The Devil is in the Details

The Catskill Mountains of NY

Access

Press Release 1-30-2016

Devils Kitchen MS

Ice Climbing at The Devils Kitchen – Photo: www.mountainskills.biz

The Devil’s Kitchen of Platte Clove, NY has been donated to the state of New York to be included as part of Catskill Park, for future generations to access and enjoy.

Elka Park, New York. Two ice climbers and local land owner work together to donate a unique parcel of land known as the Devil’s Kitchen to the State of New York.

Climbing partners Morris Sachs of Greenwich, Connecticut, and Marty Molitoris of Rosendale, New York, have been working hard the past two years to acquire a treasured piece of property in the Catskills with the vision of donating it to the state for future use and access. That vision has finally come to fruition. The property known as the Devil’s Kitchen, is located at the top of Country Route 18, Platte Clove Road in Elka Park, Greene County, NY, just above where the road is closed in winter and the plows turn around. The parcel is known by many — from hikers to ice climbers — and starts at Mossy Brook, right under the old stone arch bridge and goes down the gully into the cliff-lined gorge known as the Upper Devil’s Kitchen to where it meets existing NYS property in the Lower Devil’s Kitchen.

The existing state property known as the Lower Devil’s Kitchen is regularly visited by ice climbers in winter. Over the years, Molitoris and Sachs have had many adventures on the ice in the Lower Devil’s Kitchen. They came to realize how special a place it is and how, with the intricacies and difficulty of the current access, how vital the upper parcel is for access in the future.

Molitoris, author of An Ice Climber’s Guide to the Catskill Mountains, operates Alpine Endeavors, LLC (www.AlpineEndeavors.com), based in the Hudson Valley region of NY. When he learned the property containing the Upper Devil’s Kitchen parcel was listed for sale he contacted Viera Bolcek, the land owner, to gauge her interest in dividing the land and selling off the parcel.

Hearing about the possibility of purchasing and donating the land, Sachs along with his wife Sheryl and their family, decided to support the project 100%. From their generosity, the idea become a reality. It took well over a year to work out the arrangements and purchase the property, then just over another year to complete the necessary paperwork and permits to gift the property to the state. As of November 1, 2015, the property is officially part of the Catskill Park.

For more information on ice climbing in the Devil’s Kitchen and all of the Catskills, please visit:

Alpine Endeavors – www.AlpineEndeavors.com
Catskill Ice Climbing – www.CatskillIceClimbing.com
Rock and Snow – www.RockAndSnow.com


Tri-Scam to Quartz Crack to Post Nasal Drip

Great Climbing at the 10th Annual Smuggs Ice Bash

Smuggs-Climb-from-the-top

Photo by Tim Farr

Photos From Solo

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Photos: Matt McCormick on the 4th pitch of a rock route called “Quartz Crack”, a bit of a classic in Smuggs. Matt linked it up with what he and Peter Doucette climbed a couple years back, “Post Nasal Drip” – which climbs a small portion of rock up and left from the ice route “The Snotcicle”. Matt and Bayard then climbed the icy corner up, left and around to the top in the photos. The rock route goes up and right to exit.

Bayard Russel of Cathedral Mountains Guides (in green) is at the bolted anchor on the top of P3 of “Quartz Crack”, they got there by climbing the ice route “Tri-scam”.

Photos by Solo, flown by Doug Millen

~ Tim Farr

Membership / Staff Manager
Smuggs Ice Bash Coordinator
Petra Cliffs Instructor & Guide
AMGA Certified SPI, Apprentice Rock & Ice Guide
NY State Lic. Rock and Ice Guide
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105 Briggs St.
Burlington VT 05401
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AMGA – Steep Ice Tips

Peter has ticked off many new tricky ice and mixed climbs in the Northeast over his career. He has a good sense of where and when things are happening and the expertise to climb them.

To find out what clinics Peter will be teaching at the 2016 Mt. Washington Valley Ice Fest, go to The MWV Ice Fest Blog. They have an incredible offering of Instructional Courses for all levels of experience, and a list of guides that just can’t be beat, in the northeast.

Related Stories on Peter:

 

Arethusa Falls

Plenty of water, all we need now is some cold. Please!

Arethusa Falls
Crawford Notch NH – 12-6-2015

At nearly 200 feet high, it is the highest waterfall in NH

Flight by Solo
Pilot: Doug Millen

The Monster at Lake Champlain

Kevin Mahoney on " The Lake Champlain Monster".

