Sunday, January 22, 2012

Love At First Feel

Certain features beg to be climbed. Splitter cracks, lone ice pillars, iced-up corners, and chimneys all make classic winter climbs. Think about it. Many classic winter routes follow memorable features. The Black Dike on Cannon Cliff is a giant corner system. The Promenade at Lake Willoughby climbs a free-standing pillar through it's crux. Bird Brain Boulevard in Colorado is an endless chimneying odyssey.

Many of the routes at Platte Clove in the Catskills follow very cool features too, and this makes them outstanding and memorable lines. Chris Beauchamp and I found a nice little cliff in the woods at the end of last winter. This cliff has a few very classic lines.

When we discovered this cliff we were astonished. By Catskill measures it's a "backcountry crag" but it's not very far from the road, and it's quite visible from a few roadside overlooks.

I've climbed at this wooded cliff a handful of times now, and all of the lines there are fun, many are mixed, and most are surprisingly moderate. Last Thursday I headed there with Joe Vitti, Chris Beauchamp and Harry Young. One of the best things about the Catskill cragging areas is that you can invite a crowd, swap ropes and try new routes. When you go with people who laugh easily, crack jokes, and like to take pictures it's even better.

Here are a few shots of the lines at this cliff we're going to call the Dark Side.

There's nothing like a slippery M6 hand and fist
crack to get you warmed up...

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