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g. V3 - Middle Earth
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Absurdland T 
Alley Oop T 
Badfinger T 
Balrog T 
Beyond the Fringe T 
Blunderbus T,TR 
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Bullfrog T 
Cakewalk T 
Cheap Thrills T 
City Streets T 
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Country Roads T 
Dat-Mantel T 
Dis-Mantel T 
Dry Heaves T 
Faithful Journey T 
Gory Thumb T 
J'accuse T 
Middle Earth T 
Never Never Land T 
Never Say Never T,TR 
Nevermore T 
On Any Monday T 
Raunchy T 
Red's Ruin T 
Sente T 
Snake T 
Snowpatch T 
Talus of Powder T 
Thin Slabs / Thin Slabs Direct T 
Triangle T 
Turdland T 
V-3 T 
Wild Horses T 
Wisecrack T 
Wonderland T 
Yenta TR 

Middle Earth 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 250'
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Joe Kelsey and Roman Laba, 1967
Page Views: 9,787
Submitted By: Denis O'Connor on Apr 12, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (185)
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Tricia Fusco nearing the top of the first pitch.


A deservedly popular climb with good first and third pitches.

P1: Climb broken cracks for about 100', aiming for a nice ledge about 15' left of a large pine tree. The route wanders left and right at various places, so keep looking around. 5.6, 100'.

P2: Climb easy ground 60' up and slightly left, to the GT Ledge.

P3: Reposition the belay ~ 20 feet to the right. Climb up and left into a right-facing corner (crux). Clear it, then aim up and left towards a pretty white face and finish up that to the cliff top.

Rappel from rings on trees. At the GT, look for a new station on a pine tree to climber's left, then rap leaning rightwards to top of the first pitch, or go straight to the ground using two ropes. This station has the advantage of staying to the left of the climbing route.

It's also easy to walk just a bit north (right) to the bolted rappel line at Arrow.


From Absurdland, go downhill to the right, and about another 30' right once the trail flattens out.


Standard rack. Rap stations at top of all 3 pitches.

Photos of Middle Earth Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Nearing the top of P1 on a beautiful day in July.
Nearing the top of P1 on a beautiful day in July.
Rock Climbing Photo: Moving up P3 crux on Middle Earth.
BETA PHOTO: Moving up P3 crux on Middle Earth.
Rock Climbing Photo: Halfway up P1.
Halfway up P1.
Rock Climbing Photo: About 1/3 of the way up the first pitch, nearing t...
About 1/3 of the way up the first pitch, nearing t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climber on Middle Earth from Grand Traverse Ledge ...
Climber on Middle Earth from Grand Traverse Ledge ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Stepping left.
Stepping left.
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of P1
BETA PHOTO: Start of P1
Rock Climbing Photo: Here is a nice little shot from the top of the sec...
Here is a nice little shot from the top of the sec...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tj getting intense on the first couple moves on Mi...
Tj getting intense on the first couple moves on Mi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Stitchin' it up on P1 of Middle Earth.
Stitchin' it up on P1 of Middle Earth.

Comments on Middle Earth Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 14, 2016
By andylei
Jul 11, 2016

Heard a couple of accounts that the rap rings at the top of the second and third pitches have been removed. I think you have to walk right to Arrow to rap now.
By Tim Schafstall
Apr 2, 2008

The first pitch of this climb is superb and takes good gear. Good pitch for the new 5.5 leader.

P2 is easy 5th class, but still fun.

P3 is tricky, with a vague book description, potential ledge falls, and a harder than rated crux. I would not put a new 5.5ish leader on the last pitch.

A 60M rope is needed to rap from the large tree atop P1 or to TR this pitch.
By divnamite
From: New York, NY
Sep 24, 2008
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13

Great climb, I linked P1 and P2 together.
Aug 4, 2009
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

P3 was rated 5.7 up until the Grey Dick came out; and even at 5.7, it wasn't a gimme. That re-grading is the one I most strongly disagree with.

It's not easy to get *good* pro at the crux, because of the direction of rope pull, and the pumpy stance; and you're looking at hitting the ledge if you fall on bad pro. So I agree with Tim - I would not, not, not put a 5.5 leader on this pitch.

Repositioning the belay at the GT ledge, to just below the pitch, is a good idea.
By doligo
Jun 14, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13

Finally got to lead the pitch 3. What a great climb! I agree, the roof is a bit stiff for a 5.5, especially for a shortie like me. The roof protects well, you can even stick a purple C4 in the crack just right under the roof. The reason I gave it PG13 is that once you pass the roof, the pro is very sparse, the climbing is pretty easy though.
Jun 14, 2010
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

In May 2010, my partner and I moved the fixed rappel at the GT ledge from the leaning-over, half-eroded tree to the beefy pine 15' left.
By Kevin Heckeler
From: Upstate New York
Nov 27, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

P3's roof is 5.7, I don't care what the current guide says. That said, great route and fun pitch. Well protected IMO.
By kenr
Jun 15, 2012

P1 I found to be well-protected since I had a little Mastercam #0 to stick in a flary vertical crack as my second piece off the ground.
Above that my "normal" rack worked fine, no need for anything larger than a #2 Camalot.

