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matt_m

[TR] Gunks and NH- All Over the Place 10/3/2004

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Climb: Gunks and NH-All Over the Place

 

Date of Climb: 10/3/2004

 

Trip Report:

Just got back from a 10 day trip through NY / NH. This will be my first attempt at a long trip report so please deal with the ramblings and inane banter.

 

Got into NY on Oct 2nd and was down in S. NY by the afternoon. I have family that lives 50 minutes from the Gunks (Poughkeepsie native: ayeh) so base camp was super cush. Nothing like a "mom - cooked" meal after a day on the rock. Headed out to the Gunks the next day and was reminded of all the craziness that is New Paltz. I hadn't been there in 4 years but man, it's still nutty on a good fall weekend. Picture a parking lot full of 200 (yes that's two hundred) cars all with people packing TRAD gear. I've never seen so many cams and ridiculous displays of tied webbing runners in one place. Cool. Being a weekend we did the old Gunks route finding routine of 1) walk to base of climb 2) ask if we're at the right spot 3) be told no it's over there 40 ft 4) look over 40ft to see 2 partied waiting to get on the Williams 3 star classic.

 

Got on some good climbs regardless including Pax De Deux and MF. I was loving the horizontals already.

 

Day 2 - Monday. The cliffs seem abandoned as we made our way down to High E. Hopped on that and then back around to get on Directissima. Both great climbs. Also did Bonnies Roof and Ants Line, working our way back towards the car, finishing up with an onsight of Retribution. That sucker is hard and lacks a lot of those friendly horizontals - Very rough crystalline piton scars for your fingers.

 

Observations after two days. The horizontal climbing is SICK. Every time you think you've run out of holds, you reach a little higher up and BAM! Great incut edge. This leads me to point 2. It's good to be tall in the Gunks. Short people - sorry but you're stuck having to stretch for those great edges. 3) Aliens are undoubtedly the GREATEST PIECE OF GEAR EVER MADE. I say this all the time out west but having been back to my old haunt WITH aliens I've been even more convinced. Go buy two sets to red and ignore anyone who says othewise. Same goes for the gunks tie-off. Versatile as heck. Double ropes - Learn to love them as you PIMP everyone around you with them. They're confidence inspiring on the roofs, great for the wondering pro placements AND you can rap down a lot of stuff in one shot, smiling as you pass the people trying to feed that single for the 3rd! time getting down from the high-e buttress. Lastly, and this could be blastphemy for me (esp having learned there). I think going from the Gunks to say, Squamish vertical cracks would feel a lot harder than going the other way. Yeah the Gunks were pumpy but horizontals are pretty straight forward. (Exceptions like the retribution pins scars do exist!)

 

Day 3 - Weather looks iffy so we pack up and bust a move to North Conway, NH for some good ole granite loving at Cathedral / Whitehorse.

 

Get there late afternoon and book-it down to Book of Soleminity. DAMN. After two days of horizontals, getting back into the granite climbing that I love was F-in HARD. Tiny little crimps and STEMMING in corners! That first 40 ft around the bulge made me WORK. Got it clean and after a little thought, fired through the second pitch as well topping out as the sun set. Met some really nice retirees at the top that had a place in town and chatted it up with them for a little as we sorted and stacked the gear. Walked to the car (LOVE the cliff top parking) and drove to dinner. Some Moose place in N Conway that was good. Crisp fall air and wood smoke had me grinning ear to ear as we made our way to the hostel in town to crash. Decent place, the hostel that is, and right on the road to the cliff. 10 minutes tops from bed to belay if you wanted.

 

Day 4 - Whitehorse Day. Parked at the hotel and walked over to the Wonder Wall area. Not a bad approach at all. Racked up and began the adventure of FINDING the start to The Last Unicorn. Tip: The tree at the base is dead and no longer standing - looks like a small rock fall/slide took it out. Start near the fresh rock and work your way up and left (Scary) to the bolt. Unicorn had to be one of my favorite climbs of the Trip. After the EXCITING 1st pitch (only pro for the start are two pins and a bolt before the crux) the climb mellows and is SPECTACULAR. Highly recommended. Rapped down and did some other face climbs there before finishing up on Ethereal Crack and the 10a next to it. Good stuff. Dinner at the Chinese place in town (lots-o-food!) before hitting the sack.

