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Bolting "ethics"
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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Oct 10, 2007
modern man

I'm new to this state. I have very little desire to bolt anything. just curious. that being said-

What is it going to take to bring this state up to modern climbing standards? I have been to 3 different areas in central CT now and can see the erosion at the tops of the cliffs from trees being choked out by people top roping too many times on them. In my eyes it would be better to have a few anchors installed in the main areas so that the trees dont keep getting choked out. painted camouflaged anchors just over the lip so the partyers cant smash/steal them.

It seems to me the landowners will eventually start closing areas because trees keep dying.

I saw the same thing at the Gunks but even worse in a way. The trees here are mostly old growth bonsai type evergreens that give the cliff its character and beauty. these trees have slings all over them and are slowly dying because of a moratorium on "new bolts". I dont get it. The gunks seem to be so well managed but they are letting the trees on the cliffs die...


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By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From Plymouth, NH
Oct 10, 2007
Waiting for lift-off, Thin Air(5.6) Cathedral Ledge, NH

mobley wrote:
What is it going to take to bring this state up to modern climbing standards? ... In my eyes it would be better to have a few anchors installed in the main areas so that the trees don't keep getting choked out...


I think many climbers feel the same way you do, I have a few very good friends in CT that climb regularly and therefore regularly have to bring 100'+ of static line with them so they can set an anchor.

The only reason (I feel) not to install bolts is that they "bring the climb down to your level"(if it is leadable on gear). But in the case of TR bolts and pure faces devoid of gear placements I say put up some bolts to save the trees and make some more of the faces climbable in a relatively safe manner.

Even though I think there are a fair amount of climbers with the same or similar attitude I have I don't think you'll see a change in the bolting ethics of CT anytime soon, at least as long a Ken Nichols and his sympathizers are around.

As always there is something to be said for tradition, and the experiences that can be had when adhereing to its sometimes antiquated ethics.

-Ladd Raine


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By Daniel Crescenzo
Oct 10, 2007
Crux?

Yep, CT SOP, 100 ft of static line. Bolted anchors would be sweet but in case you haven't seen Ken's handywork: it's not about the rock being defaced b/c his methods lend themselves to defacing the rock even more to completely remove the bolt. And yes, it is true that he has minions that will keep his miserable legacy going strong. I am not much of a sport climber but I do enjoy them every so often. Nichols and his minions will never let a sport route live in ct. His death will mark the evolution of climbing in the nutmeg state.


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Oct 10, 2007
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

Here's a website explaining Nichols' "exploits" and his recent guilty plea: www.stopken.org/


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Oct 10, 2007
modern man

really just wondering who these people are(or have they all gone into the nursing home?) that would rather see trees choked out than put in expansion bolts and painted rap hangers. I'm not talking about bolting any established lines, just anchors. I would like to hear their side. Every person I have talked to about this always says "Ken"... I noticed on a chopped route that the bolt holes werent even filled leaving a dripping rust streak down the rock.

So the Gunks are now replacing tree anchors with bolts? I saw a 50/50 mix and many were trade routes with tree anchors.


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By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From Plymouth, NH
Oct 10, 2007
Waiting for lift-off, Thin Air(5.6) Cathedral Ledge, NH

Jay Knower wrote:
Here's a website explaining Nichols' "exploits" and his recent guilty plea: www.stopken.org/


I had forgotten about stopken.org, awesome site aiming to uphold general climbing ethics instead of one man's crusade.

There have been bolting wars everywhere. Pawtuckaway a local climbing area for NH seacoast folks is pretty anti-bolts, there was a small effort to bolt some anchors to save some trees a few years ago but the anti-bolt sentament flared up and the bolts were chopped by a local climber/photographer.

Check it out here

I think ultimatly trees will die off and we will be forced to do as other areas have and use bolt anchors, or maybe even anchors like the giant staples of Otter Cliffs at Acadia. Hopefully we come to our senses before all the trees are gone or dieing on the top of all our favorite cliffs.


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By Daniel Crescenzo
Oct 10, 2007
Crux?

It's a crying shame that Ken didn't get beat down before he got publicity b/c the power of suggestion has spread like wildfire out there. I climbed in New England for a long time, @ ragged, @ Crow Hill, and @ Pawtuckaway primarily. Everywhere the legend of the malignant Ken echoed. I don't typically advocate violence, but this bastard is a delusional egomaniac and it is a damn shame that he recieved any recognition, he should have had the living crap beaten out of him before he could get recognition for these exploits. I would never discount his FA's he developed a lot of climbing in New England, however somewhere along the way he decided that he was the final word in New England climbing. Someone should have beaten that out of him.


