On September 26th I set out with the CT AMC for another climbing trip. The Gunks trip earlier in the summer was great and I figured this would be a good way introduce myself to climbing in the Whites. I left work to head up to NH on Friday. After getting to the camping area around 10pm I set my tent up, crawled into my sleeping bag, and tried to make myself comfortable for the mid-twenties temperatures that were predicted overnight. The cold temps brought frost and slow moving in the morning. But meeting up with Tim, Bob, Paula, and Adrian at a local eatery for some hearty breakfast warmed me up for the day.
Our objective for the day was Sliding Board (5.7 R) on the Whitehorse Slabs. The slabs were new to me. During the short approach the cliff is plainly visible and the slabs just come out of the ground. There is very little if any uphill approach to them. They are almost unbroken as well. The route is aptly named given there is little disruption to the smooth surface for most of the climb. The route goes about up the center of the photo above.
I followed Tim in the first climbing team. Bob lead the second team. The first pitch is easily climbable unroped. While the rest goes roped, with the last pitch simul-climbing. The climbing is almost all friction climbing. There are very little to no hand holds on much of the route. Protection is also extremely sparse. Tim was preparing for Snake Dike (5.7 R) out in Yosemite. From what I’ve heard of Snake Dike it is good to prep first and Sliding Board is perfect for it. Many pitches had only 2-3 pieces of gear in them. All the belay anchors were solid but in between was slim. I have to hand it to Tim for doing a great job and being very solid on all the pitches. Even the heady ones that had him run out 60 feet or more.
This was my first “big wall” experience and I liked it. I’m looking forward to when I can do a little more stuff that exceeds 3 pitches and is vertical. Unfortunately winter is quickly descending so I’ll be limited to 25 foot walls in the gym pretty soon. Perhaps I can make it out to Vegas and Red Rocks in February/March time frame…