 

Day 5 - Cathedral 2 - Quick stop in IMS and EMS to get my cliff poster and t shirt (I collect them) before rapping into the start of Recombeast. Again, there's a reason this is a must do. No as cool as Solemnity or Unicorn but great location nonetheless. Walked over and did Chicken Delight then hiked down to try and get on Deidre. Party on it so we head over and try and find the start of Intimidation. I start up what I think is the climb and work pretty damn hard to get up the first pitch. The whole time I'm thinking "holy sandbag batman" even for 10b. Later I found out I was on Abracadbra. Sweet, my first onsight trad 11b. Thats a good whoops. We kept walking over to the thin air face to run up Rapid Transit before finishing off the day with a TR on Airation Crack. Great climb but don't mess up because this thing will break your fingers the locks are so secure.

 

North Conway Observations - This place was amazing. No crowds, great town, great people, great climbing. I'll be going back again without a doubt.

 

Day 6 - Hump Day. We hump over the Kanc Highway (Beautiful fall folliage) hoping to run up something on Cannon. Park the car, check out the rock scar formely know as the Old Man in the Mountain and start up to get on Moby Grape for a nice long crusier day. Get to the base to see no less than 4! parties on the route. WTF?! We rope up anyway thinking if we hustle we might pass them all before the 3rd pitch with some simul-climbing. We get up to the top to see ANOTHER party higher up. Bleh - rap down, do Reppy's Crack (Think Kalahnie Crack but longer and cleaner) and hike over to Whiney/Gillman. Pass some nice people lower down and top out pretty fast. Cool ridge climbing. Descend, hop in the car and book-it to Dartmouth so I can shoot the breeze with my old coach and get some grub before we watched the debates in a dorm lounge. Drive home to NY at 1am tired but having a blast.

 

day 7 - rest day

 

day 8 - Back to the Gunks - Nutty crowds but we manage to get on Modern Times and CCK Direct among others. Good stories with those two though...

 

Modern Times (5.8+) - This wins the award for biggest 5.8 sandbag EVER. Seriously - how many 5.8s pull through 10+ foot roofs? not many. When people say they lead solid 5.8 just ask them if they've done modern times. Probably my top 5.8 ever. Don't ask questions, just go do it. Put in some good pro at the roof and go go go. When you pull over the top the smile on your face will HURT it will be so big.

 

CCK Direct - Line on this one but we decide to cue up. Small world since the people in front of us were from Seattle AND I knew one of them (mutual friends) Good times Tim! As we're waiting, an older man and his son come up and line up behind us. Standard friendly climber conversation leads to a conversation about NH climbing and what we'd been on. The older gentleman can identify everything I'm talking about BEFORE I tell him route names and drops a few choice lines like "One of the first 10 ascents of the salathe" or something like that. Hmmm - this guy seems to be legit and old school. Who is he? More conversation about checking out Canon and the VMC Direct Direct (Didn't do it - time and wuss factor overruled) Gentleman " Yeah, that's a hard route. I did it again last year and was working pretty hard it. I did the first ascent of that you know...." Yep - Steve Arsenault was cruising up the cliff right behind me. SWEET. Very nice, smart guy with a lot of knowledge of the climbing scene. Great conversation up the cliff as we waited with him and his son (nice as well) at the GT ledge too.

 

Day 9 - Last day - Fire up all the other classics we were trying to get on all week and manage them all. Double-issima, Son-of-East-O (Tied with modern times for best 5.8 EVER) Arrow etc.

 

Fall colors are in full effect. Can't beat the east in Oct. Nothing else like it.

 

I realized that if I put in all the details of this trip I'd be here till sunday so ask questions if you want and I'll fire beta as needed. Pics to follow soon.

 

M

 

Gear Notes:

ALIENS!!! Double ropes and Gunks Tie-Offs are musts

 

 

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Edited by chucK

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Very nice pics, looks like some fun stuff.

 

One question? Why is this in the California route report section though?

 

There's no "other" category so I went with another state that was "away" from WA

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