Tom Rosecrans is one of the most prolific rock climbers in the Adirondacks. The authors of the guidebook Adirondack Rock credit him with taking part in the first ascents of 122 climbing routes. On most of those, he was the leader, assuming the lion’s share of the risk. One of his routes, TR at the Spider’s Web in Keene Valley, is featured on Adirondack Rock’s slip cover. Rosecrans put up the route in 1973 with Paul Laskey. TR is rated 5.10a in the Yosemite Decimal System scale of difficulty, meaning it’s suitable only for expert climbers. Several years ago, I >>More
DEC proposes trail improvements in Sentinel Range Wilderness.
Shanty Cliff in the southern Adirondacks offers rock climbers lots of routes and lots of views.
The Adirondack Explorer’s editor enjoys a day on a rock tower overlooking the Mediterranean.
Each year the American Alpine Club publishes a little book titled Accidents in North American Climbing, on the theory that reading about accidents is one way to avoid them. Usually, most of the reports are from out west or Alaska. Occasionally, an accident in the Adirondacks makes the book. This year, however, a full three pages are devoted to our region, with four mishaps described in detail. All occurred in 2016 (the year covered by the book). I will summarize them below, using the headlines from the book. Leader Fall on Ice: Thin Ice, Inadequate Protection We wrote about this >>More
Wallface is the biggest cliff in the Adirondacks and so naturally has attracted the attention of rock climbers from way back. The first recorded routes were put up by two of the country’s best climbers of the 1930s—John Case and Fritz Wiessner. The authors of Yankee Rock and Ice say Wiessner regarded Wallface as the loveliest climbing cliff in the Northeast, because of its “feeling of altitude” and “charm of solitude” (Frtiz’s words). Soon after I started climbing, my friend Mike and I went up Wallface with the help of Don Mellor, who is nearly as famous in these parts >>More
Shipton’s Arete is one of my favorite places to take a novice rock climber. The three routes on the arête are all pretty easy. There’s a good anchor for a top rope. And the arête overlooks scenic Chapel Pond. The easiest route, Shipton’s Voyage, is rated only 5.4 on the Yosemite Decimal System scale of difficulty—meaning most beginners can do it on a top rope. However, climbing Shipton’s Voyage—or any route—without a rope is another matter entirely. An eighteen-year-old man learned that lesson the hard way this month. On August 14, the young man set about soloing the arête, with >>More
Jay Harrison lives at the base of Crane Mountain, but he probably spends more time on the mountain’s many cliffs than in his house. The guidebook Adirondack Rock devotes no less than seventy-three pages to the rock-climbing routes on Crane. This is thanks to Harrison, who has participated in about 350 first ascents in the Adirondacks—more than anyone else. Most of his routes are at Crane. He clearly is the king of the mountain. In 2013, veteran climber Don Mellor wrote a profile of Harrison for the Explorer. It’s well worth reading, both for Don’s writing and for understanding who >>More
Rock-climbing guide Will Roth was rappelling down a cliff near Chapel Pond with two clients this week when they saw a bear below—climbing toward them. The climbers yelled and clapped their hands, but the bear kept coming, its claws scratching the rock like fingernails on chalkboard. When the bear got within fifteen feet, Roth tossed a small rock and struck its shoulder. The bear seemed unfazed but nevertheless wandered away. “It walked off the side of the slab into the trees and then reappeared. It was standing at the top of the slab, staring back down at us,” Roth said. >>More
Baker Mountain on the edge of the village of Saranac Lake is one of the most popular peaks in the Adirondacks. Like many other local residents, I’ve hiked it countless times and thought I had seen it all. I was wrong. Will Roth recently made the hike to Baker’s summit more interesting for rock climbers: he has established a bouldering circuit of six “problems” (miniature climbing routes), all located just off the trail. It’s just one more example of why Saranac Lake is a cool place to live. Will says the challenge is to complete the circuit while hiking to >>More