Sunday, September 4, 2011


We heard there was a hurricane coming. It was always our plan to finish up the summer in the Adirondacks, in the north east of New York state, and it seemed like a good time to head there. We figured the Dacks would be far enough west to avoid the brunt of Irene, and hopefully we'd just have to write off a day or so due to the rain.

We drove across Vermont and took the ferry across Lake Champlain.

Our first stop was Poke-O Moonshine Mountain, located in the north east section of the park, and featuring a few nice cliffs and an easy approach. On our first day we made such short work of the popular Gamesmanship, 5.8+, 600 feet, that we hiked over to the slabs and climbed the classic slab Catharsis, 5.5, 490 feet as well. At almost 1100 feet of climbing, it was one of the biggest days we've had in a while.

Here is Kristal coming up the excellent first pitch of Gamesmanship.

And leading the first pitch of Catharsis, one of the best slab climbs we've been on.

Then the storm came. Through the power of social networking I discovered my friend Deborah was in Lake Placid for the weekend, celebrating a family reunion in some enormous lodge. Kristal and I didn't think twice about accepting her gracious offer of crashing their party to escape Irene. It was so awesome to spend the day and night on the inside. Thanks again guys!

The next morning we got our first taste of the carnage. Our swanky digs (on the left) escaped relatively unscathed. The house next door, not so much.

Over the next week we would discover the true scope of the damage. After bouldering for a couple of days, waiting for the cliffs to dry, we headed to Chapel Pond Pass, a popular destination with a tonne of climbing. After driving through the devastated town of Keene, with many houses completely destroyed due to flash floods, we hit the end of the road.

While milling around we ran into a ranger and were informed that the High Peaks, Dix and Giant wilderness areas would be closed for a least a week. Unfortunately most of the climbs we wanted to do were in these areas. Fortunately we were still able to access the classic Quadrophenia, 5.7+, 350 feet. Here is Kristal belaying me from the top of the spectacular 3rd pitch.

And the nice view from the top.

It was time to make some new plans though. We headed south-west, hopefully to some lesser affected areas. Unfortunately this was what was left of the road to Crane Mountain.

Scratch that idea. We headed west to Indian Lake to go bouldering at the small, but excellent Snowy Mountain Boulders. The approach follows a small trail about 20 minutes through the woods and the amount of newly downed trees was incredible. Here I am working the awesome Never Been to Hueco, V7.

And Kristal working the ridiculously fun moves on The Fin, V6.

Before leaving the Adirondacks we made one more stop on our way back up through Lake Placid, to climb the short, but highly rated The El, 5.8, 180 feet. It was an interesting climb for sure, with a nice easy first pitch, a terrifying traverse for the second pitch, and an excellent crack climb for the third pitch. Here is Kristal heading around the corner on pitch 2.

Hopefully we'll be back in the Adirondacks this fall, to enjoy some better weather and tick off some of the classic climbs we couldn't get on this trip.

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