I have climbed at the central slabs hundreds of days over the last 16 years. I love this area so much and I hope to continue climbing its perfect lines until I am old and grey and unable to slip on climbing shoes.
This small area is locating at the east end of the South wall (AKA Precipice) and offers climbers a taste of some high quality moderate climbs on the best rock in New England. It is home to the ultra classic 5.5 Wafer Step and offers amazing views of Frenchman’s Bay.
A few years ago I spied a potential new line between the two classics Recollections of Pacifica and Madame Lebois’ Troubled Lunge. I climbed the line on a top rope a few times and thought it would be a great addition to the area. This independent line protects naturally with cams and nuts but would need one protection bolt and a little bit of cleaning for it to be ready. I submitted a proposal to the Climbers Advisory Group and after a trip to the site it was approved. It was also decided to place a rappell station at the top of the pitch in hopes of alleviating the traffic jams that are often found on the Wafer Step anchor.
In the fall I spent a day cleaning the route up and figuring out the best place for the bolt. I was at the top of the pitch cleaning out a beautiful crack when I realized it was actually part of a large loose block that was not attached to the wall. Thus began a few hours of dirty difficult digging trying to unearth and remove this large boulder. By the time I trundled it I was exhausted and covered in dirt!
I let some months pass and allowed the wind and rain to clean up the line. This winter I had a few buddies climb the route on a top rope to see what they thought. Everyone seemed to like the line and each time I climbed it I enjoyed it more and more.
Today my buddy Max and I equipped the route with it’s one protection bolt and placed a two bolt rappell anchor at the top of the pitch. The line climbs well and has two tricky slab cruxes. I am calling the route Star Faced Mole 5.10+
The name is a play on the Star Nosed Mole which is an amazing digger and lives in Maine. Because of the extensive digging I encountered and that the climb is more or less a face climb, I thought the name was a great representation of my overall experience on the route. I also love strange critters. I am excited to have another quality line at the Central Slabs and encourage folks to go check it out. A huge thanks to ACS guides Ryan Scott, Richard Parker and Noah Kleiner for their help and incite, as well as Max Blanford for facing the cold today (15 degrees when I left the house) and joining me.