Sunday, April 29, 2012

4.29.2012 Rumney, NH

Instead of making the usual trip to the Adirondacks, we decided to head to New Hampshire and climb at Rumney.  The group this time was a little larger than normal.  Charles, Eloise, Cam, and Joe all came along for the trip.  This is a pretty popular place, so we expected  to see a few more people than we normally do in the Daks.  Overall, it was another successful day, ten routes completed.

Area: Jimmy Cliff
           The Nuthatch
           Hammond Organ

Area: Bonsai

Area: 5.8 Crag
           Snake Skin Slab
           Bolt and Run

I had a long day of meetings for my fraternity, so we had to leave Troy at around 6pm.  The drive to Rumney was a little over three hours.  We arrived at the parking lot near telephone pole #27, put some money in the drop box to get a parking pass for the next day, and then set up camp.  Charles and Eloise slept in the bed of his truck, Cam and I slept in the tent next to the truck in a tent, and Joe slept on the ground next to the tent.  

While we were waiting for water to boil before tossing in a few bricks of Ramen, we all messed around on a couple boulders surrounding the parking area.  After dinner it was time to get a good nights rest.

The first stop of the day was Jimmy Cliff .  Getting here was pretty simple, just walk along the road until pole #37 and then follow the marked trails.  There was plenty of signage to direct climbers to all the different areas.  The first climb of the day was Lonesome Dove, which Cam lead before setting up the other rope on Junco .  After TRing on these for a little while, I led The Nuthatch.  Afterwards, Cam led Hammond Organ and then Eloise and I climbed it.

Cam on Lonesome Dove
Belaying Cam on Lonesome Dove
Joe following The Nuthatch, Eloise on Hammond Organ
Cam leading Junco on the left, Eloise cleaning Lonesome Dove on the right
One of the other groups climbing here said that it would be good to check out  Bonsai, as there are plenty of high quality climbs between 5.8 and 5.11 there.  The first tick here was on Masterpiece, which Cam lead and I followed.  This crag was plenty overhanging, even though the photos do not really show it.  I wanted to get a lead in here also, so we walked to the right side of the cliff to Kamikazee.  Once again, we cycled through on this climb before heading to Centerpiece.  Cam had a solid lead here, and I followed.

Cleaning Masterpiece
Ropes were set up on nearly every route
Cam leading Centerpiece
Cam up on Centerpiece
Starting up to clean Centerpiece
Cleaning Centerpiece
Nice and juggy, but plenty overhanging
The crowds were gathering at Bonsai, so instead of waiting to get on more routes we headed down to the 5.8 Crag to check out what it had to offer.  It was a worthwhile trip, as there were some pretty good climbs.  I started off leading Snake Skin Slab, graded at 5.8, but Cam and I both agreed that it seemed a little sandbagged.  Oh well, still a great climb, great feet and delicate hands throughout the upper half.  Cam took the lead on Bolt and Run, which Eloise and I followed.  Afterwards we broke out the minimal trad rack that we took along for Cam to lead The 5.8 Crack by the Road.  The route name is a little peculiar because it is actually a 5.7 climb.  I followed to pull the protection and Eloise finished off the day rappelling down off the route because there were no quicklink anchors.

Charles attempting Snake Skin Slab
Joe attempting Snake Skin Slab
Eloise working her way up the climb
Cam leading Bolt and Run

Seconding on Bolt and Run
Big thanks to Clif Bar for supplying us with the energy we needed to climb all day long without much of a break. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

4.21.2012 Barton High Cliffs

Rain was in the forecast from 2am Saturday morning until the end of Sunday, so it didn't seem like ideal weather for an overnight climbing trip starting Friday night.  Cam and I decided to give it a go anyways, planning to aid climb if the weather was too bad.  Armed with all of our normal gear, a 60m static rope, 2 jumars, and a tent, we left Troy at 4:20pm and drove toward exit 25 on 87N.  We decided to drive past where we had to park and look for a general store to get some extra food to eat before we headed out to find a tent site.  This was a good move, we got a box of couscous and other snacks, including a bag of Doritos that we left in car for the ride back.  There are no trails or designated camping areas around the cliffs, so we had to navigate through the forest to end up at our final destination for the night.

