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Boquet River Crags-2 New Rock Climbing Routes and a Bushwhack 2015 May 9

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  • Boquet River Crags-2 New Rock Climbing Routes and a Bushwhack 2015 May 9

    Distance: 6.25 miles
    Elevation Gain: 1800 feet
    Photographs
    Location of Cliff: http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=44.11...=0&src=msa
    New Routes on Adirondack Rock Website

    After years of listening to tales about the beauty of the North Fork Boquet, I ventured in to see for myself on May 2. I bushwhacked along the river via the herd path from the stone bridge (2.5 miles from Chapel Pond) to Round Pond. The lazy hairpin turns and view of a snow covered Beckhorn Slide on Dix on May 2 (it was snow free by May 9) made a lasting impression as did the canyon proper and a cliff band to its north. Bushwhacking after the crag was through pleasantly rolling forest with a little snow left in shadowed pockets.

    I reversed the route on May 9th with friend/climber Hunter Lombardi. As with many trips, inspiration during one trip can lead to bigger things in subsequent days–the May 2 trip certainly inspired the rock climbing bug in me. To quote Adirondack Rock, “This area was first explored for rock climbing by Tom DuBois.”—thanks TCD! ADK Rock also lists two technical climbing routes in the gorge. The first ascent in the area belongs to Tom and Ellen DuBois, a route appropriately called Turbulescence—a nice line near a turbulent pool and cascade in the gorge
    .
    Hunter and I locked our sites on exploring a few cliffs north of the canyon proper. Armed with full climbing packs, we began our day at the Round Pond parking. The 46r trail crew was just arriving for their annual cleanup day [nice to see Pete Hickey and Brian (Pathgrinder)].

    We followed the trail past Round Pond and over the height of land. A small log bridge crossing a stream was the cue to leave the trail to the left. We followed it until I could hear the North Fork Boquet and then struck a heading of about 150 degrees magnetic. The river was our handrail though at a distance.

    An hour and a quarter from the trailhead, Hunter and I arrived at a small exposed knob north of the canyon, still about 15 minutes away from the northern-most cliff on our itinerary. Most of the route possibilities I saw during the first trip looked beyond my ability, but there were a couple that I hoped might be attainable.

    Hunter Lombardi on top of our first route. What a setting.



    I should have followed the river more closely since we popped out of the woods on top of a terrace overlooking the canyon proper. We were standing on top our objective; the forest floor was 70 feet below and the river was slightly downhill from there. What was the objective?—A large shark fin shaped roof of anorthosite. I felt my pulse quicken as we rappelled to the base in hopes that it would be drier than last week.

    The chute down which we rappelled immediately struck me as a possible line. Hunter found a good, if not harder, possibility about 50 feet south. Pieces of talus, large and small, adorned the ground. Large pieces fallen in ages past led down to the river and large swimming hole. Yeah, it’s a beautiful setting whether you’re a climber, hiker, hunter or fisherman!

    New Climbing Routes
    My hopeful line looked comparatively easy so it served as a good starting point. The packs lightened as we pulled out the rope and rest of the gear. The first ten feet ascended a slightly overhanging wall with nice hand cracks. I then climbed up and slightly right up to a small ceiling—a narrow block of stone above a slot in the wall. I held myself in place with feet stemming (spread apart and placed on adjacent walls). There was plenty of clean rock to work with though moss and lichen were also part of the game.

    I contemplated how to break through the ceiling and decided to move right where it was broken by a small slot (about leg width). I threw my right heel high onto a small ledge and worked my left leg into the slot as I stabilized myself with the other hand on another small (12 inch) ledge. I cleared a little moss from around my foot and looked down some 40 feet to Hunter belaying from below. I was on a comfortable stance and needed a rest so he took a photo to capture the moment.

