Access to the Main Face is often limited in the spring and summer due to peregrine falcon nesting. Check the DEC web site (www.dec.ny.gov, search for "peregrine route closures"). Closures are posted in the kiosk at the beginning of the approach trail in the (now closed) Poke-O Campground.
Several recent incidents at the Poke-O Moonshine Main Face have heightened tensions with neighboring landowners.
Shortcut Trail (aka the Smitty Trail): The main approach goes from the (now closed) campground to the cliff near Discord. There is a shortcut trail on the right that provides access to the cliff near Pentecostal. This shortcut trail crosses the edges of two parcels of private land, and was closed in the spring of 2014. As of Aug 30, 2014, this trail is open on a tentative basis. Stay on the trail; there are some cairns and Access Fund signage to help.
Northern Trail Closure (aka the Easy Living Trail): There is an old trail that connects US 9 with the cliff near Psalm 32. This trail is entirely on private land and should NOT be used by climbers; indeed, it has been closed and undocumented for many years. Both ends of this trail are now marked with signs courtesy of the Access Fund.
In short, while visiting the Main Face, approach from the campground, and stay on the main trail along the base of the cliff.
This information is a public crowdsourcing effort between the Access Fund,
and Mountain Project. You should confirm closures, restrictions, and/or related dates.
Slightly difficult start on black-stained rock. Several options to the left and possibly the right to gain the slab up to the first bolt. Walk the slab up to the second bolt not far away. From there the climb goes more vertical again, yet still slabby. A couple of enjoyable delicate moves bring you up to the anchors.
At the far right of the Luther Wall on the highest bit of land.
A few cams are useful to protect the opening moves. From there you'll find a bolt, another bolt, room for maybe one more piece of gear and then the chains.
I dunno, I just got on this route on 8/21/2010. I just lead Certified Raw so I was warmed up. This is no 5.5. The opening sequence is burly and requires significant smears. And once established above the opening moves, it's still quite tenuous. The slab moves are very thin. And the final moves up the head wall are also stout.
The vegetation at the base testifies to few if any recent ascents. No wonder. 5.8 easily, and the case could be made for 5.9. Try it and see.
I agree with Jeff. I just tried to lead this route. I had just successfully lead Ladder (5.7) and followed Fastest Gun and thought this would be an easy end of the trip. I got shut down on the first move and then toproped it. I am glad I did - the slab seemed just as difficult and the bolts are very run out. In fact, if you are short, there is a tricky move to get to the third bolt and you are easily looking at a 30 footer if you miss it. In my opinion, this is not a good climb for those new to leading and is certainly no 5.5. I'd go with 5.8/5.9.
5.8 seems about right for the opening move. After that it's probably 5.5-5.6 slab climbing. The last move to the anchors is a little bit sketchy, but protected by a nice bolt placement. Overall a fun climb, and one of my first trad leads. If you're a pretty confident climber, this is fine for a starter lead. However, if you fall near the second or third bolt, you're going for quite a ride. Make sure you place a piece in the crack at the opening move - it will absolutely protect you from falling into the picker bushes right under the ledge.
By garyjutah Aug 3, 2012 rating: 5.75a15V+13MVS 4b
Stiff 5.5. Deff. no 5.5. With that said great climbing really enjoyed the route.