SPA Trip #16: Row Jer’! It’s Row-Climbing Time!

By:  Greg
July 23, 2012

After a long hot bushwhack (oh, and some rock climbing too) in SPA Trip #15, we set our sights on a multi-pitch trad’ route we’ve been hearing about over in New York. Not only did this route sound like it was within our burgeoning abilities, but also had the added fun-factor of requiring a canoe for the approach, and rising directly out of a lake. What more can you ask for?

As we made our plans, Christian’s friend Jer’ (which is short for Jeremy) indicated he wanted to join us. He is an expert at rowing from his days working at the AMC, and he is also a very strong climber, so we were happy to say to him: “come along, and ROW JER’! IT’S ROW-CLIMBING TIME!”

As I understood it, the plan was to meet at my place at 6:30am. I stoically set my gear outside at 6:15 so I’d be ready and waiting to be picked up, and not cause us a moment’s delay.
stoically place gear

Meanwhile, Christian and Jer’ understood the plan was to meet at a shopping plaza several miles away at 6:30am. Strike One!

After getting the wires uncrossed we got rolling at 7am, frantically trying to get to the boat rental shop which opened at 8:30am, and operated on a first-come-first-served basis. At about 9am we walked in the door of the shop where the kind lady behind the counter was kind enough to inform us there were no more three-man canoes available, and that New York State law kindly provides for up to a $150 fine if a boat is loaded past its capacity. Therefore, if we wanted to do this we were going to have to run boat shuttles. STRIKE TWO! We rented the two-man canoe, and tried to Strap-the-boat-to-the-roof-safely If You Can.
the boat on the roof

Finally at the stroke of 10, we got the boat in the water, and two of the three of us were heading toward the rock. The water was a little choppy for comfort in a boat laden with expensive gear, but the scenery sure was pretty!
the scenery sure was pretty

Aye! It sure looked a lot less scary on the Internet!
view of the climb

a lot less scary

Christian agreed to paddle back to the launch and pick up Jer’, while I got all the gear organized at the bottom of the climb. Before I could say “Row Jer’! It’s Row-Climbing time!” (and ferry all the gear from the landing to the climb, flake out our two ropes, set up my rack, have a snack, look nervously at the climb, and get back to the landing), Christian and Jer’ came rowing back.
the boys rowing back

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Read about the author:   Greg
Enjoy this TR? Read another: TR: The 6000ft. Chute


  1. christian
    wrote on July 23rd, 2012 at 2:10 pm  

    sadly, none of those lucia bikini tops made it into the canoe for this adventure. :/
    maybe jeremy will agree to sport one on the next trip.

    • Greg
      wrote on July 23rd, 2012 at 2:13 pm  

      my fingers are crossed!

  2. K_C
    wrote on July 23rd, 2012 at 3:23 pm  

    Shirts off when you paddle. Guess you didn’t get the memo.

  3. sbr
    wrote on July 23rd, 2012 at 5:42 pm  

    Nice TR and pictures, makes me miss rock climbing. You should make a trip to Bon Echo Rock on Lake Mazinaw in eastern Ontario for a similar water-access experience, without the ridiculous canoe capacity laws. Did a route there back in the day where we paddled to the base of the climb, hiked down a gully from the top and swam back to the canoe. Very cool. If I am not mistaken, your trusty canoe is a 16′ Mad River Explorer. The manufacturer claims it has an 1100 pound capacity. Three skinny Vermonters and some climbing gear would not overload that boat. Anyway, keep this stuff coming.

    • Greg
      wrote on July 24th, 2012 at 12:16 pm  

      right on! yeah we figured we could do it, but the $$ sounded not worth the risk, and so we decided to just follow the rules.

      dang that place in Ontario looks awesome! I gotta check it out! new SPA Trip? thanks sbr!

  4. Anonymous
    wrote on July 23rd, 2012 at 6:26 pm  

    “It sure looked a lot less scary on the Internet!”
    Story of my life.

    • Greg
      wrote on July 24th, 2012 at 12:17 pm  

      ;) us too

  5. Anonymous
    wrote on July 23rd, 2012 at 9:19 pm  

    thinking last summer Julie and I pulled our 21 foot powerboat up under those cliffs. The depth finder said those cliffs go way way down too

    • Greg
      wrote on July 24th, 2012 at 12:20 pm  

      woof! super cool!

      i have to agree with that too. a.) it makes sense that that face would extend down into the lake, and b.) we went for a swim, and it seemed like the depth of the water just plummeted right down to the depths. Way cool!

  6. suggest-a-way
    wrote on July 23rd, 2012 at 11:33 pm  


    excellent work, shirts nonmandatory *according to kc* belay devices mandatory according to uncle berge.

  7. Jeff
    wrote on July 24th, 2012 at 12:14 pm  

    Great story and photos from one of my favorite climbs.
    Now let me get this straight, you SWAM all the way back to the usual put-in!?

    • Greg
      wrote on July 24th, 2012 at 12:15 pm  

      i swam back to that island like thing you pass on the paddle to the climb, and then got out and walked from there on the shore.

  8. ml242
    wrote on May 20th, 2013 at 6:55 pm  

    Thinking about hitting this memorial day, this is maybe my FAVE spa TR.

    • Greg
      wrote on May 20th, 2013 at 9:03 pm  

      DO IT! :D Is the water warm yet? That was a huge bonus when we went; 80 degree lake=fun times. I swam back to the car.

    • christian
      wrote on May 21st, 2013 at 11:31 am  

      bring 2, 70 meter ropes for the rappel!

  9. ml242
    wrote on July 8th, 2013 at 10:47 am  

    Taking a send train to lake george this weekend (I hope!)

  10. ML2
    wrote on July 13th, 2013 at 9:11 pm  

    I had the best time on the lake. Thanks for the recommendations. I wish we had more rope like christian suggested but we only had a short and a long so we took turns leading the first pitch. The real adventure was getting there. We had an inflatable dingy and with the wind in our faces we were pretty pumped getting there. The 86(!!!!!) degree water (per the ranger, it WAS really warm) made it easier to just swim the boat over. What an amazing spot. Definitely a day I will never forget either. I can’t wait to go back!!!

  11. ml242
    wrote on September 1st, 2014 at 7:17 pm  

    Went back again, might have to do this one every year! Our site was much farther from the beach, it was like having the place to yourself compared to the sleeping in a high school cafeteria experience that was last year.

    Although, if I get my hands on a 5hp motor there are a million cliffs along the lakes of the adirondacks that would be in reach.

    However, there will be no footage, only the memory of watching the gopro go dink dink kaboom from 180′ a few minutes before the weather changed and we got the hell out of there.

    Water temperature is close to ten degrees less than last year, but should be good for another few weeks.

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