Trip Report
There but for the grace of God go us....
Saturday July 12, 2014 8:42pm
Not sure how to start this but I guess a bit of back story is in order. About a decade ago I moved to the east side of Vermont and started spending more time climbing in NH. That first winter ice climbing I stumbled appon a beautifull cliff that simply begged to be climbed. It took a few years to get arround to actually climbing it but finally about 2010 Isa, Ed and myself put up the very nice 2 pitch 10a Norwegian Star.
Credit: tradmanclimbs
There would be many more but this effort was the start of the journey. Over the years ocasionaly with Ed or Brian but mostly just Isa and myself we climbed many of the faces and a few of the overhangs but never the really big roofs. We looked but we did not touch. we did come accross a few ancient 1/4in button heads and the odd rusty pin. We tried to not infringe on any of these old climbs. there was pleanty of rock to go arround. There was a fair bit of loose rock on most of the new climbs but that is usually the case in the east. Discourageing at first but with a bit of hard work
Credit: tradmanclimbs
the beautifull climbs emerge.
Isa on 2nd ascent of Mad Man 5.10c
Isa on 2nd ascent of Mad Man 5.10c
Credit: tradmanclimbs
All the while the big flake jutting through the huge roof kept wispering to me. Ed expressed intrest in that flake but never seemed to get out there to actually have a real look at it. Finally I rapped it last fall and it terrified me! It seemed so dangerous that I told myself I would never climb it. A week later I was back for annother look. I showed it to Isa and she wanted nothing to do with it.
scary flake
scary flake
Credit: tradmanclimbs
I asked Ed If he wanted in on the project but he was just going through the ordeal of his anchors on top of Jolt falling down with part of that climb and did not want the responsibility of equiping annother dangerous climb. I gave up on it for awhile and we put up the consolation prize just left of the big roofs Dirty Deeds
GU project P2
GU project P2
Credit: Isa Oehry
My Crazy belayer;)
My Crazy belayer;)
Credit: tradmanclimbs
FA Dirty Deeds 9+
FA Dirty Deeds 9+
Credit: Isa Oehry
and the nice very solid and clean Danceing Fiddler
Isabella on her birthday FA of The dancing Fiddler 5.11a
Isabella on her birthday FA of The dancing Fiddler 5.11a
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Winter arrived that that Flake was on the back burner.
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Killer view!
Killer view!
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Left to Right. Whoes Who In Outer Space lV WI5, The last Gentelman 1V ...
Left to Right. Whoes Who In Outer Space lV WI5, The last Gentelman 1V WI5, Le Promenade 1V WI5+
Credit: tradmanclimbs
and then it was spring again..
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Credit: tradmanclimbs
and that crazy flake had been knawing away in the back of my brain all winter. It was such a strikeing line. It begged to be climbed. As soon as we got back from Seneca we dove into it again. A recon trip to annother of our projects near the flake really lit the fires for me. I promised Isa I would help her get this one fully bolted and climbed if she would help me climb the Cleaver first.
Isa clowning arround on her project. you can see the cleaver on my pro...
Isa clowning arround on her project. you can see the cleaver on my project in the background.
Credit: tradmanclimbs
you can see the Cleaver in the background of that photo and this one
Isa goofing arround on her project
Isa goofing arround on her project
Credit: tradmanclimbs

