Friday, April 27, 2012
Just finished up my battle with the three headed dog that guards the entrance to the under world. In other words I climbed The Cerberus, 5.12+, on Cathedral Ledge. The Cerberus is located in the beast alcove which is to the left of Recompense. I have studied Rock Climbs in the White Mountains of New Hampshire by Ed Webster many a time and passed over this really cool picture of Jim Surette doing the first ascent of The Cerberus, he is also on the cover of the second addition climbing it. Websters says "The original aid line, renamed The Cerberus (5.12d), goes free using the original aid pitons for protection, making it one of the areas most serious, hard free routes. Double ropes are mandatory on this gymnastic testpiece."
So last fall I started asking Jim about the route and he though that the route had not seen a second ascent since he had done it in 1985. Having eyed the route from the The Beast, I knew that it was dirty and the pins needed to be replaced. Then I set about scrubbing and replacing the pins. Jimmy helped me out replacing a couple of them too. I tired the route over two days last fall last year. The leaves had fallen off the trees, so they were not soaking up the water and the route began to seep. One key hold was incut so the water would puddle up in it. I had read a tech tip form my friend Pat that said to use maxi pads to soak up water, so I put the pads to the test. The pads were then dubbed Manpons. I would put the Manpon on the hold, go to a rest and let it absorb the moisture, and then throw it off and chalk the hold up. This only worked so well and the hold remained damp so I continued to fall. Other shanagans abounded on this on this climb. One fall I had a pin, I had placed, pop and simultaneously a draw came unclipped from a pin. It was all so smooth I did not even know it had happened until the draws were spinning down the rope at me. I also employed the two belayer method because I was using double ropes and it was easier for people to belay and for me to pull rope to clip. The weather started to crap out and I left for the New River Gorge and the Red River Gorge and it was defiantly not going to happen when I got back in December. So I had all winter to think about it.
This spring after work I would run up to the Beast alcove to check if it was dry. The weather had turned warm really quickly and with our low amount of snow, meant it went really quickly and the cliff dried out early. I gave it three days of effort this spring, with much less shanagans, sending on the third. I got some good old New Hampshire encouragement the whole time, in other words heckling. The best one after I had fallen was "I really though you would be doing better."
Later after Jim had put the photo up on the Facepage, someone chimed in saying that they had seen someone climb it back in the 90's. So far no one has been able to figure out who they were. Second or third ascent it is still a really cool line and I'm psyched to have done it!