Monday, April 05, 2010

Guidebook: Camden, ME - Fireman's Ladder (5.5), Natural History (5.7-), Out of Gas (5.8), Every Second Counts (5.9), Arrete (5.10b), Prospero (5.10c), Dream Weaver (5.10c), Ariel (5.11d)

Camden, Maine - The Rampart

Approach: Find the carriage road trailhead (small, brown side with a brown gate blocking the road) at about 184 / 185 Mountain Street (Rt 52) in Camden, ME, and park along the side of the road without blocking the gate. Hike in along the blue blazed carriage trail for about 15-20 min, crossing two wooden bridges. Then cross a log bridge (you'll have to wind back to the right to find the trail again). Find the cairn about 100 yards uphill from the log bridge and take that trail to the left. The climber's trail will bring you out at a bunch of boulders near Arrete (5.10b) on the right and Dreamweaver (5.10c) on the obvious prow / arrete to the left. 

All routes in this post can be safely descended by either lowering or rapping with a single 60m rope. The routes in here are described left-to-right when facing the cliff.

Fireman's Ladder (5.5) - One Pitch - Trad - Chain on a Tree- 90 Feet

Approach: Near the far left of the crag on the left-hand side of a short, jutting set of boulders. There is a wide crack / chimney on each side of the boulders. Fireman's Ladder is on the left side.

Fireman's Ladder (5.5): Climb straight up the large chimney / crack that is made from large, stacked boulders. At the ledge on top of the chimney, step across the chasm (crux) and into the crack on the other side. Climb straight up from there to the tree with a chain.

Descent: It is easier to lower down on the right side of the jutting boulders. This descent comes down Natural History (5.7-).

Natural History (5.7-) - One Pitch - Trad - Chain on a Tree / Gear Anchor - 90 Feet: On the right side of the jutting boulders, climb chimney straight up to a ledge. Climb the crack on the right, then either head left to the tree with a chain on it (easy climbing, probably no harder than 5.6 overall) or continue straight up the dirty blocks to a gear anchor (5.7). The 5.7 version that heads straight up seems contrived and is full of lichen; pick your poison. The 5.7 finish is about 10 feet up and right of the tree. Lower off the tree with the chain.

Every Second Counts (5.9 R) - One Pitch - Trad - Gear Anchor - 100 feet: Climb the face that is about 10 feet right of the Natural History chimney to a right-fading crack / flake (a #4 and / or a #3.5 Camalot protects this crack well). Follow the crack up right to where it thins out on the right of the upper slab. Climb the thin crack section until it is easy to rock up left onto the slab (where the white crystals are). Follow slab to the first small headwall (run out, but easy terrain). Place first piece at lower headwall for first piece of gear in about 30 feet. Move past headwall on the right and stand up to parrallel, vertical edges. Clip the bolt, find the tricky sequence past the bolt, mantle up (crux), and finish with a gear anchor in the crack underneath the final headwall. Descend by walking left about 10 feet to a tree with a chain.

Prospero (5.10c) - One pitch - Sport - Bolted Anchor - 50 feet: Start on a ledge that is about eight feet above the path. The start is on the left side of this ledge and just right of a blocky corner with a tree. Climb a half-moon edge on the blunt arrete. Follow the three bolts to the anchor that is just up to the right.

Dream Weaver (5.10c) - One pitch - Sport - Bolted Anchor - 70 feet: This is the obvious prow / arrete on the left that one can seen from the top of the approach trail. The guidebook says this is 11a, but many people feel that it is much easier than that.

Start on the left side of the sharp arrete and climb the four bolts on that face (5.9 climbing). Below the fourth bolt, traverse right to the arrete and pull around it to a slab that leads up to a very comfy rest ledge below the next two bolts. Clip both bolts from the ledge, traverse left to jug that you'll match on, swing your feet left around the arrete to a triangular pod, reach up left to a jug on the back of the horn. Then move up to a deceptively nice jug about 18 inches above the horn. Clip the final bolt and finish at the anchors.

Rope management is important when coming around the arrete on the upper section of the climb. Make sure you're feet are in the right place so that you don't flip up-side down if you fall. Also, if you do fall, and if the rope is in the right place with regards to your feet, make sure the rope doesn't drag across that first matching jug.

Ariel (5.11d) - One Pitch - Sport - Bolted Anchor - 75 feet: The upper headwall that is right of Dream Weaver, start in the blocky corner below a tree. Climb up left past the tree and find the first bolt on the slab. Step up, and follow the bolts first to the left, then traverse right, and head straight up to the anchor above the final bolt (some folks continue past the final bolt to the right before heading up).

Out of Gas (5.8) - One Pitch - Trad - Bolted Anchor - 50 feet: This starts in the same place as Ariel, but heads right to the crack that is right of the tree (and left of the bolts that make up Arrete (5.10b)). Climb the crack to the roof. Move up under the roof to the right and finish at the anchors. The direct finish is challenging. (the photo to the left shows the climber on Arrete, but the crack on Out of Gas is visible to the left)

Arrete (5.10b) - One pitch - Sport - Bolted Anchor - 40 feet: start is the same as Out of Gas, but head right past the crack to the first bolt. Follow the bolts out right above and left of the arrete, and finish on the slab below the anchors. (the photo above under Out of Gas shows the climber on Arrete)

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