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Oct 10, 2007
modern man

Daniel Crescenzo wrote:
It's a crying shame that Ken didn't get beat down before he got publicity b/c the power of suggestion has spread like wildfire out there. I climbed in New England for a long time, @ ragged, @ Crow Hill, and @ Pawtuckaway primarily. Everywhere the legend of the malignant Ken echoed. I don't typically advocate violence, but this bastard is a delusional egomaniac and it is a damn shame that he recieved any recognition, he should have had the living crap beaten out of him before he could get recognition for these exploits. I would never discount his FA's he developed a lot of climbing in New England, however somewhere along the way he decided that he was the final word in New England climbing. Someone should have beaten that out of him.


wow, you mentioned kicking his ass 3 times in one paragraph! cant say you are the first one to mention that to me either.

I still want to hear from someone who is against putting anchors in popular areas.


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By Eastvillage
From New York, NY
Oct 10, 2007
Me on the summit of Devil's Tower

Ken Nichols aside, I think bolting in CT has huge potential problems. CT's cliffs are public and private and hence are controlled by no one. Given the modern (climbing) worlds addiction to convenience and entitlement, the main crags would soon be bolted to death.

Due to Traprock's unique surface irregularities, the faces between the cracks on the traprock crags could be zippered from bottom to top and you could have sport routes almost every 10' if bolting ran it's inevitable course.
So, I say, enjoy CT for Trad leading and/ or get a static line for top roping if you must, and accept the area the way it is. It's a great place to climb.


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By Daniel Crescenzo
Oct 10, 2007
Crux?

Well Eastvillage, there is bolting, and there is responsible bolting. I love trad first and foremost, to cement that let it be known my rack has 4 quickdraws and about 9 alpine draws. Granted, there are a lot of rich kids in that area that could feasably vanquish half their weeks allowance on a drill and go apeshit somewhere. But... bolted anchors are great. To be quite honest I can count on one hand how many bolted anchors I have seen in ct, ma, and nh b/c of the fear of Ken. Sport routes...I can take em or leave em. In ct's case particularly I think sport lines would open up a lot more good climbing seeing that there isn't much to begin with. I can think of about 20 spots I would bolt in the Westwoods out in Guilford for starters. Pink granite crumbles easy, placing trad gear in that stuff is just a waste of time in a free-solo seeing that it will rip with the rock. Trap rock is another story though. You can say what you want about bolt grids appearing on the rock, the truth is that ethics have evolved in the climbing community since the days of the bolt wars. I say drill in some anchors it will make things faster and safer. If you wanna put up a sport route don't be a shithead.


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By Daniel Crescenzo
Oct 10, 2007
Crux?

mobley wrote:
wow, you mentioned kicking his ass 3 times in one paragraph! cant say you are the first one to mention that to me either. I still want to hear from someone who is against putting anchors in popular areas.

My reasoning was to snuff out his mentality before he could have any influence. The sad reality is that Ken was and is a great climber in many respects. The downside of that is that people look up to him and as we all know some folks are leaders and many more are followers. I respect Ken, I just don't respect his bolting philosophy. The upside of the fear of Ken is that he did preserve all those crags throughout the times where bolting ethics were less than ethical. But now I think that the community is responsible enough to do what they will.


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By Matt Shove
From Ragged Mountain
Oct 10, 2007

So what is modern?

CT (Ragged Mountain in particular) is a traditional area. Even with the few bolts that did or do exist, we still have a very traditional ethic. Routes that cannot be safely led are preserved as top rope climbs. That being said, almost every line here has been led. As a local who knows how to place gear, I don't even bring a static rope to the cliff. We aren't into convenience anchors here, the climbing is hard, and so are the anchors, so a little effort pays. We will not tolerate bolt anchors to 'save time', be safer, or because you do not want to carry a 100 foot static rope. Get creative. Bolts are not the answer. Why take the adventure out of it? Traprock is like Gritstone, no bolts, serious ethics. We have some of the most real adventure climbing in the US, our experiences aren't bolted into submission.

The only reason those trees are getting choked out is overuse. That wasn't a problem 10 years ago when people could spread out to many different areas that are now closed to climbing. Much of CT climbing is on private land, and that poses problems.

Another example is at the top of the Amphitheater at East Peak, no dead trees there! It's a really popular place, go figure! The problem with places like Pinnacle Rock is dealing with partiers who cut down trees to burn in a fire.

Once you place a bolt, you have changed the natural state of the cliff, so think long and hard before placing a bolt anywhere.
Us locals like our traditional ethic. We are more trad than the Gunks or Seneca. What ever happened to Leave No Trace? Take only pictures, leave only footprints, kill nothing but time...

