Posts Tagged ‘Climbing’

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

David Thomas-Train:
Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine Work To Save Ranger Trail

Thomas-TrainThe Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine have been working since 1997 to restore the fire tower and trails on that mountain. The group is a coalition of Adirondack Architectural Heritage, the town of Chesterfield, Champlain Area Trails (CATS), the Mountaineer, local summer camps and businesses, several Adirondack Mountain Club chapters, and hundreds of individuals who know and love the mountain.

The fire tower was fully restored as an interpretive site in 2005. Educational displays showcase fire-tower and local history and the land uses within the viewshed of the mountain. Since 2002, the Friends have employed tower stewards for the summer hiking season.

We have redeveloped the Ranger Trail as an interpretive trail with eleven numbered stops keyed to a brochure on the human and natural history of “Poke-O.” We also worked with the Adirondack Nature Conservancy to guarantee access to a second trail, the Observers’ Trail, which was the original vehicle route to the fire observer’s cabin below the summit. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Don Mellor: Climbing OK Slip Falls

Don Mellor on ok slip fallsIt was suggested to me recently that “if God wanted us to climb ice, He wouldn’t have made it so slippery.” Theology aside, there’s probably some inverse truth here: we want to climb ice precisely because it’s so slippery. We shouldn’t be doing it. It defies everything fundamental about the world as we learned it. It breaks some heavy rules.

Still, we put nasty spikes on our boots and grab tight to a razor pair of ice claws—and there we are, halfway up a hundred-foot icicle. Right where we aren’t supposed to be. And the bliss defies words.

This is a piece about the ice-climbing prospects of OK Slip Falls, jewel of a long-awaited land acquisition, one that has gotten a fair amount of coverage in this publication. Just to see this waterfall once took either connections, patience—or stealth. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Don Mellor On Post-Thaw Ice Climbing Conditions

Don first pitchYesterday I complained about the deterioration of backcountry-skiing conditions caused by last week’s rain and thaw. But what has happened to ice-climbing conditions?

I am a novice ice climber. In my mind, I figured a little rain and a little melting followed by subfreezing temperatures would improve conditions. More water means more ice, right?

Not necessarily, according to Don Mellor, author of Blue Lines: An Adirondack Ice Climber’s Guide.

Mellor has been climbing and studying ice for more than thirty-five years and has found that it is frustratingly unpredictable. Just because one route has good ice doesn’t mean another route will.

That said, Mellor thinks certain routes—particularly those in gullies, which hold a lot of ice—may have been helped by last week’s thaw. “Gullies have enough substance to weather a lot of abuse. I climbed Chouinard’s [above Chapel Pond] with my daughter on Saturday and found it fine. As I would have predicted,” Mellor told me yesterday.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Adirondack Geology: The World Of Talus Slopes

talus screeGeological forces over millions of years coupled with the action of glaciers and weather have created massive piles of boulders at the base of towering rock walls and steep slopes in numerous locations throughout the Adirondacks.

Some of the more prominent accumulation of talus, sometimes called scree by climbers, occurs around Chapel Pond, throughout the Wilmington Notch, in the Cascades, around portions of Bald Mountain near Old Forge, and in many places near the shores of Lake Champlain. Talus is also present along the edges of some sections of rivers and larger streams that cut through substantial deposits of bedrock. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Can’t Backcountry Ski? Try Ice Climbing

Dan Plumley climbs a route at Dipper Brook. Photo by Phil Brown.I don’t need to remind you how bad the backcountry skiing has been this year. As of this morning, the Adirondack Ski Touring Council wouldn’t even recommend skiing on the Marcy Dam Truck Trail.

But it has been cold this winter, so I figured the ice climbing must be good. Just over a week ago, in fact, there were ice climbers crawling all over Keene and Keene Valley during the Mountaineer’s annual Mountainfest.

Nevertheless, Don Mellor, author of Blue Lines: An Adirondack Ice Climber’s Guide, says the climbing this winter has been only so-so. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Winter Mountaineering: Armstrong Mountain’s East Face

Kevin MudRat MacKenzie on the upper-most slide of Armstrong Mountain's East Face.While the Adirondack Mountains may not have the alpine feel of the White Mountains or height of the Alps, they are nothing if not rugged. Armstrong, one of the mountains of the Great Range, is often regarded as just a summit to check of on the 46r list, not particularly challenging in comparison to nearby peaks especially when approached from the Gothics.

Bushwhacking it from the east, however, is an entirely different story. There are no paths, just gullies leading to the precipitous slides and ledges –the recipe for the perfect winter mountaineering adventure. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Phil Brown: A Taste Of The Climbing Bum’s Life

Phil Brown nears the top of South Peak at Seneca Rocks.For young climbers, the road trip is a rite of passage. Eschewing such mundane concerns as food and work, they cross the country to visit revered climbing locales such as the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, Red Rocks in Nevada, and Joshua Tree and Yosemite in California.

I was never a young climber. I took up the sport in my fifties. I couldn’t just quit my job and become a nomadic climbing bum. And so I did all my climbing in the Adirondacks, except for one afternoon at a small cliff in Little Falls.

