This past weekend was the annual ADK younger members camping extravaganza. Thursday night me and my brother packed up some food (we should have packed more), and made a list of food we need to buy. Friday morning I threw some gear together (should have got up earlier and put more gear together) and then busted out to work. During lunch I went across the road to do some shopping and got our weekend goodies of: block of Monterey Jack cheese, two boxes of nature valley oatmeal/granola bars, four packages of single serving turkey coldcuts, organic dried banana chips, organic dried pineapple/papaya mix, and some yogurt covered raisins. That mixed with stuff we already had: a pound of pasta, various seasonings, some bagels, oatmeal, and powdered milk should hold us over for the weekend.
I got home from work and we started packing, ideally we wanted to leave around 6-6:30. It was currently 5:30. I got most of my stuff together: tent, groundcloth, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camp chairs, stove, fuel, pots, cups, my spork, headlamp, hiking clothes, change of clothes, rain jacket, climbing gear (in case we have some energy to climb on sunday), and I think that’s about it. My brother got his stuff together and we threw it in the car. By the time we finished packing and eating dinner it was 8 and we hit the road. Two hours later we get to Heart Lake and find our camp spot, set up everything and passed out.
In the morning it was pouring rain. We got up and met the rest of the crew. Dave (the fast guy), Porsche and her guy friend, Laura and her guy friend, Heather and her guy friend, and us. For some reason I only remember the names of the girls. We found out that the plan was to hike Gray Peak. We would take the trail from the ADK Loj to the four corners and then bushwack to the trailless Gray Peak, about 15 miles round trip.
We headed out and it was still raining. I really need to waterproof-wash my rain jacket since it likes to absorb rain rather than repel it. It still keeps you dry on the inside though. The 2.2 miles to Marcy Dam was really quick and we hung out a bit and did some snacking. By then the rain stopped, whew. We got going again and were going and going until we hit a sign a couple miles later that pointed towards Marcy. Everyone was a little puzzled. We all concluded we made a wrong turn somewhere and decided we might as well go up and over Marcy to the four corners and then hit Gray and then make a loop out of it back to the Loj. The trail was pretty crowded, more than usual. We kept passing groups and when we would wait for everyone else to catch up, the other groups would pass us. We would then pass them and repeat the process until we hit the summit of Marcy, which was packed. The views were pretty okay but it was socked in with clouds most of the time.
The trail down the back of Marcy was all ours. We got down to the four corners and looked at Marcy… completely clear! If only we had started a little later we would have had the nice view, but still be up there, and not down here…
We found some nice comfy sitting rocks in the stream that crosses the four corners and snacked and lounged around. We then headed over to Lake Tear of the Clouds, got water, and headed up Gray. There was actually a nicely beaten herd path to the top. I think that trail is by far the roughest I’ve ever been on. We lounged around the summit for a bit and then headed down.
It’s about 6 miles back to the Loj from the four corners. The slower group (Laura, Porche, plus the respective guy friends) split up into their own group and me, my brother, Dave, Heather (and her guy friend) went on ahead. Dave was mostly leading. I would like to know the secret of hiking as fast as he does. It just seems like he is walking leisurely, yet I take about the same stride as he does, with faster turnover, and can barely keep up.
After 11 hours and 17 miles we arrive back at the Loj. We happily strip off our wet stuff and lounge around making dinner and swapping epic backpacking stories. The slow group arrived about an hour after we did and joined the fun.
Sunday morning we were pretty beat. Some people were planning a short hike, some people were just busting out, and we debated what to do. If we went on any hike, our bodies wouldn’t be too happy, so we decided to eat some breakfast bagels and hit the road. And to think we were doing this every day on the AT… I got out of shape pretty quick.
Pictures can be found over here
You must be logged in to see this private post
The next day after climbing outside is always so rough.Â You would think after having been climbing for years I wouldn’t be all achy the next day, but alas.
