Carnegie Mellon Explorers Club

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April 18th - 20th, 2014

Red River Gorge, KY

Matt led his first 5.11b on Amarillo Sunset. The crux foot-on-bolt move proved to be no challenge for the quasi-hipster*. In other climbing news, CMUX members Matt & Felix with ECP sidekicks Kevin, Jenny, Adam, Michelle, & baby Santiago enjoyed three perfect Kentucky days at the RRG. They fearlessly tackled the Blues Brothers Wall and narrowly avoided raging wildfires in Muir Valley, followed by a peaceful day in Purple Valley and Dip Wall. On Sunday, they visited Bilbo Baggins in the Shire at PMRP, where Felix actually led the incredible Amarillo Sunset and Adam seconded. Props, studs.

*for factual accuracy, Adam actually pulled him up

Selected DJ Setlist:
Phantogram - Voices
M∅ - No Mythologies to Follow
Lucius - Wildewoman
Black Prairie
Trampled by Turtles
This American Life

Walls and Notable Routes:
Blues Brothers
Purple Valley
Dip Wall
The Shire - Amarillo Sunset (5.11b)

-M. Barnes

New River Gorge, Oct 19-20 2013

October 19th - 20th, 2013

New River Gorge, WV

We left for the New Friday afternoon with a car full of new acquaintances, plus Ben bumming a ride home to West Virginia. Settled on a good mix of Tallest Man on Earth, Colin Meloy, and Justin Townes Earle on the ride to the campsite. Folk yea.

Saturday morning was a chilly start down at the Endless Wall and Beauty Mountain. Matt Golub killed a 5.9 trad lead up Supercrack while Matt Barnes and Gabe had fun on their first proper rappels.

On Sunday, we took advantage of artificially low water levels at Whippoorwill, an area closed to climbers most of the year. Arrived early and watched a crowd of fellow climbers & friends fill the walls. Matt Golub & Scott taught Gabe & I how to lead belay and lead sport climb on some solid jugs before departing. Everyone is excited to get back down to the New again this fall.

-M. Barnes

New River Gorge Oct 12 2013

October 12th - 13th, 2013

New River Gorge, WV


Woke up at 7am on Saturday, drove to Bubba City. 30min hike.

Ames Wall left side
“Smoking Crack” 5.8 sport lead 40ft, 4 bolts, bolt anchor
“Czech Vacation” 5.8 sport lead 50ft, 4 bolts, bolt anchor

Head Wall left side
“Hubba Bubba” 5.9 4 star sport lead, 60 ft, 5 bolts, bolt anchor

Head Wall right side
“So freakin fun” 5.10d sport lead
“Skinhead Grin” 5.11b sport lead, 60ft 5 bolts, bolt anchor

30 min hike

Beer Wall
“Cerveza Verde” 5.9 sport lead, 50ft 5 bolts, bolt anchor
“St Pauli girl” 5.10c sport lead, 50ft 5 bolts, bolt anchor

Light drizzle. 20min hike back to car. Pies & Pints at fayettevill, WV for dinner. Fantastic climbing area with lots of variety and choices, definitely worth a trip back!

-B. Fang


It rained overnight, so we went to Bridge Buttress which dries pretty quickly. Some of the climbs were still moist, but we climbed Chockstone, Angel's Arrete, and Zag. Stopped by Waterstone on the way out to try on shoes.

-F. Duvallet

New River Gorge, Oct 4-5 2013

October 4th - 6th, 2013

New River Gorge, WV

We rose early Saturday and were rewarded by being the first group at Beer Wall in Bubba City, a popular sport crag with moderate routes. Nate got in his first sport lead ("Near Beer", 5.6), which Cecile led as well. Nate continued adding leads on the classic chimney "Daisy Cutter" (5.7), and "Cerveza Verde" (5.9). Mukund impressively led the sandbagged "Beer Wench" (5.8), which has a high crux before the first bolt! We also tackled some challenging face and roof climbs, including "St Pauli Girl" (5.10b), "Bubbaweiser" (5.10d), and "Celebration Ale" (5.11a).

