Archive for the ‘Ice’ Category

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…)

Return to Pitchoff Right

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

The funky winter seesaw made a mess of Southern Adirondack Ice this season, so after a grand day of rock climbing at the Jammer Wall – the second day I’ve been doing just that, there, this February – I put the tools away and looked forward to sunshine and warm stone.

On this first day of ice climbing, Max tries out some dry-tooling and ice overhang climbing

Max tackles his first ice climb.

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Ragged Mountain Rerun

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
View of Ragged Mountain from the west.

View of Ragged Mountain from the west.

Last Spring, Tom, Robin, and I took a walk south of Route 73 to look at some open rock I’d spied with the help of now-ubiquitous Web-based satellite mapping systems; these particular ones on Ragged Mountain. There are several such labeled lumps of stone in the Adirondacks; this specific one lies along the Short-Swing Trail as it curls around a large swamp and the side of the ridge where I’d seen the crag from my virtual perch in LEO. That day, our exploration detoured onto Bear Mountain, a lovely summit to be sure, but a total derailment of my original objective. We did spot cliffs up along Ragged’s western ridge, but from a distance, too far to judge their potential climbing value. We were by then too tired to go up and look. With the near-total lack of snow, and fluctuating mercury this winter, I laid plans to remedy that lack during Presidents’ Week.

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Outlet Falls 2016

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016
Jason leads up the left-side option of the Outlet's first pitch

Jason leads up the left-side option of the Outlet’s first pitch

For the first time since 2010, we climbed the entire Outlet Falls. Back then, I’d dragged Bruce Monroe with me, this time Jason Brechko made the trip.

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Afternoon at the Northeast Cascade

Monday, February 8th, 2016
Jay takes his turn up the corner.

Jay takes his turn up the corner.

A day after walking out to inspect conditions on Crane, I returned with friends for an brief afternoon run on the only feasible ice left on the mountain: the Northeast Cascade.

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Latest Crane Ice Report 6th Feb 2016

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

And it isn’t a good one. I packed enough gear to climb any casual ice that was in – which meant I took my gear for a walk today.

Waterfall Wall 6th Feb 2016: Not In

Waterfall Wall 6th Feb 2016: Not In

The photo looks better than it truly is: the thickest ice at the steep part of the Waterfall Wall is currently under current: there is water cascading along that sole thick swatch. The pitches above look even worse.

Having confirmed my suspicions, I continued NNE along the base of the mountain, to see if perhaps the NE Cascade is in.

NE Cascade: Barely Doable

NE Cascade: Barely Doable

It is, though barely. A way could be made up the easy right side, though my guess is there is no ice on the uppermost slab, so the route would have to bend right to escape.

The good news is, the left side of that cascade is in very well. While leading it may not be feasible, top-roping both the corner and the sheer face would be fine.

Steep options on the left of the NE Cascade are in fine condition

Steep options on the left of the NE Cascade are in fine condition

For those who might be tempted to walk even farther, the news is bad. I did go awhile longer, but everything I saw was out: Gem’n’I, Ramps (why bother anyway?), Three White Rappers are all no-go. I did not get in sight of Nightshade or Leap of Faith, but doubt they are in (the latter is definitely not in; I can see that from the road).

Fifi’s is probably in enough to top-rope. Tier Drops is not, By Golly Gully is not in (could probably hike up it with occasional tool-use and a lot of weaving to avoid bare slabs); in short nothing else is in.

NOTE: if you want to leave a response, email me first. If you are not sure of my email address, search around, you will probably find it. Or drop me a line from the Mountain project site.

One Visit to Fifi’s Thus Far

Friday, February 5th, 2016
Paul Leads up the second pitch of Crane Mountain's Waterfall Wall

Paul Leads up the second pitch of Crane Mountain’s Waterfall Wall

On the 23rd of January, Paul and I climbed three pitches of the Waterfall Wall, then headed left to climb Provando. That route wasn’t in, so we walked back to Fifi’s, where another pair, Mike and Mike, were setting up to climb. We each borrowed a run up this before calling it a day.
Thus far, this is our only visit to this lovely flow. The weather of early 2016 has not been kind to SAdk Ice.

And our one and only chance so far this winter to climb Fifi's

And our one and only chance so far this winter to climb Fifi’s