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The Gunks are way worthy!
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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Dec 3, 2012
Rumney

BigA wrote:
I agree with most of your list. However, the crowds don't really venture past the front of the Trapps, nears, and peters kill. It's definitely more of a pain, but I can guarantee a cliff to myself on any given weekend... As far as the sandbagged grades go, two cents: gunks routes were sometimes the first of their grade in the region if not the country. So the grades are accurate; it's modern grades that have gotten soft...regardless, its also nice knowing if you can climb a certain grade at the gunks, you can climb it anywhere... Rest of your cons are spot on, and I would add weather to the list as well.


Yeah, there's several off the beaten path walls that are worthy of a visit. I wasn't including those because they're not what most people envision/use when they visit. I'll admit that it's kinda scary climbing stuff without a guide. :p

I also agree that the grading may be getting softer. Older 5.9s at the Gunks can be very challenging, especially those FA'd prior to 5.10s Part of the reason the Gunks have a bad rep (and why I don't tend to push myself there) are the runouts and sustained nature of some of the climbs. This is of course yet another controversial and/or highly beaten to death topic.

Yes, weather can be iffy. Especially when you get that ocean breeze from the southeast and low clouds hang on all day. This is nice peak summer, but any other time it tends to keep the walls a bit too cold for my tastes. Northeast weather is not ideal for any climbing. I've had a taste of the West and it can't be beat.


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By Alicia Sokolowski
From Brooklyn, NY
Dec 3, 2012
Hanging out waiting for Die Antwoord to come on stage

Happiegrrrl wrote:
The first reason I suggest it is a rather bold statement to make is that even though there may be a number of climbers at the Gunks who practice law, the majority of them are very likely not in the niche which would be applicable. A real estate attorney, someone who specializes in intellectual property rights or divorce/custody issues would not be, for instance, when it comes to climbing issues. That reduces the number of potential offering attornies considerably. I am guessing(and could be wrong) that someone who is working with a firm doesn't necessarily get to decide which entities they will be providing free services to, which would reduce the number further. ... Maybe I am completely off base in my thinking. I know very few lawyers, and don't tend to talk shop with those I have met. Perhaps there are some in the field who will comment on this topic. But also, perhaps a better option would be to let this thread revert back to "Gunks are Way Worthy!" posts, and create a thread specifically addressing the points you repeatedly have been bringing up whenever someone does post about the place.


You are not off base at all and basically sum up why "climbing lawyers" are not a guarenteed resource. Even if you are not in a firm and totally in house, (I speak from experience) you have file conflict forms and get approval at basically any large corporation. Additionally, as tort cases can have huge financial consequences, I'm not sure the preserve would be smart in selecting a lawyer based on the fact he or she comes free.


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By JohnWesely
From Red River Gorge
Dec 3, 2012
Gunking

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
Part of the reason the Gunks have a bad rep (and why I don't tend to push myself there) are the runouts and sustained nature of some of the climbs.


Climbing at the gunks is rarely sustained, and the pro is the best of any area I have climbed at ever.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Dec 3, 2012

Jeez what a shitshow. Did I miss the "pile on Kevin" memo or something? Guy seems to be offering reasonable commentary to me, (whether I agree or not is another question). What's with all the "STFU" stuff?

Some of you are flat out embarrassing yourselves. Nobody cares about your college admission or other standardized tests. You can play that game, but you will lose...plenty of off-the-charts intelligent folks in the climbing community.

But back to the Gunks climbing. People say (and not just about the gunks but anywhere with old school ratings) that "if you can climb the grade there, you can climb it anywhere". But it ain't true! No sir. Styles are so different that regardless where you learned and how stiff the ratings are there, you can still get smacked down at other areas.

Yes, I've climbed there at a few different crags, and most every other trad "destination" area in the US. I don't think Gunks would make my top 5 in the east and definitely wouldn't make top 10 in the country.

Of course now some butthurt Gunks local will call me a hater and blah blah whatever, but I'm curious what happened to open, adult conversation that doesn't involve being on a "side" and having to argue about every g#$%mn thing. If offering an opinion and thoughts to support that opinion makes everyone who doesn't agree with you a "hater", then we are further down the road to Idiocracy than I thought.


