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recommendations up to 5.5 at the Gunks please
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By J. Serpico
From Saratoga County, NY
Aug 15, 2014
christopher adams wrote:
Easy keyhole is only 5.2 if you're wearing hiking boots big enough to jam for the first move, and if you time travel back to when the rock wasn't so polished. It's 20 times easier to start 15 feet to the right, climb up that face to the horizontal, and traverse in than do the bottom of that mess. I guess the real reason I hate it is that I figured it would be a good climb for a newish friend of mine who was doing 5.8 in the gym. I was wrong.


I'm not an amazing climber, and I'm not some tough guy who places 2 pieces of gear on a scary pitch. But I led Easy Key hole in approach shoes and my 60 yo dad followed it cleanly on his first climb.

The only think I can think of is that since 2002 it has seriously been polished up. Also, that is the complete opposite of a gym climb, so I can see your friend struggling. It's why I no longer gym climb. I noticed my comfort and rock sense outdoors declining as a became a solid gym climber. But some people transition back and forth fine, just not me.

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By J. Serpico
From Saratoga County, NY
Aug 15, 2014
gblauer wrote:
Great list! I would also add No Picnic 5.5, RMC (all pitches) 5.5, all pitches of Jackie, Dennis, Belly Roll (go in on your back, it's so much easier than your belly). Comments on the list above: Beginners Delight is great fun, but, it has route finding. So, if you are not good at route finding, you may be more challenged. Ditto Yum Yum Yab Yum. By the way the left exit on the last pitch of YYYY is an exposed hoot. I really liked Long walk for man, it's a great climb and you will be all by yourself. Red Pillar can be a bit necky on P2 (or p1/p2 combined). The last pitch is great! Andrew is also a tricky 5.4. There is route finding and a traverse on less than stellar rock/holds. Minty is very fun, has a devious little start. There are a ton of 5.easy in the far Nears. You can set up TR on harder climbs by climbing the first pitches (For example: Punch and Judy, you can set up several 5.7-5.8 climbs) If you want moderate climbs that enable you to set up TR on harder climbs: 1) Black Fly 5.5 sets up "that nice 9" 2) No Picnic 5.5 sets up Shit or Go Blind 5.8 and a 5.10 variation 3) Scramble up the gerdie block (around the left side) and set up several 5.8's, 9's and 10's. If you are feeling good and decide to do some 6's I would suggest: Disneyland (I couldn't find the 6 crux on this, feels pretty soft to me) Pulling the roof on Bunny, it's very well protected High E Snake Madame G's The Last will be First Credibility Gap (holy cow...quite the pitch) Moonlight (p2 not well protected and can be tricky for taller climbers)


Thanks. And thanks for filling out the intricacies. I do like wandering routes and traverses, so I don't think of them as tough. Meanwhile, cracks and roofs without feet are terrifying (ok, cracks are terrifying, just far less comfortable than a wandering face). But I agree with you assessment that some of those routes do require extensive route finding and careful line picking.

I think the last will be first is a 6, but it is a good climb.

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Aug 15, 2014
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
J. Serpico wrote:
The OP said he climbs in the ADK, where finding the cliff, let alone the climb, is often a crux (better with Lawyer's book, just imagine using the Mellor book).


Guides and friends! Not only do I try and follow a route a hundred times before leading I usually go with someone who knows what's up. Check out my thread on Tongue Mountain Cliffs. Now that was route finding! Haha..

Don has a different idea of what a guidebook should be than others. I can respect that idea. They don't make them like Don Mellor anymore.

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By PTR
From GA
Aug 15, 2014
Tons of good routes mentioned already. My favorite top-5 are: Gelsa, Beginner's Delight, Minty, No Picnic, and Jackie.

But as rgold has suggested, any route starred in the Williams guide is certainly worth doing. Sure wish I was going to the Gunks mid-week sometime soon!

