Steve, Stu, and I planned an Adirondak (NY) trip to climb the 'big wall of the East'. The plan was to climb the Case route (5.3 E) and walk off. The walk off is a no trails bushwhack. In all we took 3 trips into the area and successfully climbed the case route over the Sept 13-15 weekend in 8 pitches.
Trip 1 in July 14-16, 2000 was to check the route and locate a good base camp. We hiked in from the ADK in the North and ovenighted in the lean-to. Mucho rain, but we found an ideal base camp up in Indian Pass.
Trip 2 was a climbing attempt, but we got a tad off route. The climb was abandoned at about 500ft on a new route. (no affiliation with any established route, let alone the Case Rte).
Trip 3 we came in from the South at the Upper Works Trailhead as it is about 2 miles shorter than from the North. A 5 mile schlep is better than a 7 mile schlep.
Thursday 9/12 4:30pm.
Set out from work to pick up Stu and drive North to Glens Falls where were to meet Steve. Overnighted with fabulous friends in Glens Falls.
Drove to the upper works trailhead and walked 5 miles into Indian Pass. It rained for the last mile making us nervous about climbing conditions for the next day. Set up camp, dinner, coffee, and sacked out.
Sat 9/14. 6am, no rain, breakfast and leave camp by 7:30. We hiked to the base of climb by 8:30 doing well.
Pitch 1. Short about 60ft.
Move right on sloping friction rock, clean with good adhesion. Move about 25 ft to first protection spot. Finish by climbing up some grass to a big flat boulder. Good location.
Pitch 2. 180ft.
Continue right, descend 10 feet then follow grungy vegetation for footing. Some parts of the route with handholds, some parts with none. Finish by climbing loose rock to a good vertical crack for anchoring. Little cairn tells you, that you are on route. No voice communication possible.
Pitch 3. 50ft
Descend from belay ledge, move left. Climb up dirt to ledge heading left. Good pro on ledge. Big hollow tree with numerous Rap Slings makes a good belay spot.
(Not known at time but this does appear to be almost directly under the 2nd Rap station.)
Pitch 4. 100ft
Continue left, then single rock move up to sort of vee with vegetated ramps going up to right and left.
The ramp to the left had a tree with slings about 40-50 ft away. Thinking this was the end of the left ramp decided to try and cut the corner by moving straight up. Moved up 25ft to find no ramp and see the left was the start of the Wiessner route. Used a hex for pro and down climbed on top rope. I have just complicated the route for future climbers who will see the purple sling up there and think that is the route.
Pitch 5. 150ft.
Climbed right on thin crack, past small cypress tree. Eased into slab rock climbing up to a big chimney, ‘the wind tunnel’. Set an anchor. No voice communication due to wind.
My anchor had a weak point in that it relied on a single sling, good to learn from mistakes where no one gets hurt.
Pitch 6. 100ft
Climbed left past pointed boulder with rap slings, round a corner, and up a good rock ramp with small pines on the outside. This was the high bright green patch seen from the ground. Set an anchor at the top. Protected from wind, this was a nice belay station. Time to eat.
(2nd Rap Station seems to be above 1st)
Pitch 7. 120ft
Climbed right. Moved onto slab with small left facing corner at end of slab. Good crack for protection. Good feet, so-so hand-holds, for a small left facing corner. Step up with right foot to check holds. Left armbar to get left foot up, something with the right hand then a bomber hold with the left to pull through. Good pro about 8ft past. Continue on slab, then up short distance through small pines to anchor. General agreement that the “Betty” move was probably the 5.3 “crux”.
(* similar to start of 2nd pitch of Betty in 'Gunks)
Pitch 8. 150ft
Walk left on grass about 30ft, up rock using small flakes on right hand wall for hands and pro. Flakes end, move onto face. Peculiar dimpled rock looking like boiling oatmeal, good finger holds, lichen cover made me a little nervous about feet, able to set some pro, move up and top out. No voice communication.
Steve comes up, belays Stu up and past to flat ground. Stu gives hip belay to Steve, then Steve brings me up to complete the climb at 5pm.
The Walk off.
Ropes are coiled, harness is off, but pro not yet racked when it starts to rain.
We are in a hemlock area that has seen significant blowdown and secondary growth. Very dense small hemlocks with little sharp needles, and a huge jumble of fallen trees with branches snapped off about 8 inches from the trunk. I am very concerned that the branch stubs can severely damage a leg if anyone slips. It does not help that the rain fogs Steve's glasses such that he cannot wear them and has impaired vision moving through this crap.
The plan is to walk West to move well back from the face then walk North parallel to the face and descend into the gully between Wallface and (TBD). Turn right and follow the stream until it joins another stream where the Indian Pass trail crosses, turn right again to head back up to camp.
It was fairly tough going with the no trail hike through the brush. Both Steve and did frequent compass checks to verify general heading. After ½ hour all heading was to the North. By 6:30 we could see the other side of the valley descending to the stream. Reached the stream and Steve was concerned that the stream was not the correct one because he remembered the stream being larger. At about 7pm the stream met a larger stream. Steve was more comfortable that this was the correct stream so we headed downstream. I still have no idea what that first stream was. We had ½ hour of dim light left, with light rain on and off. At 7:30 the stream descended rapidly over a series of huge boulders with big dropoffs. We put headlamps on and proceeded into the brush to go around the dropoffs. We followed the stream for probably the next hour and a half before finding a trail on the right hand side. After a short distance both I, and Stu thought we recognized the trail as the Indian Pass trail. After consulting map and compass we reversed direction and went back to the stream. Started a search on the far side for where the trail continued. Steve found it, but we really wanted to see a confirming trail marker.
Stu found a trail marker. We had easy trail until we reached the boulder field ascending into the pass. The trail was now much harder to follow. Steve decided safest route was to just follow the stream up. I recognized our filtering pool so we were home at approximately 10pm. Tired, hungry, cold and wet, sat down to fill the water bottles and discuss important issues such as dinner. Now the true advantage of the alcohol stove could be appreciated, pour and light, cooking was started. A spicy pea soup diluted to make 3 cups instead of 2 made me feel almost human. 2nd course was Cajun rice and beans, topped off with a smidgen of spiced rum and we were ready to call it a night at 11:45pm. It was so nice to get into dry clothes and a warm dry sleeping bag with the rain continuing outside.
Major thunderstorm during the night, but the tent stayed nice and dry.
Still raining in the morning, especially hard when we dropped the tents so as to add about 15lbs of water weight to the packs. Loaded up and hauled out to the first lean-to where we stopped for breakfast. Easy walk to the trailhead with one minor glitch. I was a little ahead of Steve and Stu and turned left 1 trail too soon. Met a trail crew coming out of Colden who asked where I was headed, they were headed to the upper works trailhead,...oops. But the car was still there, they had waited for me, good to have good buddies.
Thanks to Keith Hoek for permission to use his arial photo to show route. [image]http://www.dotphoto.com/MemViewImage.asp?AID=403917&IID=13221739[/image]
It is all mind over matter
if you don't mind, it don't matter