With packs and climbing shoes in tow we walked 13 miles through the wooded valleys and stark rock formations of Allegheny National Forest. Everything was damp from Hurricane Harvey's remnants passing through the day before, but thankfully sunny weather returned for hiking on the Labor Day weekend. We started on the Tanbark Trail, which connected to the longer North Country trail where we found a long-forgotten apple orchard and comfortable campsites beside a small creek. We packed out the next morning after pancakes and bacon cooked over the open fire.
Over the weekend, 12 club members headed down to the New River Gorge for some perfect climbing weather. On day one, part of the group went to Sandstonia for some easy and moderate sport climbing. We put up some classics in the area including Geisha Girl (5.8), Mrs. Field's Follies (5.8), Kinesthetica (5.10c), Shady Lady (5.7), Zeitgeist (5.10a), and Decameron (5.10b). Another group went to Kaymoor for some hard sport at Fire and Ice Wall and Seven Eleven Wall.
Many returned to Pittsburgh on Saturday night but a hand full stayed through Sunday to climb at Bridge Buttress. The crew got a taste of crack climbing while tackling Jaws (5.9) and Easily Flakey (5.7). We also ran a crash course on gear placement and practiced placing gear on the routes.
Many of us finished the trip off with a ritualistic visit to the Secret Sandwich Society. Apparently, I didn't over hype it. The sandwiches are really really good.
Club members in attendance: Sherman Lam, Catherine Pavlov, Justin Wang, Adrian Markelov, Ian Rosenberg, Alex Gotsis, Steffen Bakker, Matt Barnes, Evan Hill, Clare Cui, William Guss, and Charles Wu
Did I mention that the Secret Sandwich Society has amazing sandwiches?
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 gets. Tens 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!
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.
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.