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Westward Ha! is definitely one of the best 7's at the Gunks.
This route is almost directly under the rap tree. This, in turn, is quite close to the carriage road that ends on top of Millbrook. This spot can be located by the place where the trail leaves the cliff edge and ascends a short rocky band to the road. Instead of going up, follow a climber's trail (past an ominous "go away" sign) for a couple hundred feet.
The rap tree is not immediately at the edge - it's about 15' below and requires a short downclimb. Rappel about 150' down to the ledge at the base of the route. You'll see everything as you come down. The obvious corner just right of the rap is most of it.
P1: Climb through broken rock and a small overhang to a good ledge with a tree. This leads to a perfect corner system - lots of pro and exposure. A small belay ledge is found at the top. 5.7, 130'.
P2: The second pitch is short - up a face and short crack to the ledge with the rap tree. 5.7, 40'.
Standard Gunks rack.
Gail topping out on Westward Ha. Photo by Seth
Jun 15, 2009
It's possible, and in fact a great idea, to rap only to the tree that's above the rotten rock on the first described pitch. Then you can link the rest of the first pitch with the second pitch, for one long pitch of continuous climbing. Doing it this way increases the exposure / feeling of being alone on the cliff at the crux of the second pitch, which is really just fantastic.
|By Jamie Givens|
Jul 28, 2009
I agree, about doing the corner and last pitch as one, but I would still do the first part. We did the first section to the ledge and tree as one pitch, then the corner and 'second pitch' as one pitch. It seems more logical this way. Great climb!
|By Meghan Spiro|
Oct 21, 2012
I think the meat of the climb is the corner and face climbing (starting from the tree up). This is THE BEST 7 in the Gunks (in my opinion). You can split up the pitches or do it in one. If you split it up, communication with your belayer is better.
|By Simon Thompson|
From: New Paltz, NY
Apr 12, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b
Because we had nothing but a 1980 guidebook to go on and in our hungover state neglected to check Mountain Project... getting to this route was a true adventure for us. We approached by hiking to the top of Millbrook, then continuing down the Southern flank to where it was possible to downclimb/tree swim/rappel to a prominent tree ledge. We mistakenly ended up on the lower of the two main ledges that traverse the cliff so we had to climb a pitch of unstable(scary) rock and some of the largest lichen flakes I've ever seen just to get to the base of the climb.
The corner portion of this climb is fantastic and yields some of the most consistent and enjoyable 5.7 climbing anywhere. Unfortunately our guidebook told us to traverse right at the end of the corner so we ended up getting slightly off route. For the final pitch we climbed up a short corner/chimney to an outside corner and were able to make a fun and easy traverse back left along a typical Gunks horizontal jug. This put us back on the standard finish to the route. We saw no rap tree at the top but in hindsight we probably passed it on a lower ledge without realizing.
|By Ben Brotelho|
From: Albany, NY
Apr 15, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b
Quite the adventure indeed...it was a fun day nonetheless and a good break from the typical weekend crowds at the Trapps. Our only companions on the cliff were many massive turkey vultures, and giant lichen flakes. The off-route traverse was actually a highlight of the climb for me.
Apr 23, 2013
The rap tree is dead. It still has fixed gear around it, but I would avoid it. There are other ways to rappel in. We used a pair of trees about 40 feet left/south of the Westward Ha tree. These trees are a bit higher up but a 60 meter rap still makes it to the ledge. Or you can find a spot to build a gear anchor for your rap and clean it on your way out.
From: Lake George, NY
May 29, 2013
as of 5-27-2013 there is no longer anything fixed on the dead Westward Ha! rap tree. i think everything about this climb is outstanding. the moves, the remote setting(by gunks standards), the exposure, its sustained at its grade and takes great gear.