In ancient times (the early 1990s), I climbed once or twice on Moxham Dome, a large roadside slab near Minerva. As I would wind my way homeward, I always looked up to the summit dome and wondered if there was good climbing up there. Well, a few years ago, the DEC built a hiking trail to it. Mike P. and Tom L. headed up there shortly after it opened up, and told me it was fantastic. So we just had to put a posse together and give it a go… Read the rest of this entry »
Frigid Weather thwarts the sole climbing item of our trip to North Carolina
A few years back, Ra and I made our first trip to North Carolina. With family now ensconced there, it is likely we will be visiting the state more frequently each year, so we figured it wise to get to know the climbing options available in the region. After visiting with our kin for a few days, we set off in search of vertical playgrounds. Our second stop placed us in the town of Pilot Mountain, near its namesake prominence, a location we hadn’t known of but had spotted from the highway. After spending the night in town, I’d garnered one significant fact: there is climbing on the mountain, but it is strictly verboten on the outstanding summit promontory itself. At the time, this was a big turn-off, enough to send us onward, looking elsewhere. We never even drove up the road to the upper ridge to glance at the permitted climbing area.
On this trip, we gave it a second glance. What a glance it was, revealing how very shortsighted we’d been. That main promontory still beckons – and it’s a shame climbing isn’t allowed there – but the scraps left us vertical crawlers is well worth the trip.
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.
During Presidents’ Week, friends and I did a little ice climbing and a lot of exploration. The following covers two day’s worth of near-fruitless searching for that “Next-Great” crag. Pictures are few, stunning discoveries none, but this is the way exploration goes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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NEW ROUTES 2015
This summary has been a long time coming. Lots of new routes were put up in 2015, with a lot of people pitching in to get the jobs done. This season added several strong climbers to the parties digging for FA nuggets on Crane, and resulted not only a lot of new routes, but a marked increase in the difficulty of routes here.
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.