For the record, we don't fear Ken N. and we don't tolerate his crap either!


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By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From Plymouth, NH
Oct 10, 2007
Waiting for lift-off, Thin Air(5.6) Cathedral Ledge, NH

Matt Shove wrote:
Routes that cannot be safely led are preserved as top rope climbs... We will not tolerate bolt anchors to 'save time', be safer, or because you do not want to carry a 100 foot static rope. Get creative. Bolts are not the answer... The only reason those trees are getting choked out is overuse.


There are lots of ways climbers change the state of the rock, chalk, route cleaning, trundling loose stuff, bodily oils, etc... So I strongly disagree in your rational that bolting is worse than killing trees (albeit slowly).

Matt Shove wrote:
Why take the adventure out of it? Traprock is like Gritstone, no bolts, serious ethics. We have some of the most real adventure climbing in the US, our experiences aren't bolted into submission...


What!?!?!? you are comparing places like England's Grit routes to climbing in CT, HA!

"real adventure climbing" yeah right, go to the Dacks, Places in upstate Maine, The Black Canyon, The Grand Canyon, etc... There are many more 'adventurous' areas in the states. CT climbing isn't all that great, and somehow CT climbers have decided that they have some of the best climbing around, I just don't understand.

Matt Shove wrote:
That wasn't a problem 10 years ago when people could spread out to many different areas that are now closed to climbing...


You are probably right, if we could just climb on eveything and less people were climbing then that would be sweet. Oh and by the way, could you stop breathing my air wile you are at it?

Matt Shove wrote:
We are more trad than the Gunks or Seneca.


Sweet, Trad is Rad, how about not being an ass about how much better climbing in one place is compared to another.


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By Eastvillage
From New York, NY
Oct 10, 2007
Me on the summit of Devil's Tower

Ladd Raine wrote:
There are lots of ways climbers change the state of the rock, chalk, route cleaning, trundling loose stuff, bodily oils, etc... So I strongly disagree in your rational that bolting is worse than killing trees (albeit slowly). What!?!?!? you are comparing places like England's Grit routes to climbing in CT, HA! "real adventure climbing" yeah right, go to the Dacks, Places in upstate Maine, The Black Canyon, The Grand Canyon, etc... There are many more 'adventurous' areas in the states. CT climbing isn't all that great, and somehow CT climbers have decided that they have some of the best climbing around, I just don't understand. You are probably right, if we could just climb on eveything and less people were climbing then that would be sweet. Oh and by the way, could you stop breathing my air wile you are at it? Sweet, Trad is Rad, how about not being an ass about how much better climbing in one place is compared to another.



I've never been climbing in England, but it does appear that CT is perhaps very much like gritstone. Lots of routes under 100', sounds like CT.
www.rockclimbing.com/routes/Europe/England/Peak_District/Sta>>>


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Oct 11, 2007
modern man

do they still make those units that go into holes in the rock, removable bolts or something like that? I heard they didnt work too well if you fell on them(they dont come out) but maybe they could be a nice option for setting up TRs, since CT has such awesome TRing. the best TRs in the world many will say.


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By Matt Shove
From Ragged Mountain
Oct 11, 2007

Ladd,

I didn't come here to challenge anyone, just to defend our local traditional ethics. I'm not here to be a jerk either. For the record, there are more bolts at Poko and in the Black, and in Acadia on the S. Wall than in all of CT. How do I know? Cause I clipped those bolts at those places! The same thing could be said of Carderock on the Potomac River near D.C. No bolts there either. Many of these lines are serious leads, and are short, therefore posing an uncertain outcome. When I started climbing, trad was called 'Adventure Climbing', why? Adventure climbing has an uncertain outcome. It seems now that 'trad' just means plugging in gear to a set of chains (like at the creek, or Acadia for that matter). If you want a certain outcome, come top rope here. Hang out long enough,and you'll see how special Traprock really is. Everyone is welcome here.

The only difference between here and there is that each area has it's own unique ethic. That's what makes climbing so cool! I have climbed all over this country, and in the Canadian Rockies, and the ethic is different at each place.

As far as cliff crowding is concerned, I'm not asking people to stop climbing. If you understood our area better, and it's clear to me that you haven't spent much time here, you'd come to learn that after 9/11, much of the local climbing that was previously open to use was on Water Department land. When that happened, some private landowners closed their crags as well. These areas are now closed and pushes the crowds to flock to the areas that remain open. Ragged and East Peak see much more traffic now that these areas are closed.

