Trad, 490 ft, 4 pitches,
Avg: 3.5 from 43
FA: John Turner, François Garneau, Bernard Poisson (1957)
> A: Lake Champla…
> Poke-O Slab
Peregrine closures and approach trail issues
Access to the Main Face is often limited in the spring and summer due to peregrine falcon nesting. Check the DEC web site (www.dec.ny.gov, search for "peregrine route closures"). Closures are posted in the kiosk at the beginning of the approach trail in the (now closed) Poke-O Campground.
Several recent incidents at the Poke-O Moonshine Main Face have heightened tensions with neighboring landowners.
Shortcut Trail (aka the Smitty Trail): The main approach goes from the (now closed) campground to the cliff near Discord. There is a shortcut trail on the right that provides access to the cliff near Pentecostal. This shortcut trail crosses the edges of two parcels of private land, and was closed in the spring of 2014. As of Aug 30, 2014, this trail is open on a tentative basis. Stay on the trail; there are some cairns and Access Fund signage to help.
Northern Trail Closure (aka the Easy Living Trail): There is an old trail that connects US 9 with the cliff near Psalm 32. This trail is entirely on private land and should NOT be used by climbers; indeed, it has been closed and undocumented for many years. Both ends of this trail are now marked with signs courtesy of the Access Fund.
In short, while visiting the Main Face, approach from the campground, and stay on the main trail along the base of the cliff.
P1 (5.4R) - 100' : Start at the right leaning hand crack, then follow the orange face up to a diagonal crack where a vertical crack intersects. Belay here. There is no real crux except for the long runout. Rock is good, feet are there; but there is most definitely a long runout.
P2 (5.4PG) - 80': Go up the vertical crack then break right, going up to and past the left facing corner. Belay just past the corner. Anchor beta: I belayed to the right and top of the corner. There is a vertical crack there that feels much safer than the small horizontals a bit higher.
P3 (5.5PG) - 120': Straight up and over the corner above the belay, to another left facing corner. Traverse right to the tree ledge. The crux of this pitch was getting over the corner right off the belay.
P4 (5.5PG) - 190': This is a great pitch, and wanders somewhat: From the belay, 4th class for a about 40' right, then go up straight through the middle of the overlap, then to a second overlap. Undercling left, and at the corner, go up. Move up the face next to the left arching overlaps and break through before they end. There is a piton (doesn't look too old) towards the beginning of the arches. Once over the arches, friction up to the trees.
Walk off by continuing up to the top through the bushes then following the trail back down to the campground. At hospital rock (big rock at a lookout), take a right. The walkout takes about 30 minutes. It's not worth abseiling IMHO.
If you do decide to rap anyway, remember that the rappels deposit you at the base of the visor section of the slab, which means that you'll need to get back up to the vegetated ledge to get your stuff (if you leave some there). The 2 rappels I spotted on the way up were off slings on trees, so if you're as chicken as me, bring up some leaver slings to add to the tat if need be. (really, the walk off is a breeze, quicker and much safer)
When arriving at the base of the slab from the trail, continue left along the base of the slab until you've passed the visor (big arch that you can see on the slab).
Sramble up left to gain a high vegetated ledge. See pictures for what the base looks like.
As always, refer to Adirondack Rock for complete details.
The two first belays are gear anchors, the two last are off trees.
There are no bolts, but the first 2 pitches have one old bolt stud each.
I used up the small TCU's more than usual so if you have them, bring them.
Now, exactly where does the 4th pitch go?
Ben Botelho traversing near the top of P3 of Catharsis(5.5)
Catharsis - Roughly the line to follow
Top of climb, showing alternative belay spot for last pitch (see COMMENTs)
Ailie Byers looking at the traverse at end of P3
View from the belay ledge at the top of pitch 3. Great spot to enjoy the view and rest up for the final pitch.
Looking up at P3 from the top of P2.
Pitch 3 (from below). Niki is at the top in pink, about to belay me up from the next ledge. I'm standing on a ledge about 10' below the anchor.
A rope has been installed which leads from the access trail (past the Visor), to the base of Cartharis. (This pic is looking down to the trail from near the base of Catharsis.)
Neatly featured rock on p. 1 of Catharsis
Most of P4 from the top of P3. Walk right from the belay to start under the first overlap. Climb to the 2nd overlap, undercling to the corner then up. Move up the pin, clip, go left and continue up…
Most of P2 can be seen.