Full Photo Set

Route & Mosaic

Chapel Pond Slab.—Bushwhack up another 900 or so feet of elevation gain to the summit.—Bushwhack southeast to an obvious SW-NE fracture.—Folllow a line northeast to the King wall, a vertical cliff with established technical routes—Close the loop by following the climber’s trail down and hook to the northwest below the Emperor Slab (adjacent to / south of Chapel Pond Slab) and back to the car.

This is a composite of several climbs up the route with photos of Alex, Phil Brown and I.

Hmmmm…what to do when you don’t have a full day to devote to a big outing and want a moderate challenge at an elevation where winter has lost its grip? How about Round Mountain? Just don’t use the trail and take a rope (or not).
This little trip developed some time ago after reading a trip report about the mountain’s summit—open with a great panorama; a visit seemed like it might be a nice diversion with low mileage. Combining it with a climb of Chapel Pond Slab seemed like the perfect fit.

I visited the slab a couple years ago for the first time and it’s been a ‘safe zone’ of sorts ever since, a place I go to relax and refocus when life’s pushing in from all sides. The first couple times were alone, a common theme. Phil Brown and I then soloed a couple routes on it last year. Early May of this year found us playing around switching leads during a cold windy day; I decided to go back when it was warmer. Friend, Alex Hall (of ADK Rehab Center) joined me on May 10, 2014. He was game for a good bushwhack/rock-climb. The Bob’s Knob Regular route (rated 5.5) seemed like a good fit. On a side note, Alex leads the wildlife center's wolf-walks with their wolves Cree and Zeebee. Was it by design that I was now leading him on a rope?

Belaying, Climbing, Bushwhacking
We began the climb at around 8:30 a.m. A rising dike starts this route. Higher up is blockier terrain. After another 100 feet we stepped over a corner below a large arc rising toward the center of the slab (left). The flow of the anorthosite; a mixture of friction slab, cracks, and arcing corners; makes this the most elegant portion of the route in my opinion. Almost 300 feet up from the base is ‘Twin Cracks Belay’…an ideal belay point as the name implies. This exposed section climbs another steep crack that, with some delicate foot placement, leads to a beautiful right-rising crack. The slab may be near 45 degrees or more, but using the crack as a ramp while leaning left into the slab feels amazingly secure. Another bit of friction slab led to the base of Bob’s Knob.

It was Alex’s first time on the slab and I could see the enjoyment and excitement in his expressions. We took our time and climbed each pitch slowly and safely. The time spent belaying allowed to reflect back on the last couple years. Rope-less is still my favorite way to ascend Bob’s Knob Standard (follows a chimney up the buttress) and Regular routes—not as same, but not much more than I normally do on some of the ‘regular’ slides.

Alex getting ready to climb the crack leading to Twin Cracks Belay.

The fifth pitch climbs a near vertical area loaded with terraces, dikes, cracks – enough hand and footholds to make the ascent to the plateau at its top comfortable. We took a took a break on a plateau after the crux to enjoy the moment—Rte. 73 snaked off the right through un-leafed forest as the slab fell steeply down for hundreds of feet. Wind whipped the seepage cascading off an edge into a mist that danced in the bright sun.

Enjoying the view from the terrace on Bob's Knob.

The rest of the climb was low fifth class climbing up easy slab to the final feet of exposed rock some 500 feet higher. We changed gear for the bushwhack; packing the rope and trading rock climbing shoes for boots. A few mossy patches of open rock led to a pleasant bushwhack through a loose evergreen forest on a heading of about 230 degrees (true). Moderately steep terrain with some faint game trails led to even easier bushwhacking as we neared the summit. The slope fell back and more extensive areas of open stone signaled that we were nearing the summit. A couple small areas of ice and snow still held fast in the shadows. Here I proved that my aim with a snowball is still decent—at Alex’ expense (sorry buddy).

Working our way up from the top of the slab.

After 45 minutes we reached the summit and settled in for a relaxing lunch and good conversation. The sun was warm and relaxing, I’ve been looking forward to this type of weather as a much-needed a change of pace. My mind wandered as we relaxed—after forty some-odd years of either visiting family and living in the Adirondacks, this was the first I’d taken the time to climb Round Mtn. It was worth the time.

Summit Shots

Snow still outlined some of the slides…it’s nice to see spring taking a toll on winter’s grip finally. Giant looked especially clear. After our fill of sunbathing and eating we set off to the southeast following the various outcrops of rock toward a sw-ne fracture about 1,150 feet away. You could hardly call it bushwhacking. The obvious end of a large cliff-band came in the form of a sheer, but short drop in the woods. A ramp to the right led down to the base of mossy crags. Blocks of melting ice lay in the recessed drainage as we descended. It took about 500 feet of elevation loss to reach to the primary cliff on this side of Round Mountain-the King Wall.

The descent was steep as we wove our way amongst and over blocks of talus, a unique way to descend from the summit. Time passed quickly as we concentrated on footwork and marveled at the beautiful terrain. The climbing wall suddenly appeared below—to say it’s dramatic is an understatement. Blocks of stone fallen in ages past created both terraces and small caves. Near the center a roof overhung the base, the meager flow of water misted the area below and wet the bolted routes. I’ll let the pictures continue the description…

Beyond, we followed the climber’s path down the drainage before diverting to the north-northwest below the base of the Emperor Slab. Loosely knit unleafed beach forest led back to the car after almost 6 hours.

Upper end of the cliff band.

King Wall (here).

Putting it in perspective.