Author Topic: Headed to the Gunks  (Read 1483 times)


  • Guest
Headed to the Gunks
« on: July 25, 2005, 05:21:02 AM »
I am headed to the Gunks August 11-16  :D and was wondering if you guys have any must-do climbs in the 5.3 - 5.8 range. There are some listed on, but judging from the thickness of the guide book, I would venture to say there are some more. My nephew leads up to 5.8 and I am a new leader (first lead was Sunday in Acadia) so nothing to difficult please. Any other info on avoiding the crowds (we climb Thursday-Monday), places to eat, etc would be a great help!


  • Guest
Re: Headed to the Gunks
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2005, 06:31:34 AM »
Almost all are must-do but some of my favorites are

Gelsa - hardest 5.4 you will ever do
Middle Earth 5.7 I like it, varied climbing, P1 face and cracks, P2 Gunks staircase, P3 gunks overhang
Minty 5.3 on the second pitch above the second small pine swing out onto the face instead of going up the corner, crux is the first few feet of P1.
Arrow 5.8 well protected
Frog's Head (5 or 6) do during the week
Northern Pillar 5.2 is not too bad for new leaders, pretty good pro and belays
Madame's G - 5.6 do during the week

I am sure you will get more!

bacchus has good eats and good beer

bring tricams

Hope it is not too hot

Offline MT

  • NEClimbs Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 185
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: Headed to the Gunks
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2005, 11:39:34 AM »
Hit the classics like Gelsa (5.4), High Exposure (5.6), Madame G's (5.?) and Horseman (5.5) on Thur if you can. They'll be pretty queued up on the weekend. In fact, they'll probably be crowded during the week too. A great climb and a must-do is Disneyland 5.6 in the Near Trapps. On the weekend, get there early! if you want to get on any classic or be prepared to wait.

Good leads for the beginner are Easy Overhang 5.2, Betty 5.3 and Jackie 5.5.

If you haven't climbed at the Gunks, you might find everything a bit sand-bagged. Most climbs, especially some of the classics listed in this post, are pretty exposed. Might want to start low and work your way up.

Have fun.


  • Guest
Re: Headed to the Gunks
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2005, 01:46:24 PM »
The climbing there is rather different than most other places.  It takes a bit of getting used to.

What did you lead in Acadia?

If you're *really* new try
Betty 5.3- (gotta love the minus on a .3)
Bunny 5.4 (although it's a 5.4 - it's not as imposing as some of the other climbs - makes for a good warm up)
Easy V 5.2 (5.2 with an overhang, and a free hanging rappel!)
Belly Roll 5.4

If you're *just* new try

Lieback 5.5 in the Nears
RMC 5.5
Jackie 5.5
Horseman 5.5

If you're looking for easy but scary

Easy Overhang 5.2 - freakin out there for a .2
Minty 5.3

Don't make you're first lead at the Gunks Gelsa (5.4).  Do a couple of other climbs first to get a feel for the place.

As for you Nephew who leads 5.8 try a bunch of 5.6s there before moving to 5.7 and 5.8

The really scary .6s are

Madame G 5.6
Shockley's 5.6 (bring prussiks and be sure your nephew brings the final belay back to the edge of the climb to avoid the inevitable communication difficulties.
High E (mandatory 5.6)

The next tier of amazing 5.6s (but not quite so scary) are
Frog's Head
Disney Land (Nears)
Baby (don't miss the second pitch)

If you find those climbs easy, move on to Strictly From Nowhere, V3, City Lights, Son Of Easy O, Limelight, CCK, Yellow Ridge (Nears), Classic....

Keep away from Hawk 5.4/5.5 until you've climbed there for a while.  Maybe for your nephew.

Set the spanking machine to "high."



  • Guest
Re: Headed to the Gunks
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2005, 02:15:08 PM »
Thanks for the info so far, I will have to mark those in the guidebook.
My first lead was Wafer Step. It is a climb I had done numerous times and felt really comfortable on, so I gave it a go.
My nephew has climed at the Gunks before, but this will be my first trip, so I was looking for some pretty easy stuff to do to give him a break from leading the whole trip.
I am sure we will get spanked a few times, but after getting spanked at Great Head a couple of weeks ago, I can deal with it!
Thanks again


  • Guest
Re: Headed to the Gunks
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2005, 02:33:01 PM »
hit up the brauhaus right there at the T intersection for the killer gunks burger and weiss beer and the Deli has great breakfast burritos and hit up Coxing kill for the post climbing day swim  

if its real hot walk north in the Trapps and don't get on the cliff to later in the day
you can work your way south and at least be in the shade of the cliff and still get 8 or more hours of climbing in

