Saturday, 23Jun12 and Sunday, 24Jun12
Alex and I parked at the base of the cliff, and headed straight up towards the rock. Our goal was Black Lung, finishing up on the two pitches of Upper Refuse. A super-classic line reaching from the bottom of the cliff all the way to the top. Unfortunately, we hadn’t parked anywhere near the base of that climb, and instead found ourselves in the position of needing to hike all the way back to the car in order to find Black Lung.
Nope. Instead, we found a few climbs in the area, and headed up those:
Still in Saigon (5.8+)
This route was scary. Seriously. This route was so run out I thought we were on whitehorse, and the moves were insanely thin – small, friction moves without any sort of protection nearby. It was good though, honestly was more of a sport route than Trad – out of the 7 or so placements Alex made, only two of them were actual gear. The rest? Bolts. Boo.
I don’t know how Alex led it, to be completely honest. Maybe back when I was leading insane routes every week I could have, but as of now… dang.
In the scheme of routes, I wouldn’t recommend it as a “definitely do it!” climb… but if you’re in the area and want a challenge, definitely try it out.
Note: it was hot. Hot as in “My hand hurt from the heat of the rocks. I think I got burnt”.
Kiddy Crack (5.7)
This route is classic. It’s so good that it’s scary… every move is fun and interesting, but at no point do you get bored by the simplicity of it. This is definitely my favorite climb at Cathedral, hands-down.
I led this one, since it’s definitely my style – cracks and edges. There was one rough move right off the deck, but it was followed by super-clean crack climbing which closes out to some small face moves near the top.
It’s slightly challenging at it’s level, but so good. 100% recommended.
Child’s Play (5.6)
Child’s Play is another “super-classic” route, right near Kiddy Crack, rated at being one of the best routes in New England. In my opinion it’s not as good as KC, but still very clean and fun moves covered by very solid protection.
Alex led this one, and had a pretty good time of it from what I could tell. For me, seconding was a bit scary – not from any danger on the climb, but from the worry of rain. The sky opened up on us literally minutes after we finished rappelling off the top.
Unfortunately I don’t remember any of the route names from Sunday, since I wasn’t the one looking them up in the book. But the basic plan was that five of us (Alex, myself, Sean, Adam, and Liz) would climb a bit on the Main Cliff (since it would definitely be dry from the rain), and then we’d either continue climbing there, or head up to something a bit tougher as the day wore on.
This one I’d done before a few years back – it sits on the bottom tier of the main cliff, and leads up to some of the bigger and burlier climbs at Rumney. It’s got a quick tricky start, but once you master the movements the rest of the climb is classic Rumney – clean and fun face climbing. I think it was something like four bolts long though, so it doesn’t last long enough to really loose yourself in it.
I lead it and set it as a toprope for the others – simple and easy lead, definitely a good one if you want to try out the grade.
Unlike the climb above, this one you can get lost in it. Alex took the lead, and it was long. As in “we used almost half of the rope” long. And in climbing, that’s the farthest that you can go on a single rope… assuming you want to get the rope back afterward.
It was fun, but a bit boring to be honest. Most of the climbing was simple rock-scrambling, although near the end it did turn into a rather interesting and steep route. I’d recommend it if you want a long route with an amazing view at the top. Otherwise, don’t bother.
This was supposed to be a two-pitch route, but when we looked over to see the next pitch… it was nowhere to be found. I’m guessing that it’s very rarely climbed, and that lichen has overgrown most of the route in the meantime – we chose to rappel off instead of continuing, since missing the route up meant accidentally getting onto anything from a .10d to an .11a. Not safe.
Oh man, this route. This route. Oh man.
This route was excellent – hard, challenging, but workable with very interesting and technical moves throughout. Alex again took the lead, busting it out after a few short falls / rests at the bolts; a very burly lead none-the-less though. I took the second cleanly (much to Alex’s chagrin), but cleanly due to the fact that I didn’t have to lead it.
100% recommended if you get a chance, and have strong faith in your outdoor leading skills.
This was a simple route that Adam and Liz had set up, since Sean had headed home after we left the Main Cliff.
This route was full of interesting moves, strange bolt locations, and generally sketchy bolting stances. Honestly, I didn’t enjoy anything about the route – the moves weren’t very fun, the route itself was scattered and unclear, and the bolts were never where they should have been – a foot above of below where they were would have been fine, but whoever bolted it was definitely not thinking about a climber of my height.
Not horrid, but unless you’re really searching for routes… pass this one over.