Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Winter Pics From The Archive

Here are some photos from the winter of ’04, a long time ago in a place far away…
One winter's day, my friend Erik Lambert and I headed out to Brandon Gap, VT, about a two hour drive from Hanover, NH, where we both lived. We had heard rumors from the local learned climbing mystic John Joline of piles of rock tumbling down a steep hillside… our research turned up mention of some area climbers hiking around roadside boulders, with promising tales grey masses lurking in the forest across a small pond.

We headed out to explore the area in January, which in Northern Vermont brings temperatures in the 10-20 degree range… we had full snow gear and snowshoes, and made our way quickly across the frozen ponds to the rolling deciduous hills below the hillside.

From our first foray into the woods to our last visit a few weeks later, we were not disappointed. Large schist blocks were hidden over each ridge and knoll, and each yielded some unique movement. A few even yielded top-outs. I don’t think either of us had bouldered in the snow much before that winter, and it took some getting used to, but the climbing was worth it. The pictures speak for themselves...

The Hillside at Brandon Gap

Boulders Lurking In The Woods… One 20’ Monster, With 3 Undone Projects

Erik Lambert Enjoying The Winter Conditions The True Grit Arete, A Five-Star Highball Problem Erik Lambert Climbing Black Ice Erik Lambert Working The White Ice Project
Me Making The FA of White Ice – Another Five-Star Line
My experience in Brandon Gap was amazing… It is the sense of adventure, isolation, and intrigue that I felt on trips like these that has gotten me so hooked on climbing. The weather was clear and crisp, and the stone was fresh and abundant. After we made four or five visits to Brandon Gap, the snow began to melt and we were able to climb at other, closer spots like Etna, Rumney, and Pawtuckaway. However, that short season of exploration and development we experienced in Brandon Gap was wonderful, and holds a special place in my heart. I think the sense of inaccessible abundance I felt looking up at the hillside in Brandon Gap is part of what drew me to Leavenworth, and this great state as a whole…

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