Everyone who climbs around here travels extensively, so we can compare our likes and dislikes of other areas. We have traditional ethics and hard, sand bagged climbing, and we like it that way.
Don't blame me, blame Fritz Weissner and his buddies (they were bad ass!), he started the ethic,not me. Oh, please try not to refer to me as an 'ass' again. Rule #1 is don't be a jerk!


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Oct 11, 2007
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

Matt Shove wrote:
We are more trad than the Gunks or Seneca.


That just doesn't make any sense.


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Oct 11, 2007
modern man

Matt Shove wrote:
So what is modern? CT (Ragged Mountain in particular) is a traditional area. Even with the few bolts that did or do exist, we still have a very traditional ethic. Routes that cannot be safely led are preserved as top rope climbs. That being said, almost every line here has been led. As a local who knows how to place gear, I don't even bring a static rope to the cliff. We aren't into convenience anchors here, the climbing is hard, and so are the anchors, so a little effort pays. We will not tolerate bolt anchors to 'save time', be safer, or because you do not want to carry a 100 foot static rope. Get creative. Bolts are not the answer. Why take the adventure out of it? Traprock is like Gritstone, no bolts, serious ethics. We have some of the most real adventure climbing in the US, our experiences aren't bolted into submission. The only reason those trees are getting choked out is overuse. That wasn't a problem 10 years ago when people could spread out to many different areas that are now closed to climbing. Much of CT climbing is on private land, and that poses problems. Another example is at the top of the Amphitheater at East Peak, no dead trees there! It's a really popular place, go figure! The problem with places like Pinnacle Rock is dealing with partiers who cut down trees to burn in a fire. Once you place a bolt, you have changed the natural state of the cliff, so think long and hard before placing a bolt anywhere. Us locals like our traditional ethic. We are more trad than the Gunks or Seneca. What ever happened to Leave No Trace? Take only pictures, leave only footprints, kill nothing but time... For the record, we don't fear Ken N. and we don't tolerate his crap either!


this post is slightly confusing to read especially since my original topic has to do with the damage caused by choking the trees, not how trad we are and how we should leave no trace . it seems to me a true traditional climber would like to the the big picture(the whole cliff trees and all) kept pure as "can" be. having trees die on a regular basis will eventually be a hot topic in the community. maybe its time to plan ahead. climbing is growing. "leave no trace" doesnt apply here anymore, it seems too late for that. "manage the traces left" is probably a better approach.

I'm not at all used to crags labeled as "not officially open but regularly climbed" written in the book, so maybe its more just a catch-22 and should just be ignored...


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Oct 11, 2007
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

Not that I had any reason to before, but after reading Matt's comments, I won't be planning a climbing trip to CT any time soon.

It's only fun to go to a museum for a little while; then it gets boring.


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By Daniel Crescenzo
Oct 11, 2007
Crux?

Matt Shove wrote:
If you want a certain outcome, come top rope here. Hang out long enough,and you'll see how special Traprock really is. Everyone is welcome here. The only difference between here and there is that each area has it's own unique ethic.

Hi, my name is Dan, I started climbing in ct @ about 12 years old (20 yrs ago). I climbed primarily @ Chatfield and some secret crags in Stony Creek, Guilford, and North Branford. Now...you state that a lot of Regional Water Autority land is off limits, you are indeed correct. You also state that traffic @ East peak and Ragged has increased, again, you are correct. The issue being spoken of here is that TRing these trees is killing them and land owners MAY get pissed, so why not put up anchor bolts? It's a prophylactic measure to ensure what little access you still have. Now..hypothetically, the land owners get pissed and shut it down: was it worth sticking to a stupid stubborn "ethic"? Lets look even farther down the road; what happens when many of the anchor trees are dead? Do you close the routes, or pick up an additional 100' of static cord and go to work on some other trees? You and I know that CT has great but limited climbing. Referencing your "overuse" statement: less access equates to over-crowding, over-crowding equates to more impact, More impact equates to land owners getting pissed, land owners getting pissed equates to even less climbing.

Now for the Lorax perspective. Living in ct I have seen the great gypsy moth plight of 1980, and the current hemlock plight. By wrapping a rope around a tree we are wearing the bark down making it more succeptable to disease or invasion. Sorry but it seems that you and many others are suffering from myopia and unless you all decide to evolve you are going to flush what little access you all have out there down the tubes. Too bad, so sad. Well I will be here on the front range mourning for my ct brethren. I don't know where we sit on the "who's more trad" scale out here but let me say one thing: access is a beautiful thing, don't squander it b/c you strive to be "more trad". Sometimes you have to make a small sacrifice to maintain. Be smart.


