Friday, July 17, 2009

When It Rains...

When it rains it pours here in New Hampshire it seems. And that it did for about a month straight in June and early July. So what are we climbers to do?
Just when the forecast had us ready to relocate to California or Australia, Sarah Garlick and I decided we needed an attitude adjustment, and some time outside to clear our heads of working too much (another outcome of all the rain). So we headed out for a fun, wet morning of aid climbing on our local cliff, Cathedral Ledge. Sarah wanted to try out short fixing, so I got to jug lines and listen to the birds. Nice work Sarah!

Sarah, getting ready for the hook moves off the ground on Mordor Wall, Cathedral Ledge, NH

I will let Ed Webster give the description of the Mordor Wall (IV 5.7 A2+), from the Second Edition (the Third being the more current one) of Rock Climbs in the White Mountains of New Hampshire:

“Still regarded as one of the classic Big Wall climbs on the East Coast, much of the route has been free climbed in recent years…the blank, black-streaked wall in the center of Cathedral Ledge offers climbing similar to Yosemite Big Wall. It is a popular training climb; a standard aid rack should be carried, including bashies and pointed skyhooks…at the base of the wall is a curving, expanding flake leading into a narrow dihedral. DO NOT aid P1 with pitons.”

“History: Joe Cote and John Merrill aided the first pitch in 1967 with no intention of going any higher. In the Summer of 1970, Joe Cote and Steve Arsenault climbed the route to the sidewalk on Pendulum Route. The Mordor Roof was added later that summer by Steve Arsenault and Scott Brim, who approached the pitch from above. Arsenaults original lead of pitch two (ed: THE DEATH TRAVERSE!) used only one bolt, placed after friends on the ground convinced him he was risking a ground fall. In 1979 Ed Webster free climbed the Mordor Roof with Choe Brooks. Jim Surette led the first pitch free in 1985.”

Left page, Jim Surette, the sending machine, in his hand sewn lycra.

Here are some photos and video from that.

Sarah moves across the expando flake.

Sarah on the famous Death Traverse, now protected by several bolts and fairly straightforward if, unlike us, you remember to bring TWO pointed hooks!

Sarah, reaching a thank-god bolt after five bashees in a row.

Sweet rappelling video

Wet and refreshed.

A little sun goes a long way!