We dove into it full time. I equiped everything under and out to the lip of the roof ground up as it was simply easier and less scary that way.
headding up to my high point from last week.
headding up to my high point from last week.
Credit: tradmanclimbs
the climbing up to the Cleaver was brilliant. So much fun!
First Roof on the Cleaver
First Roof on the Cleaver
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Isa on the 2nd crux
Isa on the 2nd crux
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Eventually we had the whole thing bolted with epoxy bolts in all the critical places. I took great pains to keep the rope clear of the cleaver in case it broke off but I had bounce tested it and pry bar tested it and felt it was at least as safe as the Fickel Finger Of Fate or the Sickel. I hammer tested the rock I put the epoxy bolts into and it seemed solid as a rock.
Free climbing games began.
Isa getting into the buisness
Isa getting into the buisness
Credit: tradmanclimbs
We found the rope drag to be too severe so we installed a belay just under the roof.
Belay under the huge roof that fell down. most of the rock above Isa's...
Belay under the huge roof that fell down. most of the rock above Isa's head is gone now.
Credit: tradmanclimbs
The Cleaver
The Cleaver
Credit: tradmanclimbs
both of us bounced on the bolts quite a few times on several different days.
The agony of defeat
The agony of defeat
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Credit: tradmanclimbs
I had the FFA of P1 Isa got the FFA of P2 and I followed with one fall two weeks ago.
Isa Oehry on the FA of pitch 2 of The Cleaver 10+?
Isa Oehry on the FA of pitch 2 of The Cleaver 10+?
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Isa on the FFA of The Cleaver
Isa on the FFA of The Cleaver
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Isa on the FFA of The Cleaver
Isa on the FFA of The Cleaver
Credit: tradmanclimbs
We thought it was probobly some kind of 10+
Last Sunday we climbed it again and I got the 2nd ascent clean
2nd ascent of P2 of the cleaver
2nd ascent of P2 of the cleaver
Credit: tradmanclimbs
2nds ascent of P2 of The Cleaver
2nds ascent of P2 of The Cleaver
Credit: tradmanclimbs
It was Amazeing. what a fun and wild climb. perhaps the most wild rock pitch I have ever climbed. we second guess ourselfs and thought maybe it was only 9+ and we really suck at big roofs.. Now we had it wired and planed to climb it often as a pleasure climb.

Today I hiked out there with my friend Curtis to do a few pleasure climbs and as we come arround the corner to what I considered to be one of the best climbs I have ever done this is what we saw.
our picnic spot
our picnic spot
Credit: tradmanclimbs
The Cleaver post rock fall
The Cleaver post rock fall
Credit: tradmanclimbs
pretty much devastated. Ironicly the Cleaver only slightly dammaged is still there. I was right about that one being solid enough to climb. I was certainly wrong about the rock above and left of the cleaver. There but for the grace of god. Had this happened when we were up there last week we would both certainly be gone. Curtis and I did do a few climbs but I climbed like an old man with a heavy heart and good bit of fear. Some of our climbs are undoubtably as dangerous as Cannon but many of them are absolutely wonderfull. Curtis on the absolutly delicious Fangs Of Love
fangs of love 5.9
fangs of love 5.9
Credit: tradmanclimbs

This place is so special to us yet I fear I may never get Isa to climb there agin.. I feel obligated to go out there and deal with that huge block tetering over the trail and I know that project will be terrifying.....

  Trip Report Views: 2,661
tradmanclimbs
About the Author
tradmanclimbs is a ice climber from Pomfert VT.

Comments
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Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Jul 12, 2014 - 08:50pm PT
Great photos, fun rock, thanks!
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Jul 12, 2014 - 09:08pm PT
Yoiks!!!! Loose rock is flat scary. Glad you missed out on seeing that one go.

Are those bolts on the ground now?
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Author's Reply  Jul 12, 2014 - 09:08pm PT
area of rock that fell. seems to be several feet thick, 6ft wide and a...
area of rock that fell. seems to be several feet thick, 6ft wide and about 12 to 17ft long
Credit: tradmanclimbs
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Author's Reply  Jul 12, 2014 - 09:10pm PT
I was afraid to look for them with that block hanging up there but yes at least 2 bolts fell. I will not know the count for certain without rapping and inspecting......
Randisi

climber
  Jul 12, 2014 - 09:14pm PT
Were there heavy rains previous to the rockfall?
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Author's Reply  Jul 12, 2014 - 09:25pm PT
yes, very heavy rains and lots of lightning. lightning strike?
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jul 12, 2014 - 09:27pm PT
Wow, very cool.

Glad you weren't there when it fell!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jul 12, 2014 - 09:39pm PT
it is always amazing when something "as solid as rock" comes down, especially if it's a project. That's part of climbing, and fortunately not a part that happens frequently with people around. But it does.

In some ways it's great that you sent your project. It's even better that you all didn't get hurt doing it!

tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Author's Reply  Jul 12, 2014 - 09:47pm PT
there was areally nice rock bench at the base where we spent several hours over the last few weeks loungeing, resting, contemplateing and sharing our food. that bench is gone now..... shattered....
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Jul 12, 2014 - 09:53pm PT
Whoa! Great TR, and near miss, to boot! Glad you both pulled the FA before the climb took a grounder!
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
  Jul 12, 2014 - 09:58pm PT
Glad you both pulled the FA before the climb took a grounder!