I think we found the only section of flat and clean ground in the area, and it was just four feet away from a plentiful water source.  After setting up the tent and drinking some water from the stream, we decided to hike towards the cliffs to get a better view of what we would be climbing the next day.

This is what we saw.

Photosynth: Interactive Panorama
The viewpoint was only 20 minutes away from the tent.  Now it was getting dark, so we turned on headlamps and walked back to the tent to make dinner, organize gear, and get some sleep.  It was around 9pm when we laid down on the sleeping pads.  The plan was to wake up at 5am and get to the cliffs by 6am, but that ended up changing.  We were both awake at 3:45am and decided to make breakfast and head out early instead of going back to sleep.

Cam making the first moves on P1
The first route of the day was Final Frontier (5.8+ G 280').  The Adirondack Rock guidebook gave this route a 3 star rating.  Cam led the first two pitches, and I took the third.

 Instead of stepping right around the overhang on P2, we went directly under it and then up the arete.  This led to the face climbing, which was much longer than it looked from below.

View from the P2 belay
Approaching the roof on P2
Slapping rock under the roof to test which blocks are loose.  There was a pretty big selection of rock that had to be avoided so I didn't end up crushed at the belay.
Cam at the P3 belay
All geared up for P3
 After belaying Cam up P3, I lowered him to the ledge below that had an enormous tree stump and then rapped down off the tree I was anchored to.  The tree stump had a couple of old slings around it with two rap rings, but we added a new sling to it instead of trusting the old gear.  We also clipped a quickdraw to the new sling and the rope for safety if the rap rings were bad.  Hauling the static rope this entire time was well worth it when it came time for this rappel.  It was used as a tag line when we did a single line rappel on the dynamic rope.  The 70m dynamic rope barely reached the ground, so this was a pretty long drop.
Full shot of the rappel
Coming down the line
Free hanging for the last 30 meters

Scrambling across the boulder field to the next route
 The next route was The Excellent Adventure (5.9- G 200').  The guidebook shows that this is a 3 pitch climb, but we tied it together in 2.

Route Description

Right leaning crack

Cam starting up the crack, a little wet at first.

There was a fixed belay anchor up where Cam is the the shot above, but he opted to build a new one instead.  The old one consisted of an original Hexcentric and 2 micronuts, each with their own carabiner and toed to a master point with an old cordlette.  This made me believe that someone a long while ago had abandoned their gear, but not really sure.  There were a few other spots around the cliff where similar gear was left behind.  Cam belayed me up off of a red tricam backed up by two nuts.  Up here we switched belays to continue the climb.

P2/3 started off with a step down past the fixed gear and then a dirty traverse left to the prow.  From here it was easy climbing up to the belay/rappel station.  We were able to make it down to the ground with one rappel on the 70m rope.

Back on solid ground, we packed up our bags and hiked to the Sunset Arete Area, further left along the cliff.  The route that we first went to was Sunset Arete (5.7 PG 150').  The second pitch was supposed to be dirty, so not really worth the climb.  Instead, we only did the first pitch (70').  I decided to give it a try on lead, but backed down part way up the arete when it appeared that there was no protection for a while, and I didn't really feel like hitting the deck if I fell.  Cam ended up finding some interesting nut placements and built an anchor off of a tree.  We lowered on the other side of the arete to end the day with some carefree top roping.  The first route that Cam TR'd was Son of Cirrhosis (5.8+ G 60').  To the right of this route was a nice looking face with tiny positive edges and some smooth bulges that we messed around on for a little while.

