Paul Roberts is an enthusiastic young climber who put thermal bar to the test while conquering Wallface Mountain! Check out his report and thoughts on ThermalBar below or on his blog.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Wallface Mountain Trip Report
Columbus day weekend, Chris Picinich and myself headed up to the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Mountains to climb Wallface Mountain. Wallface is an 800+ foot vertical wall, suggested to be the tallest wall in NewYork. We drove up friday evening and made our approach by moonlight to wall face lean-to 2.7 miles in from the abandoned town of Upperworks. Upperworks use to be a small lumber town until they filled their quota and were forced to leave; it was an erie last sight of civilization to be seeing abandoned houses right before we met the trailhead, made me question what lay ahead of us in the next few days.
The trail to the lean-to was the typical backcountry style of the ADK mountains, wet, sloshy muddy, with ups and downs, river crossings flat sections and a beautiful half full moon. After 2.5 hours of solid hiking we arrived at the lean-to and built ourselves a nice warm fire. Spreading out our sleeping bags we pulled out our topo maps and planned the climb. It wasn’t long until we fell deep into the realms of the dream world, that night i was hoping to have a philosophical mind state dream where i would be shown the events of the next day and how things would turn out, it was only later that i really did wish this had happened.
5am the alarm clock on Chris’s watch beeped, i got up and whispered “is it time?” a simple nod from chris acknowledged my statement and i quickly began setting up my stove for our dehydrated breakfast skillet. After fueling up and ditching the gear we wouldn’t need we set off to the base of the wall. A mere 1.7 miles of difficult hiking would lead us to the bottom of our objective. As the morning sun rose we could see the wall peaking out standing tall and proud above the trees. This excited us and also led us to a bad mistake, after leaving the red marked trail onto the cairn path we saw a wall above us and chris leading the way took us up towards that wall, through thickets of thorns and massive boulder fields we trudged to the base of this misleading wall. Getting to this wall i instantly knew it was the wrong wall, and chris had no idea where he was leading us (this started to piss me off) we found our selves standing on a ledge above atop a cliff with two options rappel down the cliff and hope to find the trail or back track through the rugged hell we had just came up. We chose to rappel, setting it up with webbing and rap ring around a tree we made it to the base of this false wall and I then took over the lead, finding the correct trail we arrived at the base of Wallface at 10am. Due to a stupid mistake we turned what would have been an hour approach into a three hour approach, there were two things i was most concerned with about this mistake 1. it was completely energy wasting, (this would be proven to later on the climb with chris) and 2. we planned on hiking back to the car this day so we only brought in our lunches that was the only food we had and limited water.
10:45am after waiting for another party to get off the ground and get moving, it was our turn to finally begin the climb. The route we took was The Diagonal 5.8 G III it followed a huge diagonal ramp to the final two 5.8 pitches. Standing at the base the head wall of the cliff had such an allure to it, looking up 865 feet to the top was an amazing sight, to know in just a few short hours we would be standing at the top and looking down instead of being on the bottom looking up made me happy. Chris led the first pitch, i took the second both pitches were 5.5 easy ground and good protection. Arriving at he infamous diagonal ramp we simul-climbed the next pitch shaving off some wasted time, simul-climbing was so cool! Being up that high and simul-climbing gave me a feeling that ill never forget, it was simply pure fun, happiness and mind exploring. I quickly led the 4th 5.5 pitch and chris led the 4th class traverse, that brought us to the first 5.8 pitch this is what i came here for, an alpine wall with a hard finish just the way i like them.
5pm we sat at the massive bivy ledge below the 5.8 recuperating and enjoying the views of the mountains out behind us, with the source of the hudson river below us we felt emerged in the true wilderness of NY. Quicker than i should have i started to lead the pitch, it looked easy and fun in pictures but today it was full of fresh mud, dirt and debris. The pitch follows an Off Width crack on the right side of a right facing dihedral, now this really was not a hard climb but when every time i stuck my hand in the crack and looked for the next sweet spot i got an ounce of dirt and shit into my eyes blinding me it turned hard. Eventually this would cause me to slip and fall, it was a clean fall (other than my eyes.) after huffing puffing and grunting i grunged my body up to the top, set up a belay and thats when things started going down hill. Chris was unable to climb the pitch and aided his way up, exhausted he told me he would go no further because the hip he had surgery on was giving him problems. After silently being pissed off at him i understood the problem and we made an emergency rappel and started heading down, at this point we had eaten all of our food and ran out of water i was so dehydrated i felt like a desert sand dune.
Things just kept getting worse after our first rappel the ropes got stuck in a roof crack, resulting in me having to climb up and pull the ropes from a different location then untangling those ropes and setting them up again, we started heading down. The sun set by the time we reached the third rappel and we had a beautiful moon to light up the face along with our headlamps, each rappel the ropes got tangled adding more and more pointless un-needed time wasted. eventually landing at the base we packed up and headed back to the lean-to starving and dehydrated as we walked back i remembered i still had a ThermalBar a new energy bar that gives you energy and heats up your bodes core temperature, i was extremely happy to have this as my only food left as it had so many organic natural ingredients that tasted so good! and it heated me up the whole way back to the lean-to. Chris had brought water purification tablets so we could drink the water from the stream, waters never tasted better than that night. I couldn’t stop thinking about how i may want to go on a sport climbing binge for awhile.
Eventually we stumbled back into camp and slept the day off, waking up and moving out to the car fast to get to our food, our energy source! Wallface was a great learning experience, and I’m glad everything happened the way it did. If only Chris’s hip hadn’t given him trouble we could have stood atop the great Wallface Mountain, but hey what are you gonna do except come back!
http://www.thermalbar.com/-This is the link to Bob Rose’s ThermalBar. His bar is amazing and any one who can get them should! I’m very excited to test these things on my winter trip to climb Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.
Report by and a very special thanks to the awesome Paul Roberts