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Organ Mountains, Gertch's Folly, advice on pro?
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By E Wydeven
From Austin, TX
Apr 20, 2012

Headed to climb Gertch's Folly in a couple of weeks. Need to know if we can leave the big cams in the car. We're trying to go as light as possible and have doubles in BD mid sizes. Is there placement potential for a BD 4, 5, or 6? I haven't read anything about wide cracks on the climb, but want to have our bases covered and have enough left over to build anchors. The descent info also seems a bit vague. We're considering the south gully. Is it pretty evident once you're up on top where to go? I appreciate any advice as I'm still a novice trad climber and want to have a good day out.


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By Chris Wenker
From Santa Fe
Apr 20, 2012
Bandera

I honestly don't remember the rack specifics. But, I trend to go pretty light, vs my partner who would take the kitchen sink if he could. Generally, when he and I head out onto unknown multipitch'ers, we typically take a rack like such: singles of blue & yellow TCU's, then doubles from fingers up to hands (so, orange TCU to gold C4), and then a single #3 C4. Odds are, that's what we hauled up Gertch. I don't remember if we took a #4, but probably not. And I'm near-certain nothing bigger than that.

Once at the top, the south descent is pretty straightforward. Continue walking east along the ridgeline until it looks feasible to drop south; just be sure to choose the gully that hugs the south face of Gertch. Loose and brushy, and you'll cliff out near the base, where the raps are.


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By E Wydeven
From Austin, TX
Apr 20, 2012

Thanks again Chris. That's what the picture looked like, but I wanted a bit of peace of mind. I'm looking forward to the climb.


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By climber pat
From Las Cruces, NM
Apr 20, 2012

I am sure we had nothing larger than a #4 camalot when we climbed it.

I remember the descent being pretty overgrown off the top.

I am curious how terrible the approach from the Top Hut is these days?

Pat


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By Ray Hellinger
From Durango, CO
May 1, 2012

At what time of yr does it get too hot to climb in the Organs (for us wuss northerners)?


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By climber pat
From Las Cruces, NM
May 1, 2012

Ray wrote:
At what time of yr does it get too hot to climb in the Organs (for us wuss northerners)?


I would say late may through august would be uncomfortably hot. It depends on your heat tolerance; I climbed year round when I lived there but got up pretty early in the morning during the summer.


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By Karl Kiser
May 2, 2012

I think one #3 camalot and no #4 should handle the big pro situation on Gertch. Walk virtually to the first low horn before you turn right (south) to attain the rap gully. It is easy to start down too soon. I always thought the fall was the best climbing season (mid Sept.-mid Nov.)


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By E Wydeven
From Austin, TX
May 8, 2012

Pat: What approach trail? There is a pretty good single track trail over to the little hill, but after that we lost it and had to bushwhack over thickly vegetated desert all the way to the base. We occasionally ran across cairns, but they didn't really seem to be associated with anything I would call a trail, just easier areas in a sea of stickers. It was rough and slow going.

But what an awesome route. Steep and scary, but climbs over pretty good and easily protectable rock with good placement stances and comfy belays -- until the top of pitch 5 which was steep and very exposed. Give yourself plenty of time, though, to make the approach and get down before dark. We summitted just as the sun was going down and couldn't find the south descent gully. I suspect in retrospect that we didn't go far enough towards the low horns. What we encountered looked like it cliffed out pretty quickly and was not what we were expecting. We opted to drop down the NW side and come back through Big Windy Canyon. This was TERRIBLE and I would NOT recommend it, some of the worst bushwhacking you can imagine and it took us several hours to get back to our packs. Love those Organs, but they do make you work for it.


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By climber pat
From Las Cruces, NM
May 8, 2012

There used to be a trail heading south from the top hutt across two or three hills and then turned up through the those nasty thorn bushes. I was hiking in the area a couple of years ago and managed to follow the old trail until it turn up towards Gertch at which point it looked truly miserable getting through the cats claws.

Glad you had a good time.


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