Friday, November 5, 2010

Brrrrrr, New England part 3. The End.

Tiffers reclining atop Moat Mt.  We huddled behind an enormous cairn.
It is difficult to believe that roughly 3 weeks has elapsed since our last entry!  And so it goes, that we are now in West Virginia, with nary a shred of cyber journalism to leave witness to our most recent adventures.

Fortunately, I've got ample time and opportunity to bring current the Gilkison Saga...  Today is a rest day at the New River Gorge and the weather has turned foul!  Tiffers and I had been observing the weather in these parts for weeks leading up to our migration South.  For the most part high's were in the 60's, 70's and sometimes 80's (the latter of which is quite warm for late Fall conditions).  But, some shift has recently occurred and snow and colder weather is around for a couple days.  We're holed up in our friend Carrie and John's Cabin in the WV woods, stoking a marvelous fire, and enjoying good company, reading, and food!  Without further ado, this is what has gone down, and what we have been about.

October 16th we awoke in North Conway.  Wind and torrential downpour had pounded our rig all night, but by morning the squall had subsided, and we were greeted by mostly clear skies (though the wind hadn't dried up).  With showers still a possibility we decided to forgo climbing, and take a hike.  After harvesting some ideas in the book section at EMS, we settled on a 10 mile loop up Moat Mountain.  Tiff did some camera phone memorization of our chosen route; because, honestly, it was quite complicated, and I had no doubt that without written aid we would be lost.  This was later to be verified by the many unmarked trails and turnoffs that would have otherwise baffled us.  We had a great adventure hiking Moat Mountain, and managed to not get blown away or otherwise completely hosed.  On the decent we did have to stay on our toes while pummeling 60-70 mph gusts assailed us crosswise; and there were several points that we thought we were goners.  Rough stuff up there folks!  I understand only too clearly now how Mt. Washington can have the highest confirmed wind gusts on Earth.

With slightly more stable weather the following day we opted to check out Cathedral Ledge.  This wall had been on my radar for some time; it having played a significant historical roll in the lexicon of American rock climbing crags.  Like Index back home, this place also has fickle weather.  For this reason I wasn't able to get on the classic Prow(11+), Edge of the World(13c), or Liquid sky(13b).  In fact, with recent rains and newly accumulated debris, we were happy to scrap our ways up Recompense (5.9). I'm not sure if it was just the damp rock...but I thought it quite burly for the grade.  The highlight of the climb was an amazing finishing corner taking us to the very top of the Ledge.  On the summit we found lots of tourist who had driven up, and were amazed that we had surmounted this wicked face!  And no, we didn't bang in any of them "Iron Pegs"...though, we did use quite a few of them snap clips.  Not to denigrate the less knowledgable neophyte, I'm always quite happy to explain the process, and to illuminate that it isn't really scary, and really no big deal.

Having only spent one day at Whitehorse and another at Cathedral we hoisted sail, and set our sights for Rumney.  Upon our return we found the scene much more palatable.  The crowds that we first had experienced had all but gone (which we soon found out why).  Tiffany took it easy during our first day back due to a sore wrist.  Fortunately, I was able to climb in with my buddy Mike Patz (and crew), a Harvard Medical Student that I first ran into while in Squamish, B.C.  Over the next few days I was able to tick a few 13's and some 12+'s, despite ever worsening weather.  Tiffany was also able to start climbing again, though her wrist kept her on more moderate terrain.  Personally, I think climbing with completely numb fingertips, hands, and feet just isn't that much fun.  One morning we woke up to actual snow wafting through the air.  Yeah, I don't mind sucking up some gnarly weather once in a while, if that is what I have to do.  But, when your traveling and have the mobility and flexibility to change latitude...that is what you do my friends.  SOUTH!

The Hamlet of Rumney as seen from Rattlesnake Mountain.

The flying hobbit keeping it static on Man Overboard 12d.
For those of you non-climbers, this position shown to the right is only possible because I'm jamming my knee into a large hole while pushing with that legs same foot.  The technique is called aptly, the "knee-bar".  This particular 80 foot route finishes with a steep roof; and I was quite happy to find a great knee bar before the crux.

The rock here is 'Schist' amazing.  Gotta say I really liked Rumney and only wished it was a little bit more friendly for the traveling climber.

That said, it is still worth a visit!

Raining and 37 degrees f.  This just wasn't super motivating weather.  During these less than ideal conditions the van really came into its own.   We just really love our diesel heater!

The locals at Rumney are not only knowledgeable regarding route information...they are just great people.  We very much enjoyed everyone we met and look forward to seeing them down the turnpike.  The shot above was taken during a particularly grim morning.  Great times boys!

Almost looks like a typical day at Little Si, WA.

But, all good things must end; and they were just as happy to go climbing in the cold rain.  Right on guys!  Hope you'll found some dry rock.

After seeing our house guests wander into the Rumney wilderness we hoisted anchor once again, and set the helm for New London, NH.  An hour later we arrived at my Uncle Tom and Aunt Liz's places in the New Hampshire hills.  It was so great to see them again!  15 years was just too long. They were nothing less than magnanimous in their hospitality. Furthermore, nothing says love more than family Home Cooking!  Endless thanks goes to these wonderful people for spoiling us rotten.  :)  Sometimes this is just what the doctor ordered.

Next stop was West Point, NY.  According to our trusty navigational tool (i-phone) our route should have taken us roughly 4 hours.  Well, 6.5 hours later we arrived at Chris and Heather Miller's house in West Point.  There could have potentially been a quicker route.  But, after having lost serious coin on the drive out to Toll Roads, we decided to avoid them altogether.  

We were starving, and luckily just in time for dinner (which was excellent). Our next plan of attack was to blitzkrieg New York City.  Driving the van into the city wasn't really an option for us.  But, the Miller's were kind enough to allow us to park our rig at West Point and even drive us across the Hudson to the Garrison Train Station.  We felt very safe knowing that our van was in a military compound.

Tiffany very much appreciated getting caught up with her College roommate Heather, and getting to know her Son Nathaniel!

The autumn colors were still quite nice around West Point.  The shot to the left shows some of the West Point housing as seen from the Garrison Train Station.

To be continued....

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