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By BritishDan
Jul 24, 2012
I'm coming to the USA with my girlfriend in August for a couple of weeks and will be based at her folk's place in Branchville, NJ.

We would like to do some climbing while we're there and the Gunks is definitely on the list especially as it is not to far a drive from where she is but would like to maybe do some other areas too so I have a few questions in order to get the most out of the climbing as we would like to spend some time in NYC too and a couple of other places she likes so time is a bit limited.

Gunks:

  • Where is best to go in the Gunks for climbing at 5.5/5.6 and below?
  • What is the best guidebook for routes in that grade bracket, preferably with good topos.
  • It seems like the campsites have a rep for being a bit grim, which is the nicest.
  • Is it possible to hire rack/ropes to save on weight on the plane. She has been in the UK for a year and is now coming back so has no extra weight so I have to take it all. If not what gear is the most essential. Double or single rope?
  • Any recommended routes in the above grades (High exposure looks like a must do but don't know if we'll be up for it, recently I've only been climbing around VS english, which can range from 5.5-5.8 depending on how safe the route is and this looks a bit harder and my girlfriend has only been climbing twice.

Allamuchy

  • Only 30 minutes away so looks like a good bet for a nice day trip. I like slab climbing so could be a good bet. Will probs be able to climb a bit harder on the slabs than the steep stuff.
  • Any Online topos or route descriptions? There is not too much on here and only a couple of photos. Where could I get the guidebook? It looks cheaper over there.

Delaware Water Gap
  • Looks pretty epic and adventurous, how loose is the rock really?
  • Again any route recommendations. Is Rock Climbing New Jersey by Paul Nick and Neil J.A pretty comprehensive?
  • Any good photos or topos online?
  • Camping recommendations? Is wild camping allowed?
  • Best areas and routes?

Thanks for all the help! Sorry if I am being a bit repetitive. Any other must do things while I'm on here?

FLAG
By BritishDan
Jul 24, 2012
I'll add DWG is a good bet as she lives outside Branchville practically in it, whereabouts within the park are the good areas for climbing?

FLAG
By Larry S
Jul 24, 2012
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
Gabriel Symes wrote:
I'll add DWG is a good bet as she lives outside Branchville practically in it, whereabouts within the park are the good areas for climbing?


Gabriel, the few climbs listed on here for the pennsylvania side of the delaware water gap (mount minsi) are the ones that are currently clean enough and quality enough to be climbed. The cliff is usually closed for half the year for falcon nesting... it just reopened last month, so it doesn't see much traffic and gets very overgrown. The new jersey side may be cleaner, i have not climbed there much yet.

As for the gunks, check out This gunks 5.5 thread

FLAG
By Larry S
Jul 24, 2012
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
the NJ guidebook you ask about covers allamuchy and both sides of the delaware water gap well. Allamuchy is much smaller crag with mostly top-roping, a few lead lines.

Most raps in the water gap require two 60m ropes, fyi, both Mount Minsi and Mount Tammany. There are a few exceptions. Suprise, 5.4 can be done with a single 70m, and any of the climbs on the practice face can be done with a single 60m.

Here is an online exerpt from the PA Guide and this too

There are established campsites nearby along the Appalachian trail, but they're only supposed to be used by thru-hikers. There is one a short drive away off of rt 191.

Regarding gunks guidebooks, most people will recommend the Grey Dick Williams guidebook for the gunks. This covers the Trapps only, but with good descriptions and topos. I climbed for a few years using the blue Todd Swain book. The descriptions are much shorter with less info, but it covers the near trapps as well.

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By Larry S
Jul 24, 2012
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
Missed one thing - The condition of rock at the water gap. The popular routes are clean and generally free of loose rock because they are climbed fairly often. I would still recommend helmets to anyone who goes there. It is part of the same ridge/formation as the gunks, but is much more fractured and lower quality. Finding loose holds is not uncommon, but it's not like you're going to be hurtling rocks at your belayer if you're on a popular route.

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By JSS
Jul 24, 2012
Skip the rest and just climb the Gunks. For a brief trip its way more worth your while. Gelsa (5.4) is a classic and exciting for the grade, very safe and enjoyable.

FLAG
By BritishDan
Jul 24, 2012
Cheers for the info Larry, although we probably will only go to the Gunks it is good to know about the other areas that are closer.

Gelsa looks good.

FLAG
By Logan Schiff
From Brooklyn, NY
Jul 24, 2012
For the Gunks definitely buy the Grey Dick Williams guide to the Trapps. It has good descriptions of many classic easy/moderate routes. There will also be plenty of people climbing who can point you in the right direction of the particular wall you're looking for.

