Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Recent activity

Recent searching led us to this interesting looking line.
Fun days ahead!  The crack moving left after the ice appears to be
solid and should take gear all the way to the top.  Is it possible
 to have too many projects?
We've been climbing a good bit.  Several days with Ray Burnsworth A.K.A. Wildfilm Productions.  He's been shooting some incredible footage on several recent outings.  Should be seeing some really cool stuff from him soon.  He's been really psyched and working hard to highlight the climbing offered here in SWPA.  I've been continuing work on several projects while Laura has been getting on the sharp end more.   We've discovered a great way to help one another accomplish personal climbing goals.    We've been alternating "personal days" which is a day that is only focused on one person's training or goals.  That way the belay slave gets a rest day for their "personal day" to follow.  Some days are hard and some are easy, but most of all we've been pushing each other to climb stronger and smiling while being miserable and sore.

So far it's been a good season despite the couple warm ups that caused some serious damage.  Things are finally getting back to normal at the smaller crags.  Water is seeping and the flows are forming nicely and getting fat.  The Big Climbs are in a state of funk that is challenging to say the least.  Most of them are very aerated and spooky.  Currently they're formed like early season climbs, which is expectedly hollow and difficult to protect.  Amplify that with exposure to near 50 degree temperatures (two near melt outs),  its made things WILD to say the least.  This weekend when it rapidly dropped to zero from above freezing things became almost no fun at all. Notice that I said almost.  Looking back it was fun.  Its not everyday that we get the chance to climb such scary stuff.  Might as well enjoy it while we can!  After all... this is climbing in SWPA, make the most you can out of nothing.

Saturday 1/22/2011
Some nice folks we met from VA last weekend decided to return to PA to sample some more ice.   We met them at Lower Meadow Run to show them around.  We led Hemlock with an icicle start.  It's barely touching down, but with some gentle climbing it supported us up to the better ice and eventually solid rock gear.  Fred from Exkursion was there with some friends that were new to ice.  They were climbing away and having a great day.  The weather was sunny and made the chilly day feel very comfortable.  By afternoon the ice was soft and everyone was spent.  We joined the VA folks for dinner at NY Pizza and Pasta after climbing.  They spent the night at The Melody Motor Lodge in Connellsville.   Many visiting climbers seem to enjoy staying here.  Rooms are warm and reasonable, breakfast is right next door at Ed's and climbing is only minutes away.  What more could you ask for?

Sunday 1/23/2011
The temperature hovered just above zero which quickly chilled our hands and feet.  With poor conditions and cold temps, Laura and I jumped on the Infinite WI5.   I climbed about 1/2 of it and lowered off to rewarm my frozen hands.  I went up a second time reaching a reasonable high point where I could safely lower off.   Conditions were not favorable for pushing too hard.  Our friends from VA were in town again.  They made an attempt of Called on account of Security WI4.  They made it to the center pillar and made the decision to call it quits and top rope the lower portion.  Maybe next weekend things will be looking up.  Unfortunately the left wall isn't showing much hope.  The new additions Mad Rocket WI5+ and Double A WI6 are far from being "IN".  On a positive note The Beast WI5+ is making an appearance for the 2nd year in a row.  Currently it's about the most promising looking line on the left wall.

On approach, the first view

Galen belaying Sean on Called on Account of Security WI4

Tuesday 1/25/2011
 Today it was Laura's day and she chose to go to Lower Meadow Run.  She's recently made a clean go of Season Finale M6.  She's been after it a for quite a while now.  After a few tries this season she did it with no falls.  She wanted to try it again and I wanted to try out  the new pocket camera I purchased for shooting seconds coming up.  I'd like to get away from lugging a body/lens combo up routes.  I've not been very pleased with any pocket camera I've tried so far.  This time I'm trying the NIKON S8100.  The size is nice.  Its small and light, reasonably fast and cheap (almost disposable). Seemed worth a try.  Here are a few of the images we shot today.  Not bad for a point and shoot.

Supporting the park we frequent
checking Laura's screw placements
Pulling over the crux bulge
Look out guys, Laura shows how its done
For any taker who want the novelty of climbing
Cucumber Falls WI2+.  This is as "IN" as I've seen
 it in years.  Go get it while its still up!  P.S. Don't expect gear

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