Adirondack Outdoors Fall 2014 Issue : Page 41

BY KEVIN “MUDRAT” MACKENZIE THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED UP ROUND MOUNTAIN Alex Hall on Bob’s Knob overlooking Chapel Pond Slab. All photos by author. S o, you’re good at navigation, bushwhacking and climb-ing. What is a good adventure when you want a moder-ate challenge but don’t have a full day to devote to a big outing? Might I suggest Round Mountain? Its profile is innocuous looking compared to Giant Mountain and Noon-mark, its adjacent brothers. Those who hike it invariably boast of stellar 360 degree views from the summit with a quaint tra-verse along the shore of Round Pond on the way. For some, that may be the perfect adventure. Others may ponder, “How can I jazz the day up a bit?” One possibility is by incorporating one of the many nearby technical climbing routes. The focus of this article lies on the northeastern flank of Round Mountain. The 5-star rated Chapel Pond Slab hosts multi-pitch fifth class routes ranging from 5.3 to 5.11. Route Summary: The slab climb encompasses the first 500 feet of elevation gain then an easy bushwhack up another 900 feet of elevation gain leads to the summit. Redirecting to the southeast leads to a southwest-northeast trending fracture, the start of a cliff. A descent to the northeast along its base leads to the King Wall, a tall vertical wall with some serious technical climbing routes. The tour ends by hooking down and northwest below the Emperor Slab adjacent to Chapel Pond Slab where the route began. FALL 2014 ISSUE I visited the slab a couple years ago for the first time. Since then it has been a place I go to reflect on life and relax. Phil Brown of Adirondack Explorer and I then soloed (climbed without protection) a couple routes up the slab to a buttress on the right called Bob’s Knob. Early May of this year found us switching leads during a windy, and hand-numbing day. Looking for a longer day this past May, I recruited my friend Alex Hall of Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation Center in Wilmington. He was game for a good bushwhack/ rock-climb. The Bob’s Knob Regular route (rated 5.5) seemed like a perfect fit. The overall loop to the summit and back isn’t long so we began at around 8:30 a.m. A rising dike leading to some blocky low-angle terrain began the climb. A hundred feet higher, we stepped over a corner below a large left-rising arc of stone. The flow of the anorthosite rock, a mixture of friction slab, cracks, and arcing corners makes this one the most elegant pitches of the route. Almost 300 feet up from the base lies and ideal belay point aptly named Twin Cracks Belay. This exposed section climbs a steep crack that, with some delicate foot placement, leads to a beautiful right-rising crack. The slab may be near 45 degrees, but using the crack as a ramp while leaning into the slab feels 42

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