Thursday, September 19, 2013

West Comes East: Part Two

Part One with Randy was all Gunks. We drove back to Vermont with the plan to get a rest day, then climb some at our local crag before heading to New Hampshire for the top pick venues - Rumney, Cannon, Cathedral, Whitehorse.

Monday - Rumney! Randy loves sport climbing. All he talks about is sport climbing with the Goldwaters! Goldwaters this, Goldwaters that! Alright already! We get it that you sport climb a lot with the Goldwaters! The Goldwaters aren't here so you'll have to climb in Rumney with US!

We typically avoid Rumney on the weekends (crowding is the norm, one I find extremely distasteful). So Monday was the perfect day to hit Rumney.  Louise met us to round out our foursome and we had great day at the Main Cliff walls.  We had hoped to climb a long route on Cannon Tuesday but the weather started to turn. With a forecast of 50% chance of T-storms in Franconia Notch, we thought we might be able to get on the single pitch cracks at the base of the wall so as not to be over-committed. But by Tuesday morning the forecast had degraded further. A quick stop for coffee and pastries at the local cafe and off to Rumney again to try to tick some routes before the rain.  By the time we left the parking lot of the cafe it was starting to spit rain.  We made a not-so-mad dash up to the New Wave Wall and found the overhanging Couch Potato route (among others) to be bone dry.  Randy and I jumped on that while Annie lead up Orange Sunshine around the corner.  Since that route is less than vertical it was getting wet fast.  Needless to say our climbing day ended after one route with the rain falling steadily by the time we pulled the ropes.  Hmph!  Louise headed back home and we enjoyed a fabulous lunch in Plymouth at the Six Burner Bistro.  The air got warmer and by Wednesday morning, you could feel the heat and humidity building.  I'd guess a record must have been set as the mercury peaked at 92 degrees with humidity maxing out at 97%.  This makes climbing difficult and not so pleasant  But we eked out a few nice routes at Jimmy Cliff and retired a bit early to the Baker River for a swim and apres beer.

By end of that day the weather forecast continued to deteriorate and we abandoned our plans to continue east to North Conway.  The systems were rolling in from the west and the longer range forecast looked better west - AKA The Adirondacks.  So we booted our house-sitter out early and went home to dry out Randy's tent and gear, clean the van, do laundry and repack.  We had hoped to climb Friday but it rained off and on all day! It was beginning to look bleak for climbing again before Randy was to head back west to Denver.  Yet with our trusty 4th at the ready (Carol from Springfield) we chose to take our chances in the DAKs Saturday.  Wow, was that ever the right decision!  Our friends the Perez's said it was rainy and wet in North Conway still Saturday and when we got into the Chapel Pond Pass in Keene Valley the skies were still cloudy but all was dry.  Our best bet for dry rock seemed to be slab, so off we went to the big Chapel Pond Slabs (a mere 2 minute walk in from the car).

Annie leading up Pitch One, Regular Route
Other parties were ahead of us on The Empress and only one party was already started up the Regular Route, so that is the one we chose.  As we climbed the fun easy slabs the weather improved - the sun was shining and the temps were near perfect.  The views from the slabs are outstanding as you ascend some 775 feet up the rock and get eye-level with Upper Washbowl.  We followed a nice couple (Alex and Katie) up the route and enjoyed each other's company on the not-so-fun descent (north gully walk-off).

We merrily scooted our way up the slabs for a couple of hours, topping out with the sun shining warmly, taking the bite out of the cool northwest breezes.  The Regular Route is tons of fun with some interesting cracks breaking up run out slab sections.  In hindsight, I think you could take double cams in the 0.5 to 2.0 size and need little more than that!

Heading up Pitch 2. That's Bob's Knob, the steeper section way above on the right horizon line

Thanks to Carol for climbing with us and taking these photos! Oh, and thanks for the Subaru, too!
My 2 favorite climbing partners, Annie and Randy (don't tell Randy though)

What a bunch!!! (L to R: Randy, Annie, Carol, Jean)

The descent gully dumps you out at Chapel Pond. That's Alex in the blue helmet and Katie on the far right!

1 comment:

  1. I don't know why, but that's a great photo!
    Gunks trail worker....Stu