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By christopher adams
Aug 15, 2014
J. Serpico wrote:
I'm not an amazing climber, and I'm not some tough guy who places 2 pieces of gear on a scary pitch. But I led Easy Key hole in approach shoes and my 60 yo dad followed it cleanly on his first climb. The only think I can think of is that since 2002 it has seriously been polished up. Also, that is the complete opposite of a gym climb, so I can see your friend struggling. It's why I no longer gym climb. I noticed my comfort and rock sense outdoors declining as a became a solid gym climber. But some people transition back and forth fine, just not me.


Approach shoes. Boom.

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By J. Serpico
From Saratoga County, NY
Aug 15, 2014
Bill Kirby wrote:
Guides and friends! Not only do I try and follow a route a hundred times before leading I usually go with someone who knows what's up. Check out my thread on Tongue Mountain Cliffs. Now that was route finding! Haha.. Don has a different idea of what a guidebook should be than others. I can respect that idea. They don't make them like Don Mellor anymore.


While I love lawyers book, I think the Mellor book was more suited to the adventure style climbing in the Adirondacks. You can't go back though, so no point in crying over it, and Lawyers book certainly opened up climbing to a larger audience. No worries about the Adirondacks getting crowded, but now they should be noticed.

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Aug 15, 2014
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
J. Serpico wrote:
While I love lawyers book, I think the Mellor book was more suited to the adventure style climbing in the Adirondacks. You can't go back though, so no point in crying over it, and Lawyers book certainly opened up climbing to a larger audience. No worries about the Adirondacks getting crowded, but now they should be noticed.


You hit the nail on the head with that statement. That's why I'm so worried about climbing around the Gunks and why this thread was started. The last two times someone was on the route I wanted to climb the first party were friends of a friend and we ended up sharing TRs. The other time the guys were very friendly even though i yelled up that I wanted to climb on the same route. We talked about being on Rogers Rock the same day while I crowded their rap anchor. The Adirondacks are empty or you end up making friends.

Come up to the Canyon or Pitchoff on a weekend in January. There's crowds! Haha.. I've starting to find out places to go on the weekends but like Tradman, I'm reluctant to share even a Don Mellor like or Mellor esque beta.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Aug 15, 2014
Rumney
gblauer wrote:
Funny, I have NEVER done that climb in all the years that I have been climbing at the Gunks. I will have to try it. Can you get off with one 70?


Yes. I recommend the 70m because the intermediate rap sucks.

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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Aug 15, 2014
Rumney
The Gunks routes in each grade vary a lot. Even at 5.5 routes like Jackie and Horsemen are somewhat challenging. I actually think there's a couple 5.6 routes at the Gunks that are easier than some of the 5.5s

I wouldn't limit yourself to 5.5, although you can most definitely fill up a day of climbing just doing 5s.

In no specific order, here's some of my favorite 5.5s

Ursula
Middle Earth (P1)
Horseman
Asphodel
Finger Locks and Cedar Box
Jackie
Red Pillar

5.4 routes...

Sixish
Gelsa
RMC (P2 climbs more like 5.5/5.6)


5.3 ...
Minty
Beginner's Delight
Three Pines

5.2 ...

Easy V (P1)
Easy Overhang

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Aug 15, 2014
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
Hi Kevin! I was hoping to speak with you. I led the Sword a couple days after TRing it with a friend. I feared for my safety! haha. I carried a bunch of cams I didn't need and was never so happy to see a bolt in my life. There was only a few moves that were hard for me but leading was whole different ball game than following. This usually doesn't happen to me and I don't want a repeat at the Trapps. Any advice now that you read this?

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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Aug 15, 2014
Rumney
Bill Kirby wrote:
Hi Kevin! I was hoping to speak with you. I led the Sword a couple days after TRing it with a friend. I feared for my safety! haha. I carried a bunch of cams I didn't need and was never so happy to see a bolt in my life. There was only a few moves that were hard for me but leading was whole different ball game than following. This usually doesn't happen to me and I don't want a repeat at the Trapps. Any advice now that you read this?


All the routes I listed are PG at worse, mostly G-ish. Asphodel has a bit of a ledge at the crux, no way of fully protecting the move but frankly, the move isn't that hard. It's 5.5

Read the route descriptions and comments on MP before heading up. I don't do any new routes in the Gunks without reading MP first.

