The Season Rolls On

Yuki leads up Action Steps while Shane takes the sharp end on Stand Your Ground

Yuki leads up Action Steps while Shane takes the sharp end on Stand Your Ground

Our last article presumed the season’s imminent end, an event which usually comes before December here in the North Country. Despite ominous Almanac forecasts of a long, cold winter, we are still enjoying weather warm enough to make a day of rock climbing enjoyable. In fact, fifteen people lugged their gear to the Upper Walls and queued up for route after route, pushing the comfort boundary well after the sun ducked behind the mountain’s shoulder and the mercury began to drop.

Erika and Doc on Firecracker

Erika and Doc on Firecracker

Keeping tabs on the forecast, the climber network buzzed as the weekend approached. A lot of people showed up at 9:15 am, somewhat amazed at the sunshine shimmering on Crane’s flanks, having driven through dense, clammy fog on their way up. Mike P. and Mammut arrived at our doorstep, followed closely by several more climber-stuffed cars. Paul, Shane, Jay (another Jay!), Scott, Yuki, Mike H. stopped briefly to discuss the day’s itinerary, then we all headed uphill.

erika_uphigh

Erika up high on Firecracker

Erika, Jeremy, Doc, and Liam had already passed the house, so that made at least twelve people wandering the mountainside. With Tom likely to show up later, we would have a party of thirteen at and around the Jammer Wall.

VT Jay gets the first send of the day on Action Steps

VT Jay gets the first send of the day on Action Steps

Action Steps became the route of choice for the day. At least four people would tie into the sharp end for that route before cooling temperatures forced a retreat.

Yuki and Shadow leading up Action Steps

Yuki and Shadow leading up Action Steps

That didn’t stop the fun on other menu options: Stand Your Ground got some lovin’, and several other routes saw at least one lead: Jammer Direct, Firecracker, Animal Farm, Jug Tug & Jam, and pitch three of Provando. Jay (the “other” Jay) even TR’d a lap of Goosesteps after taking a spin up On the Fence, another route that several people climbed during the day.

Shane leads up Stairway to Heaven

Shane leads up Stairway to Heaven

Doc topping out on Reproof

Doc topping out on Reproof

Reproof had a big share in the action. Located as it is smack-dab on the rappel line, it is a trivial TR setup after climbing one of the nearby routes.

Paul preps to lead up Provando's third pitch while Mike P. belays for the crowd on Reproof

Paul preps to lead up Provando’s third pitch while Mike P. belays for the crowd on Reproof


 

VT Jay rises above pitch 2 of Stairway to Heaven

VT Jay rises above pitch 2 of Stairway to Heaven

After taking pictures for awhile, VT Jay inquired about the link-up leading from the East Path back up here, so rather than just describe it, we two grabbed a rope and rack and went down to do it. We linked the first two pitches of Stairway to Heaven, a tricky maneuver but practical with sufficient runners and judicious pro placement. VT Jay took the sharp end for Fireworks, quickly decoding its opening moves, nearly sprinting through the low-angle middle, and eating up the fun on the final prow.

VT Jay tops out on Fireworks

VT Jay tops out on Fireworks


 

Doc wraps up the queue of leaders jogging up Action Steps

Doc wraps up the queue of leaders jogging up Action Steps

In less than two hours, we were back at the Jammer Ledge, joining what had swelled to a population of fifteen, with the addition of three climbers from the Saratoga area. Erika had swapped duty with Jeremy and descended with Liam. Jeremy and Doc were already ticking off one route after another. They would run through about half the Jammer Wall’s routes in under two hours, with one or the other leading Jammer Direct, Animal Farm, Jug, Tug, & Jam, Provando’s third pitch, and Action Steps.

Nearby First Amendment and Saratoga also had leaders plugging away during the day, the latter providing at least two leads, the former led by Tom and followed by a couple subsequent partners before calling it a day. I’d not managed to get down to the Second Amendment Wall to take pictures, but I’m told Mike H. made his lead memorable, and that, following her lead of Action Steps, Yuki was primed perfectly for climbing First Amendment. The one certainly is good preparation for the other.

Unexpectedly, we enjoyed one of the best climbing days of the year, a week deep into December. Thank you to all who came out, for the safety, camaraderie, and enthusiasm you have for Crane Mountain. Who knows? Maybe next weekend…

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