Wednesday, October 29, 2008

High Exposure 5.6

High Exposure is one well known climb.  It was the only time Leo and I had to get in line to get on a route.  It is really known for its last pitch.  The first 2 are pretty standard climbing.  The last pitch starts on the GT Ledge where there is a large belay ledge.  In the first picture, Leo is about to start the third pitch.  He climbed up a slabby block under 'the roof' to the crux.  The crux was using a small crimp to ease your weight out from under the roof to spy the next hand holds above the roof.  The problem is that it is kinda hard to reverse and once you get out there, there is 200 feet under your back. 
The second picture is from the rap anchors to the right of the route.  The unknown climber is setting a belay anchor on the ledge.  Directly above him, about 15-20 feet, is a small ceiling which is the crux.  It is approached from the far side.  Above the crux is about another 80 feet of slightly overhung climbing.  Leo thought this pitch was amazing, he couldn't wipe the grin off his face.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

No climbing today

Couldn't get out this am.  I don't think there are going to be many more potential days before the snow comes in.  I will take them as they come.
This picture was of the lower rap anchor on the Horseman.  There are 4 pitons slung together with various pieces of webbing and cord.  You can't quite see them but there is two rap rings threaded thru it all.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Climbing Sunday

Kim and I are going climbing Sunday morning.  We are going out to Manuels to do some developing and climbing.  We are going to meet at the Majors Path Tim's at 7:00am and we will be back by 11:00am.  Show up if you are interested.

Thee Pines 5.3

This was a very nice route that I lead.  It has three pitches, each marked by a massive pine.  This picture is at the base looking up at the first pitch.  You belay from behind that massive pine.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dudes Bouldering

Believe it or not, the Gunks has a new hardcore bouldering scene.  At many places along the Carriage Road, huge boulders are just laying around.  It struck me as odd to see people bouldering when you have 1200 multiple pitch trad routes at your disposal.  
I can't remember the name of the problem but these fellas were working on a V7.  Easy access, good landings and a ton of problems.  The Gunks is definitely seeing a bouldering boom.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Long Way Down

This picture was taken on Shockley's Ceiling during the second pitch.  Nice little foot ledge.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Birdland 5.8

A Gunks local dropped by the gym one day.  Leo asked him about a stellar route that was off the usual tract.  Before Leo had the question out of his mouth, he said Birdland.  It had a different quality to it than most Gunks climbs.  It was slabby, a little thin and...a sport route!  Well let me qualify that, a Gunks sport route.  Back in the day, pitons were used freely for protecting routes.  On frequently travelled routes, the pitons were just left in place.  Here there were 6 pitons protecting about 100 feet of climbing.  Leo had certain trust issues with the pitons, he had everyone of them backed up. 
We were just packing up were this older thin wiry guy arrived and began getting ready to climb, but he didn't have a partner.  We started chatting and I asked him what he was going to climb out of curiosity.  He said he was going to free solo Farewell to Arms (5.9) to get to the anchors of two other routes, both mid 5.11's, and do 10 laps on each (top rope solo).  I wished him luck and we left.  Leo and I figured he must have been blowing smoke.
Back at the hotel room, Leo was flipping through my new "Gunks Guide" and there was a page on this fella, Mike Sciacca.  He was a Gunks regular and would frequently do 10 to 20 laps on Gunks test pieces.  He is well known for delivering amazing beta.  He had talked a newbie through a 5.10!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Following on Gelsa

Leo snapped a few pics as I followed him on the second pitch.  This was just after the radical 5.4 crux.  
It is hard to explain to describe how a 5.3 can be so intimidating.  Maybe it is just me BUT when you have an updraft that balloons your shorts, you KNOW there is nothing but air below you.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gelsa 5.3

Gelsa has been described as the best 5,3 in the North-east.  You can almost see all three pitches in this picture.  Pitch 1 follows a ledgy corner to a belay ledge at the base of the tree (foreground).
Pitch 2 dose some face climbing to the base of the corner.  Pitch 3 is the shit.  A dead vertical corner for about 100 feet.  The exposure was extreme but the climbing was just 5.3 and the pro entirely solid.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Betty 5.3

