Archive for the ‘Climbing’ Category

2017 Rock Season Recap

Thursday, April 12th, 2018
Buildering on the ruins of a 14th Century Castle in Europe

Buildering on the ruins of a 14th Century Castle in Europe

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… or so says Dickens, and 2017 would echo this assessment. Similar to 2016, there would be a plentitude of ups and downs, highlights to savor and low points to endure. But for me, this season’s bright spots far outshone the bad times. Certainly, there are disappointments; but life is replete with them. No matter who we are or what we do, we are just not capable of doing it all. What I did accomplish this year makes it a banner one by any measure. (more…)

2016 Rock Season Recap

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

This is a post that sat in the Drafts pile for over a year.

Several places to review for 2016; sadly many of them are not-yet ready for disclosure. Expect changes in the next couple years to reveal what amounts to several years of activity.

Crane Mountain

This one won’t go down in the record books, at least not for Crane Mountain or me. It wasn’t a bad year, as things go, with a sprinkling of decent new routes, a lot of cleanup, and it seems, Crane’s continuing evolution into climbers’ consciousness as a bona fide Adirondack destination. But many projects remain uncompleted, and the nagging suspicion that 2017 will not provide ample opportunity to remedy that situation personally lends the past year’s efforts an air of unfulfilled frustration.

There are many things to be thankful for, and a few noteworthy, if not newsworthy, tasks accomplished.

Prominent among the good memories are the many new faces I met here on the mountain this year. As already noted, Crane seems to be getting more climber traffic each year, and increasingly, these climbers are strangers to me. This was not the case in the “old days”, when I introduced most comers to the mountain. I have a bevy of friends I’ve made here through those introductions, but now I find myself making new ones while passing through. These are not only friends of friends or indirect acquaintances; they are people who’ve heard about the mountain through the Guidebook or websites like Mountainproject.

A climber on the footwork-intensive route Action Steps

A climber on the footwork-intensive route Action Steps



Friday, October 20th, 2017

After three years of struggling, I finally sent my longterm project at the IRC.

Eschewing cams, I chose to attempt this short line with only passive gear. My rack included some oldies: two small wired Hexcentrics and two Wedgefast chocks (look ’em up kiddies, they were the Bomb for a brief time in the late 70s/early 80s); plus the now-famous DMM Offsets, both brass and aluminum. Round it out with a couple BD Stoppers and I had everything needed.

It would be easier with a few cams, but not a lot easier; as many of the placements take chocks better than cams. A single set of cams from 1/4″ to 1″, plus a double set of small to medium nuts would do.

No Springs Attached 5.10d G 55′

Stem up using the obtuse right-facing corner to the left and the wide crack on the right (the start of Mile-Long ) to the overhang. Pass the overhang via the left of two parallel cracks, then follow cracks to the point where the face steepens from less than, to more than vertical. Continue up the crack and corner, stepping back and forth around the bend, to reach easy angle rock sloping to a large ledge.

It is possible to walk off to climber’s left. There is cliff above, but it is a series of short (15 – 20′) steps. It is possible to traverse right to reach the upper part of Mile-Long if desired.

This brings the count of IRC up to 10 routes. Steve O. has two projects awaiting completion, and Tom seems to have latched onto a possible variation project. Hopefully these get sent soon, but it is hard to say what the weather will provide for us this late in the year.

Thank you Tom, for willingly sacrificing gas and time to this project!

Old Forge Preview 2: In-depth on Bald Mountain

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Bald Mountain Expedition

Tom nears the top of the stellar route Branches at Bald Mountain's Main Face

Tom nears the top of the stellar route Branches at Bald Mountain’s Main Face

In preparation for this year’s Southern Adirondack Rockclimbers’ Festival, I spent 3 days at Bald Mountain’s main face, exploring, scrubbing, and putting up a new route. (more…)


Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

SAdkRF 2017 Preview

Eagle Falls Cliffs

Eagle Falls Cliffs

We spent a long weekend in Thendara, taking a look around the western fringe of the Adirondacks to get a feel for the upcoming Rockclimbers’ Festival that takes place the Friday through Sunday, after Labor Day, September 8 – 10 this year. Here’s our take on this corner of the park.


Another February Jammer Day

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
Tom on Provando's Direct third pitch

Tom on Provando’s Direct third pitch

Having just pushed over 700’ of ice climbing each of the two previous days, I still couldn’t pass up heading to the Jammer Wall on such a nice day as I awoke to on Wednesday. Calling Tom, we arranged to meet up there. I would provide the rope, he the rack. Racing through a minor amount of housework, I was soon on my way. (more…)

Two Visits to Pitchoff North

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
The top pitch possibilities of Screw & Climbaxe

The top pitch possibilities of Screw & Climbaxe

Day One

With a forecast spelling doom for North Country’s ice season, JB’s second day out options were limited. The remaining reliable sanctuaries of ice left in the Adirondacks would be busy places this day, so we had to decide where to go and get there early. JB’s choice: Pitchoff North. (more…)

Premature Expectations

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

Saturday morning, the sun shone unhindered from a cloudless bluebird sky. I packed my regular winter gear, but stuffed a pair of rock shoes in as well, thinking to break trail to the Jammer Wall. We’ve had a lot of snow over the last three weeks, gradually building from a few crusty old inches left from January to over a foot and a half on the ground. I knew the trek would be difficult, but this sudden warmth made me too antsy to sit around. Shortly after 9a, I was on my way.

Looking up at the Animal Charm Wall in February 2017

Looking up at the Animal Charm Wall in February 2017

It may be early yet. (more…)

Blue Mountain Ice

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017
Jason starts out leading the Blue Mountain Ice

Jason starts out leading the Blue Mountain Ice

…nothing that you’d travel for.

Thus spake the master; and he is write, er, right. The ice along the Tirrell Pond trail listed in Blue Lines 2 won’t, and shouldn’t, draw a crowd. But for two intrepid ice-scratchers, it did provide a pleasant  amount of climbing surrounded by an even more pleasant forest setting. (more…)

Hoffman Notch Ice Climbing Trip 2017

Monday, February 6th, 2017
Steve heads up to the Trailside Wall

Steve heads up to the Trailside Wall

Hoffman Notch harbors a lot of ice. Outside of the traditional venues around Keene Valley and Lake Placid, this is probably the best climbing locale in the Park, with a lot of different flows to climb, a wide range of difficulty and style, and almost-guaranteed solitude. Other than the occasional skier passing by, a climbing party here will probably meet no one else.

The approach explains the lack of crowding: it is relatively long, two to two and a half miles; so the majority of ice-seekers will congregate elsewhere. But the trail leading in is easy and the time it takes – about an hour – passes quickly. It first enters a conifer woodlot, descends to cross the Branch, meanders through a sparsely-wooded floodplain, then heads into and up Hoffman Notch itself. The ascent is very gentle, with occasional gullies to cross or blowdown to circumvent; but nothing greatly hinders snowshoes and stout trekking poles. It would indeed make a great ski-through trip but for those obstacles. (more…)