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By The Coop
Dec 3, 2012

What's up with all of those old farts in that picture?


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Dec 3, 2012
Rumney

JohnWesely wrote:
Climbing at the gunks is rarely sustained, and the pro is the best of any area I have climbed at ever.


That's precisely why that topic gets hotly debated, because MANY believe 180 degrees opposite (not just me, put away the fruit). There's many hard routes, and many routes that have R ratings (due to the anti-bolt culture). This is, well, a fact of climbing at the Gunks. Just because you don't find any of the routes you've done sustained or lacking gear doesn't mean they aren't, or that there are not, such routes. It's not anything that needs correction, it's trad climbing and if someone doesn't want to climb the route they don't. But those routes exist (in decent quantity).


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Dec 3, 2012
Rumney

Alicia Sokolowski wrote:
You are not off base at all and basically sum up why "climbing lawyers" are not a guarenteed resource. Even if you are not in a firm and totally in house, (I speak from experience) you have file conflict forms and get approval at basically any large corporation. Additionally, as tort cases can have huge financial consequences, I'm not sure the preserve would be smart in selecting a lawyer based on the fact he or she comes free.


Would all claims need to be pursued in a manner that would require "the best" attorney money can buy, or can obvious (a.k.a. frivolous) claims be handled by just about any attorney because of the obviousness of their failures/deficiencies (in fact, legal precedence, etc)? [This was the counterpoint made after, which was never really answered] This is purely academic, as it doesn't necessarily directly apply to anything in the Gunks related discussion...

I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay at a holiday inn express last night.


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By Alicia Sokolowski
From Brooklyn, NY
Dec 3, 2012
Hanging out waiting for Die Antwoord to come on stage

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
Would all claims need to be pursued in a manner that would require "the best" attorney money can buy, or can obvious (a.k.a. frivolous) claims be handled by just about any attorney because of the obviousness of their failures/deficiencies (in fact, legal precedence, etc)? [This was the counterpoint made after, which was never really answered] I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay at a holiday inn express last night.


In basically any other context, I totally see what you're saying, but cases against the preserve are almost certainly going to have as one of the elements an indiviudal that suffered bodily harm at the actual perserve. That already has enough elements of a claim that I would not want to risk designating any claim as frivolous enough to be handled by someone that has no expertise in the specific area of law. Any old lawyer that got the okay from their employer could certainly lend support to the expert carrying the price tag, though, decreasing the hours they would need to bill. You'd have to find the specialist that would agree to that, but I imagine it would be a real possibility.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Dec 3, 2012
Rumney

Alicia Sokolowski wrote:
In basically any other context, I totally see what you're saying, but cases against the preserve are almost certainly going to have as one of the elements an indiviudal that suffered bodily harm at the actual perserve. That already has enough elements of a claim that I would not want to risk designating any claim as frivolous enough to be handled by someone that has no expertise in the specific area of law. Any old lawyer that got the okay from their employer could certainly lend support to the expert carrying the price tag, though, decreasing the hours they would need to bill. You'd have to find the specialist that would agree to that, but I imagine it would be a real possibility.


I understand. Thanks for clarifying :).


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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Dec 3, 2012
Colonel Mustard

Will S wrote:
I don't think Gunks would make my top 5 in the east and definitely wouldn't make top 10 in the country. Of course now some butthurt Gunks local will call me a hater and blah blah whatever, but I'm curious what happened to open, adult conversation that doesn't involve being on a "side" and having to argue about every g#$%mn thing.


The reaction is as predictable as getting a deep tendon reflex with a rubber mallet! To posit a different opinion is like you took a crap on the place. But it's funny in that youtube, guy hitting himself in the balls with a rake sort of fashion.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Dec 3, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

"Yes, I've climbed there at a few different crags, and most every other trad "destination" area in the US. I don't think Gunks would make my top 5 in the east and definitely wouldn't make top 10 in the country."

Just curious, what would your top 5 areas in the East be? Top ten in the US?


