Boasting 9,375 square miles, Adirondack State Park of New York is larger than the national parks of Yellow Stone, Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, and Yosemite combined. For the climber that equals one thing…lots of potential. It’s no secret that there is lots of climbing within the park. Yet, it hasn’t taken off like Cathedral Ledge, Cannon, or the Gunks. Sure, as the sport grows so does the climbing in the “Dacks”; however, there is much, much more to the intrepid few who dare to venture into its wild reaches.
On my first trip to the Dacks, I was met by a local who had some words of advice for me. I was 19, about two weeks into my freshman year of college, and my trad-rack still glistened with the “fresh of the shelf” shine. No question, I was in for a surprise. “The Dacks will define what kind of climber you are,” I was told. “I hope you don’t mind a little lichen,” another stated. I retreated to my tent to await the morning when I would finally see what all the fuss was about.
Rain. “It always rains in the Dacks,” one of the local hard men proclaimed. Some of our group grabbed the canoes and fly rods and headed for the closest fishing spot. The rest of us headed up the mountain in search of something to climb. “Hey Alex, give this route a go, its 5.8 and the gear is great.” Happily I obliged and started up the route, plugging me brand new cams and stoppers as I went. My fellow climber was correct about one thing, the gear was good, but the climbing certainly felt harder than 5.8. I kept my mouth shut and climbed on through the driving rain. As I approached the top, my raincoat covered in green slimy lichen, I reached for the final hold crimped as hard as I could on the tripe covered quartz sloper-crimp. I moved my feet up, and slap. My hand popped, I hit my self square in the face, and I fell 12 or so feet safely onto the rope. Immediately I squirmed my way back to my high point and finished the move that I had previously fell on. I made my anchor and brought up my partner.
As Bill arrived to the cliffs edge, he stated, “good work, it was .10c.” “Welcome to the Dacks!”
From that day on I was both scared and enamored by the Adirondacks. I made a few trips, separated by months or even years. Throughout that time, I knew the land of plenty was right there a quick 30 min ferry ride across Lake Champlain.
Last week MMG Guides Derrek Anderson, Derek Doucet, Phil Tall-Hiker, and me made the ferry ride across the lake. In our sights was an area new to all of us, and we were looking forward to a weekend of on-sighting.
We were met with a stunning land scape. To our east, Mt. Mansfield and the Camels Hump. Our south, Poko-moonshine, Whiteface, and the Catskills, to our west, Mt. Marcy, and North… we couldn’t see, the cliff was in the way. Anyhow, the setting was stunning. On an approximate 3.5 miles of cliff ban sat 5 or 6 cathedral ledges worth of stone. Cracks, roofs, and perfectly dimpled slabs were there for the taking. Some of the best pitches I climbed this year were on this trip. Five star routes mostly within the 5.10 range. It was easy to see that the locals, truly loved this area. One even leaving a note offering a private tour of the area. (Sorry we couldn’t take you up on that!) Needless to say, the climbing was spectacular. The Adirondacks lived up to there potential, providing all the challenges they are known for. In the end, we were the intrepid few who ventured in, and were rewarded with an incredible experience.
I can hardly wait to go back.
Thank you Derrek, Derek, and Phil for a great time.