Saturday we went to the Catskills place and checked out the storm damage. Berry Brook Road (the main road) is in pretty bad shape.Â Everywhere that the brook goes under the road through a pipe was ripped apart.Â What tends to happen is that when the brook overflows it’s banks there is so much water that the pipe can’t handle it, so the water runs over the road and grinds it down.Â One house washed away and everything else looked okay.
Our road wasn’t nearly as bad as our neighbor said it was.Â She claimed three foot deep ruts in the road.Â Even the last huge storm in 96 that washed out our road wasn’t that bad.Â You can only go down so far until you hit bedrock, and it’s way less than three feet.
The road was obviously worked on since the flooding.Â We have a feeling the electric company that maintains that little section of road is responsible.Â Thanks guys.Â There’s only one section that’s bad.Â Whoever fixed up the road also pushed dirt on top of the drainage pipe along the road.Â Now we have a little frog pond there.Â There are in fact frogs living in it.Â That has to be dug out, we need some gravel on the road, and that should do it.
The house is okay, the pond is okay, the fields need cutting badly (but that’s what happens when you haven’t cut the grass for three years).Â The wood piles need to be redone and the chimney and house need repainting.
The last time at Little Falls it was a little rainy and we didn’t get much climbing in.Â Yesterday was really great.Â We got to the cliff and saw a ton of people. there were ropes everywhere.Â Uh oh.
We walked around looking for something to set up.Â There was a moderate route in the middle that wasn’t taken so we dropped our stuff, I walked to the top of the cliff and examined everyone’s anchors on the way to our route. I like to make sure that everyone else has nice solid anchors just in case we wind up hopping on someone else’s rope.Â I can count a half dozen times I’ve seen setups that I wouldn’t hang my camera off of.Â Everything was all good and I set up our anchor and went down.
Everyone else was really friendly and we wound up doing a ton of climbing all over.Â A guy I know at the gym showed up with his climbing partner.Â He set up an 11 that me and him both worked on and couldn’t finish.Â It was pretty fun nonetheless.
We stayed from about 10am to 3pm — a good amount of climbing.
It seems this week I’m reaching a new level in climbing.Â Yesterday was the fifth day in a row climbing: Friday (Gym), Saturday (Gunks), Sunday (Cannon), Monday (Gym), Tuesday (Gym).Â Yesterday I toproped an 8 for a warmup, lead a 9 for some more warmup, and then blasted up an 11 twice, and still felt pretty good afterwards.Â Since when Cindi would come to the gym we would just go bouldering, my percentage of time bouldering went up quite a bit.Â I have a feeling that was responsible for the recent progression.
I’m going to work on moving back to the normal schedule starting today, which means I’ll be climbing for a 6th day in a row.Â I’m feeling pretty good as of right now, so we’ll see how things go.Â I want to lead that pink 11- in the middle today.
If there is the possibility of backpacking for my vacation in September I should start training now so I can actually have a hope of pulling it off.Â The AT through Shenandoah National Park is roughly 110 miles.Â I’ll have to average 22 miles a day for 5 days.Â It’s just some walking, how bad can it be?
I’m thinking of doing two loops around the Tongue Mountain Range this weekend.Â I’ll get a nice starting point going.Â Hit up the trail Saturday morning with a standard 2-3 day load, do the 10 mile loop over the 5 peaks, camp out, repeat.Â The following weekend do two loops on Saturday, camp out, repeat.Â Should be fun.
I need to start bringing in a sweatshirt into the office since they keep the air conditioning on full blast throughout the day… it’s colder today than usual.
A friend of mine invited me to join him on the MS Bike Tour in Dover at the end of September. My brother, with his job and everything probably can’t actually join me on the previously planned climbing trip. I’ll see if I can get Nick or John to come along instead. Worst comes to worst I’ll bail on the climbing trip and do some backpacking in the Shenandoahs. Ideally I can do that all in one shot. Drive down on Friday and visit Cindi till Sunday morning, do the bike tour, and then bust to either climbing or hiking, and then bust out home.
