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Traveling, living, loving, exploring and trying to make some semblance of sense out of this crazy world.  


Friday, August 29, 2014

In The Beginning

March 2nd, 2007: The Punishers begin construction of the current high-speed trail to replace the eroded otter slide everyone was using to reach the cliffs of Franklin. 

At that point, the crag had existed for just over 17 years, about as long as another popular idea, the Access Fund, which, despite the grassroots, working-class image sold to the public, was actually a spin-off of the American Alpine Club, an international organization with a vast web of contacts and resources.

After years of reading press releases and watching as work seemed to go on at every other crag in the nation, two local climbers who were not members of the club had finally had enough.  Tools were gathered, food stores and supplies laid in, and two guys who actually are working class folks took time off from their carpentry jobs, stocked up on PowRBars and gels, tuna and pasta, then gave up a month of weekends to build trail for a climbing community comprised, for the most part, of Access Fund members who apparently hadn't noticed or cared to acknowledge the need for action.

Working from Friday nights through Monday mornings for most of the month of March, we laid in rails, stacked stone, and did what two people could to shore up a game trail and address the impact of hundreds of feet. 

We often climbed at night, by headlamp, so we could work during the day, although Fisher could crank off a hard line or three and then build trail all day, coffee by his side, before grabbing a snack and a nap and sending again in the twilight.

Mike Fisher takes a break from building trail to enjoy a rare moment of daylight climbing on Potential Energy.

The Master, in his element.

B.P.- Before the arrival of the Punishers, this is what the trail to "Raised by Sasquatch" looked like.

The base of Castaways, possibly the most popular and obviously the most impacted climb at Franklin.  Despite three different groups covering the adjacent area with mulch, side rails, plants, even marking tape, climbers have reduced the belay area and trail to this state once again...

Although we built in steps and rails, mulched and planted, there is almost no sign of our efforts today.

We did what we could: built the trails, made friends with the landowners, supported the little store at the end of the road, put up quality routes and replaced substandard gear.

Now, the torch passes to the next generation.

But this is how it was, in the beginning.

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