd Group Day and FA#3

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Another posse of climbers headed to Crane Mountain today for a sunny, albeit brisk, day of climbing. Mike P., Cheryl G., Garth B., Matt H., and I met at the shortcut a little after nine this morning, and headed to the Measles Walls. There, Mike led Social Climber, showing the Under the Measles Wall some lovin’ as the rest of his gang followed up it. While the headed over to climb Hydrophobia, Tom Lane and Ben Brooke arrived. The three of us headed deeper into the wilderness, heading toward Pinnacle Overlook.

Having pulled the crux, Tom steps left for key gear placements.


Second Crane FA 2012

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

No pictures, and certainly a less-stellar achievement than Jamie’s send of Hang Time, but it will do: I sent my first Crane Mountain project of the year. I didn’t plan to attempt the route today, but sometimes things just work unexpectedly.

Tom has been working on a project for awhile (we began fiddling with it last year), and hoped to send it today. While the line is ready enough for a try, Tom just got over a bad case of flu. He isn’t feeling sparky enough yet. After we top-roped it, he elected to give it a few more days before tying into the sharp end.

With enough time for one more effort, I looked over to the project I began working on early this year (not Underworld Roof, btw!). I knew it wasn’t clean enough yet, but it certainly was much better than our last visit. Perhaps I could manage the feat, with a bit of brushing along the way.

Suffice to say, this is a foolish idea, one I’ve succombed to before, and probably will again. It is still mucky in a few key spots, but I barely managed to squeak through to the top.

Muckraker  5.9 PG 50′
Difficult, unprotected moves getting up the first fifteen feet.
Start: 40′ right of Moehammed, Larry, & Curly, at the leftmost of 3 vertical cracks that begin at ground level and end at a right-tilted crack at head-height.
P1: Climb up onto right-tilted crack, making a delicate move to reach a good sidepull above, then reach up to a right-rising crack (1st pro). Step left to a right-facing corner, then climb up this to a stance below a bulging triangular chockstone boulder. Climb over this to a ledge, then follow a vertical crack to a sloping ledge.
FA: Jay Harrison & Tom Lane 2nd April 2012