Craneanigans Part 2

I am way behind, and taking a day to catch up on blog posts. This is the second of a serious pile of backorder; despite being the third one published. Confused?

Don and friends scoping out the Amphitheatre.

Back in mid-June), Don Mellor made his first visit to Crane Mountain since that infamous rainy night in 1995 when, sped along in a State Police Car, he was escorted to the cliffs in order to rescue benighted campers. Don’s first visit, made a month or so earlier in those dark ages, ended when marauding hornets welcomed him as he struggled at the lip of a difficult overhang. Fortunately, the new millenium appears to be treating him better in these parts, and on this third go, he came away happy with the place. Happy enough to return shortly thereafter.

Steve on the sharp end of Broken Broom.

Jim Lawyer and Don brought some NH guns to Crane Mountain on the last Friday in June. They began in the Amphitheatre, with Don leading Amphitheatre Crack and Steve leading up Broken Broom.

Jim manning the belay for Steve on Broken Broom

While Rick belays Don up Amphitheatre Crack

I went up to my usual perch to snap photos for awhile, then returned to Earth as Robin came in to visit. She happily took over photog duties while I snuck a run up Pinch an Inch, then hustled back up to get pics of Steve leading Black Arch Arête. Unfortunately, I got called away off the mountain before it got far underway, so no stellar shots there.

Don, setting out on Amphitheatre Crack

Jim tells me the climb went well, the crux gave Steve plenty of pause, but he got through fine. Rick, the other NH strongman, emailed me with his opinion on the bolt situation. In brief, another bolt would feel “overbolted,” the fall as is will be long but probably safe enough.


I continue with the view that Black Arch Arête is a good route for people solid at the grade, not for those testing themselves at that level. Having done it in both conditions (I hover between being solid 5.8 and solid 5.10b leading, only getting to the latter when I’m in tip-top shape), I can attest to its fear-factor if you are unready. Don’t test yourself on this route or you may experience a lot of gravity!

Steve and Don discuss route directions, enroute to the anchors.

In any case, I did get a bunch of nice photos of the guys working the Amphitheatre. I hope they had enough fun to return some day and maybe tackle some of the really hard projects here.

Rick works his way upward 

Jim making his way up

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