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Jean Aschenbrenner on the second pitch of Maria (5...
Another classic moderate, with three varied pitches.
Follow the approach directions for City Lights. Maria starts 25' right of City Lights, at a crack in a white block. The start is the same as for Frog's Head and Sundown, though with some creativity (noted below), multiple parties can easily share the start(s).
P1: Climb Frog's Head (note 1) until just past the crux bulge (note 2). Place pro for your second, then traverse about 35' right on thin face, with little pro, to the base of a large, left-facing corner. 5.6, 80'.
Note 1: An alternative start that avoids (climbers on) Frog's Head entirely is climb the right-facing corner with the detached block forming a squeeze chimney, to the right (5.6ish). This is the start for Sundown, and is more in line with the corners and the grade of Maria.
Note 2: It's possible to start traversing right just below the crux bulge on Frog's Head instead of just above it. Both options are well protected.
Finally, Maria Direct, at 5.9, is another option for the first pitch; the thin crack directly below the main Maria corner is Maria Redirect (5.11)
P2: Climb the steep corner to the GT Ledge. 5.6+, 90'.
P3: Reposition your belay 15 feet right from the top of the corner. Climb a right-facing corner to an overhang, turn the overhang on the left via a crack, and continue to the top. 5.6+, 50'.
Descent: From the clifftop, the Uberfall Descent is the best and fastest option. From the GT Ledge, move climber's left to a bolted rap anchor, where two 30m raps bring you to the ground.
Jean Aschenbrenner starting the traverse on the fi...
Fancy footwork makes the crux roof on pitch three ...
BETA PHOTO: do not skip this... P3
I found this roof to be no joke. And not to be mi...
Looking back along P1. We started with the Sundow...
Looking back from the top of P2.
Looking up at P3.
|By John Peterson|
Feb 26, 2006
The overhang on P3 is rated 5.6ma in my personal rating system. 5.6+ is the traditional Gunks rating so I can't fight that but anyone trying to work the move on lead for the first time will probably call it 5.7+ or so.
(5.6ma = 5.6 my ass)
And IMHO, mucking around with raps on this part of the cliff is a waste of time and an annoyance for all around you - especially as the rap route crosses right through the P1 traverse. Walk down left to the Uberfall. It takes all of 5 minutes.
|By Adam Catalano|
From: Albany, New York
Mar 28, 2006
If you're climbing Gunks 5.9, the direct start is the way to open this incredible climb. Got to be honest, I stick clipped the pin to start, but the opening moves were a lot easier than I thought (at least to get to the pin). Next time I won't bother. Two more committing moves before you get your next piece and then it backs way off. Waiting for parties to clear off Frogs Head is a bummer; just one more reason to go Direct.
|By Ian Wolfe|
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 9, 2007
I felt the 1st pitch traverse protected quite well. There was a large horizonal crack that I followed at about shoulder height that allowed me to place gear virtually at will. My second was shaky at 5.6, so I really made sure to protect it well, placing a piece every 6-10 feet.
We were almost tempted to just rap off when we hit the GT ledge since the bolts were right there. Don't do it! The last pitch, while only 50 feet, really caps off the experience!
|By Bill Hutchins|
From: Bethesda, MD
Oct 27, 2007
You sure don't want to skip the third pitch. The overhang is the best part of the climb.
Feb 19, 2008
Direct start definitely the way to go; third pitch mandatory. Get a big nut as far out in the lip as you can. I heard someone came off and broke ankle swinging into wall. The overhang is very big. (Maria Redirect, next crack right from start, is excellent toprope but awkward to rig. 5.10+ technical shallow laybacks.)
|By J Antin|
From: Denver, CO
Aug 10, 2009
Do the 3rd pitch - it's great!
Aug 2, 2010
I sussed around quite a bit to figure out where to start the traverse. Grey Dick says under the Frog's Head bulge, but I couldn't see any pro, so I went over the bulge and saw a great horizontal crack. Yes, make sure to protect the traverse for your second. P2 felt easier than 5.6, the roof on P3 is easier if you are tall, BETA ALERT: but I was able to get my feet high enough to reach the key vertical crack above the roof. As for rating, I could see it seem harder for Gunkies as the key hold is a vertical crack and not a horizontal jug!
|By Andy Weinmann|
From: Alexandria, VA
Oct 13, 2011
Do not pass up P3...one of the most fun roofs to pull in the Gunks. Didn't think P2 was 5.6, but whatevs...it was still fun!
|By Kevin Heckeler|
From: West Sand Lake, New York
Mar 11, 2012
P2 is definitely not 5.6, maybe 5.5 ... but fun nonetheless!
P3 is quality, although short. The roof is easy to protect, especially if you have a C3 that fits in the crack (nut might work too). I'd say it's a thousand times better that Shockley's [ie - crappy climb with one mediocre move]. Maria is quality the entire climb.
|By Galen Rahmlow|
Apr 1, 2013
Fantastic climb with lots of variety, P2 and P3 are excellent with really good protection. The roof on P3 took a little to figure out. Easily protected with small cams (C3s or aliens). Beta: There's a couple good holds if you look for them that allow you to examine the situation before committing to the big move.
May 11, 2013
To me both the start into the P1 traverse and the traverse itself seemed well-protected. The start into it which seemed easiest and better protected was lower than I expected, significantly lower than the Frog's Head crux bulge. The move up into the traverse was a little tricky, but seemed not harder than 5.5.
From talking with very experienced Gunks climbers, what I've heard is that the people who think the traverse is difficult or not well protected are taking it too high. To me the hands and feet on the lower traverse seemed straightforward, not harder than Gunks 5.4.
P2 is excellent fun moves in a dihedral. I've heard there's supposed to be a 5.6 move in there somewhere, but I couldn't find it.
P3 offers a dramatic climbing situation, but the crux move is intimidating, and I'd call it solid 5.7
So I'd say you can either select P1+P2 only as a great 5.5+ route, or take all three pitches of Maria as a "one move wonder" 5.7 with a long fun approach.