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Archive for the ‘New Climbs’ Category

CryoKinesis

Ray Rice logging some air time on CryoKinesis: Photos by Jim Surette, GraniteFilms.com

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The First Ascent of Cryokinesis

Peter Doucette shakes out and searches for the next edge, divot or dimple towards progress on this year’s first attempt of Cryokinesis. Photo: Ray Rice

Ray Rice’s airborne antics folded him nearly in half and brought him to a halt not so far above Cathedral Ledge’s Blueberry Terrace in January 2010. “Walking”, or “climbing it off”, as was the case, Ray leaned into a no hands rest 30+ feet below his highpoint. He collected himself and prepared for his second go before the adrenaline and whatever else was coursing through his veins dissipated. Later, Ray described the upper reaches of Cryokinesis as, “climbing blacked out.” He shed his gloves late in the lead as desperation returned.  He torqued, clung, quivered and willed his way upward, narrowly avoiding a second dangerous mistake. Either due to acute focus, or the pain his body was suppressing, his memory of the pitch was as sparse as the turf shots between him and topping out.

Ray’s belayer that day was Bayard Russell. Bayard simply laughed when I asked him recently what it was like belaying and watching Ray so unabashedly go for it.  As his laughter stopped, he said, “When Ray got back on, (and I had to send him my tools first, cause his had sailed to the ground) I was talking to the rope, trying to push it, and Ray, to the top from below. It was terrifying to think he could take that same fall again. He was just going for it.  At the end of the day, when we’d all reached the ground, we had to look for Ray’s tools. In the search, we found both, one having left a perfect tool silhouette punched in the snow further from the base of the cliff than you’d expect.”

The reality reinforced by the unfortunate fact that Ray’s back still bothers him

Jimmy Surette was also up there that day and took the sequence of photos above. Jimmy, recounting the fall, notes, “It was all of 35 feet. Could‘ve easily been forty.” These images were shown at the Mount Washington Valley Ice Festival that year, generating groans and expletives from the crowd. The pictures left the screen, but stayed fixed in everyone’s memory. Having documented the fall that no climber ever wants to imagine, added to its almost legendary quality. The reality reinforced by the unfortunate fact that Ray’s back still bothers him.

Ray Rice using all the ice he was given and maxing out the stem on the first ascent of Cryokinesis. Photo: Peter Doucette

As climbers, the top is only part of the goal. How we feel climbing, the style with which we approach objectives, choose partners, remember the stories and record ascents hold high priority, too. The “First Ascent” with the no hands rest and little memory of its upper reaches still seemed, for Ray, like a job unfinished, until last Sunday, January 6th, when we climbed Cryokinesis, from the ground via Karen’s Variation. We took turns successfully leading the (crux) last pitch, Ray first. It was my second time attempting the route and Ray’s third.

While the approach pitch of Karen’s Variation offers its own brand of delicate, awkward climbing: it’s never wildly difficult – Some ice, some turf, and a well executed hex placement get you through the bulging cruxes and lead you to more secure climbing – But upon reaching the terrace, the route’s character changes and very clean granite rises above. Powerful stemming on micro features and plenty of gear on Kinesis get you started. Cryokinesis diverges 25’ up (about 6’ below the existing bolt) with a necky pull to a good stance (Ray’s earlier no hands rest point).  Higher, the fascinating pillar spouts from a crack in the middle of the otherwise blank face. Beyond the ice, the wall steepens to gently overhanging with clutch thin cracks, a lone pin, suitably techy feet and just enough turf to keep your security in question to the last swing. This is a classy and ephemeral route. Check it out, but don’t stare too much at the fall sequence before you go.

Ray Rice moving above his gear and into the ice on the first ascent. Photo Peter Doucette

Ray Rice moving above his gear and into the ice on the first ascent. Photo Peter Doucette

We rated Cryokinesis M7+ NEI 5

Pitch One (Climbs Karen’s Variation) at M6 180′

Pitch 2 is M7+ NEI 5 85’

First Ascent: Ray Rice and Peter Doucette January 6th 2013


Photos of Cryokinesis

Click photos to enlarge

 

*Thanks to Jim Surette and Granite Films for sharing his images for this publication.

