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i. High E
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Ursula T 

High Exposure 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 250'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Hans Kraus & Fritz Wiessner - 1941
Page Views: 73,382
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Feb 21, 2006

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Looking Down on the GT Ledge. Climbers on High E....

Description 

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.

Protection 

Standard Rack.


Photos of High Exposure Slideshow Add Photo
Unknown climber from Pennsylvania completing the first pitch.
Unknown climber from Pennsylvania completing the f...
Girl, Linda, dangling after falling off the crux of High Exposure. I was rapping of "The Last Will Be First" and caught this moment on film. She finished the climb.
Girl, Linda, dangling after falling off the crux o...
A great final pitch
A great final pitch
Jake's first lead!
Jake's first lead!
First pitch of High E.
First pitch of High E.
High E looking even better after some digital photo editing.  From original by Mike fenice.
High E looking even better after some digital phot...
Climber preparing to start the exposed and exciting last pitch of High Exposure, one of the best 5.6 pitches on the planet.
Climber preparing to start the exposed and excitin...
Susan pulling the crux
Susan pulling the crux
me second time up high e, took the sharp end this time.
me second time up high e, took the sharp end this ...
Looking down at TK after pulling the crux
Looking down at TK after pulling the crux
Bringing up his second.
Bringing up his second.
Who knows the story behind this sign?
Who knows the story behind this sign?
Climbing the second pitch.  Which way should I go?
Climbing the second pitch. Which way should I go?...
High E never looked so good.
High E never looked so good.
Photo by Greg Maka.
Photo by Greg Maka.
Wider view of climbers on first (or optional second) pitch of High E.
Wider view of climbers on first (or optional secon...
Looking down at the belay ledge from the crux.
Looking down at the belay ledge from the crux.
Leading High E, photo by Lance Levine
Leading High E, photo by Lance Levine
View from the GT ledge.
View from the GT ledge.
High E crux
High E crux
"The Move"
"The Move"
the frozen topout during a winter ascent
the frozen topout during a winter ascent
Taliah coming over the top
Taliah coming over the top
A few unknown Gunks climbers getting 'High Exposure' (5.6!) in the Traps. Photo by Tony Bubb, 10/03.
A few unknown Gunks climbers getting 'High Exposur...

Show All 52 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on High Exposure Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 12, 2014
By GoBotRocker
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
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

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
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
Oct 29, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

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 adrenalated
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!
By JSH
Administrator
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.
By doligo
May 17, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

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.
By saxfiend
Administrator
From: Decatur, GA
Oct 13, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

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 AWinters
Administrator
From: NH
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
From: Small Town, USA
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.
By SethG
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+
By marcin
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: Lyons, CO
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
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 19, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

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!!!
By gblauer
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.
By chipacles
Aug 24, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

SUPER AWESOME ROUTE!!! Does it get better than this at 5.6??? Superb!
By Stich
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!
By Gunkiemike
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
From: CT
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.
By ARMoss
Jul 10, 2013
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I get that routes at the Gunks are a bit sandbagged, but the only thing that calling the last pitch of this 5.6 does is create traffic jams and put people in danger. I think it's a Gunks 5.7, which means it's a 5.8 anywhere else.
By Dana Bartlett
From: CT
Sep 7, 2013

High Exposure was rated 5.7 in the 1964 guide. But it is 5.6.
By applewood
From: Tonasket, WA
Oct 31, 2013
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Of course this is THE classic. (I still vividly remember my ascent in Oct of '07, we had the cliff to ourselves, the sun had already set... by the end I was holding on with my elbows. Great stuff...)

And it redefined my notion of 5.6. It ain't sandbagging, it's just setting the standard, and apparently everything that came later (and further west) just gets softer and softer.
By Kurtz
Nov 12, 2013

Leaders: Be careful of the loose gravel on edge of the GT.
Seconds: Wear a helmet and belay very close to the rock to avoid falling stones.

One double-rope rappel with 60m ropes just barely reaches the ground. Huge time saver. Knot the ends!
By oldfattradguuy
Apr 24, 2014

Why is there no mention of the keg parties held on the belay ledge in the early 80's?.

Also, the story about the ground fall is true.
By christopher adams
Jun 5, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

I don't see what the fuss is about- the third pitch is the only one worth climbing (much better if you get here via one of the issima routes) and 'the move' can be done as a reach up into a jug from sitting on your rear for a no fear, no commitment move.
By Mike McLean
Jun 5, 2014

Well... Most routes can be aided as well. I doubt that something like th W-G ridge or Thin Air would be considered classics if they were done in that style. Doing exposed moves while sitting on your butt seems to be the same. Use the style you want, but don't diminish the route if you do it in bad form or style.

Also keep in mind that it's classic for the grade. Exposed and vertical like very few sixes.
By WillamR
Aug 8, 2014

I consider myself a solid Gunks 5.6 leader. I'm on the way out of the grade, and I just led High E this Monday.

I thought the moves were far easier than other 5.6's without the infamous "+" (wisecrack, wrist, disneyland to name a few). I wish I had done this climb when I was a little newer at the grade, so I could have gotten the full on experience, but I thought it was a nice little pitch with one or two 5.6 moves.
By omcmahon
From: Nashua, NH
Sep 12, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

I did this today, on a Friday, and it wasn't too busy. I made the mistake of following the corner all the way to the GT ledge and belayed the second from there on gear. Then we traversed on belay to the proper belay station for the 2nd pitch. We teamed up with another group and tied our 70m to their 75m rope and made the rappel in one shot.

All I can say is this is the most exciting 5.6 I've climbed! It really is 5.6, but it's unlike any other 5.6 I know of.