Hopefully everyone had an excellent Labor Day weekend. We understand that not all workers are fortunate enough to get days off during the holiday (sorry for that), but for many people this weekend meant a nice, extra day. With September just kicking off, many climbers are excited for the start of the fall sending temps season, which makes it good timing for a longer break. While the summer weather still lingers on, the temperatures were quite a bit cooler. We decided to take advantage of this nice weather with two days of climbing. One at Great Barrington, MA and one at Farley Ledges, MA.
Great Barrington, MA has some of the best rock quality in New England. Each climb is photogenic, sturdy, and simply fun. We were psyched to find out there is way more to the area than we ever knew too. With some helpful information from Tim Murdock, a local climber, we will soon be expanding what we personally know of Great Barrington. In climbing, having connections to locals in the area is key. There is often so much a guide book cannot cover, especially as the sport continues to expand. New areas are being discovered all the time, as some incredible individuals seek out all the rock they can find. Not everyone understands the developing mindset, but we should all be grateful to those who have it.
In any case, we had a blast climbing on some projects. The weather was beautiful, the company was perfect, and the psych was high. We had a nerf football we tossed around while hiking; the whistle loud and shrill as it whizzed through the trees. Turns out throwing a perfect spiral with a crash pad on your back is quite tough. Trying to figure it out is an enjoyable challenge though.
For me personally, it was a strong day of climbing. I got on some things that would normally be difficult and found them to be doable. Overhanging climbs tend to be a weakness for me (need more core strength, I guess), however, I was able to work on some overhanging cave problems with ease. One was a fun V4 that starts completely overhung and requires a graceful drop knee. The other was a V3 with a double heel hook start. It was a great day for Alex who was running laps on some challenging V7-V8 climbs. With the humidity still being high, the crimps were shutting a few people down. But overall, everyone seemed to be having a good day. We climbed until the darkness of night and our growling stomachs got us packing.
We had a brief moment of panic that added some chaos to the day. Apparently, Great Barrington has a resident porcupine. Tim’s dog, Leelah was drawn to a shuffling in the woods, and chased after it at full speed. In the distance, we could see a slow moving animal about porcupine size, though it was never confirmed for sure. We called her, yelled, and whistled, but it seemed she was much too fixated on the hunt to pay attention. Luckily, right before the encounter, she backed away, reluctantly adhering to her owner’s call. We were all thankful she did.
After a day of rest, in which I spent visiting a friend home from London temporarily, and playing some mini-golf and discovering fantastic pumpkin ice cream, we ventured over to Farley Ledges. It wasn’t the best idea. We were pretty sore and beaten from our long day at Great Barrington. It is hard to resist the urge to climb though, and we figured even if it was only a few easy climbs, at least it was climbing.
Props to the Western Massachusetts Climbing Coalition. Farley looks beautiful. The trails are great, and the signs are perfect. The new paved parking is easy. The do a really great job keeping the area nice. http://www.climbgneiss.org/
I got on a fun climb, pictured above. I’m not sure what it is exactly. However, the way I do it, you match hands on a crimp, sit starting. Your feet are really not visible. They are tiny. There is a little thin ledge I used for the right, and smeared the left. You pull up to a small, but deep jug, and then bump to the top with your right hand. Then you pull your left foot up to match your left hand, which is a really fun move. Then it’s just a matter of toping out. Pretty simple, and maybe a V3? It’s clear other people have climbed this at some point, but not sure that’s the beta they use.
Then Josh and I both tried the V5 above. Well, I tried. Josh was successful, though he said it felt hard in the humidity. I’m sure on a crisp day he would crush this effortlessly. He did send though. You start on a great uncling, with feet that are hard to see but feel solid. Then we pulled in and reached high to a small slopey dish crimp. Then you match, work your feet up. Reach over to a side pull and keep working your feet until you can top out. It was a fun, low ball climb. Just takes some figuring out of what feet work best for you. It was nice to get outside.
We worked on some other projects too. It was great being outside in the breezy weather. What adventures were you able to enjoy on your long weekend?