I tell ya, a 5.3 at the Gunks is unlike any other 5.3 I have been on.  Betty is a 3 star two pitch climb.  It starts by following large discontinuous cracks then some face climbing to a belay ledge.  Leo managed to get some crag booty out a crack at the back of the belay ledge.  He worked hard for a small mangled cam.
The second pitch was great.  It followed a corner/chimney and then onto some more face climbing.  I was getting used to the corners by this point but it was this step that got me.  I was standing on this large ledge where my right foot is and had to step out over the chasm, about 3 feet, to keep on route.  It was really easy climbing but it was the exposure that made it spicy.
It looks as though my last piece is about 10 feet below me but there is another cam at my shoulders.  I am not sure I could have done that move 10 feet above my last piece.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shockley's Ceiling 5.6

Shockley's Ceiling is one of the classic routes at the Gunks for a number of reasons.  It follows a "bold natural line" and is composed of "an imposing ceiling and exposed corners".
Another reason for its fame is that the climb sits directly above a hairpin corner in the road below.  Frequently tourists stop here to watch climbers so you always have an audience.
Bill Shockley and Doug Kerr did the first ascent in 1953.  Bill Shockley went on to win the Nobel Prize for inventing the transistor (Shocking!!).
Pitch one starts by mounting some large blocks and follows into a chimney to gain a large belay ledge (60 feet, 5.4).
Pitch two traverses up and right below a large right facing corner shaped somewhat like a large  flake. Once on the outside of the flake, take an airy step left to the outside of the corner.  Follow the face to a small alcove to belay (130 feet, 5.5). 
Pitch 3.  Above is the beautiful white ceiling split by a right-leaning crack known as Shockley's Ceiling.  "Climb to the base of the ceiling, tell yourself it is only 5.6 and crank it.".  Climb the corner to a second ceiling above described as small but awkward.  Leo found this ceiling more challenging than the first.  
The other difference about this climb for me was that there was no fixed belays and no rappel stations.  This made it more committing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shockley's Ceiling 5.6

This was just before we began climbing Shockley's Ceiling.  This is another popular climb.  3 pitches with the crux ceiling on the last pitch.  More on this later.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ken's Crack 5.7

Leo noticed this thin crack towards the head of the trail. It had good face holds and was only a single pitch. I climbed it first. My foot slipped just after placing my second piece of gear. When I looked, only two lobes of the cam were engaged. I climbed a bit higher, and the crack opened nicely. I placed another cam which was solid. I kept climbing, slipped and fell a second time. It held no problem. It was my first significant fall on pro and it helped build my confidence. The rest of the climb went clean.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Rhododendron 5.6.

Rhododendron was the first climb we got on at the Gunks.  It was a nice straight forward 5.6 with great gear all the way up.
  This is a picture of Leo at the 2 bolt rap station, roughly 20 meters off the deck.  Many of the tree used to be the rap stations but the webbing around the tree would injure the bark and kill the tree.  This has led to the use of bolts right beside nice big trees.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sixish 5.4

After seeing what the Horseman was like, I felt I should try a more tame lead.  We were close to Sixish, a 3 star 5.4.  It was called Sixish because it climbs more like a 5.6.  
I was quickly humbled by this '5.4'.  I was not expecting to come up against a small ceiling.  I backed off and Leo took the lead.  I was glad I handed over because it was the stiffest 5.4 I had ever been on.  After that I figured I needed to get on a 5.2 while wearing diapers.
This climb actually enlightened me to a weakness I have, exposure on lead.  I could follow Leo on many of the roofs and corners, but they shook me on lead.  My head is my weakest link.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Horseman 5.5 (Day1 Gunks)

The Horseman was a climb recommended to us by a friend of Dottie's.  He has been a Gunks climber your a long time and he said this was his favorite climb.  He also asked Leo what he lead at home.  Leo replied '5.10'.  this guys response was 'Thats great, you will be able to lead 5.8 here!".

The Horseman is a 30 meter 2 pitch climb.  It starts with some face climbing up to a right facing corner.  Towards the top, it traverses left out onto the face to a ledge for the first belay.  The second pitch was interesting face climbing to the top for a tree rap anchor. 

We know it is a little over 30 meters because we were told that with a 60 meter rope, a rap from the top would get us to a ledge about 2-3 meters off the ground that we could easily down climb.  We simul-repelled and just managed to reach terra firma

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Enough Bill

Bill has been harassing me about not post any pic from the Gunks yet.
Well here!

Bill has been harassing me about not post any pic from the Gunks yet.
Well here!