Kevin Mahoney on ” The Lake Champlain Monster”. Alden Pellett keeping one eye on Kevin and the other for the Lake Monster.

Kevin Mahoney and Alden Pellett having fun escaping from “The Monster” during a midday break from their gear demo responsibilities at The 19 annual Adirondack Mountainfest.

*Photos by Doug Millen

Kevin Mahoney – Mahoney Alpine Adventures
The Mountaineer – Keene Valley NY


Frankensteins South Face

Frankenstein South-Face

Some of the main climbs on the South Face and the New “Odin’s Tiers” – Jan. 11, 2015

Conditions are everything in ice climbing and they happened this past week on the South Face of Frankenstein Cliff. This extended cold spell and cloudy skies have brought in some great ice climbing on the South Face. On Saturday we climbed the rare visitor “Cocaine” in “Fat” conditions and had a grand view of Peter Doucette putting up his new climb “Odin’s Tiers”  NEI 6 – 25 meters, to the right of  “The Wrath of the Valkyrie”. The conditions could not have been better and it was a very busy place with as many as 14 climbers in sight at one time. Everyone wanted to take advantage of these conditions. The lighting, climbing, conditions and scenery were fantastic and I was lucky to be part of it. I felt like a kid in a candy store with my camera. I took as many photos as I could while waiting, belaying and dodging ice from above ;-).  Below are a few of the best photos. Enjoy!

Doug Millen

Click photos to enlarge


Odin’s Tiers

Frankenstein Cliff, South Face, Crawford Notch NH

FA: Peter Doucette with Majka Burhardt

Saturday January 10, 2015
Peter-New-Line

 

“Odin’s Tiers”  NEI6, and 25 meters long was protected with 2 tri-cams (brown and red), ice screws and a couple of slung icicles.  Most of the attachment points were shaded by small roofs or curtains of hanging ice so that was helpful. Like all the routes in the amphitheater it’s super sensitive to sun.

Odens Tier topo

Climb Topo – Peter Doucette

“It was fairly pumpy and technical with a lot of creative rests leaning against curtains and or locking legs behind them” – Peter Doucette

“Back in the NH swing of things” – Majka Burhardt

 

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Peter-New-Line2

Peter-New-Line5

Peter-New-Line-top

 


The Wrath of the Valkyrie

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Will-on-The-Wrath2

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Will styling on “The Wrath”


Cocaine

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Steve-on-Cocaine

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Steve Larson enjoying a fat “Cocaine”.


An Aerial View

The South Face of Frankenstein Cliff, Crawford Notch NH – January 11, 2015

 

Flight by ARDU – Flying and  filming by Doug Millen

More on the South Face


Source: Facebook, Doug Millen & Peter Doucette – Mountain Sense Guides

 

 

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow!

One Reckless Youth, an Ice Devil and several Polar children

Times like these don’t come along often, I mean, when was the last “Polar Vortex”? But when they do, you better be ready. The conditions were ripe for the picking last week on Whitehorse & Cathedral Ledges, North Conway NH. Peter Doucette – Mountain Sense Guides – along with IMCS guide Sam Bendroth,  Erik Eisele, and Adam Bidwell had “Mountain Sense” and dropped everything to take full advantage of these rare conditions. With plenty of ground water and a “Polar Vortex” to bring in some great “Streaks”, they hit the jack pot.

Peter had a few days of training earlier at Cathedral Ledge before his Whitehorse rampage. And as Bayard said, “Peter, now fully warmed up and ready for the next event, takes it to the next level. In the next three days he proceeds to climb everything. I mean everything!”  See more on Peter’s warm up from NEice Ambassador Bayard Russell of Cathedral Mountain Guides on his Blog Post  Sending Streaks

Blue is Endangered Species, Black is "Ice Devil" and Red is the "Reckless Youth" finish to "Endangered Species".

Whitehorse Ledge – South Buttress, North Conway NH / Blue is Endangered Species, Black is “Ice Devil” and Red is the “Reckless Youth” finish to “Endangered Species”.