On Sunday morning, we packed up camp and drove up to Whippoorwhill. Before the sun hit the rocks, we enjoyed cool weather on "Aimee's Jugs" (5.6), "Wendy's Jugs" (5.7), "Gimme a Clown" (5.9), "Straight Outta Lockmont" (5.9), and "Latch Key Kids" (5.10a). By the end of our trip, our whole group was comfortable and confident cleaning anchors, rappelling, lead belaying, and lead climbing!

-M. Golub

Climbing 03-28 to 03-31-13

March 28th - 31st, 2013

Red River Gorge, KY

After closing the 2012 climbing season at the Red River Gorge last November, another intrepid group of CMU Explorers headed down to open the 2013 season right back up again. Despite frigid overnight temperatures, a lack of firewood at the Land of the Arches campground, and a steady Sunday drizzle, the day time weather was warm enough for several full days of climbing.

Brian, Erica, and Felix---along with a merry band from the Explorers Club of Pittsburgh---got the party started Friday at Wall of Denial. Everyone enjoyed the hand crack on Strick 9, but Felix particularly enjoyed a gnarly off-width crack that truly doesn't deserve a name. A wonderful day, topped by pizza at Miguel's and an exciting chat with local law enforcement.

Cecile, Hugh, and Justin arrived Friday evening, and the group started Saturday at The Gallery, but moved across the valley to the What About Bob well when the hordes of sport climbers in gold and neon pink tights arrived. On rainy Sunday, a wise strategic decision by team leadership took the group to the Stadium in Muir Valley, whose aspect and large roofs kept everybody dry and on the rock until it was time for the long drive home.

-B. Kent

Climbing 11-21 to 11-24-12

November 22nd - 25th, 2012

Red River Gorge, KY

Over Thanksgiving weekend five climbers (Felix, Eric, Hugh, Cecile, and Nate) made the trip to Red River Gorge to finish the outdoor climbing season with some sensational climbs.

To accommodate folks staying in town for Thanksgiving dinner, car 1 headed out on Wednesday evening and car 2 started before sunrise on Friday. The two groups met up at Left Flank on Friday to enjoy some amazing climbing in the sun with many other climbers from Pittsburgh. We cooked a group dinner in the Land of the Arches campsite rec building before playing some cards and hitting the tents.

Saturday was chilly and overcast, so the morning was spent doing yoga in the rec building and visiting the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, which houses hundreds of venomous snakes used for venom extraction. After an enlightening guided tour, the group headed to Global Village, careful to check that each stick and log on the approach was, in fact, a piece of wood and not a venomous snake. At Global Village we enjoyed the best crack climbs of the weekend. Hugh had the good fortune to see the sun set from the peak of one of the routes while cleaning it. A variety of experimental pizzas from Miguel's was enthusiastically consumed for dinner followed by many games of Around the World ping pong and Farkle.

Sunday morning the group headed to Stadium in Muir Valley, taped up, and sent a handful of routes before reluctantly heading back to the campsite to finish packing up before getting on the road home.

-N. Brooks


October 14th, 2012

Coopers Rock, WV

We made the hour and a half drive down to Cooper's Rock in West Virginia on a beautiful fall day. The leaves were colorful, the sun was out, and the temperature was cool and perfect for climbing. The CMU Explorers club provided all the gear we needed including a guide book that explained the bouldering routes on each of the house-sized boulders which seemed to be whimsically scattered across the mountainside. We climbed for several hours, moving from boulder to boulder and trying as many routes as we could. The routes ranged from fairly simple, to impossible. Snacks, a packed lunch and constant pictures provided good breaks between climbs, as well as opportunities to socialize with fellow students and explorers. Once we were all too tired to continue, we headed back towards Pittsburgh, picking up delicious some roadside tacos on the way. It was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone!

-B. Hood

Climbing 04/06 to 04/09/2012

April 6th - April 9th, 2012

Red River Gorge, KY

Only one week after the previous trip to the New, three climbers (Felix, Erica and Steve) decided to head to the famous Red River Gorge to enjoy the beautiful Easter weekend.

