The Gunks – New York State

I have a love/hate relationship with the Gunks. I love the climbing, but I hate the crowds. If at all possible go during the week, if not, be prepared to queue for the best routes. I sometimes have nightmares that the Gunks is the future of climbing…

Climbing here is characterized by the horizontal cracks that make up the face. Most routes are very exposed and the climbing ranges from slabby and technical to overhanging and pumpy.

For more information, pick up the guidebook Shawangunk Rock Climbs – The Trapps by Dick Williams.

Shockley’s Ceiling – 5.6 Trapps

I’ve wanted to do this route ever since I first saw the poster of Dick Williams leading this overhanging classic in true Vulgarian style. The only question was whether I would live up to the purity of his assent. I did, much to the chagrin of the party following us. Apparently they didn’t appreciate or understand the view.

High Exposure – 5.6 Trapps

High ExposureThe most exposed and exciting 5.6 you will probably ever do. Looking up from the High E ledge before the third pitch you wonder how pulling around that huge roof and then climbing the overhanging face above could ever be 5.6. The holds are all jugs though, so you can cruise while enjoying the air between your feet.

Cascading Crystal Kaleidascope – 5.8 Trapps

Cascading Crystal KaleidascopeEvery time I went to do CCK, it rained. I even made it up to the second pitch once before the thunder storms rolled in. Then finally this summer I snuck up on the route and managed to get up it before the weather gods could muster up a storm.

The first two pitches are forgettable, do the 5.8 to the left for a better start. The last pitch is worth the work though, exposed and airy on beautiful rock. Be careful not to get mesmerized by the rock and the view. . .