October Rambling

Columbus Day weekend was one of the most colorful ever, with good weather from Saturday through Monday. We sandwiched a day at home on Crane with two traveling days.

View from Crane Mountain's Jammer Wall. The Isobuttress and Black Arch Arete are visible.

View from Crane Mountain’s Jammer Wall. The Isobuttress and Black Arch Arete are visible.

We took a chance with Saturday and drove to Burlington VT. Knowing the leaf-peepers would be thick as thieves, we headed out early, managing to do our own bit of scenery-seeing without joining the throngs until the last ten miles or so. Burlington was hopping with activity, though honestly I saw little of it: Robin dropped me off and I radar’d quickly to Outdoor Gear Exchange, where I spent the entire time in the town.

First, I ran down to visit Jamie McNeill. Those who know a little of the climbing history on Crane Mountain know what a central role Jamie played in transforming things here from obscure backcountry climbing into a real destination. He inspired me to get back in shape, rekindled my love for climbing, and reinvigorated new route development on the mountain and beyond.

Today, Jamie is a respected part of the OGE team, and an avid surfer and SUP paddler. More than that, he has begun building his own boards. He showed me pics of some of his recent creations, and talked about the sport he has become so involved in.

This is not to say Jamie is done with climbing. His place in life currently doesn’t yield much free time, but he misses the days on rock. We’re hoping to sneak one day sharing a rope before winter closes the rock season, and now that he lives close to Smuggler’s Notch, perhaps I’ll get up there to climb one of the long routes in that area once the ice forms.

When Jamie had to get back to work, I ran upstairs to do some serious shopping. I’ve decided to assemble a super-light climbing kit for the exploratory trips I want to do in the next few years. While I’m not a huge fan of Dyneema runners, I can’t argue the weight savings, so began by assembling 6 “alpine draws”, four of 2′ runners and 2 of 1′ runners. It’s easy to feel a difference between that handful and 6 of my “standard” quickdraws. I waffled for awhile about the rope. I’ve used the Mammut Serenity before, and have to say it is the best skinny rope I’ve tried thus far. I fully intended to purchase one, but walked out instead with a Beal model. At 48g/m and 8.5mm diameter, it’s a bit skinnier than the latest Serenity model (clocks in at 8.7, 51g/m). Initial impression is that it won’t handle as well as the Mammut, but the slight weight savings, and longer rope, is worth checking out. I rounded out my purchases with a new belay device and a few more ‘biners, and my first BD harness.

Robin arrived, dragged me bodily out of the store, and we drove home, getting lost in town in a futile attempt to take lesser streets southward, then joining a slight traffic jam as a tourist attraction closed for the day. It wasn’t bad; soon we moving along well, over the Crown Point Bridge and, after a tasty visit to Gunnison Orchards, a wonderful dinner at On the Way Cafe.

Tom took a pic of me at the top of Bella Vista. Tak!

Tom took a pic of me at the top of Bella Vista. Tak!

Sunday, Robin needed a rest, so I opted to see who was on the mountain. From the cars parked at the shortcut, there must have been quite a few, but no one was at the Measles Walls when I reached that point. I waited until Tom arrived, then we went up to the Jammer Wall to climb. Another Jay was up there, with three other folks. They were just finishing their day, having climbed both I Don’t Want No Scrubs and On the Fence; but they had all come in one vehicle, so that left several unknowns still on the mountain. After Tom and I climbed a few routes there, the sun began closing in on the mountain’s shoulder, so we decided to head back west a ways.

Tom near the top of Bella Vista.

Tom near the top of Bella Vista.

We ambled down and back to the campsite area, then up and around the Belleview Slab to climb Bella Vista. After having ignored the route all season, I’ve now done it twice in a week’s time. Gotta say, this is a great easy route to do, with a stellar view the entire way.

Bruce sets up a TR on Moss Island, Little Falls NY

Bruce sets up a TR on Moss Island, Little Falls NY

Monday, Robin and I picked up Tom early in the morning for a run to Little Falls’ Moss Island crag. We were met there by Bruce Monroe, who cut his teeth on the rhyolite cliffs there and continues to call it his home crag.

Tom tops out on Moss Island, Little Falls NY

Tom tops out on Moss Island, Little Falls NY

We all had a great day there. Bruce knows where to find good climbs for every level of difficulty possible there, and kept Tom, Robin, and I (as well as himself) busy – and all-too-often pumped – all day long. Tom’s first visit to this crag was tough, so this was a welcome, and successful rematch.

We would take a leisurely drive home, stopping for ice cream at Royal Mountain Campsite, then an excellent dinner at the Chinese takeout in Northville, before calling it a weekend and settling in for a good night’s rest.

2 Responses to “October Rambling”

  1. pcerone says:

    All sounds like a very nice weekend. I’m hearing the land sold , is this true?

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