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.