Friday, September 23, 2011

"Danger Ruts"

Well, it has been almost exactly one month since Irene annihilated our great State of Vermont. Recovery is quick in some views and painfully slow in other views.  The road crews have been tremendous in working sun up to sun down 7 days a week.  Many roads are still closed around here, but new openings occur every week. The drive to and from Ludlow to Reading (and such parts) goes on beautiful back roads.  There is this funny place on one of the roads where a dip or rut is. To provide caution to local drivers, someone was kind enough to put signs up in each direction warning of the rut.  I guess whoever created the signs had a dearth of materials though.  Red spray paint on a small cardboard box makes for a somewhat comical warning.
Can't help but wonder how long this sign will hold up
I've been able to do a little climbing in the past month.  Feel sort of guilty leaving the town behind with so much more homes to cleanup.  But we keep checking in and offering to help where and when we can. There is a good email system letting folks know who needs help and when.

Annie and I made it over to Poke-O-Moonshine in the Adirondacks and climbed all pitches of the classic Gamesmanship.  We had done this route 4 years ago and I got spanked on the fourth pitch.  I figured this time with much better weather conditions and improved skills it wouldn't present a problem. I was wrong. The 4th pitch is a beautiful "hand crack" (translates to "off-fists" for me).  It is rated only 5.7+ compared to the first pitch crux rating of 5.8+.  I had to French Free the damned thing to keep from pumping out and falling off!  The first pitch is long and sustained, but in my opinion not nearly as hard as Pitch 4.  The crack presents itself to me like this: when the hands get more secure the feet are terrible - when the feet get more secure (read "painful") the hands are lousy (way too wide). Makes for some interesting and strenuous climbing.  There are no face features to bail you out - it is pure jamming, so if your appendages don't fit the crack, get ready to grunt!  This is another typical example of a climb being rated by men with large hands. I am sure it is 5.7+ for Mr. Big Hands!  Pitch 1 was more my style and great fun.

Anyhoo, the ride over there is darned nice if you break it up with a ferry ride.  Here is a short video on the "approach" to Poke-O.

Now it's raining again, but it should subside enough to get on some rock before the end of the day Sunday.  I had an AMC trip to co-lead on Whitehorse which was postponed to Sunday...looks like I won't be needed since the trip is no longer filled due to weather regrets. So Annie and I will hope to get on some cracks up there on Whitehorse or Cathedral.

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