    I looked around and realized that I was next to a huge corner formed by the side of the roof. I felt small next to this wall of clean anorthosite. It was turning into a dramatic line with several interesting moves. I moved up higher after cleaning moss out of some finger sized cracks leading up to a large piece of stone—freestanding but embedded deeply. I leaned against it as I again rested. A few more minutes of climbing up a wide slot led up onto the terrace from which we first rappelled.

    Hunter followed belayed from above while enjoying the view, the warmth and the sound of the river—a dramatic start to the day. We rappelled down and cleaned a few loose stones off the route. After thinking about it, I felt it deserved a light-hearted yet descriptive name—“Talus About the Crack”. We rated the 70 foot line at 5.6 YDS.


    Kevin leading Talus About the Crack.
    Below, full perspective of the shark fin roof.





    Back at the base it was Hunter’s turn to lead. He eyed a more difficult route under a long ceiling left rising ceiling. The start was difficult to protect (against a fall) and too wet. Thus we walked 300 feet north where the cliff was drier. There were plenty of new route possibilities along the way, but they’d require some cleaning and time to dry out...something for a future. The cliff band soon curved gently to the east and we crossed a small gully. An extension of the cliff continued north—it was quite dry.

    Hunter spotted an appealing crack about 15 feet up on a vertical face; I laughed because it was a feature that jumped out at me a week prior as I walked by. We removed some loose flakes and Hunter set to work as I belayed.

    Hunter describes the climb:
    "After knocking off some of the large but noticeably detached rocks from inside and around the crack through the triangular ceiling from which I started, I began climbing. The moves off of the ground were fun, good hands with stemming feet. I found myself questioning whether or not we had missed a few loose holds, and if I would detach a hold and hit the canyon floor. I had already done that once earlier in the day.

    However, the rock stayed true and a good piece eased my mind. As I got to the crack, I sunk in a great hand jam, placed a piece, and began working through the fun, although short, series of moves. Once the crack petered out, I was able to grab one more piece of protection before mantling up on the ledge about 20 feet up.

    I began tackling the left-rising rail, working the positive holds. I was able to place a crucial blue and black alien (cam) into a small crack after another 10 or so feet up in order to protect the top out - which offered some of the more thought-provoking moves of the line. The talus-covered ledge contained a nice cedar tree to build an anchor off of, and after Kevin joined me, we walked off climber's right."

    Hunter named the route, “Mama’s Boquet” in honor of Mother’s Day. The line was 40 feet long which we rated 5.7 YDS.


    Hunter preparing to lead Mama's Boquet-follows crack next to his left shoulder.
    Below, swimming hole below the cliff.





    Canyon and Exit
    The rain and storms in the forecast held off nicely though it sprinkled for a few minutes while climbing the second route. Thereafter the temperature spiked into the high 80’s/low 90’s. Visiting the river for lunch was a welcome respite as the temperature significantly dropped near the water...hold-out pockets of ice still adorned the sides in several locations.

    Around 3:00 pm, we decided to look at Hunter’s proposed line near the “shark fin” to see if it had dried; it hadn’t so we continued south through craggy terrain to the top of the chokepoint in the canyon. Graceful sweeping cliffs loomed above as the river roared through the constriction. A huge boulder in the center made the perfect perch on which to eat a snack and take in the beauty. We then bushwhacked to the top and found a nice view of the cliffs on which we’d climbed. The tip of the roof was barely visible.

    Several hundred feet south we found a gully and dropped back down to the river in search of the pre-existing Boquet Canyon technical routes. They were on a wall near the bottom of the constriction, a beautiful and loud location. We briefly discussed climbing one of them, but felt satisfied with what we’d already done and the time was 3:30 pm.

    We walked south after re-climbing the gully and trekked high above the river until it began its lazy traverse through the flatlands. The hard part of the day was over, it was time to relax. I found it amazing just how different the area looked by reversing the loop even though I’d walked it only seven days prior. I recognized each location, but saw different details. Several deep holes and flumes looked like they’d offer great fishing; something for my father to enjoy over the summer.