Offline Bill

  • NEClimbs Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 197
  • It's All Good, Just Climb!
Re: Headed to the Gunks
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2005, 03:51:40 PM »

You have been getting a number of good suggestions. As for "getting your feet wet" at the Gunks as a new leader I would add Yum Yum Yab Yum (5.3,G) in the Nears. The 3rd pitch is a lot of fun. Another nice pitch for a new leader is the 2nd pitch of Classic (5.4,G). Have your nephew lead Classic or Jackie, you can get it later in the week, and you lead the beautiful, fun open book to the top.

I would second David's "easy but scary" choice of Minty's. Also just to the right of it is Tipsy Trees which is similar climbing and well worth doing if Minty's is busy. In fact, I prefer it a bit over Minty's.  

Moving up into David's "just new" category:

Andrew is a very nice climb in a very dramatic setting with the Twilight Zone roof looming overhead.  I would advise breaking the second pitch up into two. Otherwise you will end up with some pretty awful rope drag trying to top out.

I find Sixish (5.4+,PG) to be a lot of fun, 3 pitches with 3 distinct characters. Don't worry about the name. I believe it refers to the number of points of aid used when the climb was first done, not to its difficulty level.

Do Gelsa! When you do consider heading directly up out of the 1st pitch belay and then angling over on the face above into the 2nd pitch belay. I think it is a better line than the traverse left. I'm also with David regarding Gelsa, get a few climbs under your belt before tackling it.

Regarding Layback in the Nears it is a very nice climb. However, you may want to pay careful attention to your gear at the bottom of the crux layback offwidth before launching up it. If my memory serves me correctly it is 10 or 11 feet to get up the crack to a stance to get your next piece in. At the time I led it I felt that if I took a fall near the top of the layback and the gear at the bottom pulled I would definitely ground fall. I know I equalized two solid pieces there, it might even have been three. I am a relatively new leader and occassionally might over protect but in this case I thought it warranted. David, any comment?

For advoiding crowds on WE, get out of the PL by 7 AM, take a break midday and then pick it up again around 3 PM and climb til dark. Also check hidden gems on and google John Peterson's Uncrowded Gunks Classics.

The Red Rooster Cafe in Gardiner for breakfast. The Deli at 299 & 44/55 good breakfast sandwiches and bagels, excellent and cheap sandwiches and subs to take with you to the crag for lunch. The Mountain Brauhaus across the street from the Deli, pretty decent food and good beer. The Gilded Otter is a must stop for a great variety of freshly brewed beers and ales. The Taco Shack on the left headed back towards the hiway before you get to the shopping center - good and cheap.

Have fun and good luck with the weather.



  • Guest
Re: Headed to the Gunks
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2005, 09:49:52 PM »
I find Sixish (5.4+,PG) to be a lot of fun, 3 pitches with 3 distinct characters. Don't worry about the name. I believe it refers to the number of points of aid used when the climb was first done, not to its difficulty level.

hmmm.... ;D ;D ;) ;)

I didn't think Andrew was that great, and the crux seemed to have some funky gear.  I'd nominate gelsa, horsemans, betty, frog's head, hawk, beginers delight, 3 (2.25) pines, and Madame G's.  The best gunks tip I could give would be to get a super early alpine start (on the carriage road by 6:00)  on crowded days and you get on anything you want.  Take a break in the middle of the day and climb in the evening.  Man I'm going to miss that place.   :-[ :-[ :-[


  • Guest
Re: Headed to the Gunks
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2005, 10:38:25 AM »
Good points...

RE: Layback.  Good point about it being a little PG.  I climbed it like a face climb because I'm a face climber, but most people find it a little scarrier than I did.  I think when you climb it like  a Layback, you're out of balance and feel more precarious.  Have your newphew lead it.

Brauhaus:  Spatten Octoberfest on tap - year round
The Bistro

Notes on the ratings in the guide book:

* = scary (and good)
** = really scary (and good)
*** = really really scary  (and good)

Look who put the route up.  You can treat Hans and/or Fritz as a * in gauging the character of the route.

For example:  
High E - 5.6 *** FA Hans Kraus/Fritz Weissner = 5.6 *****


Now I want to go.  Can I come with you?
« Last Edit: July 27, 2005, 10:40:48 AM by DWarriner »