Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Jim Lawyer is working on a new rock climbing guidebook for the Adirondacks. He included me on one of his latest projects this fall - an unclimbed crack on the south face of Wallface. We hiked in and aided the pitch to clean and scrub it and then we both sent the pitch (Jim did it first try!), which is a direct variant to an existing route. "Black Crack" is the name and it's rated 5.11b and is mostly fingers. There is still a lot of untapped potential at Wallface to be sure! Stay tuned for Jim's new book (due out in the spring of '08) for precise details of this and other new routes at Wallface and throughout the Adirondacks.

Andy Tuthill and I got up early one morning and tried to link a few routes on Cannon Cliff in New Hampshire. We started before dawn and climbed the VMC Direct Direct and then Benedictus Direct and were back down at the packs again by 2:30pm. The weather was perfect and we could have done more; but, we decided that we'd had enough fun for one day and called it. There was a great smoke ring (a ring-shaped cloud) in the otherwise cloudless blue sky; we took it as a sign and went home to our families early after one of our best days on Cannon ever! How sweet it is up there in the fall!!!! Tuthill is the MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In another blaze-of-glory mission for Jim's new Adirondack guidebook, my ex-girlfriend, and I went to Cat Mountain in the remote western Adirondacks near the small lake town of Cranberry Lake to try to free-climb Tad Welch's aid climb "Catatonic". Cat Mountain is a five mile hike from the road along the southern shore of Cranberry Lake. The distance is somewhat long; but, it's quite flat almost the whole way; and so, it is not much of a hardship; it's actually a very pleasant hike! Cat Mountain is a small mountain but has the classic Adirondack feature at the top - a small cliff. This particular cliff is the site of what I consider to be the "Coyne Crack of the Adirondacks" - a gently overhanging perfect splitter crack that's mostly rattly fingers, then turns to finger stacks, ringlocks and thin hands sizes. It's seventy feet of splitter crack heaven right here in the Adirondacks! I failed to onsight it and french-aided my way to the top. Then, I did it with a hang or two on top rope. Then, it started to rain. We hiked out and I began obsessing over this gem of a route immediately. We drove all the way home (five hour drive), and learned along the way by stopping in Keene, NY that our friend Dennis Luther had died the day before at Poke-O when he rappelled off the ends of his rope. Shock. Disbelief. We lost another one. Depressed by this tragedy we went home. But, as soon as we got there I asked Katy if she wanted to go back to Cat Mountain - immediately. She agreed and so we loaded up the van again right away and drove through the night back to Cranberry Lake. We hiked in the next morning after breakfast under ominous grey skies visualizing sending this splitter with every step and thinking about Dennis. We rappelled over the route and scrubbed the holds and crack with a wire brush - then, I sent it placing gear first try. What a gem! It goes at 5.11d, or so... After Katy followed it, it promptly started to rain and POURED on us the whole hike out. Victory! Thanks Katy! We'll miss you Dennis!!!!!!!!!!!!

More later about our recent trip to Indian Creek...

She go,
Will Mayo