Columbus Day weekend was one of the most colorful ever, with good weather from Saturday through Monday. We sandwiched a day at home on Crane with two traveling days.
Paul came up after work, and we dashed up Bella Vista for its namesake view. Just enough spice to be interesting, the route leads up to an open promontory with a picture-perfect…uh, vista of the fall foliage lining the slope below and the hills beyond.
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The Complete and Unabridged Rock Climb
up the Waterfall Wall
It took two attempts over two days, not to mention several stabs in past years, but we finally pushed a rock route all the way up the same terrain as Crane Mountain’s popular Waterfall Wall ice climb.
Rain cut a day from the festival (again) this year, but we were fortunate to have sunshine for the start, and fair weather for all of Saturday.
Summer is suddenly coming to a close. It’s Southern Adirondack Rockclimbers’ Festival time!
Crane Mountain is this year’s closest venue. With over 300 routes, there are plenty to choose from. The climbing options here run the gamut: trad, sport, and aid;first-timer easy to world-class hard, crag-style convenience to uber-extreme bushwhacker’s delight.
Since the second edition of Lawyer & Haas’ Adirondack Rock, more than fifty routes have been added to the mountain, including Crane’s first official 5.13, Dave Buzzelli’s The Drop, on the previously-undeveloped Underworld Crag. Buzz and Jim have been visiting there this season, posting that route and two other solid 5.12s. These await second ascents, as does Mike Farnsworth’s epic arête, Four Ounces to Freedom, so if you’ve got the guns, these could use some company.
A handful of 5.11s rounds out the hard side of the scale; many of these have yet to see a second ascent as well. Kirby Girard came out and worked the long-time project Tom’s Roof with Lukasz Czyz, and Lukasz was able to send the roof just this past week, redubbing it Logging Flight Time, for the many falls this line has caused.
The Measles Wall now boasts a fine, short 5.11, fittingly dubbed Rocksport 5.10, after the local gym’s penchant for sandbagging their routes. Be sure to hop on this if you are into sport climbs that require fancy footwork.
For mere mortals, Crane has a bevy of stellar 5.10 routes. All the usual classics: Critical Crimps, Black Arch Arête, Torcher, Oddy’s Crack of Horrors, and more, plus some new lines that are well worth roping up for. Be sure to take a stab at Second Amendment’s neighboring line, Second Helping.
Intermediate climbs abound, both well-established, popular runs and fresh additions. At 5.8, Paul Cerone’s Saratoga and Ben Brooke’s I Don’t Want No Scrub are two of the nicest new lines. If you’ve not yet climbed Stand Your Ground, at 5.7-, this is a must. Its neighbor Action Steps ups the ante to solid 5.8 and is also a must-do.
Beginner Routes are sprinkled across the mountain. Closest to the trailhead, the lines at the Below-the-Measles Wall are great places for timid or very young climbers on their initial excursions. Newly-developed Springfield Slab adds another beginner crag, with routes ranging from 5.2 to 5.7, easy TR setup, and a spectacular view at the top. Finally, Peter Whitmore’s On the Fence has been thoroughly scrubbed, clocks in as perhaps the best 5.3 in the Adirondacks.
During the festival, we are opening a shortcut to the Waterfall area, cutting an hour off the approach to this and the other far-flung crags on the mountain. The Waterfall boasts several good slab climbs and a short classic 5.10a revived from the days when it was top-roped off a tree limb. The branch is gone, but a fixed anchor takes its place, and I’ll Fly Away is now a lead route, a very good one at that. An aid route breaks through the overhangs guarding much of the Right-Steep side of the crag; Keymaster is an open invitation to strong climbers looking to free strenuous, technically-difficult terrain. Finally, for those who’ve longed to look at Crane’s most remote crags, this is the chance to cut out a big chunk of the approach. No guarantees: the routes and cliffs out there are true wilderness adventure destinations.
As always, the Southern Adirondack Rockclimbers’ Festival takes place the week after Labor Day, which for 2015 is September 11 – 13th. We will meet at Mountainside Adventures’ parking at 116 Ski Hi Road, Warrensburg NY (more accurately, the town of Thurman), beginning at 430pm. Campfire there, bring your own meal for the grill. SRCFC is arranging a meal for the event again. There are a slew of camping and lodging options available nearby, though if you plan to seek lodging, you may want to reserve now. And as always, the event is FREE.
