Testing the Crow Hills Cliffs


This is super out of order – it’s part of my series called “cleaning up my drafts folder”

Tuesday, 17-March-15

After seeing Quincy, I was a little curious about how the other climbing areas were doing… Daniel had said that he’d be checking out Rumney, so that really only left Crow Hill and Hammond Pond to be explored and the conditions figured out.

Hammond Pond… well, anyone who’s climbed there could tell you whether or not it was ready to climb.  Hammond isn’t really known for drying out quickly.  In fact, it’s known for staying soaking wet after a freaking sun shower in the middle of August.  So it was out.  And anyways, where’s the fun in taking a trip to somewhere that’s 20min away?

So I picked Mary up at her place, and we headed onto Route 2, in search of climbs.11081184_10101007214980010_5238343827672862060_n

Also – alpacas.  And their meat.

Mary is a bit of a foodie – not in the “let’s go out and eat at this crazy little ecclectic place!” sort of way, but in the “Come on over to my place and we can make cold vegan pig’s foot salad!” sort of way.  So when I floated the idea of driving out to Crow Hill, her stipulation was that we stop in at a farm in the area that she’d heard of: Kalon Farm, in this instance.  It’s on the way, and would take us off the boring highway, so I didn’t see a problem with it.

Honestly, it wasn’t super exciting… though I did appreciate the excuse to get off the highway and drive down the back roads for a bit.  The farm had the usual meats – nothing with alpacas at all, actually.  it all looked good enough, but the prices… yeah, not really viable for an unemployed guy, to say the least.

So, back onto the road we went.

Then, into a muddy parking lot (sorry, Mustang!) and up a trail.  The snow wasn’t too bad, but it was still quite deep – by stepping carefully we were able to make good time, but every so often a wrong step would send my foot down through the crust, and I’d be knee-deep on one side.  Yeah, the snow was easily 2 or 3 ft deep still, possibly even deeper, since that’s just how far I’d sink down.

But we made it up the trail and to the cliffs none the worse for wear, if a bit tired and wet-footed.   And that’s where we saw the ice.

Ice for days… the rotting dream of ice climbers everywhere… Well, sort of.  There was some impressive ice, definitely, but nothing as much as what you see in Rock and Ice’s ice climbing special.  Still, would have been fun to set up a top rope and take a pair of ice tools to, if the weather hadn’t been warm enough to rot most of the backing away.  As it was, the ice was gorgeous, and we spent more than a few minutes relaxing in the snow, watching the water drop off the stalagtites hanging from the cliff roof.

So the summary of the recon report could be read as “passable trails, and a few partially dry routes… but nothing viable for climbing as of yet.  At least another month required before climbing can start”,  Not the best news, but it’s something… and I’m sure this coming summer will see more than enough climbing on the old famous routes.

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