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Poke-O Slab
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YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ British: MS 4a PG13

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 490'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ British: MS 4a [details]
FA: John Turner, François Garneau, Bernard Poisson (1957)
Page Views: 3,046
Submitted By: Mike McLean on Sep 11, 2010
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (13)
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Ben Botelho traversing near the top of P3 of Catha...
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P1 (5.4R) - 100' : Start at the right leaning hand crack, then follow the orange face up to a diagonal crack where a vertical crack intersects. Belay here. There is no real crux except for the long runout. Rock is good, feet are there; but there is most definitely a long runout.

P2 (5.4PG) - 80': Go up the vertical crack then break right, going up to and past the left facing corner. Belay just past the corner. Anchor beta: I belayed to the right and top of the corner. There is a vertical crack there that feels much safer than the small horizontals a bit higher.

P3 (5.5PG) - 120': Straight up and over the corner above the belay, to another left facing corner. Traverse right to the tree ledge. The crux of this pitch was getting over the corner right off the belay.

P4 (5.5PG) - 190': This is a great pitch, and wanders somewhat: From the belay, 4th class for a about 40' right, then go up straight through the middle of the overlap, then to a second overlap. Undercling left, and at the corner, go up. Move up the face next to the left arching overlaps and break through before they end. There is a piton (doesn't look too old) towards the beginning of the arches. Once over the arches, friction up to the trees.

Walk off by continuing up to the top through the bushes then following the trail back down to the campground. At hospital rock (big rock at a lookout), take a right. The walkout takes about 30 minutes. It's not worth abseiling IMHO.

If you do decide to rap anyway, remember that the rappels deposit you at the base of the visor section of the slab, which means that you'll need to get back up to the vegetated ledge to get your stuff (if you leave some there). The 2 rappels I spotted on the way up were off slings on trees, so if you're as chicken as me, bring up some leaver slings to add to the tat if need be. (really, the walk off is a breeze, quicker and much safer)


When arriving at the base of the slab from the trail, continue left along the base of the slab until you've passed the visor (big arch that you can see on the slab).

Sramble up left to gain a high vegetated ledge. See pictures for what the base looks like.

As always, refer to Adirondack Rock for complete details.


The two first belays are gear anchors, the two last are off trees.

There are no bolts, but the first 2 pitches have one old bolt stud each.

I used up the small TCU's more than usual so if you have them, bring them.

Photos of Catharsis Slideshow Add Photo
Neatly featured rock on p. 1 of Catharsis
Neatly featured rock on p. 1 of Catharsis
Most of P2 can be seen.
BETA PHOTO: Most of P2 can be seen.
Base of Catharsis. You can see a climber at the top left of the photo just starting out P1.
BETA PHOTO: Base of Catharsis. You can see a climber at the to...
Most of P4 from the top of P3. Walk right from the belay to start under the first overlap. Climb to the 2nd overlap, undercling to the corner then up. Move up the pin, clip, go left and continue up face (I didn't follow the arch). Exit the arch before the end of it, then friction to the top.
BETA PHOTO: Most of P4 from the top of P3. Walk right from the...
Catharsis - Roughly the line to follow
BETA PHOTO: Catharsis - Roughly the line to follow
A rope has been installed which leads from the access trail (past the Visor), to the base of Cartharis. (This pic is looking down to the trail from near the base of Catharsis.)
A rope has been installed which leads from the acc...
Comments on Catharsis Add Comment
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By Mike McLean
Sep 4, 2011

Yesterday I had the good fortune of climbing right next to Bernard Poisson who was on the FA of this route. He is now 80 and he was still doing great on the rock.

I discussed Catharsis with him for a bit, telling him how much of a great route it is. He told me that FA was done with big boots at that time. Although I know that sticky rubber wasn't around yet back in the 50's, it was cool to see him downplay the boldness of it. He explained that he did it with a new pair of boots from France that allowed him to stand on small nubs without tiring out.

By Simon Thompson
From: New Paltz, NY
Nov 8, 2011
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a PG13

In my opinion, this climb is harder and better than the Regular Route on Chapel Pond Slab. The cruxes are more sustained and the gear is a bit more sparse. When we did it we rappelled to descend and it wasn't too bad. We didn't leave anything at the base of the route though. Excellent climb.

By Mike McLean
Nov 9, 2011

I agree about the Chapel Pond Slab comparison. I found this to be a LOT more commiting and runout than regular. A great route though; but not the same category of 5.5 as Regular at the Pond.

By lucander
From: Stone Ridge, NY
Jan 16, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V S 4b PG13

Seemed hard for the grade compared to Standard Route at Whitehorse or the Chapel Pond Slab. Route finding was more intricate and gear was further away. That said, a fun climb and a nice walk off. Start early to avoid the hot sun.

By Ian Dibbs
Jul 11, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V S 4b R

I agree with the others and feel that Catharsis is way harder that Chapel Pond Regular Route. Thought Chapel Pond was 5.3 ish and Catharsis 5.6 ish (it was raining though). With a 70 meter rope(60 meter is too short!),the 1st and 2nd pitches can be linked to save time. There is a big established trail down which took me about 40 minutes from top to get back to my parked car at the base. Possible summer warning ... I went from having almost burning hot feet from the sunshine, to being stuck at the 3 rd (big tree)belay in a rain storm ...weather seems to change quickly here.

By Dantherastaman
May 7, 2013

Took a cheese grater whipper on p4 today and the gear loop with all my cams tore during the descent. From what I could tell most landed about 50ft right of the dead oak ledge down on the smaller vegetated ledge if not. If memory serves there is a .5, .75, and 2 BD cam and 4 or 5 Metolious TCUs, but I don't know what numbers. If anyone sees\gets them before I have a chance to get back up and rap down to get em please let me know. They have lightweight CAMP biners on most of them, one might be a Kong.

Thank you