Friday, July 31, 2015

More climbing at Chapel Pond, 07/25/2015

View of the Great Range from the Beer Walls, Saturday, 07/25/2015.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

Luck was again on our side last weekend up at Chapel Pond, this time at the Beer Walls. Threatening clouds loomed over the mountains at times, but the day stayed dry and other climbing parties for the most part stayed home.

We warmed up with some climbs on 7 Ounces and 3.2, two of the most popular top-rope climbs on the upper wall. 3.2 is a blocky diagonal crack rated 5.4 that encourages the kids to work on their foot technique, while 7 Ounces is a rewarding vertical hand crack.

Daniel climbing 3.2

Beth on 7 Ounces, me belaying

I had Afternoon Delight, a 5.5 face climb with plenty of in-cut holds, in mind as a logical next climb for the kids, but found another party on the climb when we arrived at the top anchor. Here’s a photo of their anchor and top-rope. DON’T set up a climb like this unless you want to saw your rope to shreds:

Top-rope "anchor" on Afternoon Delight

Make sure to bring adequate slings, cordelettes or a static rope in order to extend your anchor properly anytime you expect to be top-roping. A friend recently turned me on to this site for lots of entertaining yet educational deconstruction of questionable anchors.

Skunked on Afternoon Delight, we moved over to the Fast & Furious block on the lower wall to set up Jugs of Beer and Live Free or Die. This is a convenient pair of climbs because the kids can do Jugs (5.3) while Beth and I give LFD a try, all from the same top-rope anchor.

Daniel stemming up Jugs

Sylvie stretching for the same moves

Heading for the top

Live Free or Die is the thin fingercrack to the right of Jugs in the photos above. Thin, bouldery face moves at the bottom lead to the beginning of the crack halfway up the face. It’s a 5.9+, and it’s freaking hard. My memory may be fading, but I think I recall getting to the top of the climb once, more than a decade ago. I didn’t even come close today.

Chapel Pond

Our standup paddleboard has been a great way to give the kids a break after climbing or hiking, and we spent an hour or so swimming, paddling and picnicking at Chapel Pond, just as we had done the previous weekend. Clouds had taken over so the sky wasn’t quite as idyllic, but the afternoon was just as warm, the water was just as cool, and the setting just as beautiful.

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