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.       

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