NEI 5+R/X, M-fun, 450-500 ft
FA 3/9/11 – Ian Osteyee & Bill Simes
“Basically no gear on the first pitch until the topout ledge, then just a 10cm screw. Similar to Stingray but no anchor to clip halfway up. They went up the face where summer rock routes Cooney-Norton, 10b and Cosmopolitan Wall,10c are located. I think the upper pitches are all original” – Alden PellettSi
By Ian Osteyee
Bill and I had a great time doing this route. You couldn’t have a more perfect time out. It was sunny and warm, and two old friends were alone at the cliff for most of the route. A couple of Canadians showed up to do PT as I was belaying Bill up the second pitch, other than that it was quiet. Really just a perfect session. Having done the second ascent of “Stingray” years earlier it allowed me to ponder and compare the two fine lines. This new line was similar in some ways. The first pitch a little longer, and began and stayed steep the entire length of the pitch. They both have a side-foot rest a third of the way up, but “Stingray” has a bolted rappel anchor to clip at that point. The upper pitch of “Stingray” is more mellow without the exciting moves over rock and on to steep thin, hanging ice. This is a fine line, one of the best routes I’ve climbed, anywhere.
I’ve seen this thing try to come down on several occasions, but never saw it get to the ground. Bill Simes and I headed over and went in for a closer look. It seemed almost too good to be true, it even looked like it might take some stubbies. I headed up with a light rock rack and a few screws. The ice was good, a little soft, but good climbing. There was a spot about a third of the way up to get a foot sideways, and try to fish for some gear in a seam. The seam didn’t pan out, but I left a TCU there anyway, it was about as useful as a Christmas ornament, but I lightened my load by a fraction. The last two thirds of the long first pitch were steep. The ice still climbed well, but would thin out in spots putting forward progress in doubt here and there. Roughly 5-10 feet from the end of the pitch I was able to place a 10cm screw, though the ice was a little soft for it to inspire. Once on the ledge a short,15 foot, insecure, snowy traverse right brought me to a rock corner system. A four piece, less than perfect anchor and Bill was on his way up. Pitch 2 starts with thinly ice rock at a roughly 3+ angle. Forty feet of that and I reached the over hang and got some good rock gear. An M fun rock traverse right and the most eligible hanger becomes obvious. Some thinly ice/mixed moves allow a committing launch onto the thin, but stable ice. Ten more feet of steep climbing leads to casual, beautifully exposed grade 4- ice that gets less steep as you climb higher. 70 meters isn’t enough, and an ice screw anchor is necessary. One more grade 3+ pitch, which lessens as it goes, gets you to the top.
Photos by Bill Simes & Ian Osteyee
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