|By SP Boston|
From: Watertown, MA
Sep 2, 2013
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V S 4b
Climbed this with HS on Labor Day weekend, 2013. Hopefully this beta can be of use to the next adventurers to this neck of the woods.
First, finding the climb... This is a good long hike in from the road. Lots of wandering up and down, beating back the cobwebs (nobody was there, even on Labor Day weekend). The key to finding the climb is a series of three low ceilings. The first low ceiling is low (as in three or four feet off the ground), and not long (as in five or six or seven feet long horizontally). Continue when you encounter this ceiling.
The next low ceiling is about six feet off the ground, and much LONGER. Maybe 15 feet horizontally. Immediately (as in ten feet) to the right (parking lot side) of the second low ceiling is the start of the climb. You can easily access the belay station by clambering up what the guide books call a "pile of rocks" but what to us was more like a miniature part of the cliff, forming a small pyramid like top about 8 feet above the trail. There was a big tree to loop the belayer into. And the little pyramid can easily be accessed from either the left of its base, or the right of its base.
If you encounter the third ceiling (even larger) than the second (which was larger than the first), then you have gone too far! An even better marker for having gone too far is the boulder field (literally a field of talus/boulders approximately the size of a couple tennis courts). These three ceilings are almost equidistant from eachother. The first one is easily missed, but the other two are not easily missed as the trail comes almost directly under/next to them.
Now, onto the climb.
First, this was not three stars in our opinion. It deserves two stars, but probably not three. Why? For several reasons: 1) it is pretty overgrown and bushy as well as a bit dirty and dusty at points, and 2) while there are some classic moves on the route, and the views are nice from the second pitch, it lacks the consistency and exposure of routes like High E and Madame G's.
Climb up an obvious wide crack (with various horizontals) system 15 feet to the obvious, large right facing corner (which can be somewhat obscured from the ground by bushes). Push up through the bushes, stemming on nice holds, until about 15 feet below the ceiling above you. This right facing corner is modest in length -- perhaps 20 to 25 vertical feet in total scale. Looking up from the start through the bushes, it is easy to miss.
The guidebooks talk about an exit left option as your fingers are holding a horizontal crack on the left side of the right facing corner, in what is a small pre-ceiling. We examined that option and while the actual transition onto the face on the left looks feasible (immediate protection during and upon the transition), the face looks like a steep slab without any obvious further protection or holds. While some speak of it being 5.4, we didn't like the looks of it and opted for the traditional route.
At this point, you are about 25 or 30 feet from the belayer below you. Look up to a ceiling that traverses rightward, and shrinks as it goes. Traverse right. You should be fully 15 or 20 feet below the ceiling. Follow a good hand crack, with sparse feet, in an airy, interesting solid 5.6 traverse, about 20 feet. Then push upward towards the modest (18 inch at that point) ceiling.
Overcome the ceiling with relatively easy moves, and then do a very balancing semi-mantle to overcome the very top of the bulge/ceiling onto a slab. Limited hands make this a little interesting for the leader. Traverse up and left to an obvious belay station. Total length is on the short side, maybe 70 feet.
Traverse up and right, following the long ceiling in its multiple levels. Some of the rock is a bit dusty/dirty from lack of climbing. We stayed a bit below the ceiling, but it could be tempting to get in tight to the roof too. Exit up and left of the pointy overhead protrusion rather than try to continue to the giant slightly tenuous looking protrusion six feet further on. Exit is a bit strenuous and requires navigating the lichen and grass. Total length is again on the short side, maybe 60 feet. Belay from trees well back from the top.
Gear: All small stuff. The largest we used might have been a 1.5 inch cam IRRC.
We walked off rightwards, back towards the parking lot. And quickly linked up with the main trail.
Overall a very enjoyable adventure that had more of a quiet, back-country feel to it.