With winter hanging “claws-teeth-and spines” full on, I surrendered to the obvious and pulled the ice gear out of storage. I was reluctant – downright resistant – to going back to any of the established stuff here at home (Crane), on Starbuck or Black, but Mike Prince cajoled me into a trip up Route 28 for a look-see of Ledge Mountain. Adirondack Rock mentions the cliffs there, but doesn’t give the area high ratings. However, it is pretty close to the road, and with no mention of ice rats scouring the place, there was a chance it might have something new to play on. We did eventually find some, but the real story lies in the what we didn’t do – couldn’t do, because we didn’t bring rock shoes…
Archive for the ‘Ice’ Category
Nothing is writ in stone yet, but with the extended forecast calling for mid-40 temps and my work schedule, today’s morning jaunt to the Waterfall Wall may well be the last of this season.
I’ve been cussing this late snow-dump since it came, swamping paths and curtailing exploration as the season winds down. It has, however, provided a protective blanket that is preserving low-angle ice. The Waterfall Wall has decent ice…below a lot of snow. It’s more of a mountaineering route than ice route right now. I had to head to the Tempest variation in order to justify two tools, and there I found thoroughly sun-baked, rotten ice. I had to chop through 6 or 7 cm of ice to reach trustworthy material.
I did not bother going beyond the first pitch; it was totally swathed in snow. Both the uppermost pitch and Fifi’s are visible from the ridge, but I expect both are highly sun-baked. I wouldn’t recommend leading either one.
Hard telling how much longer it will last. I’m guessing it will be good through this weekend, but be out before the next.
I’ve been extremely lax about posting updates in the past two weeks. A lot went down, including a trip to Hoffman Notch with Jason Brechko, more FAs on Starbuck with the usual motley crew, and one more FA on Black Mountain with Todd Paris. I hope to post some “backlogs” on these.
ROCK SEASON IS COMING!!!
No pics to speak of, sorry. But we kept the flame burning today, as five hardy souls marched in to Starbuck Mountain to climb ice. We split into 3 groups and each took one of the threesome of easy slab routes that sit up in the broad gully that separates Starbuck Left from Starbuck Central. These were all “gimmies,” admittedly; and none were outstanding.
I had the opportunity to hike to the top of the ridge. There are tendrils of ice here and there, but nothing notable enough to warrant the steep terrain to reach it. The view is nice, with open vistas to the southwest, west, and northwest. In better ice conditions – perhaps a low-snow, early January day – it might be nice to climb a line below, then link up to some of the better bits and pieces to finish with the vista from the ridgetop for an “alpine” climb.
Returning to my friends, they had shared TRs and were packing up to move along. We all headed toward Starbuck Left to see what was left to snag. Tom grabbed a chance to climb the short, steep ice route left of Ben’s first ice lead. I wandered over to the main slabs, which were a couple hundred meters farther along. These slabs form the right side of the main climbing of Starbuck Left. They had been fully covered with ice on our first-ever visit, but were now mostly open, wet rock. We’ll have to get to these early next season.
However, there was one line that looked feasible yet. A ribbon of ice clung to the slab, sheltered somewhat by the left-facing corner system it hugged as it curled upward to a final fat headwall, where the thick ice ran up just right of a gigantic hanging block at the top of the cliff. I set up to rope-solo this line, and had made it past the headwall when Todd and Tom arrived and offered a real belay. Good thing, too: the exit moves were tricky. But there is now a 160′ WI 3+ here. I just gotta name it!
Finally, we rappelled part way down the cliff to climber’s right of the new route, and TR’d a slab with a longer vertical headwall. That was a hoot. We each chose different paths to reach the headwall, because the slab at the start directly below was ice-free. Todd took the sensible approach, up a brushy iced corner/crack to reach the real ice. Tom wandered way right and climbed a short vertical ice wall. I dry-tooled my way up to the ice, using a crack beneath an overlap.
My goal for the day was mapping the currently-done routes on Starbuck. I did not succeed at doing this. But we did have fun, and put up a couple great routes having it.
Tom, Todd, and I headed far along Crane Mountain’s Southeast flank for a sending day. And send we did…
Tuesday threatened to congeal into a busy day on Crane Mountain’s ice. (more…)
Real short shout-out to Alysia and Jamie; they came out Sunday for Alysia’s first time ice climbing. Jamie led the first pitch of the Waterfall Wall – only his second lead on ice – then set a TR for Alysia’s premiere go.
Alysia said she enjoyed the climbing, but it wasn’t worth enduring the cold. And it was cold. Frequent cloud cover hid what warmth the sun could supply, and a chill breeze guttered down Crane’s slopes occasionally. I suggested they come back some sunny, calm day toward the end of February for another go at it before Alysia renders a final verdict.
Jamie ran up and moved the rope over the Tempest variation, giving both of us a chance to sample some steep ice. Then, it was time to head toward warmth and a wood fire.
Keep your fingers crossed for another chance!