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Recommendations for Gunks 5.5's?
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By Puzman
Oct 22, 2010
Little finger

I've recently lead Fingerlocks, Horseman, and Sixish, and would like some recommendations for "easier" 5.5 leads in the Trapps.


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By doligo
Oct 22, 2010
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style

Arch, Middle Earth P1, Jackie, RMC, No Picnic

My favorite 5.5s, but they're all sandbags and are on a hard side for a 5.5 leader:
Ursula, Asphodel and Red Pillar


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By JSH
Administrator
Oct 22, 2010
JSH @ home <br /> <br />photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker

In general - I think there's a lot of variability at lower grades. Finding the 5.5 way to make a move might be very straightforward, or very much needing the eyes of a 5.10 climber. So - take any recommendations with a grain of salt!

That said, routes I can safely recommend:
Jackie is a sew-up and so, so nice (Horseman may well be harder).
Double Chin is also very well protected (but see above).
Rhododendron is barely 5.6 and totally safe - may as well get on it!
Asphodel
RMC
Bunny
Dennis

Have you done Gelsa? You must.
Disneyland is easy 5.6, if it's that.
Layback.


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By PTR
From GA
Oct 22, 2010

Here are some suggestions in your range:

-- Jackie
-- No Picnic
-- Black Fly
-- Hawk
-- Arch
-- Dennis
-- Red Pillar

Not sure if these are easier than the ones you mentioned, but I'm pretty sure that Hawk and No Picnic used to be 5.4 in the older Williams guides.


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By J Antin
From Denver, CO
Oct 23, 2010
First morning at Indian Creek!!!

JSH wrote:
In general - I think there's a lot of variability at lower grades. Finding the 5.5 way to make a move might be very straightforward, or very much needing the eyes of a 5.10 climber. So - take any recommendations with a grain of salt! That said, routes I can safely recommend: Jackie is a sew-up and so, so nice (Horseman may well be harder). Double Chin is also very well protected (but see above). Rhododendron is barely 5.6 and totally safe - may as well get on it! Asphodel RMC Bunny Dennis Have you done Gelsa? You must. Disneyland is easy 5.6, if it's that. Layback.



+1 for Gelsa - A classic climb.


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By P LaDouche
From CO
Oct 23, 2010

AntinJ wrote:
+1 for Gelsa - A classic climb.


hey Antin, +1 for you if you put your shirt back on.

As far as the best 5.5s at the Gunks, well I'd suggest trying some 5.6 and 5.7s as well, the ratings at the Gunks are a joke. Almost all the easy ones were the first routes ever done there when the rating scale was much different. If you can do the Horseman there are about 50 5.6s and 5.7s you need to try. Dont let the ratings dictate your plans.


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By bheller
From SL UT
Oct 23, 2010

Agreed that Gunks ratings are a joke! Best to just ignore them...others have suggested le creme above.


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By Jon H
From Northern NJ
Oct 23, 2010
At the matching crux

Arch is a fantastic climb, but a bit run out at the crux. I wouldn't suggest it for the new 5.5 leader.

Belly Roll, Dennis, and Jackie are what you should look at next.


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By SethG
Oct 24, 2010

I would disagree with the idea that Gunks ratings are a "joke." I'm not sure why people are saying that; the climbs over all these decades have reached consensus grades that I usually think are spot-on.

Often on easier climbs there are exposed moves or challenging mental situations that make the climbs feel harder than the grade for some, and this is true of many of the great climbs listed above.

Jackie has a slabby bit followed by an awkward overlap in the middle of the pitch that can be unnerving for some.

Dennis starts with an intimidating bulge right off the ground.

Ursula ascends a shallow dihedral on the first pitch requiring fiddly small gear. And the steep crux of the second pitch is right off the belay.

Nevertheless they're all wonderful! Dealing with these intimidating moments is part of what climbing in the Gunks is about. I would advise the OP not to look for "easy" 5.5s, but rather to look for the best ones, many of which have already been mentioned. You can do all the moves, I'm sure. And conquering the mental challeneges will prepare you for the next few grades.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Oct 24, 2010
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Jackie, Gelsa for sure. Disneyland is very cool belay from first pitch. Gives you that big wall feeling.


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By tw160504
From fort collins, co
Oct 24, 2010

If you have done horsemans then you might enjoy some mellow 5.6 like wrist. just dont forget your tricams! happy climbing


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By Jon H
From Northern NJ
Oct 24, 2010
At the matching crux

P LaDouche wrote:
As far as the best 5.5s at the Gunks, well I'd suggest trying some 5.6 and 5.7s as well, the ratings at the Gunks are a joke. Almost all the easy ones were the first routes ever done there when the rating scale was much different.