Andrew (5.4) would have been added, but it's PG-ish. I think once you get used to what you can/can't do on Gunks rock, you will feel fine on the slightly more runout routes.

I wanted to add that many of the easier routes at the Gunks have 'inconvenient' sections, usually close to the bottom, where there may be a "bouldery" move or two. Minty comes to mind, it's a very height dependent move 15 feet up, and probably not 5.3 by any measure. Easy Overhang has a committing and thin start for 5.2 . I say 'inconvenient' because if we were to grade these routes properly (based on the hardest move's difficulty grade) many of these classic easy climbs would be a grade or three stiffer, and wouldn't be as classic since they would now be a 5.5 route with one 5.5 move and the rest being 5.2 . So expect many of these easier routes to have harder than expected sections.

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Aug 16, 2014
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
Thanks Kevin!

I got some PMs from people wanting to meet up. I hope this means I get a good idea of what routes are good for me not crying and praying to God 20 feet above a 00.. I'm looking forward to checking everything out.


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By J. Serpico
From Saratoga County, NY
Aug 20, 2014
I think the biggest issue on the easy climbs isn't the fun or protection, it's the constant ledge fall potential despite generally steep climbing and good exposure.

That's the great thing about the Gunks. 5.2s with steep vertical climbing. The bad, falling on a steep vertical 5.2. Of course you obviously shouldn't fall, but...

Also, this year I really noticed that Gunks grading is stiffer. I always denied it, but I'm leading 6s and even 7s elsewhere and while Gunks 5.5s aren't killing me, they definitely feel harder than the 6s I've done elsewhere. Bearing in mind that many of those 6s have been on dirty Adirondack adventure type climbs with little beta vs clean Gunks rock. Maybe the beta is screwing with me, but...

Good luck and have fun.

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Aug 21, 2014
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
J, have you done these Adirondack 5.6s?

Catharsis

Bozeman Bullet

North Country Club Crack

The Sword

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By JD1984
From Worcester, MA
Aug 29, 2014
Minty is definitely good.... But as others have commented, the start is definitely harder than 5.3.

Hawk is probably one of the best 5.5 routes I've done there, though the 2nd pitch is kinda PG-13 since the rock fall years ago. Great finger crack start and the exposure is sensational!

Andrew was good too.

Horseman is incredible, but is often a long wait.... Even on weekdays

Bunny makes for a fun single pitch route as well.

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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Aug 29, 2014
Rumney
JD1984 wrote:
Minty is definitely good.... But as others have commented, the start is definitely harder than 5.3. Hawk is probably one of the best 5.5 routes I've done there, though the 2nd pitch is kinda PG-13 since the rock fall years ago. Great finger crack start and the exposure is sensational! Andrew was good too. Horseman is incredible, but is often a long wait.... Even on weekdays Bunny makes for a fun single pitch route as well.


Gotta post my opinion on two of these suggestions...

Hawk is constantly shedding rock, has done so twice this year already. I don't even like walking under it. I sure as hell won't climb it with so many other options available.

Bunny has gotten quite polished and I find the footing (like Fingerlocks&Cedarbox) to be tough to trust. The actual climbing isn't hard, but it doesn't take much 'slip' to be on your ass or head at the bottom again. The 5.6 roof var on Bunny is fun fwiw. Bunny also has a poorly protected ledgey section about midway up. Climbing here isn't more than 5.3 or 5.4 but you definitely don't want to fall. That said, I have led Bunny not that long ago despite swearing it off for a few years. It's kinda fun, and really IMO the only quality is the bottom 30 feet and the couple roof moves. I'm back to passing it by, rather wait in line at Horseman. :p

Bill, the last pitch of Catharsis isn't 5.5 or 5.6, whatever they call it. Not by any measure! lol

If you've led all those routes, then you're good through 5.6 in the Gunks. Just bear in mind 5.6 can be steep in the Gunks, so you might find yourself getting tired near the end of a solid pitch. Madame G's comes to mind (especially if you link the pitches). If your head allows climbing a bit above your gear, The Last Will Be First is one of my favorite 5.6 Gunks climbs. It's never harder than 5.6 and has some great moves, positions, and even some exposure. Similar for P1 of Arrow and Limelight.

