My anticipation reached a crux; the snow was gone and the rock was exposed. It was time to venture again into Panther Gorge. Two local climbers, Adam Crofoot and Allison Rooney, were my willing partners, eager to explore new routes in the gorge after a winter of backcountry skiing. The only disagreeable partner was the weather, which left us only a small window of time on Saturday, May 30th.
Adam and Allison trekked to Slant Rock Lean-to from the Garden in Keene Valley on Friday afternoon and I joined them near midnight. The lean-to was full, so I found a comfortable place in my bivouac sack in the woods nearby to watch the moonlit clouds blow by. » Continue Reading.
Panther Gorge’s scenic wonders were featured in Adirondac Magazine’s September/October issue—the secluded talus fields, beaver ponds, a waterfall, the moss covered forest floor and meandering brooks. Above the forest lies the technical climbing area. A multitude of cliffs adorn the sides, but one stands out from the rest – Mount Marcy’s Agharta Wall.
The name was inspired by the Miles Davis’ Agharta album after Christian Fracchia and Charlie Dickens made the first ascent of the Agharta ice route in 1999. The alternate meaning, a Buddhist reference to a mythical subterranean world “also fit with how the gorge feels,” noted Fracchia. Walk deep into the gorge, especially on a dreary day, and you’ll realize how true this is.
Rock climbing routes are continually being created or “put up” on cliffs inside the blue line. Adirondack Rock’s recently published second edition adds 1,162 new routes to those in the first edition. In comparison to many areas, Panther Gorge has seen little route development. The first recorded technical ascent in the gorge was in 1936 when local guide and climber Jim Goodwin ascended cliffs on the Marcy side of the north end; his exact line is not clear. Only eight more routes were put up between 1965 and 2010, five of which involved Bill Schneider during 2003 and 2004.
Since 2012, six more have been added. Two lie on Marcy’s East Face, three lie on the Haystack side (including a free-standing pillar) and another called Wreck of the Lichen Fitzgerald ascends the Agharta Wall. » Continue Reading.
Jessica Seem brought her two sons to the Adirondacks for vacation this summer after reading on the Internet about the Saranac Lake 6er challenge. They drove 260 miles from central Massachusetts and spent the next several days climbing six smallish mountains near the village of Saranac Lake.
Thanks to a tourism initiative begun by the village in May, hikers who climb all six peaks earn a patch and the right to ring the 6er bell at downtown’s Berkeley Green. The peaks range in height from 2,452 feet (Baker Mountain) to 3,322 feet (McKenzie Mountain). In between are Haystack, Scarface, St. Regis, and Ampersand mountains.
Seem and her sons—Elliot Walsh, ten, and Casey Seem, seven—finished their 6er round on Baker on the edge of the village. “Ampersand was my favorite,” Elliot said. “It was nice and scrambly, and the view was great.”
Younger brother Casey had been reluctant to climb all six until his mother promised him an ice-cream sundae. Asked what flavor he planned to get, he replied, “Whatever they have!”
Mayor Clyde Rabideau said he is pleased with the popularity of the 6er challenge. “It’s catching on,” he remarked. “It’s family friendly.” » Continue Reading.
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