Mountain Project Map - Harpers Ferry

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Has Sprung - MD Heights Climbing - "Black Tie Affair" Project

Right now you're asking yourself "Why the Superman image?", hold that thought. First, what happened to winter? The season of prime friction has passed.  Spring has sprung and it's time to put away the cold weather gear and grab your shorts. It's time to break out the deep buckets of chalk, the moisture is back. Fantasies of a cold snap with some nice ice are going to have to be stowed in the attic with your snow pants, flannel shirts, and wooly caps.

To get you in the mood for placing some spring gear, how about a couple quick snapshots of some Maryland Heights action!? Thanks be to Martin Leska for the photos and
his trusty rope gun Dan Montague for risking it all on the sharp end.
Without further ado, I give you the "Black Tie Affair" project.
Our new Maryland Height project route. How about full on trad route with difficult to place gear, with 3 completely different cruxes, on a 20 degree overhanging wall.
First crux- awkward crux on very hard to place gear and full on commitment. Second crux-protected by #6 camelot with Crux toe heel move. Third crux- still in progress but crux gear are #4 nut, #4 brass and #4 BD brass tiny wire all equalized leading to an overhanging blank face with a dead point dyno from 2 mono pockets ... With a 15' fall past those moves to a mantel top out ....
My 2 cents: Folks, to climb this thing it sounds like you're going to need a cape rather than a suit and tie ;)

Contrary to what you'd expect, it takes little nuts to climb this thing. Apparently a big cam is required as well. Dan Montague, tied in and ready to place. (credit: Martin Leska)

Enjoying a nice glow (credit: Martin Leska)

Looking up at the route (credit: Martin Leska)

This is the "Bigfoot" photo. Is he really climbing that thing, you tell me. Shaky belay photo by Martin Leska.
Hope you enjoyed the update, it's been fun. Be safe out there.

Editors Note: We just realized Dan isn't wearing a helmet while attempting the heinous. Pressure has been applied! Protect your noggins, wear a helmet.

2nd Editors Note:
It has been brought to our attention that Mr. Dan here may have skipped a few steps in the safety department. Dan assures me he had 2 tie in points and with the use of a figure 8 his missing backup knot wasn't as vital as if he were using a bowline. He further stated that he would use a helmet next time.

3rd Editors Note:
Well, after Dan was thoroughly trounced by the climbing community for his flawed climbing safety setup he emailed me a photo that is suppose to be him when he got down off of the route. See below for "evidence" of his innocence. Yep, 2 tie in points. Still no helmet or tube socks though and he ripped a hold off of the wall. Hmm.


Anonymous said...

In addition to the helmet, I'd recommend using both tie-in points and a backup knot on the figure 8.

Conrad said...

The post has been revised with new imagery and safety critique. Good eye safety sam. We'll keep Dan in line one way or another.

safety monitor said...

No "backup" knot is needed on a figure 8

LeskaLLC said...

To the helmet remarks:
If anything it's the ankles and climbers balls what need REAL protection! What they sell for this? Sorry to be ass to your comments. How many of you had even seen this wall.
Helmet should be mandatory for ice climbing but I haven't seen even many hardcore gritstone climbers wearing knogging. Are they all totally iresponsible or do they know something else? ....
The fall on 20 degree overhanging wall is clean...I encourage anybody to come down and get a burn on the rte. I really think that helmet be your last worry. Btw we are bringing super safe rope... For things really critical on this pert ocular set up.....
. I wish anybody point out positive than negative. Life will be so much more beautifull. What kind a shock me personally is that this is such bold striking line and nobody got balls yet to lead it. Let's Celebrate positive like local climbers will have plenty new rtes to climb 1hr away. When we bolted the first rte people complained. When we did this rte all on gear people find something to complain. So my advice be get out of your couch and go put a rte it's so much fun. I gladly come and climb it then let's have a beer and discuss our experiences....

Conrad said...

LeskaLLC, thanks for the comments. I agree that posting positive is much preferred to posting negative things. But, keeping an eye out for our fellow climbers is important. I for one would appreciate someone catching a safety error on my part. And helmets do help. There are a lot of uncontrolled factors out there. We think of Dan as a friend and he is part of our community therefore we give him a hard time, both for fun and to try and pressure him toward safety. The last thing anyone wants is Dan or anyone to get hurt when preventative measures are available. There are a lot of tourists in Harpers Ferry that are oblivious to the climbers below. A helmet could mean the difference between a caved in skull and a brused one (from a thrown rock) and this is an aside from the hazards while climbing. Yes there are people elsewhere who don't wear helmets but that doesn't change the fact that head injuries are serious. I know it's your job to watch out for your partner and we don't mean serious harm, just heckling because we care. Best wishes on your new routes.