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Thoughts on the Gunks
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Nov 19, 2012
Dana wrote:
As for the grades, I've been climbing there for almost 40 years, and I never thought that the grades were sandbagged. They might be a bit - just a bit - more difficult than some areas, but nowhere near to the degree suggested by this urban legend.

For the benefit of folks who haven't been climbing the Gunks as long as Dana, let me point out that most of the starred classics (yes, I mean most; I counted them several years ago) have been upgraded from their early published ratings. So the Gunks WERE quite stiffly graded back in the early days, but that's not been the case for the last few guidebook editions. I don't have my books in front of me, but think about the following: Retribution a 5.9, Shockley's a 5.5, Yellow Ridge a 5.6, Gelsa a 5.3, and you get the idea. (OK, maybe I'm off on the old Gelsa grade)
Joined Jul 29, 2009
1,863 points
Nov 19, 2012
Reminds me of the time I was in JT and was introduce to an old school local who asked what I had climbed that day. I told him about a lead I had done - which for me was a nice thing since it was my first lead in the park.

He asks more about the cracks...and then says "Oh, yeah. That used to be the walk off..." Grrrr
From Gunks
Joined Dec 23, 2005
60 points
Nov 19, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: High Exposure
Gunkiemike wrote:
Gelsa a 5.3, and you get the idea. (OK, maybe I'm off on the old Gelsa grade)

Gelsa was 5.3 in the 1972 Blue Dick.

But, Travels with Charley was 5.6, now 5.8- R
Raubenheimer Special was 5.5, now 5.7 PG-R
Boston was 5.3, now 5.5
Strictly From Nowhere, Limelight and Arrow all moved up a full grade.

Lots of other examples...
Joined Mar 3, 2012
131 points
Nov 19, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: eureka ha
Living in an area that allows me to frequently travel to the new or the red I am always hearing how the new grades are so much stiffer and harder and blah blah blah.

My thoughts on "stiff" grades in certain areas

1.) climbing is often difficult in areas you are not accustom too. It takes time to get used to granite after climbing on sandstone, or limestone after climbing granite, etc. I think that is why many locals dont think it is sandbagged

2.) many noobs, or new to trad, climbers go to the gunks where the head game may not be 100% or simply they just except all 5.8's to be a ladder

3.) Certain areas are more conducive to onsights. That is, the climbs are more often more straight forward and therefore easily climbed in the first few goes (this is obviously only for climbs within your limit and not projects). I have found this particularly applicable to a few places; HCR and RRG. Both places seem to have "soft" grades by most peoples standards because the routes within those peoples limits are fairly straightforward and therefore done in s shorter time. I cant tell you how many times in the new I have floundered on a particular graded climb MY FIRST TIME that I can easily do first go at the red. But after unlocking the beta for the climb at the new it feels on par with the red's grading.

thats just my thoughts on why grading feels different for different people
From Colorado
Joined Dec 17, 2010
75 points
Mar 8, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Me
There are a ton of factors that contribute to why I am loving the Gunks right now. I am relatively new to climbing. I just began coming down "south" to the Gunks at the end of last summer. Every time I climb there I can chose from literally hundreds of moderate climbs to onsigiht that are within my ability. I generally go on weekdays and rarley find a climb I want to do occupied. The weather in Feb and March yields a few pleasant days. The style of climbing is much different than at home in the ADK. Jugs and exposure are fun. My season pass will end up being something like 2bucks a day to climb. Given my current pace, within a couple years things might not be as thrilling, but for now im agonna enjoy.

As for the ratings, I do not beleve the hype. I've been saying they are comprable to the ADKs. Of course, both areas have their sandbags. The style at the gunks is just very athletic requiring a bit of power endurance. Also, exposure and committing moves require steady nerve
From San Pedro, California
Joined Apr 8, 2012
1,105 points

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