Steep Jugs! (5.9)

By:  Pow Turns
September 17, 2013 11:54 am | Category: Climbing, Summer

Greg and I are pretty stoked with our accomplishments as of late. After picking up climbing a few years ago as a summertime recreational endeavor that is perhaps the perfect antithesis of our other ballistic sports, we’ve gone on to achieve the following:

  • We barely know how to climb (this is an accomplishment BTW, since not long ago we didn’t know how to climb).
  • We’ve had almost zero beta on anything we’ve ever climbed aside from some hastily drawn and/or purposefully vague and/or out-dated topos we’ve stumbled across here and there on the Internet and in a few GREAT books.
  • We’ve survived.
  • We have somehow managed to put up a 2 pitch moderate sport route in Smuggler’s Notch this summer. It’s called Steep Jugs! (5.9) and you should go climb it.

Here’s a timeline of the route’s history:

Day 1; the first bolt hole.
bolt 1

After a couple weeks of small weather windows, pitch 1 is (mostly) bolted and ready for a send! Climb time, FA of pitch 1.
“I’m not so sure I’m ready for this, man.”
climb time

According to Greg – “i think there’s a good spot for a cam up there” – P., there was supposed to be a cam placement here.

“Really dude?!”

“No, dude! Whatever, we’ll stick another bolt in here next week.”
no cam

Here’s me taking on the face that gives Steep Jugs! its name for the first time.
steep jugs p1

Here’s Greg before he tries it himself. I think he got the impression it was easy. He struggled a little bit through the crux (typical).

Here’s Greg working into the crux…
the crux

…and clipping bolt 5…
clipping bolt 5

…and then finally standing above the crux and perched on “the beer ledge” (so named because he rested a beer can while drilling the bolt hole below it).
beer ledge

And then finally here was our view from the top of P1. in the bat cave after our first ascent(s). Apparently someone told the Air National Guard we were doing some “big deal” stuff, and they clearly were doing a flyby to get some shots from the chopper. (look for those later ;) )
fly by

It felt great to climb what we had put so much sweat into, and get what was likely a first free ascent, but we still had more work to do. We had only finished bolting one pitch, and were envisioning another higher up the face into territory we doubted anyone had even considered climbing before.

After a week of work, we went back, and thrashed our way to the top of P2 to start drilling the climb. Here’s me rapping out of the woods to bolt the second pitch. cold, wet and scared is no way to go through life… or maybe it is.
starting the rap into p2

Here I am hanging on the two bolts Greg just put in above me (from where the picture is taken from) hand drilling on the arête. There’s not a much stronger affirmation of trust than this.
hand drilling

And then finally here’s Greg drilling the last bolt of our climb… 5 feet from the first one!
the final bolt

The sweet taste of a job well done… and a PBR… and ground up schist in your mouth.
ground up schist in your mouth

After a night spent licking our blistered hands, we returned on a glorious Sunday to climb what we’d just poured some sweat into. Here’s Greg on the FA of the second pitch! If only I had a picture of him shaking like a tuna trying to complete the mantle crux near the bottom.
FA p2

I guess he’s showing the mountain he can climb it and look awesome doing it. Or not.
showing the mtn he can climb

After slapping the top of that bad boy, Greg rapped down, pulled his gear, and handed it to me with no beta so I could get a try as well. Here I am getting off the ground on the second ascent… and thoroughly wishing I had payed more attention when Greg sent it.
me on p2

Oh hai! I upgraded your notch.
oh hai

I’m not sure why I do this to myself, but here I am happily standing (and by that I mean shaking) on the wild arête that brings you to the top of P.2
on the arete

This is Greg on his second ascent of pitch 2. Notice his elegant technique, stopping to refuel on his way up!
stopping to refuel

Here he is taking on the last tricky move before the top.
the last tricky move

full of smiles

Finally, both of us standing on top of what we had poured a lot of energy into. Greg’s face says it all. Wait… maybe not.
wait maybe not

There we go. That’s better. Hanging and enjoying on what is the best party ledge in vermont. Hands DOWN! Or is that Hands Up? IDK
hands down

And on our way down, Greg also nabbed the FBHSDR (First Barefoot Hippy Spirit Dance Rappel). How do you spell your last name dude? I’ll write it down and send that info to Travis

Thanks to everyone who has ever helped out, gave us pointers, lended us gear, gave us gear, stoked us by showing us what is possible, and who supported us with some high fives and/or beer! It’s been very fun, and we really appreciate it. Here’s a list of you guys in no particular order: Nick, Jeremy, Bill, Mike B., Dwayne Hayne, Porter Hayne, Ben Peters, KC, Chrisil, Travis Peckham, AJL, Rog K., Gerard, Dave Powers and more. Thanks!

Now, hopefully this route will be as enjoyable for everyone else as it is for us! We’ll get a topo put up on here in a day or so, but for now check out the route description on Vermont Rock.

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  1. Anonymous
    wrote on September 17th, 2013 at 3:03 pm  

    Berge, shaking and crying ’cause of some jugs. What’s new.
    Well done. Well done indeed.

  2. Dwayne
    wrote on September 17th, 2013 at 6:45 pm  

    Shaking like a tuna! Classic!

    Well done, gents.

    • Greg
      wrote on September 17th, 2013 at 6:46 pm  


  3. Schist another route
    wrote on September 18th, 2013 at 9:56 pm  

    Thanks for the addition, boyz! Scoped that line years ago from below and from the bat cave. Didn’t think it’d go at such a respectable grade and so didn’t bother putting the time or work into it. Good on you guys. Curious what you guys used for hardware? Lots of options out there: single sleeve, double sleeve, stainless, etc.

    • Christian
      wrote on September 19th, 2013 at 9:04 am  

      3/8″ double sleeve, stainless fixe bolts with stainless hangers.

    • Christian
      wrote on September 19th, 2013 at 9:12 am  

      and the “respectable grade” is still up for debate. we’re looking to get some traffic on the route to get a better idea of the grade. but for us, it was more about putting in a fun alternate route to access the bat cave and also, we just wanted to stand on the top of that arete and have a new party ledge to drink beer on! get on it and let us know what you think!

    • Schist another route
      wrote on September 19th, 2013 at 9:10 pm  

      Well done. That’s the best way to go in schist. Thanks for dropping the extra coin to get it right, especially the double sleeve and stainless. And hand-drilled, no less!? Hope you didn’t hit too many quartz bands.

      I will certainly check it out before the snow flies. Looking forward to it.

    • christian
      wrote on September 19th, 2013 at 9:50 pm  

      we found some quartz, but it was no match for our ENORMOUS BICEPS!

    • Greg
      wrote on September 24th, 2013 at 8:56 am  

      go climb it! hitting quartz sucks. makes your hands feel like they’re going to shatter when it’s cold

  4. Jeff
    wrote on September 19th, 2013 at 12:03 pm  

    Nice going! That P2 arete looks like a lot of fun.

    • Greg
      wrote on January 6th, 2014 at 7:13 pm  

      it is! go climb it! let us know if you’re in town looking for a partner. would love to show you

  5. Skimohr
    wrote on October 1st, 2013 at 10:05 pm  

    That’s a beautiful spot. Nicely done!

  6. robrox
    wrote on October 20th, 2014 at 9:29 am  

    I can’t believe I didn’t see this last year! Nice work Gents!

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