Pitchoff Chimney Cliff – Sunshine at last in The Adirondacks

We’d vaguely planned to visit The Dacks a little earlier in October, but somehow (the flutter of a butterfly’s wing?) our NE USA roadtrip got blown off course and stretched to include New Brunswick and Québec – a happy accident, as the climbing in Québec in particular was outstanding, but it’s getting a bit chilly and damp!Nonetheless, we persevered and spent a very wet day driving over from Vermont (it was torrential across the whole of the NE) then a drier but still grey day (it would certainly qualify as dreich in Scotland) exploring the area west of Lake Placid. The weather was somewhat offset by the fabulous Fish Creek Pond Campground and some gentle walking around the Paul Smith Visitor Centre… all based on the promise of a 3-day weather window.

So far, so good, as Day 1 (Saturday) was delivered bang on specification: -4C overnight, then sunny and maxing out around 10C. Certainly the morning view from the campsite was encouraging:Pitchoff Chimney Cliff looked like a good option – roadside, South (or at least SE) facing, and well clear of the trees to allow the rock the chance to dry.Pete’s Farewell is the Pitchoff classic, a traversing 3-pitch 5.7 finding a remarkably easy way up a steep crag. If you look closely you can just about spot a climber in pink on the P2 stance – here’s a close-up to help!The route starts up an easy corner on the far right, makes an airy rising traverse before a corner crack brings you to a perched belay next to a tiny fir tree (centre of photo) and then P3 takes an offwidth / layback crack to the top.

Here’s Helen following P2 (which we ran together with P1)Here’s the climber in pink (who we’d managed to catch up with) just heading across at the start of P3… and Helen summoning her inner grit mojo to see off the offwidthIf that wasn’t fun enough, the descent is a speliological adventure in itself.The sun was heading off the crag, but the left hand end (just right of a pretty waterfall)…… promised the last of the rays and a 4* 10b, with the must-do name of Roaches on the Wall.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a couple from “just over the lake” in Vermont had the same idea – here’s Charles around 2/3 height:That left me with the neighbouring 10c, Rock and Roll Star. Not quite as many stars but well worthwhile, with a tricky crux around 20ft (especially with some unhelpful seepage) and then steep jug hauling on sometimes hidden holds.

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