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Oct 11, 2007
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

Daniel Crescenzo wrote:
Sorry but it seems that you and many others are suffering from myopia and unless you all decide to evolve you are going to flush what little access you all have out there down the tubes. Too bad, so sad. Well I will be here on the front range mourning for my ct brethren. I don't know where we sit on the "who's more trad" scale out here but let me say one thing: access is a beautiful thing, don't squander it b/c you strive to be "more trad". Sometimes you have to make a small sacrifice to maintain. Be smart.


I agree Dan. This whole way-trad argument gets really old. I don't know why it has persisted for so long, but it seems like there is a small, but vocal, subset of climbers who see fit to tout their trad-ness for all to see. I think Ken Nichols is one of the most notorious of these. It's almost like some people can't make a name for themselves by way of their climbing (never mind that the whole pursuit of making yourself well-known is a dubious one) so instead they try to make a name for themselves by having the most rigid ethical stance.

I don't pretend to know your motivation Matt, but I know that up here in NH, we have a small group of tradsters who are very loud. Thankfully, they seem to stay on the North Conway side of the state. By the way, Cannon Cliff is more trad than anything in CT.


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By percious
From Bear Creek, CO
Oct 11, 2007
Hanging out with some scooter trash.

One might take into consideration the condition of the rock at the top of Ragged. It is pretty broken up there. I think I would rather sling a tree than clip a bolt at the top of some of those climbs.

The practicality of putting bolts that will likely be chopped comes into question. Add to that the local ethics and the existence of chossy rock at the top and you come up with 200 feet of static line.

Mine sits in a bin at the back of my office here in Arvada, CO.

Anyone want to buy it?

-percious


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By Mike Mu.
Oct 11, 2007
The Nose from the road

Why don't you guys all get together on Friday April 25, 2008, and plant some trees at the top of Ragged. That way you show the land owners you care and you will feel better about yourself for stopping global warming. If they see climbers doing good she-ite for them then they will be cool. And in 30 or 40 years when said trees that are the argument here are long since dead, then you will have replacements and will have secured access to the greatest trad crag in all the land. You may be asking what my post has to do with anything, well that's because I love adding useless jibberish to arguments and I love reading this stupid she-ite on my lunch break. Bicker on everyone!


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By Daniel Crescenzo
Oct 11, 2007
Crux?

Jay Knower wrote:
I agree Dan. This whole way-trad argument gets really old. I don't know why it has persisted for so long, but it seems like there is a small, but vocal, subset of climbers who see fit to tout their trad-ness for all to see. I think Ken Nichols is one of the most notorious of these. It's almost like some people can't make a name for themselves by way of their climbing (never mind that the whole pursuit of making yourself well-known is a dubious one) so instead they try to make a name for themselves by having the most rigid ethical stance. I don't pretend to know your motivation Matt, but I know that up here in NH, we have a small group of tradsters who are very loud. Thankfully, they seem to stay on the North Conway side of the state. By the way, Cannon Cliff is more trad than anything in CT.
Hey Jay, I am rallying a few of my friends for an east coast tour next season. Vertigo is on the tick list. We are thinking about also putting together a little footage for my friend Tom (www.totalvid.com/Climbing-Videos/Action-Adept-Yosemite-Valle>>>. If it happens I'd like to corelate with you. It's still in the air though, we are weighing Yosemite (of course) and Ceusse, too.

BTW, bolts existed waaaay before clean pro, so they are a small part of trad climbing.

Percious: Yes, the choss factor in ct is prevalant, but there are a lot of spots that anchors can go up on @ ragged, It's not the chin after all.


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Oct 11, 2007
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

Daniel Crescenzo wrote:
Hey Jay, I am rallying a few of my friends for an east coast tour next season. Vertigo is on the tick list. We are thinking about also putting together a little footage for my friend Tom (


Dan, why would you go to the valley or to France when you could climb in scenic New Hampshire? Yeah, let me know if you come out to my neck of the woods.


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By Daniel Crescenzo
Oct 11, 2007
Crux?

Jay Knower wrote:
Dan, why would you go to the valley or to France when you could climb in scenic New Hampshire? Yeah, let me know if you come out to my neck of the woods.
Bro I have spent so much of my life wandering around Franconia Notch. Right now my good friend from Syracuse that lives here in CO and I are talking about doing the Gunks, Daks, Ragged, My secret backyard crags, Cathedral, and Cannon. Yosemite is so tempting though. I love and miss NH, I used to live in Derry, and spent much time @ pawtuckaway. I miss that ragged mtn tent sale man. I'll have to try and time it right.


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