Monday, October 18, 2010

Changing Seasons

A few photos taken since the seasons started to shift:

Conks growing on a nice oak in N.H.

One of Fredericton's massive sprawling elms.

The image of the elm is actually 3 glued together. I took 10 exposures trying to get the whole thing combined into a single mosaic but I missed big sections. I'll have to go back. The crown on that thing just goes forever in every direction. If I only had a ultra-wide lens.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Over the long weekend I hitched aboard a road trip to N. Conway, N.H. for some climbing. It's been a year since I've been there and unfortunately, I don't feel as strong as I did last year. Regardless, I was determined to have a few firsts... and I did.

Saturday my only real objective was to jump on a sustained 5.9 finger crack called 'they died laughing'. It's a Henry Barber route (as are half the lines at Cathedral) and it's crazy aesthetic. After a quick easy warm-up I racked up for it. About 2 pieces in I was already breaking down. The polished rock was spitting my feet out of every jam and Chris was scolding me for not committing myself to climb above my gear. I ended up resting on gear all through the crux but I eventually made it up. Ok I guess but I'd like to try it again.

After that Tracy and I went for an easier climb up Funhouse. A nice line but was unpleasantly cut short by the sound of skidding down a slab and the thud of a decking climber to our left. After a few yells the guy responded that he was ok. By the time we were down to find him he was gone without a trace. I guess it sounded worse than it was?

Sunday Chris and I were up and out before sunrise to climb Moby Grape, a 9 pitch, 5.8 at Cannon. A long route with an alpine feel, it climbs the tallest line on the massive exfoliating dome to a peak over 4100 feet elevation. I think it`s one of the tallest walls in the northeast.

I led the awesome Reppy`s Crack first pitch, a perfect hands splitter. Chris led the next two pitches past a nice roof crack on nice rock. By pitch 4, my feet were colder than a well diggers ass and it was slowing me down considerably. A decision was made that for speeds sake, Henni would have to lead the remaining pitches and I'd have to improve on my cleaning speed. Beyond pitch 5, you can no longer rap the route and are committed to the top.

Me... about 2/3rds up Reppy's crack.

Again me... cleaning pitch 3.

Mid afternoon laded us at the Finger of Fate pitch. This thing is absolutely improbable. It's a 20-foot high shark fin pounded into the cliff like a piton of the gods. It's climbed by campusing/heelhooking along very positive holds for a few moves and then chucking your whole body up into the widening crack and humping your way to the top (sweet)! Even getting to it has a few really cool and spacey moves downclimbing to a thin traverse off the anchor and then onto a really crazy hanging thin flake. Exposed and wild!

Hennigar... poking out from the Finger of Fate.

Beyond that the climbing was mostly slabby to the top with the odd wet patch and run-out. I led the last pitch of a few moves to scrambling to the top. We got off the climb at about 5:00 pm. It took us about 10 hours.

The Whitney-Gilman Ridge is the arete in the background in sharp contrast. It was first climbed in 1929 as a solo by the pair. Clearly... they were made of different substance than modern man.

A final note on this climb is that you'd want to avoid getting finished in the dark. The climbing wouldn't be the problem rather it would be very difficult to get back down. Finding the descent path involves thrashing through dense thicket, boulders, and deep cracks. Lots of misleading goat paths go off in the wrong direction. Definitely not ideal to be doing in headlamps.

For the best topo we found, click here:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rock School

Rock School went down last weekend. What could have been totally screwed on weather turned out great. I think most folks got enough climbing in and had fun.

Whipped off some photos while I was there:
Amer... doing his best epic-face! Awesome.

Fall colours in full swing. Red Maple

Little Miss Olivia K... most certainly a future climbing star!

The night sky over Cochrane lane.