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

By:  Greg
July 23, 2012

Finally, at the crack of 11:30am we started climbing.
the climb begins

The first pitch featured fun moves, and great quality rock. With each bomber piece of gear placed, our confidence-level rose. Finally we were feeling good after having accumulated two strikes before even setting a finger on the rock that morning.
confidence levels rising

The first belay ledge was nothing short of magnificent. From there you could see the entire rock face and the crack system we were on rising dramatically from the lake. What a sight!
the first belay ledge

the first belay ledge

Christian was running a “guide belay,” and Jer’ was having fun! What more can you ask for?
what more can you ask for?

Apparently, we could ask for more. In particular, we should have asked for was more high quality rock and a comfortable stance from which to belay at the top of the second pitch. Perhaps it was just a failure on our part, or perhaps it really is the case that the rock quality is bad there, but we had a very hard time finding a spot that provided a comfortable belay stance as well as good quality rock to build an anchor with. To exacerbate the situation, there was lots of extremely hollow sounding flakes all over the place threatening to break free and slice someone below in half. We stepped gingerly around them, and after some hunting, we found some good quality rock for the anchor, but with an unfortunately awful stance to belay from. The sun was really heating up the rock, and we all fidgeted and cooked as we regrouped at the second belay. Naturally there are no pictures of this scene of three hot sweaty dirty men tied together delicately trying to stand on a slab. As soon as possible, we set out on the third and final pitch. This pitch was great, and rewarded us with more fun moves, and more great views. That’s more like it!
that's more like it!

We savored the top for a bit (awkward picture alert!)…
awkward picture of us at the top

…but it was now close to 3:30, and the boat was due back at 5. We would have to hustle if we wanted to get back.

It took two long rappels to get back down to the lake. Jer’ yelled down to all the gawkers in the boats below that he was coming down and that the ladies should be prepared to come and shower him with congratulations.
Jer' on rappel

In reality, what Jer’ really needed was a shower with soap and water, and until he did so, the ladies all got in their boats and stand-up-paddleboards, and made haste for less stinky shores.
the ladies depart

At the bottom we cracked a few beers in celebration, took a much needed dip in the lake, and started packing up to get out. There was no way we were going to be able to do the shuttle and get the boat back in time, so I agreed to swim back, while Christian and Jer’ rowed. As Christian and Jer’ sped away trying to makeup time, I heard Christian yell: “Row Jer’! It’s Row-Climbing time!”

Indeed it was!

Thanks for checking in on FIS! Go out and start an adventure!

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Read about the author:   Greg
Enjoy this TR? Read another: TR: Valhalla Woods


  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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