Over the years, I've climbed the Black Dike on Cannon Cliff many times. At first, when I was newer to climbing, it felt challenging. On the second pitch crux, the hooks didn't seem secure and the climbing felt boxy and awkward. As an objective, it never felt impossible but it was always challenging. Protection also felt like a real issue, and the fall potential felt huge.
By now I've climbed the dike many times. It seems like I only climb it during the early season, as a way to usher in the new ice season. I climbed it again this season - last week, during a short cold snap. I lost my hands to the cold while wallowing through deep snow on the first pitch. After that it felt like pure celebration, and I was reminded why I love winter climbing so much. Positive hooks abound on the second pitch and pitch 3 has secure and mellow ice climbing.
My partners for the day were Dustin Portzline and Pete Guyre, two local Gunks guides that are eager to learn more about winter climbing. For them it was a first, and an introduction to Northern New England climbing - snowy weather and strong winds routinely make conditions more challenging than they might be if the weather was perfect.
Pete and Dustin led, and they did a great job. I was able to follow pitches and celebrate life, movement and friendship. Thanks Pete and Dustin for an awesome day! Here are a few photos from the day:
|Dustin Portzline at the crux.|
|Matt Ritter and Erik Thatcher on the|
|Pete leads. It was a cold day for early|