Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bombardment to Upper Refuse - Multi Pitch Rock Climb

Shaka! from P2 Upper Refuse

Bombardment (5.8)
Trad, 2 pitches, 160 feet
Lower Left Wall/Ventilator Slabs
Cathedral Ledge, North Conway, NH

Upper Refuse (5.5)
Trad, 3 pitches, 200 feet
Barber Wall
Cathedral Ledge, North Conway, NH

Bombardment (5.8)
Looking up P1. That headwall crack at the start of the first pitch isn't the start for me, so I scrambled up the left side onto the first ledge. That faint Dike is a super fun. Sean lead (both pitches) and if he fell from the runout Dike, would most likely be over the ledge. A fall from a second would pendulum. Glad I love Whitehorse run outs. This was run out for sure, but challenging in a fun kind of way. 

Looking up P2. Sean did an fantastic job of leading P2! It was scary fun, especially a small section where the holds were shiny and slippery. I got to practice jamming my feet in that arching crack....and it didn't even hurt (thank you Scarpa Techno X! )

Upper Refuse(5.5)
While on UR, Sean and I watched Scott lead Black Crack (5.10b) and Sarah Garlick follow. It was super fun to watch them shove their left arm and leg into the off-width crack as they made their way up the crack. 

This photo of Sarah Garlick climbing Black Crack (5.10b)
was featured on the frontpage of 
And to think, I told Sean that we should skip climbing Upper Refuse. 
Glad he convinced me otherwise or else I'd never have gotten the photos. 

A party of 4 climbers came up behind us at the base. While we were waiting for the second climber of the party in front of us to come up, the lead climber of the party of 4 came up just to below us at the belay station. I'm glad Sean told the lead climber that I was a new lead. His belayer on the ground was yelling up to him to go up past us, no doubt to the tree. But I'm glad he didn't and stayed out of my way as well as off the tree for the belay anchor. He waited until I was up at the tree anchor and then came up and built a gear anchor in the corner of the ledge. I brought Sean up P2 and then we swapped leads and Sean took P3. 

Looking down P1

At the belay station of P2 waiting.

Love my new Scarpa Techno X!

Bringing Sean up P2

Overall, it was so fun climbing at Cathedral Ledge. Big crowd at UR so make sure you get there early enough to get in line - typical UR Sunday! We only came in one vehicle so after topping out and checking out the Lookout, we walked down the road to the base of the ledge. 

Lookout at the top of Cathedral Ledge, 
climbers on the route Camber 5.11b

Friday, September 8, 2017

Hiking With Llamas!

Selfie with 11-yr old, Expo

Fun hike with the At A Snail's Pace Hiking meetup group this morning! We met in the parking lot of the Northwood Meadows State Park and Michael finally introduced the group to our surprise guests! Duncan, Expo, and his momma Alli-oop joined us for a morning walk. Their pace was pretty fast but by the end of the hike, they had slowed down and was ready to get back into their trailer and leave. Everyone in our group was welcomed to lead the trio on our walk. Thanks to their mom Charlotte, and dad Bob for bringing along this exotic trio.

Duncan, Charlotte and Michael

Michael and I with 7-yr old Duncan

Leading 17-yr old Alli-oop

Our group taking a break by the lake

Monday, September 4, 2017

Piscataquog River - Whitewater Kayaking

Got to do some whitewater kayaking for the very first time! The section of river that we kayaked was running with Class I rapids with a Class II drop at the very end. I was anxious at first, but as the day wore on, I relaxed and could focus on what Tom was teaching me. Kayaking down rapids is so exhilarating! I learned so much from Tom like; Eddy, Ferry, River right/left/middle, put in, take out, rapids, drops.... Must learn to store everything in my Sea To Summit eVac Dry Sack! I stored my extra layers and food, but not my wallet, inhaler, bug spray, live and learn! Thanks so much for the fun Labor Day Sean and Tom. Enjoy a few photos of our day. Note: these photos don't do any justice to the currents and moving water we experienced while kayaking.

Put in at the Gregg's Falls - Powerhouse & Dam 

Tom at the Put in

Going over some "basics" before we head off

Piscataquog River Gage House used for 
River Observations and Forecasts at the
American Whitewater website.