If you park at the west lot you'll find some excellent climbs pretty soon after entering the climbing area including Horseman (5.5) Dennis (5.5), Belly Roll (5.4), Jackie (5.5) and Betty (5.3). There are even better super classic 5.5 and 5.6 climbs further down. Just look for the ones rated three stars in the guidebook (some excellent 2 star climbs too). Beginner's Delight, Three Pines and Minty (all 5.3) are also excellent. These climbs are also easily accessed from the east parking lot (aka Stairmaster).

Camping is not phenomenal but both the Multi-Use Area and Camp Slime are passable. They are free and do not require reservations. I like Camp Slime as it's right near the cliffs and is quiet, but it has zero amenities. You have to park in the main West Lot to access it by a short walk. You can unload at the emergency parking though just up the road on the highway from the West Lot Entrance.

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By Alicia Sokolowski
From Brooklyn, NY
Jul 24, 2012
Hanging out waiting for Die Antwoord to come on st...
Hey Gabriel,

I am an avid lover of the Gunks, but if you have weeks at your disposal, I wouldn't completely discount heading a bit north from there and checking out a little of the Daks too.

Right in your requested range, (5.5-5.6), there are some great, long, slabby routes at Chapel Pond. In the same area there is some fun single pitch stuff at Creature Wall and Beer Walls. Plus, the camping is great as opposed to New Paltz.

Also, I may be the only one, well me and my regular partner, but we only liked the last pitch of Gelsa. The rest we felt was nothing to write home about. In your range, I would suggest Ursula (my fave 5.5). Go mid-week to tick off High E (though once again, only the last pitch is notable). Try The Last Will be First as it is right by High E. Asphodel is a fun 5 and right next is a gripping 6, Credibility Gap. Jackie is a fab 5, but I find it harder to find free than High E for some reason this season. Oh, and RMC is my second favorite 5, but feel free to skip the last pitch. It is a snoozer of a ladder.

If you want more mindless drivel on what I like to climb or where to eat or anything, shoot me an email at my first name . my last name at gmail.

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By Larry S
Jul 24, 2012
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
I thought branchville was closer to the gap, but it's apparently an hour drive to the it, and hour and a half from branchville to the gunks, so if i were you i'd pick the gunks every time. All the other rock we've discussed is choss comparatively. I climb at the gap to fill the void when i don't have the time to drive the extra 2 hours each way for me to get to the gunks. I do wish more people climbed there so it'd get cleaned up more and i'd have some more routes closer to home.

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By MaraC
Jul 26, 2012
taking a break from climbing shoes before rapping ...
I'll agree with all the above posters and say that going to the Gunks is definitely worth the extra driving time over the Gap and Allamuchy.

Some people swear by their double ropes for the wandering routes at the Gunks, but they're not really necessary for managing rope drag or for descents.

Standard Gunks rack is a set of stoppers, cams from BD .3-3 (or equivalent), a selection of TCUs or similar smaller cams (I use BD C3s, but others swear by their Aliens, with the green and the yellow being popular sizes), and pink and red tri-cams.

Plenty of guide services for hire at the Gunks if you don't want to bother bringing gear. Alpine Endeavors and High Xposure are two I see frequently.

The MUA and Camp Slime have already been mentioned. If you're willing to drive a bit farther and spend a bit more money, there's a KOA campground in Gardiner that is supposedly pleasant. Creekview Campground in Rosendale is also an option, but the owner can be a bit offputting. I've done pretty well sleeping in my car in the Preserve parking lot, and I've stayed in the New Paltz Hostel successfully.

I'll second all of Logan and Alicia's route recs. (Hi guys! :) I'm disappointed that neither of them mentioned Madame G's (5.6), which IMO, is nicer than High E and certainly more sustained. Andrew (5.4) is a nice climb in a neat position under the giant roof of Twilight Zone. You can also link up P1 of Andrew with P3 of Hans Puss (5.5). Throwing some love to the Near Trapps (the *other* cliff - get the purple Dick), I'd recommend Disneyland (5.6), Layback (5.5), Yum Yum Yab Yum (5.3, with 5.7 variations), and Gelsa (5.4).

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By Alicia Sokolowski
From Brooklyn, NY
Jul 26, 2012
Hanging out waiting for Die Antwoord to come on st...
MaraC wrote:
(Hi guys! :) I'm disappointed that neither of them mentioned Madame G's (5.6), which IMO, is nicer than High E and certainly more sustained.


My face is so red. You are right. How in the hell did I forget Madame G's????? I climbed that thing four times last season I love it so much.

FLAG
By MaraC
Jul 26, 2012
taking a break from climbing shoes before rapping ...
Alicia Sokolowski wrote:
My face is so red. You are right. How in the hell did I forget Madame G's????? I climbed that thing four times last season I love it so much.



And both of us forgot about Maria (5.6)!

Point being - there are loads and loads of quality sub-5.6 routes at the Gunks! :D

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