“Taking a page out of the Russell/McCormick play book, during the nearly unrelenting deluge today, Erik and I followed “Endangered Species”, (Webster/Winkler ’82) and branched out on a slight variation to get into the Children’s Crusade finish up ice glazed corners yielding “Reckless Youth” (M8 WI5+) shown in Red.- Peter Doucette 

Its technical crux was pulling into the base of the upper corner on micro hooks to establish a stem
Reckless Youth - Peter Climbing 2 - Erik

Peter on P1 of Endangered Species – Erik Eisele

” We were soaked to the bone, used umbrellas for the approach and first belay, and reached the ground just as a thunderclap ripped through the valley. Pete led the crux pitches, one and three, both of which were incredible to watch. On the Eradicate Dike he was looking at huge falls into ledges, and in the upper corner he was climbing a six inch vertical smear while clipping bad fixed pins. It was raining so hard water filled my boots. I went through four pairs of gloves. To watch Peter work in such conditions was pretty amazing.” – Erik Eisele

Ice Devil (Right) Reckless Youth in Red (left)

Peter on “Ice Devil”. Reckless Youth to the left (red) – Adam Bidwell

Ice Devil” (WI5+ M6+) shown in blue, followed a smear right of the rock route “Seventh Seal”, up “Scare Tactics,” then angled left into the upper reaches of “Beelzebub” with some variations. Brilliant climbing both days, full conditions today. Who know’s what will form in the next couple weeks if the “Polar Vortex” kicks back in.” – Peter Doucette

The Myth of Sisyphus

Myth - Sam climbing - Peter

Sam Bendroth on The Myth – Peter Doucette

The Myth offered some rare and spectacular climbing.

” The Myth with the absent top-out sadly apparent from below…sometimes you have to see it in person to believe it :-)” – Peter Doucette

Dresden South

Peter topping out on "Dresden-South" - Sam Bendroth

Peter topping out on “Dresden-South” – Sam Bendroth

Winter Asylum

Peter climbing "Winter Asylum -- Sam Bendroth

Peter climbing “Winter Asylum” – Sam Bendroth

The  routes are as follows:

  • Dresden South NEI5 Peter Doucette with Sam Bendroth  1/10/2014  / Cathedral Ledge,  Left margin of the Barber Wall.
  • Winter Asylum NEI 6- R (thats 6 minus) Peter Doucette with Sam Bendroth  1/10/ 2014  / Cathedral Ledge, The Barber Wall
  • Ice Devil M6+ NEI 5+ Peter Doucette with Adam Bidwell 1/9/2014 Ice  Whitehorse Ledge, South Buttress
  • Reckless Youth M8 NEI 5+ with Erik Eisele 1/11/2014  / Whitehorse Ledge, South Buttress ( through the upper corners of Children’s Crusade).

So all I want to know, when is the next “Polar Vortex” due? – Doug Millen

A few more photos

 Source:

Peter Doucette

 

 

MountainSenseGuides.com

IFMGA/AMGA Licensed Mountain Guide

Phone:  603  616-7455
Address: 84 Skyline Drive
Intervale, NH. 03845
 
Photos as noted, click to enlarge

Related Stories

Cryokinesis

Cathedrals-last-gasp-or-not

Peter is guiding Ice Climbing 101 on FRIDAY and Outdoor Research’s Steep Waterfall Ice on SATURDAY at this years Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest  !


An Ice Climbers Guide to the Catskill Mountains – 3rd edition

Yes, we have been waiting for this ice guide!

An Ice Climber's Guide to the Catskill Mountains, Third Edition

An Ice Climber’s Guide to the Catskill Mountains, Third Edition

An Ice Climber’s Guide to the Catskill Mountains, Third Edition
The exclusive and detailed guide to ice climbing in the Catskill Mountains of New York, by Marty Molitoris.
Third Edition Now Including:
Aerial Photos in both color and black & white
Color National Geographic Topographical Maps
Over 170 New Routes
8 New Areas!

ISBN 978-0-9747067-3-3

Retail: $29.95

For more information, please visit AnIceClimbersGuideToTheCatskillMountains.com
Pick up a copy of An Ice Climbers Guide to the Catskill Mountains at the following locations:

Rock & Snow
44 Main St
New Paltz, NY 12561
845-255-1311

www.rockandsnow.com
Alpine Endeavors – Ebay

You may also be interested in The Devil is in the Details

The Great Gulf

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THE GREAT GULF

by Courtney Ley

The Great Gulf.  There could be no other name for it.  When I look at it from the vantage point of Mt Clay, I imagine the walls of this giant cirque begin to expand suddenly, high rocks and cliffs start breaking apart and tumble into its gaping mouth. I see the summit of Mt. Washington tilting, the buildings shake and crumble, sliding into the dark abyss with deafening sound. All that’s left is a giant cavern.  The Great Gulf just swallowed Mt. Washington whole.

