I headed out with the CT AMC over the weekend to do some climbing in the Gunks. My parents have been members of the Applachian Mountain Club (AMC) for years. My grandfather was on the NH board I think back in the day. Until this weekend though I hadn’t done anything with them. I didn’t even realize that they did anything beside hiking! Turns out they do and I think I’ll be joining them in the future for more trips.
I’ve never been out to the Gunks for just a day. Trips with Lauren and Paul always involved an overnight. It turns out that making a day trip isn’t horrible. The day started early by trying to meet up with another climber from the New Haven area to carpool. Unfortunately she overslept which left me to drive up myself, which wasn’t bad since I could drive spiritedly without guilt.
After getting to the parking lot and meeting everyone Mark, Dolgio and myself headed up towards High E. For those not in the know the ‘E’ stands for exposure. The climb does not disappoint either! With all the rain we’ve had the whole first pitch up to the big ledge was wet. Some spots were mearly damp while others were little waterfalls. Mark did a great job leading the long (120? ft) first pitch up to the GT ledge. The first pitch is fun, but nothing terribly exceptional about it. The second pitch is where this route gets its name. After heading up 15 feet or so there is a large roof. Traversing right under the roof brings you to the money move. To the right is over 100 of air between you and the ground, not much for your right foot. Under the roof is thin on the hands which makes it difficult to spot the jugs just over the roof. Being short actually helps since you can stand straight up and look for the holds. Taller folks have to blindly feel for the hold first. After making that move there are some more steep but bomber holds leading you to the top. It is easy to see why this is a classic.
After High E we headed down to City Lights (P1 5.8-, P2 5.6). This area of the wall was pretty busy. After making it through the first really difficult moves Mark got to the belay ledge. Pretty soon he had 5 others joining him. The ledge is small and being clipped-in is not an option, it is required. A party of three (two attractive ladies and one grizzled guy) worked a route to the left of City Lights and made it to the ledge the same time we did. Overall we could have had worse company up there.
After switching the rack over to me, I headed up for P2. A couple of the moves were challenging, especially if you are shorter. The crux, a move going from a right facing corner to a steep face is tricky. The face after the crack eases in angle but allows for less gear. Or at least of the sizes I had. There were shallow placements for the .5 – 1 Camalot range but I had unfortunately used all those working into the traverse before the crux. A couple pitons helped but I didn’t entirely trust them. I ended up running out a bit simply because I didn’t have the option of placing what I had. A great climb and mustered a 6 on the freakout meter. Though while leading I’m not sure if there is anyway to go below a 5.
After rappelling down City Lights we were coming close to 5:30. At 6 we had reservations at the Brauhaus Restaurant with the rest of the rope teams. The Brauhaus is pretty tasty for dinner. I had the sausage platter, bockwurst, knackwurst, and bratwurst. Of the two big restaurants, I would probably give the nod to the Guilded Otter because of the homebrew, but obviously a German restaurant still had a great selection of brews. Good weather, good climbing and met some good people.