The rain ended upholding off until we started to pack up our bags at the Sunset Arete Area.  There were periods of heavy rain on the hike back to the tent, but overall we got very lucky.  We made a couple more bags of Ramen when we got back and then packed up the tent in the rain.  The rain stopped on the hike back to my car, which took an hour, and then started again when we were on the road.  Overall, this was another great trip.  No injuries, abandoned gear, and plenty of food and water.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

4.13.2012 Crane Mountain

Normally we'll take a weekend to go on a climbing trip, but this time we left after classes on Friday.  The plan was to go to Crane Mountain, which you may recognize from one of my ice climbing posts a while back.  My 12-2pm class ended early, so we were actually on the road at 2pm.  The drive is only around 1:40 long, with the last couple miles on a rough dirt/rock road.  The rest of the approach was plenty steep, but we were at the summit of Crane mountain in less than an hour.  Here we met a family from Israel who recently moved to New York for work, and are exploring the Adirondacks one peak at a time.

Cam and Joe came along with me on this trip, and for once we actually had extra food and water by the time we hiked out at midnight.  I'm glad that we decided to bring our big hexes because they served as our first anchor to rappel off of.  Once down to the base of the cliffs, Cam took the lead on the first route of the day.  Unfortunately, we did not get any pictures of this one.

I tied in to the sharp end for the next route, which ended right back up a the anchor used for rappelling.  The next five photographs are from this one.  The rock here is nice and textured, but there are sections with a lot of lichen, which always ends up falling in my face and getting in my eyes.  When it got darker and we were climbing by headlamp you could see all the lichen particles falling in the air.

After we all climbed the route above, we scrambled along the base of the cliffs to arrive at the next route.  Cam spotted a nice looking route that he wanted to try leading.  It started off with a boulder problem on a detached flake along the main wall, leading to a small ledge, and then traversed across the face to climb crimpy section leading to a layback.  Joe is seen belaying Cam in the second photo, while I climbed up a block to try and get a better photo angle.  This route was not listed in the guide book ,but Cam and I both agreed that it was in the 5.10b range.  Solid lead.  Below the photos of Cam leading, I am seen following.

At this point, it was starting to get pretty dark, to the point where headlamps were necessary to be able to climb.  Here is one shot of the rock, just so you can get an idea of what it was like.  I led this route up to a roof where I experienced serious tunnel vision and had to belay up Cam and Joe to see if Cam could lead it. I had tried using a solid fist jam, which actually held a fall and left my hand a little bloody, and even aiding using a cam in a horizontal crack, but couldn't get more than half my body over the roof.  Cam pulls it on his first try, using the opposing wall to climb up and then sit and scootch up over the roof.  When I was climbing this part at first, I didn't even realize there were holds on that wall.  Oh well, at least we got a pseudo multi-pitch climbing in.  

At the top of this climb, we took a few minutes to put on warmer clothes, look at the stars, and grab a bite to eat.  We packed up all the gear to hike to one more cliff, and call that the last climb of the day.  After a few minutes on the trail, we arrived at the next overlook.  I build a tri-tricam anchor, using #1, #2, and #3, and we abseiled and top roped off of this.  Cam and Joe went down first, and then I followed.  The wall was sloped in the opposite direction that we wanted, so Cam and Joe had to maneuver past a group of trees in the middle of the cliff to make it down to clear ground.  I wasn't as fortunate, and had a little bit of a mishap when I was part way down.  I couldn't swing over enough to end up away from the trees, and in the process of trying to move over something happened that resulted in me swinging over to my left, smashing my back and camera bag against the wall, and then crushing my hand against the wall.  After this little accident I only had one chance, which was to rappel in to the bunch of trees and try to push off the big branches with my feet.  Eventually I made it back to the ground, but it was not pleasant.

We hiked out a different trail to head back to the car, and finally made it there at around 12:30am.  Back at the car we promptly drank all of the remaining water and ate all of the food.  The road was clear all the way back to Troy, arriving a little after 2am.

Interactive Photosynth