Armadillo – Baxter State Park, Maine 5.7 IV

Arrived in Baxter State Park at 1:30 am, and slept on the dirt on the side of the road. After a quite intense car ride from Boston Suburbia, now super tired, we slept a max 4 hours, on the side of a road, we thought about only getting 3, but decided against it. Waking up at 5:55am, we hitchhiked (picked up right away)into the park because we didn’t have a parking pass. Ran and speed hiked 3.2 miles to the ranger hut to assure we could get a permit to climb.

Justin got there 5 minutes late after running up the trail while wearing a heavy backpack. Ranger Tom still let us in, but told us we would have to work out access to Armadillo with the group ahead of us. They had an hour head start on us, but we passed them due to their poor route finding choice up the slabby wet choss.

We snaked them (got there first and climbed it)…. ethically fine I guess, as they didn’t ask questions or say anything to us, and just left instead of climbing it. My guess is that they thought it best not to climb the route after their earlier poor route finding.

The route itself had a crazy amount of exposure, and could be done in either 5-9 pitches. Simul climbing would help a lot in terms of speed on some pitches due to how eas The chimney and face climb on the first pitch were incredible, Right away, we knew that we were in for a good time. The next pitch was a great hand to shoulder sized crack. This crack pitch was short, but still a little stiff. At the top of the crack, you realize that this belay and the previous were both blocks that seemed mysteriously attached to the wall, and the thought of it breaking off was quite harrowing. The route turned into fun 5.5 / 5.6 from here. Very fun, with huge exposure. Varied types of moves, and a plenitude of loose rock that could easily dropped on your partners.

We started up the beauty that is Armadillo at about 10:20, and finished at about 4:30. A speedy hike across the famous Knife Edge and out got us to the Roaring Brook station around 8:30, with very little light to spare. A generous USAF physician gave us a ride in his super nice SUV back to our car.  We finished off the day with beers and food at the Loose Moose, and more sleeping on the ground under open skies.

Armadillo – Baxter SP