Saturday, February 16, 2019

Buzzard Falls (aka: Kraylick Ice Falls)

... took the short hike into 'Buzzard Falls' (aka: Kraylick Ice Falls) two weekends back...

... with the warming temperatures, would have missed it by a day or two if climbing had been the pursuit - main flow is washed out...

... regardless - that's a nice little area back in there...

... we're workin' on puttin' the old 'Western Pennsylvania Ice' video up on the website... not brilliant but fun... stay tuned...

Cal's Secret Boulders (aka: Liston Rocks)

"... haven't you ever been lost?..."
"... hmmm... been fearsome confused for a month or two, but I ain't never been lost!..."

                                                                                    - The Mountain Men (1980 movie)

... had some fun gettin' a bit confused last Sunday...

... took the short hike in to this small maze of boulders that we haven't visited for probably twenty five years...

... first visited this location in 1984 at the recommendation of iconic SWPA climber, Cal Swoager, who referred to it as his "secret bouldering spot"... remember the date exactly as we had to return home early that day to attend the first birthday of a young gal who presently kicks our ass most weekends...

... always referenced it as 'Liston Rocks'... with reverence to the late man, we'll refer to them as 'Cal's Secret Boulders' from here on out...

... MGS adding some scale to the surroundings...

... ZMan as well...

... have no idea what Cal may have put up - we visited maybe three times and climbed probably over a dozen obvious lines... didn't return much as we were usually occupied places elsewhere...

... took a good look about this visit through a "modern boulderer's eye"... hey - some good stuff here...

... a bit frigid day - MGS sampling a bit of the quality of the rock...

... doesn't appear that anyone's been here in a while - definitely no climbers...

... it's a bit of fun when finding a few of these old places "newly discovered" when lazing about on-line, especially when they include "modern" difficulty ratings - we've seen one old route or two rated as difficult as v10 now'days... 

... the majority of the new (and overhanging) stuff we see, though, we wouldn't have touched back in the day (but who knows with modern crash pads?)...

... we usually didn't rate anything over the 5.10 scale, anyway (if we rated anything at all) - although many things would occasionally get whittled away to the 5.12 scale when working subsequent "eliminate" holds (particularly if 'Mr. Goodman' was waiting in line)... we always compared climbing difficulty to "near-distant" Seneca Rocks, WV, where the ratings were always said to be a bit stiff (but accurate - our opinion - leave it go at that, please)...

... MGS happened to be totin' a pair of rock shoes this day and couldn't resist hoppin' on at least one route...

... wow! - a great "re-discovered" place - we'll be back in the Spring...

... thanks Cal...

... note: heavy black bear and rattlesnake habitat...

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Conditions Could Be Better

... cross country, nordic, touring, backcountry, backwoods... the act of being physically propelled thru the snow by kicking and gliding forward, attached to two overpriced composite petrochemical by-product laminate and wood slat boards... call it what you will...

... mid-January and we finally received a bit of appreciable snow accumulation last weekend... headed up on the ridge but after only about a half mile we soon found that the sparse (5 inches at best - 3 inches on average) snow blanket did little to shield track grabbing rocks and large stones - treacherous conditions when accelerating along any appreciable downslope... it only took one good face-plant after descending several hundred feet down a favorite, occasionally steep hollow and we realized that conditions weren't going to improve in the lower elevations and increasingly forest-shrouded trail...

... we opted to abandon the steeps for the day and return to the ridge top and better ski conditions - wide open, rolling (no steeps) and deeper snow... hey, at least it's powder - which we discovered wasn't the case either - because of the underlying unfrozen and wet ground (it was sixty degree weather only days before), what was slick powder on the way in was sticky board grabbing softpack on the backtrack - the days high 30's temperatures didn't help either...

... although, a lot better conditions were to be found along the high ground...

... pretty good tracking when keeping to the grassy open fields and game pastures... 

... MGS, behind the lens, directing a bit of 'mise en scene' composition... 

... once we got it figured out, wasn't a bad few hours of skiing...

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Burnside

... for our friends - some R.L. to end the year... crank 'em up...

... 'Let My Baby Ride'...

... 'It's Bad You Know'...

... Bad Luck City...

... encore...

... 'Goin' Down South'...

... double encore (hey, it's Burnside)...

... 'Nothin' Man'...

... Happy New Year - thanks for viewing...

Monday, December 17, 2018

Off-Width

... came across this on-line video a few weeks back that we like a lot, primarily for the climbing effort...


... very good work on the gals part - jamming and arm barring out that wide inverted horizontal crack, with somewhat airy exposure (to say the least) looks horrendous - they're certainly (for the most part) comfortable with their situation - would be quite the predicament for many... if we were some anal, pseudo-intellectual film critic we'd comment to the positive "Aristotles Philosophy of Being in motion"... but we're not, so we'll just say "wish we had at least three of those big-ass f*k'n cams back in the day"...*

... nice job...

*... we also like their "crack machine" - we had fabricated our own vertically inclined crack machine years back (training for a planned trip to Yosemite which never materialized - splitter jam cracks in the local PA sedimentary sandstone are few and far between), built from wood 2x12's - 12ft tall - adjustable from finger to fist width - you could taper the width and practice jamming while placing nuts/hexes/cams - thinned some body primer, mixed in some coarse sand and coated the interior for grip - worked great and was pretty difficult... eventually needed a few 2x12's, 12ft length to brace a sagging rear porch roof while being rebuilt, so sacrificed the assembly to that project...

