Type: Trad, Aid, 200 ft, 2 pitches, Grade II
FA: R Hall, Tom Riihimaki, W. Hastings 4th of July weekend, 1966
Page Views: 155 total · 15/month
Shared By: Robert Hall on Aug 12, 2018
Admins: J Beta, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall

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The route is named for my college friend and climber Thomas Riihimaki, who passed away of cancer at the too-young age of 61. Tom was ahead of me by one year at Lowell Tech (now U-Mass Lowell) and an active member of the Lowell Tech Outing Club.  Crow Hill near Leominster, MA was our “practice cliff” and Tom made the FA of “Tom’s Dilemma”. The Lowell Tech Outing club made two trips into Garfield: one in 1965 and a second in 1966; Tom and I were the only climbers on both trips.

Tom Riihimaki in happier days climbing Central Gully in Huntington Ravine

This route climbs the prominent "shield" in the middle of the cliff via the main crack.  The "P's" marked on Dave Custer's 2014 photo [on the main Garfield Crag area page] marks the route's 2nd pitch.

P1 - START on the face a few feet right of a prominent, flaring, slightly overhanging inside corner (see photo "Gerry's Corner, 1965 trip"). This corner is, itself, right of another prominent corner.  Climb up face and cracks to the left end of the sidewalk ledge. (see photos # 1 and 2 of 1966 trip)

Move the belay to the far end of the sidewalk ledge.

P2 - Climb the crack.  (5.7+ / A-1 as I best recall it) I also do not recall how high I climbed above the end of the crack, but did rap off a tree (probably didn't leave a sling; slings were rare in 1966) and sort of recall that the ground was "flat" earth above me.

History and Our Route to the Crag - Members of the LTI Outing Club made two trips into the Southwest shoulder of Mt Garfield in 1965 and again in 1966. Tom and I were the only members who participated in both trips. Both trips went in via the Franconia Brook and Lincoln Brook trails and then followed a logging “road” on the west side of the stream that meets the Lincoln Brook trail about ½ mile from what was then 13-mile shelter. Our campsite (in those days before the Eastern-Wilderness-Act) was about ¾ mile up the stream at a beautiful pool, maybe 100 ft below where the two branches meet. From there the cliff was about ¼ mile on a compass bearing of 26-degrees magnetic.

The Memorial Day, 1965 trip consisted of myself, Tom, Gerry Malone (not 100% sure of spelling) and one or two other members of LTI Outing Club. Gerry and I were about equal in experience, he having climbed with LTI from 1963 when he was a freshman, and I sort of “catching up” to him by virtue of going through the Boston AMC’s rock climbing program, “graduating” by leading the Whitehorse Std earlier that May. Gerry would eventually flunk out and serve in Vietnam, after which (except for November ascents of the Henderson and the W-G in near winter conditions while he was on leave in 1967) I would lose track of him. On this trip we were, honestly, sort of “in over our heads” and made only minimal progress, although there’s a shot of Gerry on aid in a flaring corner. (Aid climbing was a “big thing” in the mid-1960’s)

The 1966 trip happened over the 4th of July holiday and consisted of myself, Tom and Ward (“Winky”) Hastings. Winky and I had done/would do several climbs together, including FA’s on Katahdin and a variant on the Whitney-Gilman start. He would go on and have a rewarding career with the National Forest Service.
With more experience came greater success. We managed to climb to the large ledge below the prominent “shield” near the center of the cliff. The “shield” turned out to be about 95-degrees (i.e. very slightly overhanging, or at least it seemed to be!).  The prominent crack at the far right end of the ledge was climbed with a “back-and-forth mix” of free moves and aid climbing. Tom belayed this pitch while Winky took 8mm movies from the shade at the base. The temperature set a record in Boston that day, I think I took about 3 hours on the pitch, and in the heat no one wanted to follow it. I rapped down (off a 4-inch diameter tree, but I don’t remember whether I left a sling or just put the ropes around the tree) and hammered out some of the pitons, concentrating on the more expensive chromoly pins and leaving the soft iron and any pins I could not reach due to the overhanging nature of the wall and/or the fact the rap line didn’t exactly follow the crack.
We all went for a swim in the stream. If we did another climb on the trip I have no recollection of it.


See photos


Pins remaining are probably mostly soft iron and now 50+ years old. Recollection is that the crack took mostly finger-to-hand sized pitons, so small and medium cams today.

Rapped off tree....probably no sling on tree.