Underworld Roof Again

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.

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Peter starts out on his attempt.

Alas, it was not to be long before he took to aid. Peter made it up the side of the book – which is harder than it looks – then made the traverse, or at least most of it (which is 5.10), before resorting to hangs, pulls and foot-slings to get up the crack itself. Like me, he isn’t an aid climber, so it took awhile to get the hang of it (pun intended), but within a few placements he picked up a rhythm and moved along well. Occasionally, he would attempt a free move along the way, but it was just too pumpy to get far. Rather than chock whippers up on Tom’s new rope, he would return to aiding.

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Testing a free move or two along the way.

The consensus is that most of the moves are well within our capabilities, but any two or so in a row are not. With sixteen feet of overhanging crack, after a committing 5.10 traverse, and a final surprise stumper at the top-out, there’s no way we are going to get this cimb done ourselves.

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Peter rests after crashing down attempting the top-out 

The final move completely stymied Peter. He struggled for an hour, even taking one good fall, trying to make one last step onto easy slab. Eventually, he had to concede defeat just that shy of getting the aid FA, lowering down. We had to walk around, which was no mean feat, then drop the rope again. I reverse-aided the pitch as I lowered, then cleaned it as Pete and Tom yarded hard on the rope almost every step of the way.

I gave that final move a try myself, and needed a spate of falls and a fair amount of rope tension to make it. I estimate it to be hard 5.10, something few would want to do after the difficulties below.

So the roof remains inviolate. Any 5.11/12 climbers looking for a project in the Lake George vicinity?

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