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CrazyDog’s Halo/Watery Grave in Panther Gorge:2 New Rock Climbing Routes (2014Sept27)

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  • CrazyDog’s Halo/Watery Grave in Panther Gorge:2 New Rock Climbing Routes (2014Sept27)

    Photo Set
    Video

    While these aren't slide climbs, I figured I'd add the post here to continue the documentation of Panther Gorge...
    ----
    Adam Crofoot and I couldn’t resist one more visit to Panther Gorge with colder weather on the way. As with last time, Allison Rooney, Adam’s girlfriend, dropped us off to avoid a full parking lot. We started hiking at 5:15 a.m., but I only awoke when the sun broke over the ridge. The shorter days meant a longer hike under the illumination of a headlamp on the approach as well as exit.

    The dry bushwhacking conditions from the Marcy/Haystack col were a stark contrast to August’s soaking wet shwack. They were also an incredible contrast to the prior weekend when I climbed Colden's West Ramp Slide in the fog/wind/40 degree weather!

    By 9:15 we were staring up the Agharta Wall en route to our “Wreck” wall a few minutes down to the south. Blackflies accompanied me as I donned harness and helmet. We set the packs on a nice ledge below the dominant left-facing corners that border the right side of the wall—our Wreck of the Lichen Fitzgerald route was about 40 feet to the left.



    Putting up CrazyDog's Halo
    The first pitch was the most difficult once again--5.8 YDS. The cliffs tend to have an initial crux with comparatively lower angle slab in the center and a cliff band at the top. Splitter cracks and corners led the way upward on the dry anorthosite. A nice crack about halfway up led to a chimney that barely accommodated my body. Thereafter we stepped out onto the 75 degree face using ½ inch edges to traverse to a horizontal crack. Adam led this pitch and set up an anchor. Leaning back from the anchor, we could scan the entire gorge lit up in the yellows of autumn. Only a light haze obscured the views to the south.

    I took a turn leading the second pitch and followed a finger crack up the slab. This pitch was similar to slide climbing only steeper--weathered divots in the surface and chunks of feldspar made the climbing delightful. The crack petered out and I made my way over to a bulge below a large tree island. Above was a large terrace—the perfect second belay station. The view north across the Agharta Wall and Cloudsplitter/Toma’s Wall lines were awe-inspiring.

    Another bushy island led to more steep face-climbing below a chunky broken cliff band. The other named routes exit via a large chimney so we aimed for a crack about 50 feet to the left to keep the line independent.

    Adam spent a good deal of time studying a large block at the bottom of the cliff—ensuring it would not move with pressure. He then climbed to a ledge, traversed right to another corner and belayed me from some cracks at the top of the face. I realized why he took such care when I saw the block. It was detached from the ledge. It and another stone resonated when struck.

    CrazyDog’s Halo was complete.

    Traversing through the krummholz at the top led to the rappel webbing from when we put up the Wreck of the Lichen Fitzgerald. We used the gear that Adam left to rappel along the familiar route. By now the sun was baking us—it was high in the 80’s.


    Adam leads on top of a small ledge after climbing various corners and cracks.


    Awesome crack climbing with Adam belaying from a 2" ledge.


    Close-up of the happy belayer.


    Consulting a beta photograph...it's just fun to do.


    Kevin leading up a fingercrack.


    From the first belay.


    Second belay.


    Top of the route.
    Last edited by mudrat; 10-01-2014, 06:21 AM.
    May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

    www.adirondackmountaineering.com

  • #2
    Watery Grave (5.10a)

    Watery Grave
    From the top of pitch 1, Adam came up with another idea; put up a top rope route on the face in between the Wreck and CrazyDog lines. The Edmund Fitzgerald rests in a watery grave on the bottom of Lake Superior so the proximity to the Wreck line lent itself well to Watery Grave as a route name--a good choice, Adam!

    After he rappelled to the base, I belayed from a small ledge on the sheer face. I’m still getting used to hanging from gear, but working the double ropes distracted me. The new line climbed small edges on a steep face and broke through a 1 foot roof below a fingercrack. Above, he followed the crack and traversed across the face, climbed a larger crack and met up with the Wreck line.

    I then rappelled and gave it a shot. He rated it at 5.10a—harder than I can climb, but it was worth a shot. All was well until about 35 feet up at the crux where I fell off—re-climbed—and fell again. Feeling a flake of stone bend under my fingertips was a lasting memory. Good fun!

    The Panther's Fang
    We weren’t done, however. We hugged the cliffs as we exited the gorge and dropped our gear in the grass below an obvious crack in a vertical face—the Panther’s Fang. This route was established in 1965 and ascended the crack for 110 feet to an old piton in a crack above a ledge at the top. Adam described it as a classic and it didn’t disappoint!

    We felt surprisingly energetic as we exited the gorge around 5:00 p.m. Dinner at Slant Rock topped the day perfectly. Ranger Scott van Laer joined us for a bit. We arrived back in Keene Valley at 9:15 p.m. Another 16-hr day full of memories!




    Rappelling down the Watery Grave line.


    Looking up the Panther's Fang.



    Cruxy move partway up the crack.



    Last edited by mudrat; 10-01-2014, 06:15 AM.
    May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

    www.adirondackmountaineering.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Another amazing post, thanks!

      Comment


      • #4
        You have a way of instilling the spirit of climbing. Sounds like you found a home in Panther Gorge as well. Can we expect winter reports from the area too?
        "Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck." -Roald Amundsen

        ADK 46- 35/46

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by HRS Nomad View Post
          You have a way of instilling the spirit of climbing. Sounds like you found a home in Panther Gorge as well. Can we expect winter reports from the area too?
          Thank you! I definitely feel free and at home in the gorge. Winter...hmm...we'll see!
          May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

          www.adirondackmountaineering.com

          Comment


          • #6
            And by the way, we were on Skylight around 11:30 to 1. I spent most of the time studying the flank of Haystack( How it looks like a beast that survived a brawl! ) and Mount Marcy and its Phelps slides.
            "Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck." -Roald Amundsen

            ADK 46- 35/46

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by HRS Nomad View Post
              And by the way, we were on Skylight around 11:30 to 1. I spent most of the time studying the flank of Haystack( How it looks like a beast that survived a brawl! ) and Mount Marcy and its Phelps slides.
              Nice! Haystack does look like it got mauled. Those slides are nice, at least the ones we were on in June. The Old Slide on Marcy is a fun time too and less technical...could go up and down different lines all day. If you ever do that look for 1/2 of a trekking pole below the cliff near Schofield Cobble!
              May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

              www.adirondackmountaineering.com

              Comment

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