|Page Type:||Trip Report|
|Lat/Lon:||44.11330°N / 73.90893°W|
|Date Climbed/Hiked:||Sep 27, 2014|
Adam Crofoot and I couldn’t resist one more visit to Panther Gorge with colder weather on the way. As with last time, Allison Rooney, Adam’s girlfriend, dropped us off to avoid a full parking lot. We started hiking at 5:15 a.m., but I only awoke when the sun broke over the ridge. The shorter days meant a longer hike under the illumination of a headlamp on the approach as well as exit.
The dry bushwhacking conditions from the Marcy/Haystack col were a stark contrast to August’s soaking wet shwack. They were also an incredible contrast to the prior weekend when I climbed Colden's West Ramp Slide in the fog/wind/40 degree weather!
By 9:15 we were staring up the Agharta Wall en route to our “Wreck” wall a few minutes down to the south. Blackflies accompanied me as I donned harness and helmet. We set the packs on a nice ledge below the dominant left-facing corners that border the right side of the wall—our Wreck of the Lichen Fitzgerald route was about 40 feet to the left.
Putting up CrazyDog's Halo
The first pitch was the most difficult once again--5.8 YDS. The cliffs tend to have an initial crux with comparatively lower angle slab in the center and a cliff band at the top. Splitter cracks and corners led the way upward on the dry anorthosite. A nice crack about halfway up led to a chimney that barely accommodated my body. Thereafter we stepped out onto the 75 degree face using ½ inch edges to traverse to a horizontal crack. Adam led this pitch and set up an anchor. Leaning back from the anchor, we could scan the entire gorge lit up in the yellows of autumn. Only a light haze obscured the views to the south.
I took a turn leading the second pitch and followed a finger crack up the slab. This pitch was similar to slide climbing only steeper--weathered divots in the surface and chunks of feldspar made the climbing delightful. The crack petered out and I made my way over to a bulge below a large tree island. Above was a large terrace—the perfect second belay station. The view north across the Agharta Wall and Cloudsplitter/Toma’s Wall lines were awe-inspiring.
Another bushy island led to more steep face-climbing below a chunky broken cliff band. The other named routes exit via a large chimney so we aimed for a crack about 50 feet to the left to keep the line independent.
Adam spent a good deal of time studying a large block at the bottom of the cliff—ensuring it would not move with pressure. He then climbed to a ledge, traversed right to another corner and belayed me from some cracks at the top of the face. I realized why he took such care when I saw the block. It was detached from the ledge. It and another stone resonated when struck.
CrazyDog’s Halo was complete.
Traversing through the krummholz at the top led to the rappel webbing from when we put up the Wreck of the Lichen Fitzgerald. We used the gear that Adam left to rappel along the familiar route. By now the sun was baking us—it was high in the 80’s.
Adam leads on top of a small ledge after climbing various corners and cracks.
Awesome crack climbing with Adam belaying from a 2" ledge.
Close-up of the happy belayer.
Consulting a beta photograph...it's just fun to do.
Kevin leading up a fingercrack.
From the first belay.
Top of the route.