You're right - when all the easy climbs were put up, the ratings were different. But I'm going to respectfully disagree with your conclusion. When Horseman was put up (1941) the hardest climb in the rating system probably went at around 5.7 or so. Those 5.7 climbs were futuristic for the time and are MUCH harder than a 5.7 FA today.

For example, there's no way a 5.5 leader could climb Limelight, V3, CCK, Strictly From Nowhere, etc.

The difference is ever more pronounced on the old school 5.9-5.10 climbs. Ent Line (10d) is harder than any 5.10 climb I can think of at Rumney or New River Gorge. I think today's ratings would see it at 5.11b or so.

Don't tell a 5.5 leader to hop on some 7's at the Gunks.


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By J Antin
From Denver, CO
Oct 25, 2010
First morning at Indian Creek!!!

Jon H wrote:
You're right - when all the easy climbs were put up, the ratings were different. But I'm going to respectfully disagree with your conclusion. When Horseman was put up (1941) the hardest climb in the rating system probably went at around 5.7 or so. Those 5.7 climbs were futuristic for the time and are MUCH harder than a 5.7 FA today. For example, there's no way a 5.5 leader could climb Limelight, V3, CCK, Strictly From Nowhere, etc. The difference is ever more pronounced on the old school 5.9-5.10 climbs. Ent Line (10d) is harder than any 5.10 climb I can think of at Rumney or New River Gorge. I think today's ratings would see it at 5.11b or so. Don't tell a 5.5 leader to hop on some 7's at the Gunks.


I would strongly agree with that. It seems occasionally that veteran climbers forget what it was like to be a newer leader and often add other (read: tougher) graded routes as suggestions to questions such as this.

I am sure the OP has decided what their limit is prior to asking the question.

Gunks 5.7, even some 5.6 routes (Shockley's, Credibility Gap) are not great routes for a budding 5.5 leader.


EDIT: Just voicing frustrations, as I posted very similar threads when I was looking for "easy" lines just two seasons ago and always got an overload of route suggestions that were much harder than what I was willing to climb. There's nothing wrong with jumping on G-rated climbs at or above your limit, but if the OP is asking for 5.5 routes, it is also possible that the climber is "fine-tuning" their gear placement abilities and therefore the "leader shall never fall" mentality may be more prevalent in this situation.


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By Larry S
Oct 25, 2010
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

I agree about Gelsa and Layback, mentioned above, they were some of my first gunks climbs.

Another one to consider is Yum-Yum-Yab-Yum. It's rated 5.4... But definitely worth it if you haven't done it yet. It's about 5 minutes down from Gelsa and definitely worth the walk.


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By Eric Engberg
Oct 25, 2010

Jon H wrote:
When Horseman was put up (1941) the hardest climb in the rating system probably went at around 5.7 or so.


When Horseman had it's FA the YDS had not yet been invented. So those that are claiming that the ratings werre different in the old days are techincally correct - although I doubt you had a clue as to why you were.


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By doligo
Oct 25, 2010
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style

As someone who learned climbing/leading in the Gunks and has worked her way up through grades, I agree with Jon H and AntinJ, don't put a beginner 5.5 leader on .6s and .7s. Gunks climbing style is unique and the best way a beginner leader can find out what to anticipate from certain grades and what his/her strengths are, is through climbing a lot of routes at their current level and lower. I would not take an advice from somebody who learned climbing on granite and now leads .8s,.9s and .10s. For them, Horseman may look intimidating and steep, but for a Gunks even beginner leader who is used to dealing with exposure, it's pretty easy I think. At the same time for someone who is not solid on vertical crack, P2 of Red Pillar may seem hard. One of my climbing partners (granite climber) has hiked through .8s and .9s and at the same time backed off some heady .6 moves, i.e. got Gunked!


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By RandyR
Oct 25, 2010

dolgio wrote:
As someone who learned climbing/leading in the Gunks and has worked her way up through grades, I agree with Jon H and AntinJ, don't put a beginner 5.5 leader on .6s and .7s. Gunks climbing style is unique and the best way a beginner leader can find out what to anticipate from certain grades and what his/her strengths are, is through climbing a lot of routes at their current level and lower. I would not take an advice from somebody who learned climbing on granite and now leads .8s,.9s and .10s. For them, Horseman may look intimidating and steep, but for a Gunks even beginner leader who is used to dealing with exposure, it's pretty easy I think. At the same time for someone who is not solid on vertical crack, P2 of Red Pillar may seem hard. One of my climbing partners (granite climber) has hiked through .8s and .9s and at the same time backed off some heady .6 moves, i.e. got Gunked!