After a chilly first morning, the sun woke up and heated the rock in the PMRP area, where we were heading. After sending some nice climbs at the Drive-by crag and meeting other Pittsburgh climbers at another crag, we finally went to the Courtesy wall where we used what was left from our muscles to climb another bunch of amazing pieces of rock.

The next day, the crew decided to go to the “Long wall”, and alternating between Trad and sport routes, everyone spent the whole day destroying their fingertips. Felix sent his first 5.12 (and a really nice one): “The gift”, congrats! After everyone’s skin was screaming for rest, we headed to Miguel’s to enjoy a pizza that we really deserved.

The last day of this trip was spent at the “Left Flank”, where we threw our last forces in some other amazing climbs. This was the end of an awesome Easter weekend, we’re all looking forward to the next one!

-S. Clerc

Climbing 03/30-04/01/2012

March 30th - April 1st, 2012

New River Gorge, WV

The weather forecast seemed to be good for this weekend, and many climbers headed towards the New River Gorge to spend some time climbing outside.

On Friday, after having some bad luck with a flat tire on the highway, we arrived quite late at Summersville lake. This was not enough to discourage us to climb a few lines (finishing the last one with a headlamp) at Whipoorwhill before going to set our camp at Chestnut Creek.

The next day, we went to Bubba city with a couple of other Pittsburgh climbers, where we climbed almost every single route that we found until we were exhausted. A good dinner set us ready for a good night of rest before Sunday.

On Sunday, we went to Endless Wall to enjoy some really nice trad and sports climb until mid-day, when it was unfortunately already time to go back home.

-S. Clerc

Climbing 7-17 to 7-19-11

June 17th - 19th, 2011

Seneca Rocks, WV

Felix, Michael, and Erica went to Seneca for a weekend of multipitch trad climbing. We met up with other Pittsburgh climbers and split up into two teams. The weather looked threatening Saturday but cooperated in the end. Michael did Gunsight to South Peak (a classic!), the first pitch of Le Gourmet, and Front C. Felix and Erica tagged the summit twice, the first time climbing Skyline Traverse to West Pole, and the second time climbing the classic Soler.

It rained all Saturday night, and Sunday morning things were quite wet. A constant light drizzle prevented anything from drying, but we grouped back together and braved it anyways, figuring the Southern Pillar would provide an easier opportunity to bail if (when) the weather moved in. After going up Climbing Punishment, we were ready to set up topropes when the weather *really* kicked in, soaking us in a matter of minutes. A late lunch on the front porch finished off a great weekend of climbing.

-F. Duvallet


May 27th - 30th, 2011

New River Gorge, WV

Memorial day weekend is always a good opportunity to climb at those far-away crags, but this time we decided to stick closer to home and spend some time at the New. We checked out new crags we hadn't been to before and climbed classic lines at ones we'd visited plenty of times before. Monday was spent climbing at Summersville lake, and when the weather *really* got hot we dipped in the lake to cool off.

-F. Duvallet


October 31st, 2010

McConnells Mill, PA

Two of us went to McConnells Mill for rock climbing. In addition to having fun climbing in the cold, we practiced setting up top rope anchors, rappelling, and belaying from above the climb. All went well for us. The new locking biners made it easier to set up climbs. However, we did encounter some other climbers who lacked the equipment and skills to safely climb. Unfortunately, our attempts to convince them of this failed.

-M. Tschantz


September 19th, 2010

McConnells Mill, PA

Ten of us went to McConnells Mill for rock climbing. The trip focused on teaching safe belaying and harness use. We discussed equipment, belaying, anchoring the belayer, tying in, lowering, climbing commands, and hazards. The lesson went well, but the climbing was hard for beginners due to wet conditions.

-M. Tschantz


April 10th, 2010

Cooper's Rock, PA

Left the storeroom at 10am and Returned at 6pm. 12 people in three cars and probably half of those had never been climbing. Beautiful weather, climbed all day, everything went without a hitch.

