Fireworks Paddle: 4th of July 2017

Filed by trip leader Ben Towne

On the 4th of July 2017, the CMU Explorers boarded a raft in the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh for the Flashes Of Freedom show by StarFire Corp, "with handmade firework shells in the form of strobes, jellyfish, golden willows and sunflowers, and a special structure that create[d] a 180-degree firing effect."  They were choreographed to a soundtrack that we could hear parts of as we paddled around the waters near the Point, in weather about as good as it getsTens of thousands of people packed into limited riverbank viewing areas, competing with each other for little bits of space, while we were out on the open water with plenty of space around and pretty much unobstructed views of the fireworks and their reflections on the water.  An encore of the show will air on Saturday on PCNC from 8:30-9:30PM, with some excerpts posted here (check 'em out!), but it was even more awesome from the river. 

We were glad to have had a whistle on board and plenty of white lights around the outside when the Coast Guard came along to enforce those rules, and next time might consider a waterproof AM radio if someone has one to bring, but not having that helped us really feel the fireworks' colorful booming explosions. Most of the group was new Explorers Club members or guests, enjoying a great welcome to the club. We had Olga V., Sam T., Anna S. and Ian, Albert T. and Marina, and Ben T. on the trip.  A great time was had by all.  Happy birthday, USA!

First Climbing Trip of the Breakneck!

Sherman, Alex M, Alex G, Aria, Charles, Vincent, Hale, and Derek headed to Breakneck for an easy Saturday of sport climbing and toproping. They climbed some sport routes on the Main Wall and Right Wall. While most of the routes were slabby and crippy (eww), there was a short (10') section of perfect hand jams (yay!). Alex M and Sherman also led a clinic on cleaning sport anchors. Alex G and Hale felt good with their new skill and safely cleaned their first anchors on real sport routes.

- Sherman


New River Gorge Climbing

Kerreck, Stefan, Dan, Travis, and Adrian hit some hard sport climbs at Endless Wall, leaving most of their gear on the wall. They also enjoyed splitter jams as they plugged cams up the classic Fantasy.

Ian, Elani and I rolled in Saturday night. In the morning we headed into Bubba City to work on my proj. After whipping on a 0.1 X4, and another take higher up, I clipped the chains. Still waiting for that clean redpoint! We donned animal onesies (Halloween?), and headed over to Decameron. We all struggled on that traverse to the arette. Continuing on to Ms Fields Folly, an anonymous member of our team took a 35 footer from the roof! We finished off on the spectacular Kinesthetica.


Multipitch Climbing @ Seneca

It was a cold rainy Saturday. Alex, Garrett, Ryan, Ian, Elani and I hit the road for Seneca at 5:30am. A few bleary-eyed hours later, we racked up in the parking lot and hit the rock. A few of us used the cold rain as motivation to get some practice climbing in our mountaineering boots, training for winter ascents.

Elani and I climbed up a slippery Ecstasy Junior, Old Ladies, and Old Mans. After those 9 pitches, our rope got stuck at the top of Traffic Jam, so I had to reclimb and down climb the last pitch. Darkness caught us, so we rapped down by headlamp. Alex and Ryan got trapped behind a team of six on Old Mans. Garrett and Ian hit pitch 1 of Conn's East and then SECOND PITCH OF SOLER.

On Sunday, the weather had cleared and warmed. Alex and Ryan used creative route-finding on Ecstasy, Garrett and Ian jammed up Green Wall, and Elani and I cruised up Thais. Summit rendezvous inspired silly photos.