This sounds correct from my Gunks experiences. I consider myself a 5.8 granite leader, but have lead a decent quantity of 5.9 and some 5.10. Granite climbing seems to set you up to be very good on slabby feet and undestanding subtlety of body position on non-positive holds (not to mention cracks being second nature). While some of the "crux" moves seem easy if you're granite trained, I definitely understand what it means to get Gunked!


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By PTR
From GA
Oct 25, 2010

dolgio wrote:
At the same time for someone who is not solid on vertical crack, P2 of Red Pillar may seem hard.


Amen. Tough little move up there. Great observation.

I would also like to urge the OP to check out the Near Trapps classics mentioned up-thread, especially Gelsa. At the other end of things (literally) there's Casa Emilio (5.4). Worth doing, especially if you need to get away from the crowds.


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By Puzman
Oct 26, 2010
Little finger

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I've been climbing at the Gunks for quite a while, and am familiar with the ratings there, but hadn't done much leading above 5.4. I lead Gelsa last fall and agree it's a fantastic route. This past weekend I lead Shockley's Without (5.5 PG), and found the P2 traverse to be pretty intimidating. Got through it just fine, but definitely had me puckered a bit! As a comparison, a few weeks ago I did the direct variation of Little Finger in the 'Daks (5.7+ G) and it felt WAY easier than Shockley's W/O!!


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By P LaDouche
From CO
Oct 26, 2010

Hey, not trying to sandbag, just encouraging. I lived in NY for a year, climbed at the Gunks like crazy and what I saw was a ton of people fixated on ratings, so much so that they were holding themselves back. I met people that had been climbing for years and years but had too much fear put into them by the quote "easy ones" at the gunks. use shockleys as an example, you have never done a gunks 5.6 and jump on shockleys one day, you soil your britches/cry then declare "if this is 5.6 I'm never going to be doing 7s and 8s."

Some places have only handfuls of easy ones so if you want to climb you better be into trying a 5.8 or keep doing the same ole climbs over and over and over.





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By Gunkiemike
Oct 26, 2010

P LaDouche wrote:
Hey, not trying to sandbag, just encouraging. I lived in NY for a year, climbed at the Gunks like crazy and what I saw was a ton of people fixated on ratings, so much so that they were holding themselves back. I met people that had been climbing for years and years but had too much fear put into them by the quote "easy ones" at the gunks. use shockleys as an example, you have never done a gunks 5.6 and jump on shockleys one day, you soil your britches/cry then declare "if this is 5.6 I'm never going to be doing 7s and 8s."


All good points, but remember that Gunks routes don't follow cracks where you can get gear whenever you want it. And the easier routes are typically VERY ledgey, so even a short fall will mess you up. It adds up to most folks playing it pretty safe as they work up through the moderate grades.


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Oct 27, 2010
modern man

Falling on most easy ones at the Gunks is not a good option for sure, almost a good reason to encourage folks to try harder lines. Sixish and Sundance are two really fun climbs in that grade area. The Gunks has the best 5.5s and 5.6s in the world I think, havent done a full on shitty one yet. Dirty yes, shitty no.


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By Scottie
From Hartford, CT
Oct 27, 2010

Maria (5.6) up to the GT ledge would be good. if you arn't feeling up to pulling the cool roof you can rap from there. There is abundent pro on the second pitch. I can't speak for the first as i've only done Maria Direct.


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Oct 27, 2010

first pitch of maria isn't bad. it takes plenty of gear going across.. will have a bit more drag if you protect the shared bit with frogs head before the traverse starts. but a new 5.5 leader probably wouldn't want to do the normal solo up to that point.


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By doligo
Oct 27, 2010
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style

The traverse sucks (and I love traverses!) and P2 is not very memorable, the only thing you'd do Maria for is the P3 roof, IMHO. One of few roofs in the Gunks that doesn't rely on jugs but on a solid hand jam.


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Oct 27, 2010

dolgio wrote:
The traverse sucks (and I love traverses!) and P2 is not very memorable, the only thing you'd do Maria for is the P3 roof, IMHO. One of few roofs in the Gunks that doesn't rely on jugs but on a solid hand jam.


i disagree.. why does the traverse suck? it's moderate climbing with gear at your face basically whenever you want it. Pitch 2 is fun vert,steepish jughauling.


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