Monday, August 19, 2013
Climbing with kids: the Beer Walls: 08/15/2013
Seven Ounces is located just a dozen feet to the left of 3.2, so a quick re-set of our static rope anchor allowed Beth and me to get in a quick climb while the kids snacked and played. It's a much more difficult (5.7) crack, and it's a bit polished from heavy use, so we didn't even bother having the kids try it.
A few other climbing parties had arrived, but I was hoping that Afternoon Delight - a terrific 5.5 face on the Lower Beer Wall - would be free. The 5 minute hike over from 3.2 and Seven Ounces rewarded us not only with finding our climb open but also with beautiful views of the lower Great Range along the way.
Everything seemed to come together for the kids on Afternoon Delight. There's a fairly tricky start up a zigzag flake, but then the face opens up with lots of options all the way to the top. From the bottom, the face appears steep (not an illusion) and blank, but in fact it is criss-crossed by numerous in-cut horizontal holds. High up, if you can take your focus off the rock directly in front of you and don't mind a bit of exposure, there's a fantastic above-the-trees view to the Wolfjaws, Armstrong and Gothics. I knew Daniel would be able to get to the top without much trouble (and he did, twice), but I was surprised when Sylvie nailed the route and tagged the 'biners at the top too.
Those various routes took up 4-5 hours, in my opinion an optimal timeframe for a family rock climbing outing. Other than a difficult base at the foot of Afternoon Delight (Adirondack Rock calls it a steep, eroded, cramped gully - spot on), the Beer Walls score pretty highly on the key parameters for climbing with kids: short approach, quality rock on multiple top-roping routes at the appropriate grade, beautiful setting. One other thing - I mentioned the cliff being uncrowded mid-week, but in reality Beth and I have never had difficulty getting on our choice of routes, even on weekends. This ain't the Gunks.