------------

... old Hollywood mountain climbing films ('Eiger Sanction', 'White Tower' etc..) always had the requisite sequence with the hero inching his way unprotected up some long body-width chimney, so when we first started out (and had little idea as to what we were doing) we were on the lookout for stuff like that... we soon found out that most everything we found (around here) less than body-width could usually be ascended lay-back technique at considerable less effort than trying to wedge and jam asses and elbows while worming your way up some heinous misshapen constriction...  

... there's a few local off-width's here-bout that are always overlooked and never worked (as such), definitely a divergent from the norm - nothing near a desert off-width experience, though... no specific photos but these will do...

...(T. Anderson photo)...
... this route 'Eclipse' located at 'Breakneck Rocks' was actually done originally by jamming the difficult off-width crack - is an easy layback bottom to top otherwise...

... a nice squeeze chimney up at 'Stairway to Heaven', though it's usually climbed by laybacking or stemming technique - a "Good-man"** stemming here...

... a young 'Strongman Matt' bouldering about on the wall adjacent to this (typical) wide crack at 'Stairway to Heaven'...

... off-width to hand-jams here - 'Stewarton Rocks'...there's another off-width up there (no photo available) that we lugged several 8"-12" rounded river stones to and wedged in the crack to be permanent chockstones for slinging when protecting on lead - led the thing 2-3 times to test out the chockstones (worked great) - returned maybe two weeks later and no chockstones - !!?? - to this day no ones ever fessed up to removing them (though there's only one possible culprit)... we had also farmed (by digging a diversion drainage ditch and installing a 4" drain pipe we found) a nearby solitary ice climb that forms on the wall for the purpose of enhancing it's formation - that pipe was gone too - ???...

... a few more locations of note would be a wide chimney along the main wall at 'Colls Cove' (recall another wide crack to a small roof there as well - may be wrong) and a (short) body-width crack at 'Spruce Hollow'... also recall one other good one at an obscure location that we haven't visited in many moons - Uncle Joes? Bidwell? Jumonsville? - don't remember exactly...

**... he had a good story he related more than once wherein he was a pitch or two off the ground and in the throes of complete exhaustion while leading a difficult wide crack (up in New Hampshire?) when the metal climbing helmet he'd been wearing got wedged chockstone-like in the crack - he couldn't move his head left nor right, up or down - and he's well above his last placement of sketchy gear - out of desperation he pulled straight backward with about everything he had left in 'em, nearly sailing off into space... Ha!...

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Get Dicked...

... Dale, that is...

... Unknown Territory...

... Tribal Thunder...
... encore...

... Third Stone From The Sun...
... ("Jimmy, I'm still here - wish you were")...

©http://www.cmphoto.co.nz/about/
... Dale's one badass M-F...

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Woodland Stones IV

... been havin' Friday fun all summer long workin' out our gal Muscle Girl Sarah on the local boulders...

... she showed up last spring totin' a new crash pad and wantin' to get back to crankin' on some rock - hadn't gripped a stone for at least ten years... heres an old shot from back in the 90's...

... didn't miss a beat...

... been workin' on a mix of things - maybe 20% old established stuff and 80% new... prefer the new...

... but all is good...

... ZMan along too when not working...

... 'Kryptonite' boulder...


... was a new project for a few weeks until worked out... from a series of small crimps and off terrible feet is a long dyno to a sloping rail... gave it an old school either ya' can do it or ya' can't rating...

... some old secret stuff too...

... hidden in plain sight...

 
... on a rainy day we found some stuff we called the 'Bantams'...

... well, always knew they were there - a jumble of low boulders that now sport sit-starts to gain some difficult mantles or low pumpy traverses...

... quite a few routes there...

... found lots of "new" stuff - no such thing as sit-starts back in the day...

... so been walkin' right by this stuff for forty years...

... last Friday killin' a few hours...

... 'Apes, Men and Morons'...

... a bit off the beaten path here - we're figurin' no ones done the routes on this stone considering all the holds that broke off...

... two lines and a new project...

... final shot from back in the day...

------------------

... training days - found a few old 'ice bouldering' images from inside the archives...

... there's an old and abandoned small quarry nearby that was a source for track ballast for the P&LE Railroad back during the formation of the local rail lines - the many water seeps flowing through and small spring flowing over the quarry walls produce some decent low height (maybe 20ft at it's highest point) ice bouldering during a cold winter...

... had just read an article by the influential Colorado ice climber 'Duncan Ferguson' regarding ice bouldering and his techniques for climbing thin and verglas ice, so had to rush right out to this thin smear... 80's leather boots, Footfangs, combo Lowe Hummingbird and Forrest hammers...

... boy is that hairy - you don't take ground falls at all wearing crampons - luckily only ever took one (from around 10ft) which was enough - concentrated like a M-F after that...

... ha-ha - this guy has read Ullman's 'Straight Up - the Life and Death of Mountaineer John Harlin' one too many times... was a warm early spring day - but we would copy his training techniques such as going without gloves when climbing or skiing until our hands were about frozen off (he would carry snowballs ta' boot) and carrying stone or boulder ballast in our packs if we felt them to be too light - our buddy Rob Goodman was a good one for loading your pack with extra stones when ya' weren't looking...