Friday, December 7, 2007

Sandstone and the Coming of Winter to the Northeast...

Me sending "Gurkha" (5.12-), Reservoir Wall, Indian Creek

At the end of October Katy and I made a trip to the great red desert. We got seven climbing days in with perfect weather. The highlights were Katy's first Indian Creek leads of routes that actually have names; and, my onsights of "Anunnaki" (5.12-), Optimator Wall, "Dos Hermanos" (5.11+), Donnelly Canyon, "Tips Layback" (5.11+), Power Wall, and "Layaway Plan" (5.11+), Rambo Wall, among others. I'm finally making some gains at the Creek - this was my fifth trip to the land of the perfect splitters! Can't wait to go back!!!!

"Leave It to Jesus" (5.11d), Endless Wall, New River Gorge, WV

Just before Thanksgiving, Katy and I managed to have four days of perfect rock climbing weather down in the amazing "Creek of the East" - the New River Gorge of West Virginia. The Nutall Sandstone of the New makes the Wingate Sandstone of the Creek seem soft! It's amazing stuff - hard like granite yet the locks are soft like sandstone. I onsighted "Leave It to Jesus" which has long been a dream of mine. It is one of the finest pitches of rock climbing anywhere. What a spectacular gem it is!!!! She go! Katy red-pointed "New Yosemite" which had been a nemesis of hers, so she was psyched! The other highlights for me were "Chasin' the Wind" (5.11b) at Beauty Mtn., and "Stuck in Another Dimension" (5.11a) at the Junkyard Wall. Lovin' the NEW!

Audrey Gariepy and Mat Audibert at St. Alban, QC

Lately I have been traveling up to Quebec as often as I can to train for the comp at Ouray which is fast approaching. I was roped soloing up there one day in the rain when Audrey and Mat showed up. They were literally on their way to Canmore and stopped by for a burn before driving across the vast flat middle of the continent. Gotta love the Quebecois! Can't wait for Ouray!

Me on "Omega" (WI5+), Cannon Cliff, NH (Photo by Andy Tuthill)

Winter came with a vengeance to the Northeast at the beginning of December! Cannon and Lake Willoughby are going off! Everything's in! Jim Ewing and I climbed "Omega" and "Prozac" on Sunday the 2nd of December. On Monday, I led a drytooling clinic at the Boston Rock Gym and it snowed over a foot up north during my absence. I went back up to Cannon for more with Andy Tuthill on Tuesday the 4th of December. We climbed "Omega" again in full conditions. It was my eighth ascent of this marvelous route (it was Andy's fourth - his first and second times were in the late 70's though . . . what a stud!) It is days like these that make life so precious!


Will Mayo

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