SAdkRF 2015: Abridged but Beautiful

Some of the Gang enjoying the nice weather of Saturday, SAdkRF 2015

Some of the Gang enjoying the nice weather of Saturday, SAdkRF 2015

Rain cut a day from the festival (again) this year, but we were fortunate to have sunshine for the start, and fair weather for all of Saturday.

As I made my way up the East Path, the first people I met were Mike and Jody, beginning their day at the Upper Measles Wall. We chatted awhile before I continued upward. Moe Corrigan caught up with me before long, and since he was solo, came along to see the action at the Upper Walls.

And action there was. Many of the attendees elected to start their day here. Heather was already working toward the 5.9+ crux of Jammer Direct, a party I’d not yet met was sneaking a line to their right, Provando’s third pitch was a busy avenue, and around the corner, Action Steps and Stand Your Ground were both receiving constant attention. Moe and I hitched a lift on the latter route, then headed down to the Provando Wall, the cliff below, which no one had yet laid a rope on. While he and I TR’d both Provando’s first pitch, Riprovando, and Fireworks, some of the folks above filtered down to the Second Amendment Wall. Here, Tom Lane had established the now-classic eponymous route in 2012, and this year he, Mike Prince, Paul Cerone, and I had filled in the blanks on either side of it. Three more routes and a major variation ply the rippling steep slab here, all of them worthwhile pursuits. The standout among them – though each is highly recommended – would have to be Mike’s day-old send on the left side, First Amendment. Easier than its older sibling, but more sustained, this route runs a 150’ single pitch up constantly challenging, lovingly cleaned terrain. On the other side, Garth had already run the gauntlet of Second Helping, which finds a way past the dirt strip right of Second Amendment and ends up passing through the upper overhang with similar difficulty. There is a variation, Short Change, that is perhaps a tad easier, certainly for anyone who is short, but not greatly so: that final obstacle remains hard for all sizes. In the meantime, Paul Cerone took the opportunity to revisit his three-star send here, Saratoga. At 5.8, it might seem to be a much easier option, but its crux is both committing and strenuous. To its right, Mike and Jody had come up and TR’d the oldest route on this crag, Solar Grace.

Keith and Kevin had headed farther inward to the Long Play Wall, where they climbed Moehammed, Larry, and Curly. Nate and Gerlinde would join them there to climb Long Play itself before moving on to the BAW. Keith and Kevin eventually worked their way over to the Diagonal Ramp Wall to ascend a bevy of the strenuous crack routes there.

When Crane first hosted the Festival in 2009, the Black Arches Wall was the showcase venue, and it continues to draw attention for its steep, challenging lines. Nate and Gerlinde headed there after their warm-up on the Upper and Long Play Walls, and there Nate dispatched Crane’s premier route, Black Arch Arête. It began to drizzle as Garth roped in to follow the route. In the Amphitheatre, Jim Lawyer and Dave Buzzelli worked on Four Ounces to Freedom, Michael Farnsworth’s epic project that stood for several years as the hardest route on Crane. Jim and Dave confirmed the grade at 5.12d; so while Dave has since upped the ante here with his 5.13a, The Drop, Four Ounces remains one of the elite routes here. Allison Rooney and Adam Crofoot were also at the BAW. Allison tackled one of Crane’s sleepers, Torcher, a demanding, sustained 5.10a on the Tripe Buttress. Peter and Erin came out and climbed the somewhat notorious Parallel Passage, the long, steep layback route in the middle of the main face.

Moe, Bruce, and I had in the meantime opted for friendlier fare. We’d descended from the Upper Walls and worked our way back west before walking up to the Belleview Slab, where we met Justin, Mike and Doug, who were working their way up Belle Bottom Crack. We set a line near the center by Glee Club Crack, top-roped Belleview, then shifted to the left side to play on all three routes there: O’Tom’s Tick Twister, Discovered Check, and Giucco Piano. Friction is the name of the game at this crag, with an emphasis on 5.8 moves, but a range running from 5.3 to 5.10c; an excellent destination for a crew with a wide range of abilities and skill.

Moe makes his way up Discovered Check

Moe makes his way up Discovered Check

Justin and company moved along even farther west, to the newly-minted Springfield, where Mike led his first trad routes: Homer and Marge. Springfield is a crack-riddled, 65’ tall slab on the western fringe of this neck of the woods. While it is quite a hike to reach, it is Crane’s most scenic beginner’s crag, boasting several easy, well-protected routes, and a great view from the top.

We gradually tuckered out and decided to head for home, but most of the folks who came out remained until the drizzle strengthened to a light rain late in the afternoon. There would be no campfire, and Sunday was a washout, so Friday and Saturday were all we got. But it was worth it, it was a fantastic time on Crane Mountain. We had a total turnout of 41 for the Festival this year.

Thank you to all who came despite the gloomy forecast and limited time to climb. Special thanks go out to Calvin Landrus of SRCFC for sponsoring the primo breakfast, and Peter Whitmore and Erin Carter for putting their heart and soul into preparing it.

NEXT YEAR: Rocksport Hosts the Lake George Region

Tom Rosecrans has committed to hosting the 2016 Rockclimbers’ Festival at the Rocksport Gym in Glens Falls. The popular cliffs of Shelving Rock, Sleeping Beauty, and Buck Mountain lie nearby, and the local explorers have uncovered some new, awe-inspiring crags as well, so there will plenty to do when the time comes around. See you next year!


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