Sunday, October 28, 2012

10.27.2012 Barton High Cliffs

We had an opening of clear weather before Hurricane Sandy was supposed to strike NY, so the plan was to climb at Barton High Cliffs.  Cam, Joe, Kyle, and I all packed up after classes on Friday and drove up to Exit 25 on the Northway.  After about twenty more minutes of driving, we parked on the side of the road just like last time.  The guidebook shows a hike time of one hour; however, we were able to lower that to 45 minutes on the approach and just over 30 minutes on the way out.

Looking up at Final Frontier
We organized gear and set up the tent at the only flat spot around and only a twenty minute hike to the base of the cliffs.  It was tough to get to sleep with 4 guys side-to-side in a tent meant for two adults and two children, especially with sleeping bags meant for temps of 0-20F.  After a few solid hours of sleep it was time to get up, make "breakfast", which consisted of Bam-Os canned pasta and Ramen, and hike to the start of Final Frontier.  Cam and Joe shared one rope and Kyle and I shared the other.

Joe getting ready to clean P1.
The first pitch was dirty and a little damp, which did not make us too excited for the second pitch.  After Cam belayed up Joe, I started leading off to where Joe was belaying Cam on the second pitch. 


By the time I started belaying Kyle on P1, Cam was already climbing P2 and had just made the clip at the piton about 20 feet up the pitch.

Cam looking down at Joe and I from the piton clip.
Tricky climbing up to the piton, only able to place one small nut along the way.
Joe starting off on P2, view from the bottom...
...and the view from the top.
 I was pretty nervous about climbing the first part of the pitch, so Joe was nice enough to lower a piece of webbing he was carrying, let me attach my rope and a quickdraw to it, and clip the piton for me.  This was a huge mental relief for me, but I still got plenty scared leading the rest of the pitch.  The rock was completely dry when Cam and I first climbed here and the conditions this time around made it much more difficult.


Cam lowered himself off of this stopper, backed up by a nest of cams, and took some nice photos of me climbing...he also gave some mental support along the way.

Bomber nut placement.
No chance of this anchor failing.
With the use of a GriGri, Cam had a nice workout going down and up the pitch a few times when Kyle and I were climbing.  Even so, it looked much easier than the GriGri and two prusik method I was trying to use at Poke-O-Moonshine last time we went climbing.

Kyle working his way up P2.
Fog just starting to clear as we were at the top of P2.
Fog fading away.
Kyle working his way up P2.
Looking down from the top of P2.
Looking out as the fog starts to burn off.


Pitch three was looking very dirty and wet, so we all decided not to bother climbing it and just to rappel down and head over to a different area.  When Cam and I were here in April we put new webbing around the tree stump that serves as the rappel anchor but it ended up being torn apart when I reached the anchor, it looked like an animal decided to eat through it.  Joe brought enough webbing to replace the anchor, so I cut off the three old slings that were still around the tree and left a nice and strong anchor behind.

Looking down at Joe and Cam from the rappel anchor.
Hiking through the talus field over to Sunset Arete.
The "I can't believe we didn't pack more food" look on all of our faces.
Next on the list for the day was The Excellent Adventure, but it was looking very wet so we decided to keep on walking by and head over to Sunset Arete.  This was a pretty classic climb from last time, so Cam took the lead on it again. 

Cam leading up Sunset Arete
With Joe belaying Cam, I spotted a line that looked climbable and decided to give it a try.  The route ended up being Animal Logic, and by the look of the sling around the tree at the top of the first pitch, it had not been climbed in quite a while.  It was still a fun climb, so I set up a toprope so everyone else could give it a try.  Meanwhile, I belayed Kyle up Sunset Arete.

Kyle following on Sunset Arete.
With the same rope setup from Sunset Arete, Cam climbed the slab to the left of the arete and recommended that I do the same.  This route is not listed in Adirondack Rock, which is no surprise because it would not be protectable at all.

Climbing the unknown slab route.
After finishing off these routes, we packed up our bags and hiked back down to the tent site to make the rest of the food and hike back to the Car.

Kyle hiking back to the tent.
The view from our tent site.

Heading back home on 87-S.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

10.13.2012 Poke-O-Moonshine

Cam and I decided to head out to Poke-O-Moonshine and check out the climbing on the Main Face.  We left Troy shortly after 5 in the morning with the temperature hovering in the mid-20s.  The drive up the Adirondack Northway to Exit 33 took just over 2.5 hours, so a little bit of time to let the temperature go up. 

First frost of the season.
Frost and fog along 87N.
Great views for a good portion of the climb,
Access to the cliff is very straight forward.  Park in the DEC campground lot and walk toward the wall, which only takes a few minutes.  We decided to start off the day climbing The FM; however, while racking up Cam noticed that he forgot his climbing shoes (...again).  He tried on my mountaineering boots and decided to use those instead of his regular every-day shoes.  The Vibram rubber helped a bit with grip, but the lack of ankle and sole flexibility made climbing a little more difficult.

First views of the main cliff.
View from P1 of The FM.
Cam led off on P1 and made steady progress up to the bolted anchor.  After he belayed me up, I started off leading P2.  About 10 feet off the belay ledge there is another ledge that I had to traverse before traversing even more and then heading up left to another belay spot.  There were an assortment of pitons along the route that I clipped for protection and also two pitons at the belay spot, but I opted to use the bolts instead. Cam followed up behind me by making some tricky moves off of the first ledge and around the corner.  I had French freed that section, but he was not able to because the protection that I held on to was already removed.  Nonnonetheless, he still made it up to the top of P2 and then continued to P3.

Cam leading off on P1.
P1 anchor.
Leading off on P2.

Piton anchor station on between P2/3.
Cam starting off on P2.
Pulling the moves from the P2 belay.
P3 starts off with some unprotected moves up to an arete.  Once up in a better stance, Cam slung a horn and placed a nut to protect the next sequence of moves.  This is a short pitch at 50', but the last section leading up to the belay anchor was full of loose rock.  Also, the next 30' of P4 was full of loose rock, so we decided to rappel down from there instead of climbing one more pitch.  

Starting off on P3.


Belaying at the P2 ledge.
Following P3.
The anchor was not in great shape either.  It was constructed out of a bunch of old slings slung on a horn, an old ring piton, and one good bolt.  After 2.5 full rappels we were back at the base of the cliff.

Old rappel station at the top of P3.
Rappelling off of P3. 
Bloody Mary was the next climb of the day.  We wanted to climb the route because it is one of the classics at Poke-O, but between Cam not having shoes and a little dampness we had to get creative.  Instead of free climbing like normal, we decided to give aid climbing a try.  This wasn't the most efficient way to climb because we didn't have daisy chains, etriers, a fifi hook, or ascenders, but it was still fun.  Cam improvised with extra slings and my anchor chain to make upwards progress and I ascended by using two prusiks and a GriGri.  We only climbed the first pitch because it was such a slow process.

Aiding up P1.
Nice views down to Plattsburgh.
We heard some guys talking and a dog barking over at Phase III and took their recommendation to climb Puppies on Edge.  I led this climb through to the bolted anchors before lowering and belaying Cam.  There is another variation to this climb that goes more left instead of clipping the first bolt, but I got hung up after encountering a slippery wet crack and ended up heading back right up Puppies on Edge.

Overall, it was a decent trip.  I think that Poke-O is a bit overrated if you are not a solid 5.10/11 leader, I would much rather spend time at a remote place like Barton High Cliffs instead of driving nearly three hours to get here.  Can't really complain though, still a nice place to climb if you live close and don't like long approaches.

Unknown climber on Gamesmanship. 
Rain during the car ride back.