 

Peter Doucette

IFMGA/AMGA Licensed Mountain Guide
Phone:  603  616-7455

Address: 84 Skyline Drive
Intervale, NH. 03845

Mixed Climbing in the Green Chasm

Silas Rossi about to get into the business. “Look at that CRACK! It overhangs, has few feet, and the hooking is in obvious. The top few feet were glazed with ice, making it extra hard. It felt like full on M8 on top rope; harder while trying to fiddle in gear.” – Erik Eisele + Click to Enlarge

Mount Webster, Crawford Notch NH

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“The line runs right up the obvious overhanging face, although it isn’t the diagonaling crack. On the right side of the face is a straight-up-and-down crack. The ice at the start is obscured as well. The corner above is the obvious finish” – Erik Eisele

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Silas on the ice

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Source: Erik Eisele, facebook, NEClimbs – Photos by Erik Eisele. Silas Rossi of Alpine Logic climbing

Astro Turf

Lake Willoughby Vermont

Astro Turf (IV M9, WI 4+ R) – Matt McCormick and Josh Hurst

Josh Hurst at the roof of "Astro Turf" – Photo by Matt McCormic – +click to enlarge

On Saturday Jan 7, 2005, Josh Hurst and I climbed a new route in the central section of Mt. Pisgah. “Astro Turf” start as for Aurora about 150’ right of Super-Nova in the right facing ice/turf gully on the left side of the Star man buttress. The first 2 pitches follow Aurora.

1. Climb the 40’ right facing ice/turf gully to the big snow ledge and belay below the left facing turf and rock corner capped by a chockstone.

2. M5 – Dry tool into and up the left facing groove past one fixed pin and tunnel under the chockstone capping the groove. Belay immediately after the chockstone at the fixed nut/pin anchor.

3. M6/WI 4+R – Standing on the chockstone, dry tool left until established on the ice. There is a fixed angle and nut that can be found at the stance at the end of the traverse. The pin is reachable after stepping up immediately after the traverse. This pin may be covered in ice depending on the conditions but can be dug out against the main black wall. Once across the traverse, climb 80-90 degree thin ice for a 30-40 ft run out on to thicker ice. Climb thicker ice to the top of the ice smear and belay

4. M9 – Dry tool up into the shallow groove past 2 bolts and small cam placements. At the end of the groove, reach up and clip the bolt in the 6’ roof then pull strenuously out the roof past 2 more bolts and up the 90 degree thin ice to the ledge above.

5-6. WI 5 – Climb the center of three flows to the top as for (Starman?).

Standard rack needed plus ice screws.

Topo map of the climb

– Matt McCormick

Of Slaying the Minotaur and The Rise of Daedalus

New Epic Lines on Cannon

Among the ancient Greek legends, it is impossible to separate the tales of Icarus, Daedalus, and the Minotaur.   The same is true of their namesakes on Cannon.  The legacy of these bold lines on Cannon and those who put them up is far greater than the sum of its parts.  Each line tells a compelling story of its own, but the web these stories weave propels them from mere tales to legends.

In 1974, Rick Wilcox and John Bouchard pioneered a bold new line on Cannon.   Dubbed “Icarus,” after the legendary son of the Greek craftsman Daedalus, the two of whom having fashioned their own wings of feathers and wax to escape imprisonment by King Minos of Crete, the line was the first new route on Cannon to be put up in winter.  Just as Icarus and Daedalus saw unbridled freedom in the skies above their cell in Crete, Bouchard and Wilcox saw possibility in the unclimbed slabs and corners of Cannon’s upper reaches.

“Icarus” was a fitting name for Bouchard and Wilcox’s new line: not only did the line rise into uncharted territory, it also saw an epic fall.  Whereas Icarus flew too close to the sun, thereby melting this homemade wings and falling to his death, Bouchard’s fall was arrested by Wilcox’s belay, but not before Bouchard broke his ankle.  Fitting of the New England hardman ethos, however, Bouchard and Wilcox pushed their line to the top and self-rescued – a precedent of daring, skill, and resourcefulness we all can take something away from.

Cannon Topo - Minotaur & Daedalus

Click to Enlarge

 

The Minotaur – NEI 4+ M6+

Matt McCormick & Bayard Russell
February 1, 2012

The Minotaur was part man and part bull.  Locked in the Labyrinth of Crete, the Minotaur fed upon the human sacrifices of Athenian children every ninth year as part of the Athenians’ quest to end the plagues that afflicted their city.  At the time of the third sacrifice, Theseus, son of the Athenian King, entered the Labyrinth and slayed the Minotaur.

Although the Minotaur of Cannon did not have quite the fearsome reputation as that which Theseus slayed, Matt and Bayard nonetheless had to rely on similar traits: prowess, strength, and cunning.  Below are some of their thoughts on the climb, but we’ll leave it to them to spin the tale of slaying the Minotaur:

 

minotaur“This year, just back from a week steeped in Scotish mixed climbing, I was super keen, and a day guiding the Black Dike gave me a glimpse of the great conditions that had settled in while I was away. One smear of thin ice particularly caught my attention.” – Bayard
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“The forecast called for heavy rain throughout the day and temperatures nearing the the low 40’s. Bayard Russell and I made plans to meet at 7:30 in the Cannon Cliff parking lot, reasoning that the temps would stay at least near freezing. As I woke up early and drove to toward Cannon the temperature was around 35F and it slowly began to rain the close I got to Franconia Notch. I have to admit I was NOT optimistic!” – Matt
Minotaur

