Alfonzo says it – get out there and see the conditions first hand. It would have been easier to stay at home today as rain, sleet, warm temps were expected. Matt and I decided late last night to go have a look. We found wintry conditions and some very fine ice and mixed climbing. See the photos of Matt on one of Cannons testpiece routes called Meanstreak. To add Matt chose a nice variation on the top. A route called Pilaf a seldom climbed 5.9 pitch.
Excellent day on the cliff with Matt Ritter.
“I have been addicted to winter climbing on Cannon Cliff for a few seasons now. The wallpaper on my laptop and desktop has gone back and forth between a photo from Freddie Wilkinson’s blog highlighting the winter routes Mean Streak, Omega, and Prozac, to more recently, a photo that Bayard Russell posted on his blog after establishing Daedalus with Elliot Gaddy and Minatour with Matt McCormick. Bayard’s photograph shows the full length winter routes gracing the central section of Cannon; The Quartet Ice Hose, Daedalus, Minotaur, Mahoney-Gaddy, Icarus, and The Ghost. These are all inspiring routes put up by inspiring climbers. The “Desktop Wallpaper Technique” is a scientifically proven method to keep the psyche high. It is something you see each day maybe multiple times a day. It is a reminder as you go sport climbing or crack climbing. It keeps one motivated through painful training sessions, and for me, more than anything else it gives me incentive to not give up. Weather I am on that specific climb or another, it helps me to get my mind into a certain zone of calm intensity somewhere between The Incredible Hulk and the Dali Lama. When I am scared and pumped on a mixed climb or a crack climb, sometimes the most nauseating thought is the possibility that I will fall and have to do it all over again. But if I have been looking at that photo for a year or two, I try hard, and sometimes it all comes together. It came together for me the other day. Art and I went out to look at Mean Streak, a tough mixed route first climbed by Will Mayo and Andy Tuthill in 2007. I have been looking at other people’s photos of the route and had wondered about an alternate 2nd pitch which I knew was a crack climb known as Pilaf. So after spending 2 hours piecing together the sustained first pitch I saw Pilaf up there encrusted in a bit of snow. Amidst the Scottish whiteout conditions, I couldn’t resist. We found a splitter crack in a steep smooth wall that would be at home in the middle of any classic Cannon rock climb. Above this we climbed two moderate pitches to the top. This kind of climbing requires a high level of mental and physical toughness. A hard mixed pitch can take one, two, or three hours to lead while the belayer, hopefully in a position where they aren’t being attacked by falling ice or rock, shivers to stay “warm.” If you aren’t totally psyched, it just isn’t going to happen, but for some folks it’s easy to be psyched for these sufferfests because, Holy Cow is the climbing fun!’ Matt Ritter MMG Guide
Matt – thank you for this awesome day on Cannon. Nice job leading those excellent pitches.