Submitted by: Glenn Vaillancourt
Route(s): Birds Nest & Nutcracker
Place: Cathedral Ledge, NH
It was the dawn of a new day. With great anticipation we approached Bird's Nest, rated a 5.9+++, ++, +. No one was at the North Wall which is very rare. Only the hard cores show up this early. All was quiet and serene. We quickly became one with the rock. As I, the High-Commander-In-Training (HC-IT) started up the rock, every move was like poetry in motion connecting each move until a final symphony of moves could be heard, seen, and felt. As the sun and shadows painted the wall, I continued past Norms previous high point and to Jeff's high point the previous week, and set anchors to rap off the ledge. A week earlier Norman was demoted to Sub commander since he bailed off the route only 10 feet off the ground, due to mental instability, and Jeff (HC) (The one and only High Commander) had to establish the high point for the day.
On the way down, I cleaned out the gear so Jeff (HC) would have a clean complete lead of the climb. As I looked up, the backdrop was spectacular, deep green foliage and a deep blue sky, truly a sight to see. As Jeff climbed, each placement was solid, like the rock itself, which allowed for cool and confident climbing. Once the ledge was reached, the character of the climb changed to mean and ugly. Was Jeff up to the task???. Tension mounted as he struggled and forced every move. Small holds and limited places for anchors. Jeff managed to complete this section only to get stuck at the crux move. Struggling for what seemed like hours, he wrestled with twisted lines, weak pro, and no where to hang onto. By this time an audience showed up and was in awe of his greatness and determination to complete the route. Up and down over the crux several times, pulling chin up after chin up, until finally the upper part of the route was reached. Upon cleaning it afterwards I realized the enormous difficultly of this section. .
To maximize our success for the day we went over to an even harder route where Jeff was able finish a 5.10a on TR w/A1.
All Hail the High Commander!