Looking down on the 2nd pitch of " The Minotaur"

“Topping out the middle of Cannon in winter is not something you get to do very often. The setting is amazing with all the scrub pines and granite blocks covered in hoar frost. Bayard nailed the descent and we were back at the car by 7:30pm. We called our new variation The Minotaur NEI 4+ M6+.” – Matt
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Read more about the climb  on Matt’s Blog mattmccormickclimbing.blogspot.com

Daedalus – M7+

Bayard Russell & Elliot Gaddy
February 7, 2012

When King Minos of Crete needed to cage the Minotaur, it was Daedalus he turned to; in fact, it was Daedalus who revealed the Labyrinth’s secrets to Theseus so he could slay the Minotaur.  In response to this treachery, King Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son, Icarus, within the Labyrinth itself.  Their only escape – upward, towards the heavens.

With this chronology in mind, perhaps it is fitting that Cannon’s Daedalus rose after the Minotaur was slayed.  Bayard Russell returned to Cannon not even a week after climbing the The Minotaur and pushed Daedalus to the top.  He thought he had just re-climbed Icarus, but looking at Wilcox’s and Bouchard’s photos, came t realize it was actually a different line.  Regardless, the ambiguity of these lines and their history adds to the mystery and overall mythical nature of them as the line between fact and legend becomes blurred.

Great Protection on Daedalus. NOT!

Email from Bayard:
Both really good routes, but I’ve been wanting to send the second pitch of Icarus for quite some time, really psyched to have done it! Just kept saying to Elliot, “this is the best pitch I’ve done all season!” Iced up cracks pretty much were the defining feature of both routes, with the obvious exception of Minotaur’s 2nd pitch. Two totally different days; for the Minotaur we casually strolled up to the cliff at about 10:30, not having any plan until that gorgeous smear came into view. For Daedalus, I was on a mission knowing what good shape the cliff was in; all the right facing corners were just plastered in ice, pretty much a mixed climbers dream. Over the weekend one of my buddies had to tell me to shut-up ’cause i just kept rambling on about how good the conditions were.. see, there I go again.

When I first tried the 2nd pitch of Icarus a few years ago I thought it was M8, this time around I’m not so sure. All that ice made the cracks pretty secure, but the gear was a little tricky. I’m figuring M7+?, who knows. It was a blast!

Read the whole story on Bayards web site  www.whitemountainrockandice.com

 *****

Ultimately, these new routes on Cannon are only the tip of the iceberg.  Last winter, Kevin Mahoney and Elliot Gaddy climbed the Ghost and repeated (or perhaps created a new variation to) Icarus.  This winter, Matt McCormick and Freddie Wilkinson completed the winter girdle traverse of Cannon.  With  ever-changing conditions, Cannon has countless lines still to be explored, and Bayard, Matt, Kevin, Elliot, and Freddie represent only a small handful of the climbers up to the task of adding to Cannon’s mythology.

Sources: Bayard Russell, Matt McCormick, Wikipedia, whitemountainrockandice.com, mattmccormickclimbing.blogspot.com, Ice Climbers Guide to Northern New England by  Lewis & Wilcox

Road Warrior – FA, Lake Willoughby, VT

Road Warrior – M8

Lake Willoughby, VT

FA: 01-25-12  Ryan Brooks and Josh Hurst

 “Road Warrior is hands down the best mixed route I’ve been on at Lake Willoughby” – Josh

Rack: Standard rock rack including two #3 Camalots and three ½” cams, no pins, 5 screws: including 2x 10cm and 3x 13 cm.

The Route ascends a large corner 200 meters to the north of Twenty Below Zero Gully.

P1: NEI 4 50m Climb the left most ice flow, pull the overlap onto thin ice and a good stance. Foot traverse left and up easy mixed to the base of the big corner.

P2: M6 25m Up the big corner. Do not rap off the tree, your ropes will get stuck.

P3: M8 35m Traverse up and right following flakes to the ice. When the ice ends at the big roof, traverse right around the roof to a belay back left. If the ice smear extends to the overlap midpitch, the second crux can be avoided, lowering the grade half a notch.

P4: NEI 4- 20m Climb thickening ice to the trees.

Descent: Walk off or rap the route from anchors at the top of P3 and P1.

Josh’s notes:

Road Warrior is hands down the best mixed route I’ve been on at Lake Willoughby. It’s a modern mixed route with a very traditional feel requiring a full rack. The name comes from the absurd amount of driving it took to complete this route, 50+ hours over 6 days, and the apocalyptic setting at the base of the large rock fall. (Who doesn’t have a crush on Mel Gibson anyway?) It should be noted that the route is clean and is on some of the best rock at Willoughby. The route forms every year, this year being the smallest I’ve seen it.

The Back Story by Josh Hurst

Source: Josh Hurst

Note: This pair also put up “TINY DANCER” at The Lake last year.

 

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