Type: Trad, 250 ft (76 m), 2 pitches
FA: ACB/FA? R. Hall, Doug Burnell, Doug Teschner, Oct 25, 2013
Page Views: 1,096 total · 10/month
Shared By: Robert Hall on Oct 28, 2013
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, Lee Hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan S, Robert Hall

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Description

The Old Smokey’s Return 5.4 G / PG-13 ?F?A? / As Climbed By / R. Hall, Doug Burnell and Doug Teschner, Oct 25, 2013

START - About 10 ft left of the False Holy Smoke belay tree, directly below the right side of a bulge-corner which is about 20-25 ft above the ground. SEE PHOTO. GEAR: A Medium-large (black strap) Tricam eliminates the "X-Factor", as does a #3 (blue) Camalot. Also needed is a Gold (#2) Camalot, Green (#1) and an optional Red (# 1.5) Camalot.

P1 – Climb to the right side of the bulge (hole for a “black Tricam”) then climb up 15-20 ft to a hole (Gold #2 Camalot), continue straight up, passing a 3/8 bolt after 20ft, then another 25ft ft to a larger hole (#3 Camalot). This hole is 6 feet below a right-facing "half-moon" flake (which is useless for pro.) Then up on brushed, white-ish rock passing a 2nd bolt and continue to an obvious left-facing flake. (#1, # 1.5 Cams) Up this and then move 25 ft left to the Holy Grail belay [Alt] at the maple tree clump. 165+ft, 5.4-5.5

[Alt- Move right to the False Holy Smoke belay. ]

Descent: 1) Rap with two ropes, or 2) Make a diagonal rap to the P1 anchor of "The Red Knight's Romp" and then a 2nd rap to the ground , or 3) traverse (5.2+/-)  to the Merlin anchor to rap with one full-length 60 meter rope.

P2 - The easiest, most well protected exit from the slab. From the "maple tree clump belay" move easily right and up to the overlap. Over this a foot or two left of a bush (at a bolt, same place as False Holy Smoke and also easily reached from both the anchors of  False Holy Smoke and Merlin). Instead of straight up as for False Holy Smoke, move diagonally up and right to a curving flake (small gear possible). Step over at brushed footholds (relatively low) and climb the slab to a fixed 2-inch aluminum "bong" piton. Walk 15(+/-) ft right along the horizontal ledge, then easily straight up to the overlap. Surmount this about 5 ft left of its right end at a sort of "step" with a bolt above. ("crux" 5.4-5.5) Continue 10 ft to the Upper Merlin Rap station. 90-100 ft 5.4-5.5 

To get back to the "Bugs" rap station and the hiking trail, take the climber's path that starts a few feet above the rap station.

Location

See Photo. The "bulge-corner" is about 15 ft below the climber. START - About 10 ft left of the False Holy Smoke belay tree, directly below the right side of an indistinct bulge-corner about 20-25 ft above the ground.

Protection

GEAR: Medium-large (black strap) Tricam, Gold Camalot (#2), Blue (#3) Camalot, Green (#1) and an optional Red (# 1.5) Camalot.

History

The "two Dugs" (Doug Burnell and Doug Teschner) climbed many a back-country climb in their "younger days". Somewhere I have a 1-inch thick stack of copies of their notes on climbs throughout NH and western ME. One of their exploits took them to Table, where they arrived and found the "Bugs Eat Frogs" rap station but mistook it for the "Merlin Rap Station". (In the 1980's-90's there was another rap station at the top of the cliff that led to Merlin and the western end of the slab. This is not to be confused with the present "Merlin Rap Station".)

 

They rapped down and put up a climb which they reported as being "left of Merlin". They called the climb "Holy Smoke".

 

Webster in his guidebook thus put Holy Smoke where they said it was "left of Merlin", when in fact the climb was left of "Bugs Eat Frogs". Thus in both Webster and Handren Holy Smoke became the 5.5 -5.6 bolted line left of Merlin.

 

In discussions I had with Doug Burnell, it became clear that these two explorers didn't put in bolts and didn't solo 5.5-5.6, in fact 5.5-5.6 seemed to be about their limit for "backcountry" climbs.

So when Doug Teschner was in town one late October day, the two Dougs pulled out their old gear and the three of us took off for Table.

We got to the "Bugs" rap station and ..."Yes, this is where we rapped...isn't this Merlin rap?"

Once on the ground ..."Over here, that's where we went..."  ...."Start by these potholes, then up to the big overlap, then back right along the base of the overlap, then up to the rap tree. " [Up to the overlap would later become the first pitch of Table Scraps.]

Then we walked along to the real Merlin, passed by "False Holy Smoke" ("No, no..no way would we have climbed that...") and then we three did the FA of "The Old Smokeys Return".

Photos

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