The end of summer and through the fall has been chaotic. Lots of coaching once The Holderness School year started, and free time spent in the garden, and even a bit climbing. With not having the time to dedicate to projecting, most of my recreational climbing has been put into alpine-esque multi pitch routes.
Going all the way back to August, my good friend Geoff and I did a mini road trip to Katahdin, the premier Alpine climbing area in the east. As a freshman in college i hiked the classic knife’s edge traverse. Along the way I snapped this picture of climbers on the most climbed feature in the Cirque, the Armadillo.
Climbers on the Armadillo
Since then I’ve wanted to go back and climb it. Geoff, having gone to college not far from here has done the armadillo and many other adventure climbs in the in glacial cirques on the mountain. On the hike in two other climbers caught up to us and we chatted the rest of the way to Chimney Pond. Luckily they were nice folks and we were easily able to share the route with them. Geoff and I decided to approach the climb from the left hand side, gaining the top of the large flake by a 5.9 crack called Wind in the Willows. We did an opening 5.8-ish Chimney pitch to get to the base. After wards I realized there was a picture of this chimney in Yankee Rock & Ice. It was one of the original routes on the Armadillo formation, dating back to the mid thirties!
The route in its entirety was about 400-500′ of technical climbing followed by another few hundred feet of fourth class ridge scrambling to where it intersected the Knifes edge.
Hiking into Chimney Pond after ~3 miles on the trail.
Following a stream bed up into the cirque. The armadillo is the large pyramid shaped buttress in the sun
The start of the technical approach, the headwall looming above
The Armadillo from above the first technical step, with a few hundred feet of 4th class ‘schwacking to go
Opening 5.8 chimney, part of the original route from the 1930’s
Geoff in the gorgeous crack of Wind in the Willows
Looking back down the upper hand crack at the top of the flake.
The boys from Belfast coming up behind us
Geoff on the ridge as we 4th class to the Knifes Edge
Katahdin in a cloud bank, as seen from our campground
In addition to Katahdin I’ve been spending a fair number of days on Cannon. I’ve been up the Ridge twice with two groups of friends as Batchelor parties. Had a fun outing on the VMC Direct Direct with Alexa, another on Vertigo with Alex, and pre work laps on Moby with James and Weisner’s with Geoff. Its great being able to call this cliff a crag, and walk up to do a half day of dragging on the awesome granite. Or, in some cases, the not so awesome granite.
Alexa in the P2 corner, VMC DD
Alexa reaching the P2 belay VMC DD
Alexa going for the harder, direct version of P3 VMC DD
Rappelling the line…
Alex on the Pendulum, Vertigo
Alex about to snatch the hold on Vertigo
Alex eyeing the infamous Half-moon crack on Vertigo
Doing the finger crack variation
Rapelling Vertigo, right over the gorgeous 5.9 finger crack
Approaching Moby Grape after some fresh rockfall about a week prior
Sport climber on crack. Fresh rock fall DZ on the left
The Sweetness. I’ve refined my kit for all this alpine climbing. Super light Mammut Twilight ropes (7.5), quadruple length Dynema sling for quad anchors and light weight lockers and belay device.
Being goofy on Cannon, twerking with exposure
James Otey on Cannon
Geoff approaching the slabs. As per usual there was some fresh rock in the talus
Looking up the shared finish of Weisners and lakeview. To the right is the rock scar from the Old Man rock fall, along with reinforced bars from the attempt to hold him in place.
Loose rock sitting on a ledge on the slabs. possibly from the Old Man rock fall.
Needless to say a good amount of time was also spent harvesting from the garden and farm.
Diverse mid summer harvest
Tomatoes galore processed and canned as salsa, Roasted garlic and red pepper tomato sauce, and quartered tomatos
Bumper crop of squash, over 50 butternuts! and a good collections of potatoes
our first year harvesting sweet potato
Most time of all has been spent coaching at Holderness. The team has had an exceptional year…pictures on the team website: https://www.holderness.org/rock-climbing