Take out just past the Henry Bridge behind me

American Whitewater:

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Weissner's Dike - Multi Pitch Summer Rock Climb

Weissner's Dike (5.6)
Trad, Alpine, 6 Pitches, 650 feet Grade II
Cannon Cliff, Cannon Mtn.
Franconia Notch, NH

This route is 6 pitches but we climbed the second pitch in two pitches because it was super windy. There was a group of 3 on Consolation Prize, props to the lead climber who climbed the runout slabs in this wind. Kept an eye out on the weather but it never turned bad all day. Cold in the morning with lots of wind on the lower pitches. But it was calm at the last top pitches.

I really love that first pitch. The "Dike" is super fun. There's a stuck grey cam on this pitch, of course we used it! 

Lots of loose rock along our second, third and fourth pitches, but no rockfall during today's climb.

Last pitch - Graded as  a 5.6 - this must be for tall climbers. Sean had no problems getting up this flake. But for short, old folks like me, this is a lot harder than a 5.6...ain't gonna lie! 3 years ago, when we climbed Lakeview, I barely got up it. Today, given the long day, I aid climbed it. Yes, it can be aid climbed. Once at the top of the flake, Sean set an Alien with a 3 foot sling and draped the sling over the flake. Once at the flake, I hooked a locking biner to the end of the sling. Then connected a 6 foot sling and put two knots in it for my steps! This makeshift aider was enough to get me up and over that flake. Next time I climb up this pitch, I will definitely bring my Black Diamond Alpine Aider to try out.

Fantastic leading by Sean - excellent pro all the way to the top!

Enjoy a few photos of our day in Franconia Notch, NH!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sliding Board - Multi Pitch Summer Rock Climb

Shaka from Pitch 2 Belay of Sliding Board

Sliding Board (5.7R)
Trad, 9 Pitches, 1000 feet
Whitehorse Ledge
North Conway, NH

I love climbing The Slabs of Whitehorse Ledge. But today I couldn't wait to get off of it! When the lead climber (of the group of 4 in front of us) starting shrieking, my only thought then was that Sean and I had to get the fuck off Whitehorse......

Although I was eager to lead, I was nervous because I had never climbed Sliding Board. I was also nervous watching the group in front of us. It was obvious that no one in this group knew where they were going. One of their lead climbers, who was about 20 feet above the second bolt of the second pitch, turned to a guide who was anchored in the "crystal pocket" and asked him where the anchor was. He answered, "10 feet to your left, or 100 feet above you." She traversed to her left and found the anchor. Lots of places to put pro in cracks, but she didn't put any between that second bolt and the anchor.

I was also worried that I wouldn't be able to place enough gear along the way to the anchor. The good thing about the pitch just off the Launch Pad is that Sean would be able to see me the entire pitch and could call out to me if necessary. The group of 4 in front of us went straight up from the Launch Pad and placed one piece of pro to the anchor. We didn't follow them. Instead Sean had me go up diagonally to the left. I placed 4 pieces (including a bolt) and headed off to a bunch of flakes with cracks near the section of bushes on the left. I thought Sean meant for me to place a piece of pro at these cracks before heading up to the anchor. I was just about to kneel down to place a piece in the crack, when Sean asked me where I was going. I had gone too far left so I ended up setting up an anchor at a small tree. It had a couple of worn grey webbing and two rap rings and is used to sling for the Wedge routeFrom there Sean lead up to the anchor of the second pitch. From where I was anchored at the small tree, I couldn't see him at the next anchor. That's when I heard Sean talking to the group in front of us. 

From the belay station of the 4th pitch you can't see the lead climber once they cross over the dike. But from the belay station of the 3rd pitch, Sean could see the lead climber and asked him if he was okay. He told Sean that he couldn't find any place for pro and that he couldn't find the anchor. (I suspect he was looking for a bolted anchor.) Sean told him that he was 30 feet past his anchor and asked him where his last piece of pro was. It was an Alien 30 feet below him and it was his second piece with his first piece near the beginning of the pro in the left facing corner cracks. Sean told him he had to downclimb and build an anchor. The lead climber started downclimbing but his belayer couldn't see him and kept taking in slack almost pulling him off the wall and that's when the shrieking started. 