Not only the FA, but the LA. Thousands of climbers can claim first ascents, but how many of us can say with authority "I made the last ascent of that climb."

You've joined a very select club.
Tweak

climber
  Jul 12, 2014 - 10:18pm PT
Christ, the feature was probably in place for millennia and in a geologic nanosecond after you bolt and climb it she falls down. And you are blaming a lightning strike? Maybe blame repeated thrutching on a 5.9?

Vt is choss, maybe some day the whole state will fall in and You can take the ferry from Placid to Hanover.

And for God's sake, use spellcheck. If it weren't for the over abundance of copyrighted images I never could have read that.
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Jul 12, 2014 - 10:44pm PT
Reminds me of the photos prezwoods just posted from iceland. There is a small boulder block they are shown yarding on for all it's worth -- gives me the willies.
overwatch

climber
  Jul 13, 2014 - 02:29pm PT
Tweak...another fake idiot as#@&%e troll

Edit:

He and mr anderson do have a point about the piece of rock that fell.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
  Jul 13, 2014 - 12:47am PT
Some wild stuff there tradmanclimbs. Love your reports and style.

DMT
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  Jul 13, 2014 - 01:00am PT
Glad we are hearing this story from you rather than hearing about it as a tragic news story.

I remember the first time I walked up to Drug Dome to do Oz, and saw all the house size blocks everywhere who's fall created the Gram Traverse. And the enormous mass of rock above it that will come down, someday. You start to think about formations that you take for granted ...
Randisi

climber
  Jul 13, 2014 - 01:50am PT
Not sure I'd want to return either.

Spooky.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 13, 2014 - 03:18am PT
Scary, looks like fun,
I probably wouldn't climb it again either!!!!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Jul 13, 2014 - 03:37am PT
hey there say, tradmanclimbs... thanks for sharing, great photos, too... and wheww... glad you are okay...

wonderful looking rocks...

anita514

Gym climber
Great White North
  Jul 13, 2014 - 05:04am PT
great stuff Tradman!
I like how you just had to slip in a little ice porn
Chris Cunningham

Trad climber
San Francisco
  Jul 13, 2014 - 11:50am PT
You have a lot of nerve posting a great climbing related report (with great pics too!!)on this website. Where is the Off-Topic anger????
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jul 13, 2014 - 12:46pm PT
wonder if the Bosch shook that section loose when installing?
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Jul 13, 2014 - 12:51pm PT
Dying ain't much of a living boy. Close one.
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
  Jul 13, 2014 - 01:23pm PT
Thanks for the report! It's pretty cool to see and hear your experiences on these routes.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Author's Reply  Jul 13, 2014 - 05:54pm PT
the section of rock that fell was several feet thick, 4 to 6ft wide and at least 12ft long. I drilled two 1/2 inch holes in that section of rock. Epoxy bolts not expansion bolts. Does not seem likly to be connected to the bolts???
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Jul 13, 2014 - 06:07pm PT
Sorry to see that trad. I know you guys loved that route. Luckily no one was hurt.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Author's Reply  Jul 13, 2014 - 06:52pm PT
we are so lucky to be alive. we climbed it sunday and i think it fell monday. Still processing this.... It certainly would have killed us both.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Author's Reply  Jul 14, 2014 - 06:25am PT
Some aditional shots of our climbs at this special cliff.
Mad Woman 10c
Mad Woman 10c
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Becca on Mad Woman
Becca on Mad Woman
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Nadya's Dream 10c Sunday
Nadya's Dream 10c Sunday
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Me on fire walk 10d
Me on fire walk 10d
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Sylvain Barriere on  Mad Woman 10c
Sylvain Barriere on Mad Woman 10c
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Ed on P1 of the 2nd ascent of Fire walk 10d
Ed on P1 of the 2nd ascent of Fire walk 10d
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Isa on P2 of Two Boys On Isa's Rope 10d?
Isa on P2 of Two Boys On Isa's Rope 10d?
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Isa on Fangs Of Love 5.9
Isa on Fangs Of Love 5.9
Credit: tradmanclimbs
yanqui

climber
Balcarce, Argentina
  Jul 14, 2014 - 07:07am PT
Nice report. I can definitely sympathize with the awful dread you must feel at seeing your route collapse unexpectedly but I also think that being able to experience a heightened sense of how lucky we are to be alive, is one reason people continue to climb.
John M

climber
  Jul 14, 2014 - 09:35am PT
Great report.. Thanks!
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Jul 14, 2014 - 09:56am PT

