Saturday, October 13, 2012
Climbing with kids: Wilmington Notch, 10/08/2012
We finished our hike up Mount Jo on Monday in the early afternoon, so we took advantage of already being in Lake Placid to head to one of my favorite beginner crags: the Notch Mountain Slabs in Wilmington Notch. In addition to a pyramid-shaped 80’ tall laid-back slab of clean rock, the slabs sport a spectacular setting high above the west branch of the Ausable River. Across the river rise Moss Cliff and Whiteface’s rocky summit. Even though the slabs are just a short hike from the trailhead, the climbing here feels remote and scenic.
We set a toprope on the main slab, giving access to two highly recommended beginner routes, And She Was (5.2) and Roast & Boast (5.6) along with a number of options in between. Large pines, easily accessed by scrambling up the right-hand side of the slab, provide solid, easy to rig toprope anchors. Daniel stuck to the fun climbing on And She Was, whose predominant feature is a left-rising foot crack, making four bottom-to-biners-and-back laps.
Now that we’ve been out climbing with the kids several times, Daniel is quite comfortable with the equipment, climbing technique and safety procedures, and he’s advancing his skills quickly. We've found that keeping the day short (ours was out of necessity) and the climbing fun - not scary - are key to a successful family climbing outing.
Although Beth and I each climbed several pitches on our other climbing outings with the kids this year, we were happy enough to let Daniel do all the climbing this time out. Sylvie, who’s not even 5 yet, is still too young for roped climbing; her “climbing” is confined to scrambling within a few feet of the ground. Consequently, the flat and open base at the foot of the slab is a big plus.
When we packed the car Sunday morning to head up to Lake Placid, we threw the climbing gear in almost as an after-thought. Good thing we did, since cooler Fall weather will soon close the window for comfortable rock climbing, as Sunday night's snow reminded us.
Adirondack Rock guidebook gives detailed directions and route descriptions for these climbs and the many other climbing opportunities in Wilmington Notch.
More Climbing With Kids posts here.