At that point I wanted to get down. As soon as I was on belay, I made my way up, crossing over some lichen and cussing the entire time. I got up to clean the piece of pro off of the anchor of P2, I yelled up to Sean that as soon as I got up to him at the anchor, we were going to rap down - fuck this shit! I mean seriously, I watched the lead climber climb atop the crack where he was supposed to build gear anchor - but didn't, and almost witness him getting pulled off. This was turning into a shit show and Sean and I had front row seats to it. 

Sean told me that he agreed with me but that I needed to calm down. We still needed to climb to the next anchor in order to rap off its rap rings. More cussing. But Sean was right. I also needed to calm down and focus on climbing that steep ramp section. I did calm down and really enjoyed that section of the pitch! I don't think I'd have any problems leading up to that first bolt. But that second bolt.....  And Sean did a great job protecting between the second bolt and the anchor with 4 pieces....several flake cracks perfect for a couple of C4's and a C3. And a bomber tricam just before the anchor!

As soon as the anchor belay at the end of pitch 3 was clear, I belayed Sean up and then I followed. I felt worn out. Almost 4 hours to climb just 3 pitches and lots of waiting around - we did a lot more waiting than climbing. I couldn't wait to get down. I was supposed to lead that 4th pitch as well. But Sean and I would have had to wait for the anchor station below the headwall to clear. Plus, knowing that the lead climber almost had an 'epic' on that pitch was such a killjoy. 

Other climbers, Owen and Steve, were on the Beginners Route and yelled down to the group if they needed any help. They were ready to rap down to them from the Standard Route, if needed. And if the lead climber did fall and injure himself, no doubt Sean and I would also stop to assist in every way possible. Too bad they didn't have a guidebook or a copy of the beta with them. It's really important to learn as much you can about the route you're climbing, especially if you're leading it. If you fall and injure yourself its not just about you. But it also becomes about your partner(s) and those other climbers and rescuers who come to your aid. And don't lie about your ability/experience. Sean and I were told that the lead climber had climbed this route before.

Seriously, there's so much beta online to take advantage of. is a great source of beta and photos! Plus, there are guidebooks for purchase that cover many climbing area/routes as well!

For our rap down, we did get to put into practice the technique that I learned from Marc Chauvin's Transition Clinic. I showed Sean the setup for the Climb-to-Rappel transition. It was fast and simple. And since that clinic I've given up using a sling for an extended rappel and as a PAS. It's so much more faster and easier to just clove hitch into the anchor. For an extended rappel I now use a quickdraw made with a Petzl Dogbone and Black Diamond's VaporLock and RockLock Magnetrons. (thanks Dave Lottman!)

Weekend climbing in North Conway.....

Few photos taken on our climb:
Waiting from the Launch Pad

Blueberries on pitch 1 ledge of Wedge

70m ropes from the tree on the "Wedge" route to
the P2 anchor. Used P1 anchor as pro.

Pitch 4 belay with the left facing corner cracks

Rapping from pitch 4

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Cormier-Magness 2017 - Multi Pitch Summer Rock Climb

wheat thin arete, whitehorse ledge, cormier-magness
Belaying Tom up pitch 2 - Wheat Thin Arete

Cormier-Magness (5.6)
Trad, 8 Pitches, 1150 feet
Whitehorse Ledge
North Conway, NH

Blueberries, run-outs and slabs, oh my! My favorite place to climb is the run-out slabs of Whitehorse Ledge. When we climbed Cormier-Magness late last summer, I didn't lead P5 & P6 like it should have been lead. So today Sean, Tom and I went back to "re-do" the Cormier-Magness route. I took P1, P2, P5 & P6. Sean took P3 & P4. And 16-year old Tom lead the last two pitches, P7 & P8.  Took up way more gear than was needed. But it was a good day, and the wild blueberries were delicious.  This route (MP) is fun and gorgeous - definitely my favorite route on The Slabs! And thank you Chris Magness for the additional beta! :)

Enjoy some photos taken of our day - GoPro's Quik app I'm trying out. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Farley 4th of July Climbing - Rock Climbing

Spent the afternoon climbing several 5.9's at Farley Ledges in Erving, MA. Then capped it off with an easy sport lead. Great group to spend the holiday climbing with! Can't wait to go out climbing with this group again! Check out a few photos of our day.