Sunday, May 15, 2011
Mohonk Preserve: 05/13/2011
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.
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.
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.
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.