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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Dec 3, 2012

If offering an opinion and thoughts to support that opinion makes everyone who doesn't agree with you a "hater", then we are further down the road to Idiocracy than I thought.

How true. Regardless of the topic, any disagreement or critical thinking, any refusal to jump on the band wagon and someone is likely to branded with the most devastating label on the internet - hater.


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By JohnWesely
From Red River Gorge
Dec 3, 2012
Gunking

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
That's precisely why that topic gets hotly debated, because MANY believe 180 degrees opposite (not just me, put away the fruit). There's many hard routes, and many routes that have R ratings (due to the anti-bolt culture). This is, well, a fact of climbing at the Gunks. Just because you don't find any of the routes you've done sustained or lacking gear doesn't mean they aren't, or that there are not, such routes. It's not anything that needs correction, it's trad climbing and if someone doesn't want to climb the route they don't. But those routes exist (in decent quantity).


The are R routes and hard routes everywhere though. On average, Gunks routes tend to have hard cruxes for the grade but are not sustained and are protect excellently.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Dec 3, 2012
Rumney

JohnWesely wrote:
The are R routes and hard routes everywhere though. On average, Gunks routes tend to have hard cruxes for the grade but are not sustained and are protect excellently.


You lead 11a trad and 12c sport -- I doubt we experience climbing quite the same way. I still find some 5.8s and 5.9s challenging. You probably can't tell a 5.6 from a 5.9

[this is obviously meant as a quasi-compliment]

One man's pumpfest is another's warmup.

As I mentioned elsewhere, beware the infamous Gunks + (plus)


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By Simon Thompson
From New Paltz, NY
Dec 3, 2012

Yeah no way "if you can climb that grade in the gunks you can climb it anywhere." Go to Yosemite and come back and say that


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Dec 3, 2012
Rumney

I find my crack climbing suffers elsewhere the more Gunks time I get in.


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By doligo
Dec 3, 2012
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style

Ben Brotelho wrote:
Just curious, what would your top 5 areas in the East be? Top ten in the US?


Can't tell for the top 5 in the East (I haven't climbed around South East at all), but I'm afraid with all my fondness for the Gunks, they won't make my top 10 trad destinations in the US... It's a good local crag and an excellent place to learn climbing on gear (two words - nut craft!), nothing more.


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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Dec 3, 2012
Colonel Mustard

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
I find my crack climbing suffers elsewhere the more Gunks time I get in.


Don't worry, that syndrome can happen in other areas too. I climbed with a 5.10 trad leader from Las Vegas once. All was well until he got bouted on a 5.7 crack climb at Joshua Tree! Apparently, you can consider yourself a 5.10 "trad" leader in Vegas without actually knowing how to jam!


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Dec 3, 2012
modern man

Colonel Mustard wrote:
Don't worry, that syndrome can happen in other areas too. I climbed with a 5.10 trad leader from Las Vegas once. All was well until he got bouted on a 5.7 crack climb at Joshua Tree! Apparently, you can consider yourself a 5.10 "trad" leader in Vegas without actually knowing how to jam!


I can verify that for sure.of course vegas and St george are the softest ratings on the planet


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By David Stowe
Dec 3, 2012

doligo wrote:
Can't tell for the top 5 in the East (I haven't climbed around South East at all), but I'm afraid with all my fondness for the Gunks, they won't make my top 10 trad destinations in the US... It's a good local crag and an excellent place to learn climbing on gear (two words - nut craft!), nothing more.

I am obviously a bit partial as the Gunks are my home crag, but when many people talk about gunks climbing I get the feeling that for the most part they are talking about the Trapps and the Nears. There are so many other areas starting with Millbrook and including numerous other cliffs that offer very different climbing and a very different climbing experience from the popular areas. Solitude, unchalked rock, route finding, dare I say actually adventure. I find it odd that when I go to other areas in the country many of the climbs often require significant approaches, but at the Gunks our "remote" cliffs may take an hour to get to but are rarely visited. Its actually quite nice to have it that way. Many complain about the proximity to the millions of people in NYC, but I find it quite striking to have those very same conditions and be all alone on a wall on a gorgeous weekend.

