The Dark Crystal, an ice route I have been tempted to climb for many seasons. The steep yellow drips of ice look enticing from the lower Black Dike pitch. The climb is barred by a thin mixed section which always looks unsteady and difficult. Matt Ritter lead me up this route on a cold day many season ago. I remember getting a full body workout with cold frozen hands. Since then I have been tempted to go back and be the rope gun for this prize route.
Cannon is the early season hot spot for the ice fanatics. This cold sheltered gash has good water flow and the right temperature for forming up ice in a quick fashion. There are times when ice routes form up in one or two days after a rain followed by an arctic blast from the north. This season is a winner, Cannon has formed up early with big fat flows of juicy ice. The Black Dike, Fafnir, Dark Crystal, and hard mixed lines are all in great condition.
Dark Crystal aka Hassig’s caught my eye once again. I was one the Black Dike with Alex and took a look and quickly made plans to come back. A few days later Andrew and I came up and had our first choice of the routes. Dark Crystal was our pick, and we both had a fine time sending the prize.
The main topic on this post is Jerry Gale. A long time friend and trusted partner, Jerry and I have been climbing together for a decade. It all started on a cold rainy day at the Flume Gorge, Jerry was instantly hooked on the sport. I am so fortunate to have Jerry to make plans with. A consistent, solid partner that takes climbing very serious. Jerry puts in the time, he trains up, mentally and physically, he is ready for the game. Whether it be in NH, Vermont, Red Rocks, or Canada, we travel and climb together picking off the classics in these world class areas.
Dark Crystal – a new route for us on Cannon. What could be better than opening up our season together with this fine line. I had excuses on this day, new snowfall, cloudy and cold, boy I was wavering on this morning. Jerry spoke up and gave me the boost, the courage I needed to get on with the project. The Dark Crystal pitch was excellent once again, I new the moves, the gear, and stayed on task.
Jerry gave the long belay and then rallied for the pitch. Managing cold fingers, removing lots of gear, Jerry kept himself together sending in excellent style. When he arrived at the belay station he casually stated “what a fantastic pitch, what could be better”.
Jerry in the midst of the action. The ice was hooked out but tools needed to be place with care, other wise the ice would fracture. The thoughtful and delicate climbing up this steep corner was fully engaging.
Jerry topping out on a different NH route – Upper Hitchcock, one a week earlier. Conditions were lean and scrappy but we made it into a fun outing. Training for the bigger routes to come.
Thank you to Jerry for our great partnership together. I am looking forward to another season full of adventures with you and who knows maybe we grab a couple of new lines too.