|f. The Guides' Wall (Madame G's)
My personal favorite at this grade. Often very busy though.
Start left of Minty: from where the trail hits the cliff, walk about 50' left past the thin crack of Snooky's Return to an obvious right-leaning crack.
P1: Either climb the crack (harder) or corners just left to a ledge. Continue up and step right and then up to a good belay (even with the top of Snooky's). 5.3, 75'. It's possible to walk right to the rap anchor there if you need to descend.
P2: Climb up the big corner above. About 40' up, it's easier to work left onto the face instead of staying in the corner. If you find the moves are harder than 5.4 you need to go left. Work left on a ledge system to a right-facing corner - climb up this to a comfy belay on the GT ledge. 5.4, 120'.
P3: Climb up a left-facing corner about 10' to a roof, clip an old pin, and avoid it around to the right. Then up easy ground to another roof - step left at this one (spectacular exposure) and then up to the top. 5.3, 60'.
Descend via the Uberfall Descent (left) or over Snooky's Return (right about 100'); be very careful of climbers below, if you rappel, remembering that climbers have the right-of-way.
Light Gunks rack.
|By Jim O'Brien|
From: Branford, CT
Dec 7, 2007
The pitch 1 belay is tough with a light rack; used up my 1, 2 & 3 cam on the anchor-
|By Tim Schafstall|
From: Newark, DE
Apr 2, 2008
This a wonderful climb on all three pitches, not actually 5.4 (5.3 is consensus rating) but a bit trying w/some routefinding difficulties for a 5.3 leader.
You can combine P1 and P2 w/ a 60M rope if you're an experienced leader, have a follower who won't fall at the P1 crux (near the start of the route) and use long slings.
From: New York, NY
Apr 28, 2008
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c
I still can't find the original route (5.3) which is supposed to go diagonally across the face. I was in a hurry so I wasn't paying close attention, but it seems there are no protection on the face. I went up the 5.4 route which is go up the corner and then traverse left. If someone has a nice big photo of original route, please let me know.
From: North Kingstown, RI
Apr 24, 2009
On pitch 2 the original route starts diagonalling left about twenty feet up. Look for a traverse with good feet. Once you go out about 15 feet you will see a piton clip that and diagonal across the face where you will find a few pitons to clip. This pitch is why it is rated PG. Many beginning leaders go straight up the corner on pitch 2 (better gear). They use slings that are too short putting a 90 degree bend in the rope when the start the traverse resulting in really bad rope drag. If you are going to do this variation use 2 ft slings all the way and a 4 ft sling in the apex of the corner.
Nov 9, 2009
I only found the first piton on P1 and after that just ran out all the way to the belay station - climbing is easy but there were a couple of committing unprotected moves. Watch out for people rappeling on Blueberry Ledges - a guide dropped his client on my head while I was belaying my second.
Jul 11, 2010
It's also possible to move out left just a few feet above the first belay. The rock is nice and the moves are interesting (5.4ish). The gear is good and the rope drag potential for the pitch is dramatically reduced.
Oct 29, 2010
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c PG13
This time I tried leading the traverse with two ropes. Made me feel completely free to place lots of small cams and stuff further along the traverse without exposing the second to extra swing. So really the only part of the climb not well-protected for me leading was like the first 25 feet or so into the traverse (when I was exposed to swinging back and hitting the corner).
P1 lower half: The obvious crack has a move with pretty thin feet. Starting to L of it, then weaving around a bit. (The upper half of P1 could also be reached be scrambling up a ramp from its left, without climbing the lower half - which was the original route).
P1 upper half: The obvious L-facing corner is harder, has an awkward mantle move (5.4?) but perhaps more interesting. The face to the right of the corner seemed easier.
Overall climb difficulty: Perhaps if you're very careful to find the easiest way at all times, might be able to avoid all the 5.4 moves and go the whole way at 5.3
|By Kevin Heckeler|
From: Upstate New York
Nov 22, 2010
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c PG13
This is not a good beginner's lead. That said, it's not a horrible climb but probably my least favorite "classic" climbed thus far.
The opening moves up the crack are fun, the next corner above (about 25 feet) is also fun and sometimes awkward.
- *edit upon return climb 10/2011** For the lead climber a fall during the traverse could be extremely dangerous, resulting in a very bad swing into the large left facing corner just ascended. Much less of an issue for the follow since they would just swing across the face below the belay.
That said, the traverse is easy and if you look hard and have small cams (aliens, metolius masters) there appeared to be a few opportunities to protect the traverse. Also, the end of the second pitch is on the GT ledge above the traverse, and to move up you leave the traverse before reaching the right facing corner, and during that continuing ascent there's gear. I still wouldn't send a first time 5.3 leader up this router (the bottom crack is stiff, probably more like 5.5), and traverses are something best learned as a follow first.
|By David Ford|
From: Cambridge, MA
Jul 19, 2011
I tried linking the first pitch with the last pitches of Friends and Lovers as Williams recommends, but found the climbing to be dirty, loose and not particularly well-protected. Better to stick with the normal route!
Aug 3, 2011
Great climb. However, I agree with everyone else who said they do not recommend it for beginners or those whom are not 100% confident. The traverse on pitch 2's 5.4 var can definitely result in injury. There are 10ft gaps of no pro.
From: Bend, OR
Sep 12, 2011
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c
Super fun climbing! This was my first multi-pitch trad lead and it was perfect. Just enough challenge with route finding, rope management, exposure and getting good gear. The moves are all super easy and solid, just delightful. Todd Swain's guidebook was a bit hard to follow for this route, I ended up doing the 5.4 variation traverse without knowing it. Still super (fun)easy climbing, but a bit hard to protect. I found a bomber #2 bd hex placement midway across the traverse where I couldn't get anything else in (don't have any cams that small). Careful on the last part of p2, the guidebook I had said to step around the corner onto the face. The face there is broken and what appear to be good jugs are mostly very loose blocks. Stick to the corner from the end of the traverse up to the GT ledge. P3 should not be missed, it is simply excellent.
From: New York
Jul 27, 2012
A great climb.
Watch P2 traverse with rope drag. My quickdraws weren't enuff to reduce rope drag enuff and wound up with hand blisters I had to pull so hard to get the rope up to belay with! Don't make the same mistake! Use full length runners up the left-facing corner to Coffin Rock belay.
Great view and def P3 has spectacular exposure!
|By Simon Thompson|
From: New Paltz, NY
Dec 1, 2013
After climbing this a bunch of times I have to say it still stands up as my favorite climb around this grade in the trapps. Great moves and positioning throughout. Do yourself a favor and climb this in the moonlight sometime.