But as I stand on the summit of Mt. Clay on this day, all is still.  The only moving object is the sun as it lowers over Franconia Ridge to the west, creating long shadows across the Presidential Range. I hear no tumbling rocks or collapsing cliffs.  I only hear the sound of the wind beating on my jacket.  I am alone and feel at ease.  I watch the sky turn pastel colors and soft lenticular clouds form high above me. I adjust my hood to block the wind the best I can and head down the mountain towards Sphinx Col.

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My need for seclusion brought me to the Great Gulf.  Some approach the gulf from Huntington Ravine and do it in March or April when the gulf is filled with the years snowfall and travel is relatively easy.  I had two days and decided to approach it from its beginnings. I wanted to wind my way through its endless water courses and forest canopies.  It’s not very far in miles, but the wilderness trails are left to the forces of nature.  The trees fallen across paths remain in place and water is not forcefully diverted away.  Long bogs and difficult river crossings are a norm here.  I enjoy the wilderness feel, as it’s hard to find in the developed White Mountains of New Hampshire.  The Great Gulf is by no means ‘out there’.  A quick jaunt up the Chandler Ridge finds you at the Auto Road and once you top out of the headwall, there’s Mt. Washington’s summit with its restaurant and gift shops.  The Great Gulf Wilderness was conceived in 1964 and is New Hampshire’s oldest yet smallest wilderness area, comprising just 5,658 acres.  Despite this, the giant glacial cirque leaves you feeling like you are somewhere remote and far away from anyone and anything.

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‘Wait Until Dark’ Gully (on right)

Admittedly, I also had another motive.  I was hunting down ice and I had a good feeling I’d find some here.  Not only is the gulf at a high elevation but it’s predominately north facing and it’s walls rarely see sunlight.  It had the elements necessary for early season capture.  I pitched my tent at one of the designated tent sites along the Great Gulf Trail and set out.  Unlike other ravines, the gulf doesn’t show its full self until you are just about at its walls.  The spruce are tall and the tiny Spaulding Lake proves the only vantage point from the floor during this time of year.  When I worked my way around the lake I got a glimpse of ‘Wait Until Dark’ Gully.  It begged me forth. I knew reaching the entrance would be no easy task.  I was proved wrong, it was much harder than I imagined.  Giant truck-sized boulders were scattered among thick spruce.  Enormous crevasses littered themselves between boulders.  The terrain was so difficult I couldn’t fathom enough snow falling to fill it all in.  I thought about turning around several times, but each time I dreaded going back more than I dreaded continuing forward.  It took me almost two hours from once I left the trail until I crawled to the start of the ice begging for mercy.

My spirits lifted when I saw the gully filled with beautiful solid ice.  For a full length pitch, I enjoyed a continuous flow of grade 2 ice.  I fell into my rhythm of swings and kicks, focused solely on ice in front of me. Occasionally, some ice would break loose and fall away, echoing as it hit into the rocks.  A reminder of the vast amphitheater that I was climbing in.  At times, the wind would funnel down the gully, picking up snow and swirling it in a cold dance towards me. I lowered my head and let it pass each time.  The wind tried to push me backward, as if I did not belong.  But I knew I did, at least for this brief while.   A short steep step led me to the upper ice which was at a lower angle with a few short bulges.  I stopped more frequently here and took in my surroundings.  Eventually the ice relented to a rock and vegetation finish.  I hit the Mt. Clay summit loop trail immediately when I topped out, as it hugs the lip of the gulf.

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I never saw anyone all day and nor would I during the night and majority of the next day.  Now I stood on the summit of Mt. Clay with no one else in sight on the ridge.  I sat down in a wind-sheltered area and looked back at where I had come from.  I couldn’t think of my time in the gulf spent any other way. It had granted me my solitude.  It was as it was meant to be.  I imagined the entirety of the Great Gulf as it expanded, shuttered, and devoured the nearby peaks.  I imagined the Great Gulf as it swallowed me too.

 

Photographs by Courtney Ley (click on images to enlarge)

 

 

 

Training for the New Alpinism

Training for the new alpinism

Training for the new alpinism

In Training for the New Alpinism, Steve House, world-class climber and Patagonia ambassador, and Scott Johnston, coach of U.S. National Champions and World Cup Nordic Skiers, translate training theory into practice to allow you to coach yourself to any mountaineering goal.

“Training for the New Alpinism is a manual that guides you in constructing a simple, progressive training program lasting from six weeks to a year and beyond. The book has been heralded as a road-map to greater alpine climbing success for climbers of all abilities”

Get a copy here