Great report. A close call. Scary stuff...
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jul 27, 2014 - 11:32pm PT
Too close for comfort. Amazingly lucky timing: equipping and doing the route before it came down. Exciting.

Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Jul 28, 2014 - 12:17am PT
Wow Tradman!! Glad you and Isa are still here to tell the tale!!

Crazy!! Thanks for sharing it with us!
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
  Jul 28, 2014 - 12:35am PT
Glad you guys are ok!

I used to think major rockfall was a feature of geological time, and that the chance I'd ever be around for any such event was minuscule. After more than a half-century, I don't know what to think. From the Gunks to Poko-Moonshine to Cannon Mountain to Yosemite to the Dru, I've had experiences in which large rocks came down and just missed me, and I've yarded on and jammed a number of very large features which have subsequently fallen off. Many of the areas I've climbed in and/or visited have experienced major rockfall events to routes I've done or planned to do.

Geological time includes the present. Really we just have to hope we aren't in the fall line.

Lollie

Social climber
I'm Lolli.
  Jul 28, 2014 - 02:44am PT
Wow.
thebravecowboy

climber
hold on tight boys
  Jul 31, 2014 - 07:35pm PT
truly good luck Nick! I am happy for you!
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
  Jul 31, 2014 - 08:02pm PT
that is a proud TR....

love that top out action....

Thanks for taking the photos...
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Jul 31, 2014 - 10:45pm PT
Recent loose block death here on Supertopo ...
We watched the leader ride a large block before he flipped. This block (roughly 5 FEET long, 6-7 inches thick, 3-4 FEET wide, proceeded to bounce and break into many huge rocks directly overhead missing us only by inches. It is possible the leader climbed on or near a known loose block next to a bolt (the bolt was placed so climbers would not use this block) just above the dogleg pitch on Sahara Terror.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Aug 1, 2014 - 12:59am PT
Yikes
That's how temporal rock and life is, I guess. What an opportunity and experience to have.
"Geologic time includes the present" I'm stealing that one
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Author's Reply  Aug 1, 2014 - 04:31pm PT
I had a belay ledge colapse under me on the far right side of rogers rock in 1985 i would say a foot thick and 6ft wide. sheared oak trees like match sticks and made a massive splash in the lake below. Mike Fisher and myself were super lucky to have both been on the ledge at the same time. Had one of us started the rapell a few seconds earlier there would have been a fatality. we were lucky to have our rope neatly stacked above the ledge and we were lucky that the tree we were left dangleing from stayed on the cliff. still that incident was tiny compared to the roof of the Cleaver falling....
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Aug 1, 2014 - 07:00am PT
Yikes! Sometimes luck does come into play, right place at the right time or......?
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
  Aug 1, 2014 - 09:49am PT
I too had a belay ledge shear off underneath me, leaving me hanging from the anchors, in my case on Poko Moonshine. That turned out to be a harbinger of things to come, as a number of years later a huge part of the wall forming the left side of the jamcrack we climbed above the ledge came off, obliterating the route.

I am also one of the few idio...er, people, who have done Positive Thinking as a rock climb to the top. We climbed through huge horrendous stacked blocks---I was too terrified to drive any pitons into these shifting behemoths (this was in the Iron Age) and instead just hand-placed some pitons in horizontals and hoped for the best. Some years later everything we climbed on fell down.

For extra good measure, I got a ghastly case of poison ivy from a vine growing up the first pitch crack. It was early season, there were no leaves on the vine, and I was oblivious to the fact that I was scratching my forearm up against the thing for fifty feet...

Good times, as those with short memories are fond of saying.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Author's Reply  Aug 1, 2014 - 04:35pm PT
I hear you on the short memories;)
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