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a. Beginning of cliff to Gelsa
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Alphonse T 
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YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 150'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Ken Prestrud, Lucien Warner, 1948. FFA: John Turner, 1950s
Page Views: 7,893
Submitted By: Denis O'Connor on Apr 13, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (129)
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Recon at the beginning of P2.


A very enjoyable 5.8 that gradually builds in difficulty as you move higher. Usually done in 2 pitches; it can be done in one with careful attention to rope drag, which allows you to avoid the somewhat awkward belay below the crux notch.

P1: Climb the corner and face to a ledge, then step right and ascend the corner in the larger orange open book. At the top, or slightly below it, traverse left to a notch and belay. (100 feet, 5.6)

P2: Move up right through the notch, then traverse right and up to the finish. (50 feet, 5.8)

Walk-off to climber's right.


The route begins in a left-facing corner 30 feet left of Grand Central.


Standard rack.

Photos of Alphonse Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: She later expressed some displeasure at the fact t...
She later expressed some displeasure at the fact t...
Rock Climbing Photo: about to start left under the huge roof
BETA PHOTO: about to start left under the huge roof
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting the traverse of Alphonse, photo taken by ...
Starting the traverse of Alphonse, photo taken by ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Commencing the crux.
Commencing the crux.
Rock Climbing Photo: Fern on the crux
Fern on the crux
Rock Climbing Photo: Tricia in the middle of P1.
Tricia in the middle of P1.
Rock Climbing Photo: Lindsay Rindt enjoying Alphonse.
Lindsay Rindt enjoying Alphonse.
Rock Climbing Photo: It's a butt shot, but it shows the line of the fir...
BETA PHOTO: It's a butt shot, but it shows the line of the fir...

Comments on Alphonse Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 13, 2015
By GMBurns
Aug 4, 2008
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

One move 5.8 (pulling the roof) that is fairly sustained at 5.7 the rest of the way. Can be climbed in one go with two ropes or long slings.
By Leon Story
Jun 22, 2009
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

One of my favorite Gunks routes. Yes, I really climbed it first in April of 1964, and many times since. Delightful slightly overhanging gunksy crux (shown well in the pix), by far the hardest move, is reasonably protected and closer to 5.7 than 5.8 if you move up with reasonable speed.
By gblauer
From: Wayne, PA
Aug 17, 2009

A very nice climb that can easily done in 1 pitch. use long runners at the traverse, protect your second and go. The 5.8 move is very mild.
By SethG
Sep 6, 2009

Please don't use the rappel tree at the top of Alphonse unless you have double ropes or a 70 meter. The walkoff takes only a few minutes.
By Matt Westlake
Dec 5, 2009
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Hi all, I climbed this route Fall 09 and took a line like those shown in the photos (the lady being documented as she works through the crux).

However, as I was later looking up info on the route, I found this guide site, and it looks a bit like they continued up and exited right either at or just after the big roof of the corner the route starts in. See second photo down:

When I was climbing I noticed a couple pins heading out right below the big roof, across the thin face and also saw a bit of chalk heading up and right as well above that roof.

Anyone have any beta on these variations? They might make Alphonse a bit more of a full credit Gunks 8, unless they are deadly difficult.
By Dana Bartlett
From: CT
May 11, 2010

The walkoff takes only a few minutes.

That's true. Twice last week I walked off from routes near Alphonse. Both times we got back to the base before the parties that had topped out when we did and were rapelling off.
By Frank F
From: Bend, OR
May 18, 2010

Matt, Dick William's most recent guide to the Near Trapps describes both variations you asked about. The lower one that goes past the pins is a 5.9 that connects to Grand Central. Nice variation. I haven't tried the one right under the roof, which is rated considerably harder (5.10d/11a).

The rock on the route is superb and any way that you do it, it's a hoot.
By doligo
Nov 15, 2010
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

As of 11/13 there was a fat static line and two locking biners fixed for rap on the tree on top of Alphonse. Me and my partner walked off, but afterwards I kept seeing people rapping off the tree and a group of teens even set a giant top rope on Alphonse (assuming off that tree). Someone needs to bring a knife up and chop the slings off that tree!
By BrianRH
From: Jersey City, NJ
May 16, 2011

Great climb. We linked both pitches on a single line by back cleaning the gear at the corner and using a 4-foot sling in the middle of the traverse, which made the rope drag bearable. The tree at the top appears to be sturdy and in good health to me. Healthy enough to provide shelter from the light rain.
By Gunkiemike
Jun 24, 2011

Late response to Matt W - that Alpine Endeavors pic is the normal crux section. Not a variation. Really - look closely. Maybe just shot from an unusual stance (hanging way out from just below the top).
By Em Cos
From: Boulder, CO
May 14, 2012

Climbed this last weekend. If I had it to do over, I definitely would have linked the pitches. The belay situation is awkward enough and the second pitch is short enough that next time I'd rather protect the traverse more sparingly with long runners and deal with the remaining rope drag. If your follower is solid on 5.8, the traverse will be no problem - the entire first pitch is no harder than 5.6.
By Mrkb3
Oct 22, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

This is such a great route. Varied climbing with a built-in warm-up. I did it in 2 pitches. P1 to the ledge with the big boulders (~40-50'), and P2 up to the top. It worked out really well with a spot where my partner could comfortably belay and watch.

There were several X-marked blocks in the corner. Avoiding them entirely is not so easy so I tested them and they seemed OK to stand on but not recommended for outwards pulling.

--------Gear Beta-----------
If you're going to link the pitches or do the one long P2 like we did, try to have save 1-2 small C4s for after the traverse.
By Bob Johnson
From: Philadelphia, PA
Nov 13, 2015

Really fun climb! Slinging most of the pieces in the corner long and back cleaning the piece at the start of the traverse makes it pretty easy to link the pitches. Your follower should probably be solid on 5.6, though, since they could potentially go for a swing if they fall at the start of the traverse. Bring a 70m so you can rap the route. It's pretty much a straight 110' free-hanging rappel back to the ground with a great view of the Trapps!

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