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Pulling the move on High E, taken from The Last Wi...
High Exposure. The climbing itself is flawless, but when one considers that the FA was done by pioneers Hans Kraus and Fritz Wiessner in 1941, it's even more incredible! The name, of course, is completely appropriate for this must-do Gunks mega-classic.
The High E buttress is an obvious right-facing arete that is visible from the drive in from New Paltz. It is located about halfway along the base of the Trapps, right of the MF area and left of Bonnie's Roof. The High E access trail is about a 17-min. walk from the Uberfall, and a 13-min. walk from where the East Trapps Connector Trail meets the carriage road.
P1: Begin the climb in a chimney/stemming corner left of the arete. Climb up this corner, only until it is possible to traverse up and right across the face, then climb up the face to a fantastic, spacious triangular belay ledge (this is the GT ledge) right on the arete below a large roof. Belay from natural gear or sling the huge boulder on the ledge. 5.4, 180'.
This pitch was originally split into two by belaying in the corner before heading out onto the face, but it can be easily combined into one with careful rope management.
P2: This is the money pitch, and is just about as exciting as 5.6... or 5.7 or 5.8 for that matter... can be. Climb up from the ledge (it's easiest to begin at the left side) and traverse right to the obvious place to turn the corner and make "The Move" to pull the roof - the exposure is immediate and the rock is steep! Continue up the face past gear, jugs, and fixed pins, trending left back towards the arete, until you top out. Exhilarating! 5.6, 100'.
Communication between the clifftop and the GT is notoriously difficult here, so plan accordingly.
Descend climber's right from three bolted rap stations with one rope.
Also consider the Directissima variation instead of doing the original first pitch. Done this way, the climb checks in at 5.9, but you get what you pay for -- a first pitch that rivals the second in terms of quality.
Climber preparing to start the exposed and excitin...
The start of High E
Unknown climber from Pennsylvania completing the f...
Bringing up his second.
Nearing the top of P2.
High E never looked so good.
High E looking even better after some digital phot...
Susan pulling the crux
Climbing the second pitch. Which way should I go?...
Looking down at the belay ledge from the crux.
The view from underneath the crux.
Climbing High E's first pitch.
Just past the crux, looking up at the second pitch...
Looking back at the belay from the upper part of p...
Looking Down on the GT Ledge. Climbers on High E....
A few unknown Gunks climbers getting 'High Exposur...
Jake's first lead!
BETA PHOTO: The start of the third pitch from the belay point
BETA PHOTO: This the is little talus field where the High E ap...
BETA PHOTO: This is what you see as you come through the talus...
First pitch of High E.
View from the GT ledge.
Myself coming up P1.
Chuck pulling through the crux moves.
Climbers on High e...
High Exposure Silhouette Climber- Shane Johnson@S...
Carter having fun with the exposure, remembering t...
Carter relaxing with the exposure
Girl, Linda, dangling after falling off the crux o...
High E crux
View of the Money pitch
A great final pitch
Climbers on the first (or optional second) pitch o...
Wider view of climbers on first (or optional secon...
Looking down at TK after pulling the crux
me second time up high e, took the sharp end this ...
Dennis from New Jersey leading.
Photo by Greg Maka.
Shawnee belaying Ethan up to the roof on the secon...
Alli and Erik on High E
A view of High E from the Jim's Gem ledge. The two...
Leading High E, photo by Lance Levine
Starting pitch on left
Who knows the story behind this sign?
the frozen topout during a winter ascent
Taliah coming over the top
Todd and Taliah following the first pitch
Working a knee bar at the crux I took this photo o...
|Comments on High Exposure
From: Spfld, Ma
Jul 4, 2006
A great top pitch. If you have solid leading skills, don't talk yourself out of leading it. Yes it can be intimidating the 1st or 5th time pulling throught the crux from under the roof to the side wall. Oh well, that's Gunks 5.6 and this climb has bomber hand holds all the way up the 3rd pitch, great gear and enough air to keep you talking/smilling/skitzing and bragging about that pitch forever...
Once you pull around the roof and are onto THE WALL don't forget to breathe and smile.
The bad thing about the 3rd pitch is it's not 500' long.
|By Joe M|
From: Rapid City, SD
Sep 2, 2007
Such a great climb! Definitely one of my all time favorites! The move out onto the High E wall is such a thrill and the rest of the pitch is just super fun! Can't wait to do it again!
|By Ladd Raine|
From: Plymouth, NH
Oct 29, 2007
Did this once Saturday night by headlamp, then again last night (sunday) by headlamp, this climb is incredibly classic, no matter the cicumstances of the ascent.
Check out the article in Climbing
|By Jeff Welch|
From: Thornton, CO
Jun 15, 2008
The first 2 pitches (as described by Williams) can easily be linked into 1, but you will likely have significant rope drag towards the end, even with long runners.
I really wish I could give this route 4 stars, but I can't. Let's be honest, it's overrated. The final pitch from the GT Ledge to the top is totally worth the hype; it's awesome. But the first pitch sucks balls, and that's all there is to it.
|By Paul Shultz|
From: Hudson, Ma
Mar 8, 2009
#4 Camalot recommended for going through the roof. a #3 will work, but a 4 is much better. One of the best routes I've ever done anywhere. You're surprised how good the holds are on the second pitch and they just keep going!