    We arrived at Route 73 a bit before 6 pm and then at our cars by 6:30. That was eleven hours well spent on a new adventure. There’s plenty of open space for new routes, you can be sure we’ll go back.

    Looking south down the canyon.


    Looking north up canyon; Shark Fin Cliff in background.
    Lazy part of the river downstream of the gorge (May 2, 2015).
    May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

    www.adirondackmountaineering.com

  • #2
    What a beautiful part of the park to explore! Always interesting to hear about new routes. Thanks for sharing your adventure.
    Crepuscular Rays: Dissolve into evergreens

    There's always gonna be another mountain
    I'm always gonna wanna make it move
    Always gonna be an uphill battle
    Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
    Ain't about how fast I get there
    Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side...
    It's the climb
    -Miley Cyrus

    Comment


    • #3
      Would this/these routes produce enough ice in the winter to sustain multi-pitch ice lines?

      Comment


      • #4
        Great pictures, Kevin! Thanks!


        Chris, this is generally a single pitch area; there are no cliffs that are really of multi-pitch height. But the area can have a lot of ice when conditions are right, and there will be many routes. Not too many in the area depicted in Kevin's pictures, which is generally sunny and dry. But across the river there are ice lines; and further downstream in the lower part of the canyon there is a bunch of ice. This area is described in Don's current "Blue Lines" ice guide as Boquet Country. Ellen and I climbed a couple lines in there about 11 years ago and reported it. I think there is a lot more to do if you hit it in the right conditions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tcd View Post
          Great pictures, Kevin! Thanks!


          Chris, this is generally a single pitch area; there are no cliffs that are really of multi-pitch height. But the area can have a lot of ice when conditions are right, and there will be many routes. Not too many in the area depicted in Kevin's pictures, which is generally sunny and dry. But across the river there are ice lines; and further downstream in the lower part of the canyon there is a bunch of ice. This area is described in Don's current "Blue Lines" ice guide as Boquet Country. Ellen and I climbed a couple lines in there about 11 years ago and reported it. I think there is a lot more to do if you hit it in the right conditions.
          Thanks, TCD! I have "Blue Lines" and I will definitely take a look when I get a chance. Looks pretty interesting for ice. I'll have to do some recon come November :-)

          Comment


          • #6
            I've thought about whacking along the boquet before... last year I went in via an old herd-path along the south fork. I think there was once a campsite back there but it doesn't show up on the newer maps. I'm wondering if its possible to cross and then access the north fork farther up the river? I've wanted to come back to explore the gorge and the north fork, mostly for photography and a little bit of fishing (maybe catch a few small trout?) Can you provide any more info about your route into the gorge per chance?

            Comment


            • #7
              It's certainly possible to bushwhack betweeen the north and south fork either way. And the path along the south fork leads to some interesting country in its own right.



              But if you are heading for the canyon, it's much easier to follow the north fork right from the start at the stone bridge on route 73. There are directions for the path in AdirondackRock, Blue Lines, and the ADK High Peaks guidebooks. It's pretty straightforward, but you do have to be able to navigate. After you cross the north fork at the popular "bear slides" swimming are about 3/4 mile in, you walk maybe another 1/4 mile and there is an obvious "Y" in the path. The left turn is the more heavily used path, and heads to the Grace Slide. The right turn is usually blocked by some sticks, and is less used, but it leads upriver to some fishermans camp sites. After that, the path mostly ends, and you are on your own following the river into the canyon.



              To come in from the upstream end, follow the Round Pond Dix trail past the height of land to a two log bridge over a stream. Leave the trail here, and head a litle east of south, avoiding the swamp that is on your right, and you will soon come to the river, which can be followed down into the canyon.

              Have fun!

              Comment


              • #8
                TCD, thanks for answering the posts...much appreciated. You're knowledge of this area dwarfs mine...and I've been offline for a weekish. See you Friday and Karen/RL's?
                May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

                www.adirondackmountaineering.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks, Kevin. Yes, I'll see you there - looking forward to it!

                  Comment

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