P1 was pretty sustained with thoughtful face/slab moves near the rating grade. Perhaps not a good choice as an early Lead for someone making the transition from indoor climbing, because some of the protection stances required standing on slopy or small footholds - (though could be a good learning pitch for Followers making the transition from indoors).
By Paul Deagle
From: Geneseo, NY
Sep 2, 2012

Hardest "5.5" crux on the third pitch I have ever climbed. 5.8 is a bit more like it.
By Simon Thompson
From: New Paltz, NY
Apr 27, 2013

If you do the crux on p3 the absolute easiest way I'd still say it's hard 5.6. First pitch is phenomenal... probably the best/most sustained pitch of 5.5/5.6 in the Gunks with some great crack climbing to boot!
By Logan Schiff
From: Brooklyn, NY
Apr 28, 2013

I approached the P3 overhang from the left side by the Bombs Away P3 start this time. Felt easier, 5.5 or so, and was a bit easier to place pro higher up while holding huge jugs, though still not the most comfortable stance.
By jdrago
From: Rosendale, NY
Oct 29, 2013

Beautiful first pitch. The crux is definitely not much harder than 5.6. Maybe if you go up the roof to the left instead of to the right it's 5.8? A #2 BD cam protects the crux well.
By Optimistic
From: New Paltz
May 22, 2014

I'd done P1 about 5 times over the years but had never gone higher.

P2 is pleasant although dead easy (place 1 piece).

P3 is really quite cool. I have to say that I think 5.6 is pretty fair, but I did notice (BETA ALERT) that it was a little tricky to get good gear where you wanted it, because the good gear is actually right in the middle of the crux. I chose to pull on through and then was like, "hmm, now I'm kind of looking at a ledge fall, not quite what I'd had in mind," and so placed a piece blind at my feet. Amazingly, my second told me that the piece was pretty good, but still, if this is an uncomfortable grade for you, the right way to do it would be to pull into the crux, set one or many totally truck pieces, downclimb and shake out if needed, and go.
By Dan Africk
From: Brooklyn, New York
Apr 7, 2015
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

A beautiful climb. Pitch 1 is a lot of fun and well protected, and well worth doing even on it's own.

Yesterday was my second time on this route, but the first time doing the third pitch. The 5.6 rating is fair, but as a not-so-bold 5.6 leader, I found the crux move very scary with ledge fall potential- Optimistic has it right, the best places for gear, and where you want it the most, are right in the middle of the crux. There is an old piton and room for one or two marginal placements before the crux (use at least single-length runners), but they probably wouldn't stop you from hitting the GTledge.

A 70m rope will make rappelling much easier, since you can skip the rappel tree at the GT ledge, which is way off to the left of the next station. It still takes 3 rappels though. I put a pair of new slings and a rap ring on the top tree on 4/6/2015, it could use another quick link.
By SethG
Apr 7, 2015

If you take Middle Earth to the top you are really better off walking for one minute over to the Arrow bolts for the descent. It is less disruptive to climbers below and you don't have to navigate ever-changing tat anchors.
By john2.71
From: Montclair, NJ
May 12, 2015

Having led both variations of P3, I can attest that the right side is noticeably harder than the left.
By Meg Grega
From: Holtsville, NY
Jun 19, 2015

The crux of P3 felt more like a 5.7 to me. Great climb but I would say p3 is a little sketchy for a new leader.
By Mrkb3
Nov 3, 2015

Good moves on very solid rock. If doing the entire climb, link P1+P2. I found protection for P3 to be very good if you can focus on putting in a piece when it gets a bit steep. Highly recommended if you're comfortable with 5.6+ but probably not for one of your first leads.
By Gunkiemike
Dec 15, 2015

We climbed this today, first time since the bolts went in. I was astounded to see the GT Ledge bolts are so far left of the usual line of the pitch. I know they were placed there to keep rapping climbers away from ascending climbers. But the problem is that leaders on P2 are going to angle leftwards to get to the bolts (and belay there). The problem is that this runs their rope across a pair of insecure 50+ lb blocks. One of these blocks in particular is sticking out and will surely snag the rope. While a second falling on that pitch is unlikely given how easy it is, I'm afraid that the first time a rope goes tight across that block, it's a bomb.

Update - March 29, 2016 - there are several rather large (~ 2 ft) rocks embedded in the dirt at the base of the route. I wonder if someone trundled the dangerous blocks I refer to above. Hopefully it was done on purpose, safely. I will have to go up there and see if in fact they're gone (they were still there on March 17th).

May 2016 - The blocks I mention above, as well as a few other large (2-3 ft) blocks, have indeed come down from immediately below the (new) bolts on the GT ledge that serve Middle Earth and the other climbs in that vicinity. Hopefully they were dropped purposefully/safely. But the thing is - there's now a messy dirt slope where the blocks used to be, and climbing through this is super insecure. It will wash off eventually, but as it does there are sure to be several smaller bits of rock that find their way downward. 3 golf ball size rocks came down while we were on Bombs Away today. YMMV but I'd suggest avoiding all these climbs on busy days for the next several months. If you want to see one of the blocks, look just R of the base of Bombs Away. I'd guess 300-400 pounds.
By Joel Ryan
From: New York, New York
Jul 14, 2016

Be advised: The bolted anchor stations at the top of P2 and P3 are no longer in place. P1 has a bolted anchor. There are once again rap stations on trees at the top of P2 and P3.

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