Sep 29, 2009
It should also be noted - sling whatever piece you place before The Move long; legend tells a story of a climber whose rope was chopped when he fell above the move, and his rope was pulled across the sharp lip of the roof. The legend says that he fell to the ground (!) but suffered only a broken ankle.
|By Jay Harrison|
Jan 17, 2010
This is also a great route for Moonlit climbing. The first pitch is rough - maybe use a headlamp for it, but after that, moonlight shines on the rock you're heading for and your shadow falls behind you on both 2nd and 3rd pitches. There's a bit of uncertainty whilst crawling under the big roof toward the crux, but after pulling around, it's all silvery holds and out-of-the-way shadows to the top.
May 17, 2010
Be careful not follow to the corner all they way up on P1 (which is slimy and wet) as many leaders tend to do. You can also do the P1 of Modern Times if you want to skip the forgettable 5.4 climbing and keep the grade consistent.
After you top out on P2, extend your anchor to the lip of the buttress above the V-notch crack so you can see and hear your second.
From: Decatur, GA
Oct 13, 2010
Great route! I'd led the final pitch years ago as part of Directissima, but this was my first time on the lower section up to the GT ledge. I didn't link the first two pitches, and with a less-experienced follower, I was glad I didn't. I thought the climbing up to the ledge was fun; not great like the last pitch, but it certainly didn't suck!
|By Adam Winters|
From: the Shire
Oct 20, 2010
my friend convinced me to take her up this barefoot, leading both pitches and having never been on it. it made for a memorable climb.
|By Benjamin Chapman|
Nov 3, 2011
Anywhere else on the planet this pitch would be rated 5.9 The climbing at the Gunks is awesome, but the ratings are ridiculously screwed up.
Nov 4, 2011
5.9? I like to think Gunks ratings are sandbagged, but they aren't THAT sandbagged. High E is steep but the holds are great.
|By Mike McLean|
Nov 4, 2011
I'll second Seth's comment. This is NOT a 5.9.
I'm both chicken and weak, and I pulled it off. 5.6+
Nov 8, 2011
Very nice 5.6. Pulling throught the crux from under the roof is incredible. We used #4 cam before we went for the crux. After that move holds are great. Don't forget to turn around and take a look at the view. Rating depends on your skills. Two days ago the guy didn't make through the crux and was dingling for nearly an hour screaming to his belayer at the top of the last pitch. So make sure you extend your anchor to the edge so you can hear your second. And as a climber, go over some self-rescue techiques. You never know when you might need them. Afterall this climb is 5.6.
|By S. Neoh|
Nov 12, 2011
Even if this climb were at a 'modern' crag, it would not be graded as high as 5.9. Does anyone think the FA party 70 years ago set out to sandbag future generations? The Gunks is what it is; historic, stiffly graded, and crowded on most days. Certainly calls for a different mindset and one ought to adjust one's expectations accordingly.
This was my first Gunks lead (during my 1st visit), I led the last pitch as a thunder shower rolled through; made for a memorable outing!
|By Sarah K|
From: St. Paul, MN
Apr 19, 2012
This was my first climb/lead in the Gunks and it was a great introduction!
Some people have mentioned that it can be hard to hear your second at the top of the route and recommended extending your belay to the edge. We had some mild wind, probably around 10 mph, and I couldn't hear my second from the edge at all while he was below the roof. Only after lowering myself about 20 feet down the face of the last pitch were we able to communicate.
|By Matt Baer|
Apr 19, 2012
Busy Climb but well worth it! I got all the way up to the party ledge with a 60m rope. The second pitch is amazing after you pull the heady crux and get some exposure!!!
From: Wayne, PA
Jun 21, 2012
Where in the world can you find a 6 better than this? P1/2 are blah and boring for me.
Aug 24, 2012
SUPER AWESOME ROUTE!!! Does it get better than this at 5.6??? Superb!
From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Sep 18, 2012
The little horizontal slot by your foot stepping out from P1 has two groves in it where cams were dragged out by falling leaders that lost their nerve. That looked like the best pro option. Just keep your head together and step out there. If your hands start shaking, just relax and find the buckets and feet!
Sep 21, 2012
Sorry to burst your bubble Stitch, but grooves in horizontals are scars from years of angle piton use. Cam lobes won't groove Gunks stone.
|By Joe Grossmann|
Nov 4, 2012
Just go there and climb it. Do NOT ask anybody for the beta before! This way you'll remember doing "The Move" for the first time for the rest of your life! First time I followed. Though I was leading it the second time, it was only half as exciting as the first time. Still an awesome climb!
P1 is not that great. If you can do 5.9s, climb Directissima to the GT ledge and then go up the High-E pitch. This will make a memorable climb for sure!
|By Dana Bartlett|
Feb 10, 2013
legend tells a story of a climber whose rope was chopped when he fell above the move, and his rope was pulled across the sharp lip of the roof. The legend says that he fell to the ground (!) but suffered only a broken ankle.
Definitely not a legend. Early, mid '80s? Anyway, free fall to the ground from just above the lip, crashing through the trees saved his life. I don't know the extent of his injuries, but I believe they were not particularly serious and far less than would be expected.