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Pyramid South Face Slab. Not Quite

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  • Pyramid South Face Slab. Not Quite

    This is from an older trip that I'm just getting around to posting.

    Pictures: https://flic.kr/s/aHskEnwMkN

    Slide climbing partner Claudia and I spent some time exploring around the South Face of Pyramid Peak. Our intention was to climb the slab. However we were scared off by steep smooth rock that from below appeared to be overrun by wide and long patches of map lichen. I'd had two encounters with these lichen, fortunately minor, understood the risk ..; but, I m getting ahead of myself.

    My climbing partner has had an interest in this slab ever since reading Mudrat's article that appeared in Adirondac about a winter climb with Nangaparbat. Every time we are in the area, especially on Sawteeth, we've talked about it. Now, this summer, after revisiting several old climbs in a row we figured was time for something new.

    The adventure started when we left the trail uphill of the junction to Sawteeth and Pyramid. Never before on this stretch had I thought to look through the trees. But just looking you ll eventually get glimpses of vertical rock. A wall. It is at that point we started the bushwack that was at times through open woods and with occasionally large old blowdown trees.

    Heading to the wall we found a grassy star-stepped climb that positioned us for a perfect head on view at Sawteeth. Above the grassy stairs very steep bare rock that was is a wrap around extension of bulbous part of the south face. Descending we followed this to the bottom of the slab. Arriving at the slab, we saw a small place with flat rock. With the steep slab above, it reminded us of the Lake Placid ski jump. I suggested we go there and since it was the only flat spot in eyesight it would a good place to change to the rock shoes.

    On the way we were noticing how smooth the rock is here. And not exactly clean either. Patchy with sections of map lichen. It was interesting looking up hill from the base of the ski jump. Close up it looked way steep. Stepping back, not that far, less than 10 yards it looked possible that we might do this. I said we should give it go.

    So up Claudia went but it wasn't too long into that we decide to back off. Claudia didn't like the look of things. There would be more lichen ahead of us, wide patches of it. And there didn't seem to be much respite. There is more exposure here than we'd had before on these climbs. And I had had two run ins with lichen like we saw here. Both on Gothics. One on each of N and S faces. Fortunately both were short that ended in uncontrollable slides. I didn't get hurt.

    So we decided to back off and try the eastside of the slab. We found some better rock there but it was steep. Unrelenting. It also turned out to be wrong place to climb since we ran into wet rock and moss over a steeper wet mossy bulge.

    Feeling it might not be our day and not wanting to down climb and being near the tree line we continued the climb there. Occasionally we pushed our way to the edge of the slab but continued to find moss and wet rock. Finally in an opening I went to the end of the bulbous rock, Claudia further west. We split up with Claudia stayed in the open spaces. I followed the base of the very steep rock. Finally joining again, making our way to the base of an upper headwall to get our highest view. From there was a way out that took us up a dike. We followed that to a short stretch of level land and from where we turned started our final approach to the summit of Pyramid. Along the way great views of Gothics South Face and the Basin East Face.

    Fast forward to Gothics. We decided a good way to end our day was to try two slides off the trail to Beaver Meadow Falls that are Irene slides. I suppose the two have been given names but we have our own for them. The first we named 'Slide from Nowhere' and the second 'Slide to Nwhere'. The Slide from Nowhere is much higher up starts just below trail. It has patches of very nice clean rock. We didn t down climb all the way to the base but from a distance you can see the rock below is still very white and probably very grippy. We plan to go back next year.

    On the second, the run out cuts across the trail. We don t know if it has accumulated moss but there is some now but there is good rock up the center. On the way down from the second I was in the woods and there were a couple wide moss tracks suggesting to me there are frequent slides here. That is no surprise. It s steep through there.

    After that it was just a walk out stopping briefly at Beaver Meadow Falls then later at the Flume.

    Don
    Last edited by Hear the Footsteps; 10-04-2016, 06:20 PM.

  • #2
    Yikes!

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/hearth...7671085967184/
    ADK 46/46, 46/46W, Grid 212/552
    Photos & Stuff

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    • #3
      Good example of knowing the limits of free climbing and making the right decisions. The smooth rock might not be the usual High Peaks anorthosite, which I have seen and slipped-on on the north side of Basin descending to Saddleback. I'm sure you know where it is.

