BETA PHOTO: Lake Champlain Monster, WI5. The first ascent rapp...
This 200'-tall, sheer cliff drops into the waters of Lake Champlain on the easternmost edge of the Adirondack Park about 4.5 miles north of Westport. Facing southeast, it takes a long stretch of cold weather to form, and then bakes off quickly with the sun.
There are three major ice routes and potential for more mixed. The routes are 200' rope-stretchers, so some parties break the routes into two pitches.
Be warned: The approach is involved, and there's nothing easy.
Access to the routes is best from the lake ice, so it's important that the lake be frozen. If it's not frozen, then rappelling the route of choice is your only option. Best leave a rappel line (and bring ascenders!) in case your route isn't possible, as you can't escape onto the lake if it's not frozen.
Rappel Approach: Follow the directions in Adirondack Rock (the summer rock climbing guidebook) to access the top of the cliff, then rappel to the base. Locating your route will be an issue, as the top of the cliff isn't easy to navigate or get your bearings. The directions in Adirondack Rock help you identify Drop, Swim or Die and Lake Champlain Monster, the middle of the three big routes.
Lake Approach: Drive to Vermont, then to Button Bay and ski across the lake to the climbs. There's a boat ramp in Fields Bay that is closer. Approaching from the lake gives you a chance to preview the routes, and an easy bail option should the routes not be formed. You can also take spectacular photos of the routes!