-F. Kleshchev

Climbing 9-13-09

September 13th, 2009

Climbing/Exploring 9-12-09

September 12th, 2009



Climbing 9-6 to 9-7-08

September 6th - 7th, 2008

New River Gorge, WV

After a very fun week of five days of work jammed into four because of the labor day getting out of Pittsburgh for Saturday and Sunday is just what we all needed. Fedya, Maryanna, Lisa, and I met Saturday morning to head down to the New. We packed up the car and three hours later we arrived at Summersville Lake to do some sport climbing. We started off and got a good number of climbs in before the weather started to get very ominous. We moved our stuff under a large roof and decided to go for a swim in the lake. We got lucky and the weather never really rolled in and we kept climbing until it got dark and got back to car by headlamp.

The next morning, after some fun around the campfire with a green laser pointer we headed out to Tattoo Wall at Bubba City. After a little bit of trouble finding the climbing area we got there to find quite a crowd of people, but there were plenty of routes to go around. Everyone got to tire themselves out. Then came the worst part of any trip, the part where we head back to Pittsburgh.

-M. Schnall


Climbing 8-29 to 9-1-08

August 29th - September 1st, 2008

Red River Gorge, KY

One week of school down, but not quite swamped with work yet and there is a three day weekend so staying in Pittsburgh would be a crime. Kentucky here we come! We headed out on Friday night around 5pm, when we arrived and Miguel's it was more crowed then any of us had ever seen it. I felt very lucky just to find a parking space and a spot to put my tent.

The next morning when we woke up with the entire crowd I was a little bit worried that everything would be swamped, but when we headed out to Sunbeam Buttress in Muir Valley we did not see another person all day. We were able to get lots of good climbs in. The highlight of the day was at the Solarium wall were Tibo started projecting on a thin overhanging route called Mirage. We finished ourselves off at the great wall and then headed in for some extremely yummy Miguel's pizza.

The next day we headed over to roadside in the morning we planned on just doing a couple routes there and then heading back to Muir to finish up some projects from the previous day. However the allure of long overhanging jug hauls was too much. I managed to send pulling pockets after 3 attempt, Wes and I both crawled and hung our way of Return of Chris Synder, and Tibo hiked Up Yonder in his usual smooth style. When we finally made it to Muir we met up with Maryanna, Eric and Fedya who had head out earlier. We ran down pretty much every single route at Johnny Wall.

That night we went back ordered more pizza. Over dinner that night a couple important facts were learned. One English is the one language were Pineapples are not called Ananas, and two talking about MatLab and doing riddles over dinner at a climbers campground causes comments like, "You must be the CMU table."

For our last day we went back to Muir Valley again to wrap of the some projects. Maryanna put down a very impressive on-sight on Plate Techtonics and Tibo hopped back on Mirage to give it a redpoint go. At the end I don't think anyone really wanted to leave, but class awaits and the beautiful sandstone of the RRG gorge will be there for next time.

-M. Schnall




August 31st, 2008

McConnell's Mills State Park, PA

Mathew Mooty, Ameya Kanitkar, Tamar Melman, Brendan Ryan, and I departed for hiking at McConnells Mill State Park at noon on Sunday. Amy and Lux also set off for the park to do some climbing. After the hour drive, we began the hike at the mill under a sunny blue sky with a temperature in the low 80s. After hiking along the Gorge Trail for a few hours, we stopped for lunch on a large rock next to Slippery Rock Creek. Before heading back, we took advantage of a nice section of the creek to skip some rocks and discuss the merits of rock skipping as a competitive sport. At the end of the hike we ran into Lux and Amy, back from climbing. Back at the mill we watched some kayakers fool around above the waterfall before returning to Pittsburgh.

-E. Goldblum


August 24th, 2008

Cooper's Rock, PA

Summer was coming to an end. So we took advantage of the lack of excuses and went out to Coopers Rock. We made it out around ten with three cars and more crash bad then have ever come on a single explores club trip. We arrived and headed over to tilted tree area. We can into a nice sized crowd from Pitt at the crag, but for the first time in recent memory CMU outnumbered them. Everyone got in plenty of good sends. Tibo threw down on Twist-Dah-Hick, and Amy topped out her first outdoor problems.

-M. Schnall

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