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      • #4
        Beautiful Don! I've been waiting for your pics! Yes, the slab is technical. I'm sure NP will chime in with some details on it. He's spent more time there than I at this point. Really nice set of pics. You two are getting strong and bold. I love it!!!! The other slides are called Beaver Brook Basin slides (I think) based on Drew's Slide Guide.
        May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

        www.adirondackmountaineering.com

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        • #5
          Outstanding shots Don...very cool trip!
          46/46 - #9464
          7/46 W
          NE115 - 53/115

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          • #6
            I never thought, I would read a TR for that face here....., honestly, YOU are bold, I went there for the first time by myself in 2012, I have tried three lines , the third I tried is the one you climbed to reach the Veggy ramp, even that I have found that I was not willing to take the risk of slipping on dirty rock.

            FYI we have climbed routes on this face but these are technical climbs, the face is about 700' long and quite exposed in place, I am sure more info will creep up somewhere sometimes.

            I have attached a pic from the top of the third pitch of what is now known as the mountaineer route (5.4) it is about a fourth of the way up of the whole slab, I took that pic on my first foray there in 2012. IT will give a better sense of what you wisely avoided since it is almost directly above the base of the stage area where we see you climbed at the bottom of the face.

            The section of rock that you see directly above the stage area on the pic is now a 5.7 route, the mountaineer route avoid this by going to the left of the grassy treed islands that you see barely on the pic.

            Attached Files
            8000m 0/14

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mudrat View Post
              Beautiful Don! I've been waiting for your pics! Yes, the slab is technical. I'm sure NP will chime in with some details on it. He's spent more time there than I at this point. Really nice set of pics. You two are getting strong and bold. I love it!!!! The other slides are called Beaver Brook Basin slides (I think) based on Drew's Slide Guide.
              Thanks Mudrat. It was kind of a downer not finishing. But we are not ready for something that difficult. It was fortunate for us that we had an alternative though the trees and got some unique views.

              Don

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JoeCedar View Post
                Good example of knowing the limits of free climbing and making the right decisions. The smooth rock might not be the usual High Peaks anorthosite, which I have seen and slipped-on on the north side of Basin descending to Saddleback. I'm sure you know where it is.
                Right Joe. Much of the time the rock in the Adirondacks is very rough and has occasional depressions where it's possible to stop and have a break and think about what to do and where to go next.

                Don

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mudrat View Post
                  Beautiful Don! I've been waiting for your pics! Yes, the slab is technical. I'm sure NP will chime in with some details on it. He's spent more time there than I at this point. Really nice set of pics. You two are getting strong and bold. I love it!!!! The other slides are called Beaver Brook Basin slides (I think) based on Drew's Slide Guide.
                  Thanks Mudrat. We appreciate your trailblazing.
                  Don

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nangaparbat View Post
                    I never thought, I would read a TR for that face here....., honestly, YOU are bold, I went there for the first time by myself in 2012, I have tried three lines , the third I tried is the one you climbed to reach the Veggy ramp, even that I have found that I was not willing to take the risk of slipping on dirty rock.

                    FYI we have climbed routes on this face but these are technical climbs, the face is about 700' long and quite exposed in place, I am sure more info will creep up somewhere sometimes.

                    I have attached a pic from the top of the third pitch of what is now known as the mountaineer route (5.4) it is about a fourth of the way up of the whole slab, I took that pic on my first foray there in 2012. IT will give a better sense of what you wisely avoided since it is almost directly above the base of the stage area where we see you climbed at the bottom of the face.

                    The section of rock that you see directly above the stage area on the pic is now a 5.7 route, the mountaineer route avoid this by going to the left of the grassy treed islands that you see barely on the pic.
                    Thanks Nanga. That's pretty much the direction where we would have climbed. I see the flat place too. We did the right thing there to break it off.
                    .
                    It was Claudia that made the call she had the close look. I think in general Claudia is more willing and I am more cautious. When Claudia stops being willing I listen.

                    Don

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by autochromatica View Post
                      Yeah. I like that pic. It is steep.
                      Don

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for sharing your adventure and some beautiful pictures. I'm a little nauseous now! So Steep.
                        Crepuscular Rays: Dissolve into evergreens

                        There's always gonna be another mountain
                        I'm always gonna wanna make it move
                        Always gonna be an uphill battle
                        Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
                        Ain't about how fast I get there
                        Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side...
                        It's the climb
                        -Miley Cyrus

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hear the Footsteps View Post

                          Yeah. I like that pic. It is steep.
                          Don
                          Yeah, me too. Glad you have a person climbing in the frame, otherwise it wouldn't convey the size and pitch involved. Nicely done.
                          ADK 46/46, 46/46W, Grid 212/552
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