In October, though, I went on a small version of the road trip. For years, I had been promising my friend Scott that I would visit him at his home in Kentucky. So I decided to drive down and do some climbing along the way. In all, I climbed in five places (in order): Ragged Mountain in Connecticut, the Gunks in downstate New York, the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, and the New River Gorge and Seneca Rocks in West Virginia. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Rescue At Rogers Rock on Lake George

Rogers Rock rapRogers Rock on Lake George is one of the most scenic cliffs in the Adirondacks, a spectacular place to climb on a crisp, clear fall day when you can see for miles up and down the lake.

My friend Mike Virtanen and I enjoyed just such a day last Sunday when we climbed Little Finger, a 490-foot route that follows a long crack that splits the slab. The slab rises straight out of the lake. We got there by canoeing from the Rogers Rock State Campground.

Little Finger is the most popular route on Rogers Rock (the guidebook Adirondack Rock gives it five stars), so given the beautiful weather, we feared others would have the same idea. Sure enough, when we got to the launch site, we met two other climbers with designs on Little Finger. Since we had climbed it before, they offered to let us go first.

Their climb would not end as well as ours. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Slide Climbing: Santanoni Mountain’s East (Twin) Slide

twin_headwall_chiarenzelli_NIK_5402Santanoni Mountain’s Twin Slide (aka East Slide per Drew Haas’ The Adirondack Slide Guide) is a fitting match to the Ermine Brook Slide on the opposite side of the ridge.

The nearly mile long track is filled with diverse and beautiful characteristics including open slab, boulders, overhanging outcrops, double-fall lines and cascades.

All good things come with a price. In this case challenging bushwhacks guard the slide at both the top and bottom. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Climbing Roaring Brook Falls on Giant Mountain

RB Falls 225One of the most well-known (and often photographed) waterfalls in the Adirondacks has to be Roaring Brook Falls, which can be seen from Route 73 plunging down the shoulder of Giant Mountain.

Since taking up rock climbing several years ago, I have been drawn to the prospect of climbing the three-hundred-foot falls. This isn’t a new idea: Jim Goodwin described climbing Roaring Brook Falls in a 1938 article for the Adirondack Mountain Club. The falls also are mentioned in A Climber’s Guide to the Adirondacks, the region’s first climbing guidebook, published in 1967. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rockfall Brings Changes to Wallface Climbing Route

Heilman aerialVeteran climber Don Mellor regards Free Ride on Wallface in the High Peaks as one of the better rock-climbing routes in the East, but when he scaled it last weekend it was not the same.

Mellor discovered that thousands of pounds of rock had fallen from the belay station at the end of the sixth pitch, known as the Lunch Ledge.

“What’s left is an arch propped up by blocks,” he said.

Not trusting the stability of the arch, he climbed ten feet past it (and to the left) to set up a belay in another spot. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Phil Brown: The Best Trek In The Adirondacks

Will high in dikeTrap Dike or Eagle Slide? Like many hikers, I long wavered as to which is the better adventure. After climbing the dike last week, though, I’d rate it the best hike/scramble in the Adirondacks.

For me, the question was settled by Tropical Storm Irene. In August 2011, Irene’s deluge triggered a new slide that leads from the Trap Dike to the summit of Mount Colden and scoured the dike itself clean of vegetation and rubble.

As a result, from Avalanche Lake, hikers climb roughly three-quarters of a mile over clean rock, ascending 1,850 feet.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Slide Climbing: Dix Mountain’s Buttress Slide

Upper Dihedral of the Buttress SlideA spectacular white scar snakes 900 vertical feet down into the rugged defile of Hunters Pass on the west side of Dix Mountain. The Buttress Slide, triggered in 2011 by Tropical Storm Irene, adds to the multitude of slides already decorating the High Peaks. This diverse backcountry challenge begins just below the crest of Dix’s southwest buttress and wishbones into dual tracks about halfway down to the pass. The debris reaches with a few hundred feet of the marked trail.

I dare say it is one of the Adirondack’s most adventurous and difficult slides, one that bridges the gap between scrambling and fifth class climbing. If you’re comfortable with rock climbing, enjoy bushwhacking and are drawn to remote locations, perhaps this slide is for you. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Old Climbing Routes On Noonmark Mountain

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe other day I hiked to the summit of Noonmark Mountain, celebrated for its knockout views of the High Peaks. I enjoyed the views, but my real reason for hiking Noonmark was to check out some old rock-climbing routes first ascended by Fritz Wiessner and friends in the 1930s and 1940s.

In his heyday, Wiessner was one of the best climbers in the country. He discovered the Shawangunks and put up routes all over the country, including the Adirondacks. The July-August issue of the Adirondack Explorer contains an article about a climb of the Wiessner Route on Upper Washbowl in Chapel Pond Pass. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Rock Climbing at Lost Brook Tract

IMG_6727Last weekend I got a last minute performing gig at the Indianapolis 500 (which, goodness gracious, is the largest event I have ever seen in my life) and an unexpected financial windfall.  That allowed me to indulge myself a little bit and make a purchase to which I have been looking forward for some time.  I went to my local outdoor equipment store and picked out rope, belay devices, webbing, locking carabineers and – joy of joys – some new climbing shoes. 

I haven’t rock climbed in more than a decade – nothing technical anyhow – and  I haven’t done any serious pitches in two decades, but this summer is going to be my chance to change that before age robs me of such abilities as remain in my body.  The best part is that I’m going to do it on my own land, a circumstance that still has me pinching myself. » Continue Reading.


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