North Conway was a loads of fun... We went to the right side of Cathedral where we did "Light in the Forest, 5.11c. We climbed as two parties of two, Brady and I as one rope and Matt and Todd as the other.
The first pitch, 5.8 starts out by climbing a tree...it was actually better than it sounds. You begin by chimneying between the tree and cliff, and then use the tree bark and burls for hand holds. The crux is leaving the security of the tree and mantling onto a mossy, sloping ledge.... then fairly easy climbing to the belay tree.
The next pitch was 5.10c. The route went up a little bit then traversed (with bad feet) right under a overlap, then turns the overlap for easier climbing to the belay. The overlap, a low angle roof, is very common feature on NH granite. The anchor consisted of shrubbery, a very old ring pin and a buried angle piton, all tied together with a faded red 6mm perlon cord. Brady kept insisting that it was safe...
Climbing on granite is very different than schist. It doesn't quite have the same friction. If Rumney schist is dragon-skin sandpaper, Conway granite is polished glass. Getting my feet to stick was a major problem at first. Since we were in two groups, I didn't want to waste too much time figuring things out. That meant, when stumped, I just grabbed the "really thin handhold" and pulled through. I'll admit to grabbing a few pieces of gear along the way.
The 3rd pitch was great, its 140' long 5.9 that had stemming, lay backing, climbing over an overlap, jamming, edges, and even a chimney! It was one of the better 5.9's I've ever done.... If it were a first pitch, it would be the most done 5.9 in New England.
The 5.11c pitch started up series of 5.9 right facing corners to a good stance below another overlap. Again the route traversed rightward under the small roof, (with more bad feet, although by now, I was getting better at keeping my feet on.) Brady, lead out to the crux move which involved a left hand underling which is about at eyelevel, right hand on an edge; bring left foot up a little... then the right foot high on "oh, so slippery" granite. At this point the under cling is at your waist, and all you have to do is... pull in hard, stand up tall, and toss for the hidden incut sidepull above the overlap.
The move is "protected" by a pin that you can only clip once you make the move.... Brady went up once, clipped a draw to it and came down. He went up again and tried to clip the rope in, but came up about an inch short. He teetered there for what seemed like five minutes grabbing at the rope trying to clip. Just as he started to fall off.... he grabbed the draw. After berating himself a bit, he pulled the overlap and made his way to the anchors.
Once over the overlap, it's easy climbing until the 5.9 mantle move onto the slab... There is a nice shiny bolt just over the roof to clip that protects the mantle, but you cant see it until you actually start to make the move. Then it's 20' of run-out airy 5.6 slab climbing to a 2-bolt anchor... We hung out there until Matt and Todd did that pitch and then we all rapped down.
While we on the climb, some rat-bastard rifled through our packs... they ignored a rope, a rack, and the keys to Matt's car and only took Todd's shoes.... Weird.
Fortunately, I had a pair of sandals in the car to lend to Todd, and we were off to the Pine Tree Eliminate/Airation area for some late day tr'ing. I did Pine Tree, and got thrashed on Play Misty. We chatted a little with Jimmy Surrette; another bald North Conway legend
It was a quick drive into North Conway for burritos and beer, and more beer.... Matt ordered two with extra hot sauce; even after the guy warned him. They came marked with skull and crossbones on the foil wrappers .... Oh yeah, they were damn hot. It was fun watching him try to eat them with a ruuny nose and tears in hios eyes. We finished up the day with a boozy, woozy ride across the Kanc....