Free, primitive camping is available at the Crane Mountain trailhead. Slightly farther afield, there are primitive sites along the east branch of the Sacandaga River along Route 8, a free primitive campground on Thirteenth Lake in North River. Several private commercial campgrounds lie nearby; the closest being Daggett Lake and Glen Hudson campgrounds. Hotel lodging is available in North Creek and Warrensburg, though there is a popular local event this same weekend, so check on availability in these places.
You can get more information by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
See you soon!
This season, the route count on Crane has passed the 300 mark; one of my life-long, bucket-list items is now complete. My gratitude goes out to all the folks who spent so many of their recreational hours, days, and seasons searching, scrubbing, working, and sending up here.
In preparation for this year’s Southern Adirondack Rockclimbers’ Festival, we’ve been making sporadic visits to the town of Indian Lake, scoping out the nearby climbing areas – of which there are many. Much of the surrounding land in this region was acquired by the State from Finch-Pruyn in the past year or so; as such, there are dozens of crags previously off-limits to climbers that are now open and accessible. Sugarloaf is the premiere example of these.
It’s a long drive, but a relatively short twenty minute approach to the base of this mountain’s 450′ slabs. There are over a dozen routes here, most of them established either surreptitiously or under the mistaken belief that the cliff was public property, way back when (a few of them from the 1970s). We set our sights on a modified version of these oldies, an incredible route put up on lead solo by Tad Welch, and updated by him with the enthusiastic assistance of Jim Lawyer and Dave Buzzelli as the land entered public domain.
I’ve consolidated, updated, and collated some ice data for Crane’s SE flank. Picture links to a larger image. This is not comprehensive.
1. Providence WI 3 M2 270′: probably the best ice climb on Crane. Ascends a narrow thread of ice in a giant left-facing rock corner. Bring a run of cams from C3s to #2 C4, and a few ice screws. Needs prolonged freezing temps to form. First pitch is 170′. Rappel to the base via three raps with a single rope, rappelling on the outside of the face at the top of the first pitch (there is no intermediate rap position inside the corner).
2. West Coast Connection (M4) and Fifi’s Frozen Fingers WI 3+ 80′: WCW runs up a thinly-glazed chimney system. Bring a #4 C4, just in case. FFF climbs the fat ice flow on the steep face. There is a pitch below these routes, consisting of short steep ice and large ledges.
3. Waterfall Wall WI 2 (with top pitches from WI 4 to M3) 800′: the other contender for best climb on Crane. 4 pitches of grade 2 ice, one nontechnical pitch, and options at the top wall between WI 3, 4-, or M3.
4. Tier Drops WI 4 M1 (with harder options) 125′: this short route ascends a boulder pile to reach a large ledge with a row of 20′ curtains above it. The left side is harder than the rightmost pillar.
5. By Golly Gully WI 2- 500′: This route is more an alpine adventure than ice climb, however there are options to either side along the way that bump up the challenge considerably. And it tops out beside a nice, flat viewpoint. This gully is a potential avalanche chute.
6. Northeast Cascade WI 2- 110′: While the right side is trivially easy, the left side sports strenuous corner or face climbing.
Jekyll & Hyde couldn’t be happier with this season’s weather. We’ve had extended bouts of wickedly-cold weather, bounded by bursts of springtime warmth, which usually involved lots of rain. Which always meant severe deterioration of the ice. We have not been stymied however. It has been a decent season so far. Read the rest of this entry »
Bruce came up last week to sample the newest “classic” line on Crane, a multipitch run up the South Corner Cliff. I’ve eyed the cracks on the higher walls of this area for decades. Slowly, those lines have seen traffic: way back when (2010?), Tom & I made a late-season onsight of Solar Grace, a route offering good 5.6 climbing with poor protection: the crack we chose turns out to be shallow and flaring for much of the way. I took a few better stabs a year later, adding Solo, Gracias, Never Alone, and with Peter Whitmore leading, On the Fence. to that same patch of rock. Last year, Tom & I worked a face lower and to the right, putting up Riprovando, a nice 5.10b; and in the waning days of 2012, I cleaned up the natural crack line to its left and posted Provando, at 5.7- a kinder, gentler way up the same wall.