Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mohonk Preserve: 05/13/2011

Late afternoon sun while climbing in the Gunks

It looked as though our week-long stretch of beautiful weather was going to close out with a rainy weekend, so Beth made quick arrangements for us to meet up with friends in the Gunks on Friday for our first day of climbing this season.

For our first day out, Beth and I would usually start with moderate climbs at the 5.5 -5.6 grade, but when you're climbing with locals, you know you're in for a challenge. Our group of 4 set up two top-ropes on the Herdie Gerdie block, a huge block of rock with several short (50') but pumpy, technical climbs right next to the carriage road. I was first to try Dirty Gerdie, the easiest of the climbs we set up. At 5.8+, it's near the top of my climbing ability, so I felt pretty good when I got it on my first try. Meanwhile, Marcy and Joel, our two friends from New Paltz, worked on Red Cabbage, a 5.10b climb just around the corner on the block. I didn't get to see Joel climb, but Marcy flowed through the moves so smoothly it looked easy.

Thin hand- and foot-holds on Dirty Gerdie, 5.8+

My early enthusiasm faded as the reality of starting the season at such a difficult grade set in. I tried Dirty Gerdie a second time and couldn't nail it. Around the corner, Red Cabbage and Red Cabbage Right (5.9) kicked my butt too.

Red Cabbage, 5.10b: out of my league

Marcy and Joel had to leave for other obligations by mid-afternoon, but Beth and I had several hours left to climb, so we headed for a couple of moderate Gunks classics, exactly the kinds of climbs we like for our first day out.

Beth rappels down after leading Bunny

Jackie was first up. At 5.5, it's a comfortable lead for me and a Gunks classic with good protection. Since we were lead climbing rather than top roping, the rule-of-thumb is to lead a couple grades below what you can climb on top rope. Following Jackie, Beth led Bunny, another well-protected classic climb at 5.4.

By the time we were done, my arms and shoulders were sore from the hard climbs earlier in the day. But finishing out the day on classics like Jackie and Bunny, perched on a ledge with the late afternoon sun pouring across the Shawangunk Ridge, it's pretty hard not to love climbing in the Gunks.


  1. Pretty daring to go climbing on Friday the 13th!

    Nice report and it looks like you had beautiful climbing weather. Has your son tried climbing yet?

  2. SBR, it occurred to me as we were driving down that it was the 13th, but when you have a chance to climb, you climb!

    No, we haven't tried taking Daniel out with us yet. I've got a couple spots in the Adks in mind for when we do that.

  3. It was a fun climbing morning! Great to see you and Beth, and hope to climb with you guys in the Daks soon! Red Cabbage is probably a hard 5.9 or 10a, I think. However, that thin seam on the right "Nurdie Gurdie" is solid 11! For a first day out you climbed awesomely!

  4. Thanks Marcy!
    I got the grades switched in my write-up above. Red Cabbage (the crack) is rated 5.9 in the current (Dick Williams) Trapps guide. Red Cabbage Right (which you made look like a cake walk) is 5.10b. And yes, that seam to the right of Nerdie Gerdie, which you nailed, is an 11. Geez you were climbing great on Fri! See ya soon for some Daks climbing / hikes!