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By Steve Williams
From Denver, CO
Aug 29, 2014
High Corner!!!

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By J. Serpico
From Saratoga County, NY
4 days ago
Bill Kirby wrote:
J, have you done these Adirondack 5.6s? Catharsis Bozeman Bullet North Country Club Crack The Sword


I've done NCCC and Diamonds and Coal on J&G wall. I've also done the now rerated Weissner route on Washbowl, which was a 5.5 when I did it, and a some told me a 5.4 a few books prior. It's now a 5.6 and apparently still gives people trouble.

I've only climbed once at the Beer Walls. CMI and Afternoon Delight. Afternoon delight was 4 stars in the book, but honestly, it was a Gunks jug haul and at best deserves a single star. CMI on the other hand was 1 star and if it was in the Gunks would be a 3 star route.

I've done Yakapodu and Big Bertha both legit 5.6s. As was Diamonds and Coal. I'm a gunks climber by default, even though I prefer the Dacks, so my crack skills are weak. Therefore, it's hard for me to rate a crack. Someone who can lead cracks well will definitely find my ratings off.

Faces and slabs I can rate fairly. Cracks not yet.

Oh, and I totally agree with Kevin. Bunny was polished in the early 2000s when I first led it, onsight. I feel 10 ft up. Feet just came out and at that spot there really aren't hands.

I went back and led it a year later, cruised up it, but I never have felt comfortable on that first 15ft before the roof in subsequent leads, or even when following someone.

All my leads unless otherwise stated were onsights, I don't think it's trad if you top rope it first, so I try to not top rope anything if I plan to lead it.

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
4 days ago
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
Haha.. J. What made you reply to this old post?

You must be a small guy to fit through the crux of the first pitch of the Wissner route. It's fun... After the first pitch.

I like Afternoon Deight and CWI. I think the pro is interesting on AD. The view at the top of both are sweet!

That's an interesting definition of trad. A partner and good friend of mine shares your view. He tries to lead on nuts only. I just enjoy my little personal victories. A day of only leading or finally leading something I've only followed or TRed before. I guess everyone has fun in their own way.


I'm looking forward to the fact that ice seasons around the corner.

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By J. Serpico
From Saratoga County, NY
4 days ago
Climbing with a friend and her kid Sunday and just trying to run down my options.

I'm actually leaning towards Easy V first (both pitches) and then Shockley's without. Good combo of exposure and easy climbing on both. She wants multi-pitch, which makes things a bit tougher.

When I was younger I cared what others ethics and definitions were. Now, I don't give a crap. Whatever makes climbing fun is what you should do. Obviously respect others but beyond that, do whatever you want. But I definitely feel like ground up leads should be the goal of a sparsely talented weekend warrior trad climber, and thats what I try for.

I've also found many classics (classics to me) that weren't the same once I made the moves. Great example. Right hand route on Chapel Pond Gully Cliffs. Once you make that move the first time and find the hold, it's very much just a 5.4 move that can never repeat that exhilaration. But because it was a commitment, i have a great appreciation for the route. IMO, it's a 2-3 star route, but the book gives it a lowly star.

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
4 days ago
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
How bout Betty for the first multipitch?

I wanna check out right hand route now. Thanks!

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By J. Serpico
From Saratoga County, NY
3 days ago
Bill Kirby wrote:
How bout Betty for the first multipitch? I wanna check out right hand route now. Thanks!


Betty is a possibility and on the list. But belays and communication are kinda tricky.

I guess Easy V has similar issues for pitch 2 (technically pitch 3). But P1 is nice and long and easy to communicate.

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By Benjaminadk
From Lake George, NY
3 days ago
Me
Just climb horseman as one pitch. 5.5 cant get much better.

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By jdrago
From Rosendale, NY
2 days ago
Betty is a great first multi pitch. At the first belay ledge stand on the ledge and there is a big horizontal at about head height that takes pink tri cams and .5's. super coomfy belay and just extend your belay over the cliff at the top to improve communication.

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