There’s actually a slight problem with that plan though. If I’m planning on doing the 150 mile tour, I’m going to be really beat the next day. I could drive down the previous Friday, spend the weekend with Cindi (yeah this is sounding much better), do climbing/hiking/etc for the week, visit Cindi again the following Friday+Saturday, do the bike tour, and bust out home. I think that’s the plan now.
There’s also the fourth annual Shelf Road Shindig outside of Colorado Springs on the 8-9 weekend of September. I can’t miss that one, I should go get my airline tickets while they are still cheap.
September is going to be pretty busy, Most of the weekends are booked up with something occurring outside of New York.
You must be logged in to see this private post
It was Friday.Â There I was, just working comfortably in my cubicle, when I get a call from Andrew. He suggested we go climb at Cannon Mountain this weekend and do a long route. But first, he wanted to go down to the Gunks during the late afternoon to climb a little bit on Saturday before heading out to Cannon on Saturday night. Sounds good in theory.
We got to the Gunks at 2pm, I lead the first pitch of Son of Easy Overhang (5.8, 2 pitches), and Andrew did the second. We then walked over to Dry Martini (5.7, 2 pitches), which I’ve been looking to do for a while. It had one particularly hard move and the rest was fairly easy and uninteresting. I see the reason that it’s not highly recommended in the guidebook.
After the walk in, the two routes, getting down off the two routes, and the hike back out, it was 7:30pm (Andrew climbs incredibly slow). Back at Andrew’s house it was almost 9:30pm. I dropped Andrew off at his house and went back to mine, threw some stuff together and laid down on the couch napping and waiting for Andrew to show up. He showed up at 10:30pm, we headed out to Saratoga Springs to pick up Nick, and then headed off to New Hampshire.
We got to the Cannon Mountain parking lot at around 4:00am. It was windy and cold, too bad I forgot to bring pants. I thew my sleeping pad on the grass, got into my sleeping bag and tried to get some sleep. Ritwik arrived at 5:00am, we had our team. We ate some breakfast, organized the gear, signed in to the climbers log at the trailhead, and finally got going at around 7:00am.
Ritwik and I headed over to do Moby Grape (5.8, 9 pitches, 1000 feet, Grade III) , and Nick and Andrew headed over to do the Whitney-Gilman Ridge (5.8, 5 pitches, 500 feet, Grade III). The approach over the talus field took about 25 minutes (a far cry from the 2 hours that Andrew said it would take). We waited about 20 minutes at the base for the party ahead of us to finish the first pitch.
Ritwik lead the first pitch quickly, and I followed quickly. The wind was whipping and it was still quite cold. I got the second pitch of some easy fourth class scrambling. Ritwik got the third pitch, the “triangular roof”. Getting over the roof wasn’t too bad of a move actually, although myself leading it would have been rough. I got the fourth pitch, the “finger of fate”, a very large detached flake and very airy moves. I got off route and set up the belay in this annoying cluster of small trees. Ritwik did the next pitch which was an easy gully and then an awkward traverse. He also lead the last pitch which involved an interesting chimney and some delicate and technical slab.
The hike down was a bit rough (but you have to expect that, it’s a climbers trail and not a hiking trail, ie: zero trail maintenance). We passed by the remnants of the old man in the mountain. The work that was done to keep that guy together was quite elaborate. There is still large amounts of bolts and rods holding fairly large boulders to the top of the cliff.
We got down to the base and Ritwik had the idea to go jump in the lake. It was a fairly warm day and man that lake looked good. We jumped in and the water was cold, but not too cold. It was really nice once you get into the sun.
We met Andrew and Nick back at the parking lot at around 2pm, they were all set to leave without us. I’ll have to talk with Andrew about that. That’s not cool. What if we were having an epic?
Andrew had some gear on hold at the IME in North Conway, after what seemed like forever, we got there, got to the store, got the gear, and started the drive back home. At 12:30am I was in my comfy bed and getting some rest for work on Monday.