October '07 Gunks Trip

After quite a break I took another trip out to the Gunks in New Paltz, NY.  This trip, though planned weeks in advance, lead to much less climbing than Paul, Lauren and I hoped.  Our main obstacle to our plans was the weather. 
Our original plan was to leave Friday evening and stay at Paul’s friend’s place.  Unfortunately there was some rain that started Friday and lasted until late afternoon Saturday.  As a result we left Saturday afternoon hoping to catch a little bit of climbing before the sun went down.  Late afternoon we ran up to the Traps and looked at some of the routes Paul thought would be dry.  Unfortunately none were.  What we didn’t know until a little later was that it poured until an hour or two before we got there.  The little waterfalls coming off some of the overhangs made more sense after we learned that.
No big deal we just met Matt, Paul’s buddy, at the house he’s building for his parents.  After a quick tour of the house, which is sweet, we headed off to get some grub.  We biked over to an Indian place for some food.  After getting the “silly powder” (chili powder) to spice up our meals we were pretty content.  Of course the beers we brought helped with that (the restaurant was a BYOB place).  After dinner we went to a bar to watch the Penn State game.
Sunday started off clear, cold, and windy.  Luckily the wind dropped off as we made our way up to Lost City.  Lost City is a lesser know area of the Gunks which apparently isn’t covered in any guide books.  The name definitely is descriptive since there are large cracks and fissures between sections of the cliff.  The result makes the place feels like ruined buildings.
Climbing started on a nice 5.8ish climb.  At the top of the route we could see that it was an amazing day in a gorgeous place.  The leaves were about at peak and made a great backdrop.  After that route we moved on to another climb about same difficulty.  This route was adjacent to a huge rift in the rocks.  I followed the crack farther back but couldn’t go on because the floor of the cracked dropped off.  Later on Matt and I dropped into a black hole in the crack to see where it went.  The bottom was maybe 20ft down and only 12-14 inches wide. We followed it for approximately 30 feet where it started to go to the surface.  It was an interesting little diversion from the normal climbing routine.
We then moved on to some more difficult climbing.  Paul lead Persistence (5.12?).  While short, 40ft, It is an impressive climb with most of it overhung.  Matt and I documented the climb pretty well.  I was on the ground and Matt on a rope adjacent to the route.  The ground was actually a pretty nice spot to shoot from since the climb starts 10 feet below the level where I was standing.  This allowed me to get some nice shots from all angles.  Following Paul was Matt who did a little aid climbing to get through the crux.  For Matt’s climb I jugged up the rope Matt originally set for Paul’s lead.
After the big climb Lauren and I went off for my second lead.  I did a easy 5.6 crack.  The lead was sweet and I was super confident about it.  Next time I do a lead I’m going to shoot for something in the 5.7ish range.  Lauren and I finished up on a hard face climb that I’d say was in the 5.10 range.
Though we had one less day of climbing than we hoped Sunday couldn’t beat.  The weather was perfect and so was the scenery.  I had a great time and I’m looking forward to next season which will probably be the next time I can get out to the Gunks. But if the weather decides to be as strange as it has been the last two winters than maybe I’ll get back before next year.