As far as ranking places to go it is all a matter of opinion and what you like. People rave about JTree. I really did not care for the rock or the climbing there but loved the stunning landscape. I would go back to Red Rocks, Yosemite or countless other places before even thinking about JTree again, but that is just me. It is so hard to rank places as every location has something different to offer. I hope to visit Indian Creek in the spring for the first time and hope that it registers high on my impossible to make list.


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By lucander
From Stone Ridge, NY
Dec 4, 2012
Lucander off the GT Ledge on p. 2 of Keep on Struttin.

Way worthy = go out at lunch break to climb Transcontinental Nailway and Birdcare in a t-shirt on a 55 degree December day, then make it back in time to put in a few more hours on the job.

There's not many other places in the U.S. with that combination of excellence and access.


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Dec 4, 2012

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
You lead 11a trad and 12c sport -- I doubt we experience climbing quite the same way. I still find some 5.8s and 5.9s challenging. You probably can't tell a 5.6 from a 5.9 [this is obviously meant as a quasi-compliment] One man's pumpfest is another's warmup. As I mentioned elsewhere, beware the infamous Gunks + (plus)


oh please, folks say this all the time and it's not true. just because you climb hard doesn't mean you can't tell what easier stuff feels like.

It seems that you are much better at crack and slab climbing than roof climbing so the Gunks feel hard and pumpy. and that is ok, i suck at slab and crack so i have to drop grades if i'm going to do that stuff. ie you said you pumped out at the top of Son of Easy O... i found that to be extremely easy and fun. I also think Modern Times felt easier than Snooky's and Columbia.


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By doligo
Dec 4, 2012
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style

David Stowe wrote:
I am obviously a bit partial as the Gunks are my home crag, but when many people talk about gunks climbing I get the feeling that for the most part they are talking about the Trapps and the Nears. There are so many other areas starting with Millbrook and including numerous other cliffs that offer very different climbing and a very different climbing experience from the popular areas. Solitude, unchalked rock, route finding, dare I say actually adventure.


I wasn't talking about the few busiest areas of the Nears and Trapps, in fact, I know how you feel - I have climbed at Millbrook and Bonticou and have sampled plenty of obscure but quality routes in the Trapps and Nears. Still I think it's a silly argument - you can't send a first-time visiting moderate leader to Millbrook on a peak season weekend, just like you won't say send a first time Indian Creek climber to the Cliffs of Insanity ("oh yeah there is a ton of 5-star .12s, but chances are you'll be standing in line for only one reasonable warmup - so worth 1 hour hike"). There is a reason visitors flock to the busy areas of the Trapps and Nears, and the reason is a high concentration of quality well-travelled (i.e. clean) easy to moderate routes with short approach. And I don't think the Gunks' proximity to the major metropolitan area is a negative - actually I think it's amazing that one can live in NYC and have this greatly accessible crag just 1.5 hr drive away. Imagine it was this close to the Bay area!


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Dec 5, 2012
Rumney

Jake D. wrote:
It seems that you are much better at crack and slab climbing than roof climbing so the Gunks feel hard and pumpy. and that is ok, i suck at slab and crack so i have to drop grades if i'm going to do that stuff. ie you said you pumped out at the top of Son of Easy O... i found that to be extremely easy and fun. I also think Modern Times felt easier than Snooky's and Columbia.


I'm solid at almost all disciplines to 5.9 (except maybe chimneys, haven't done one harder than 5.6 or 5.7). But repeated moves at the harder grades bring on fatigue. I've been doing pull ups regularly at home to improve my stamina on such things. But it's a good example that some routes/styles at the Gunks just can't be "technique'd" up and require raw strength to accomplish cleanly (ie - jug hauls, overhanging sections of 15 feet or more). Most of the people I've seen onsight and/or flash up Son Of (Double Crack, Modern Times, etc) were very strong climbers who could do 20+ pullups with relative ease. The power and stamina needed to do some of the harder moderates (5.7-5.9) at the Gunks is a common fact. I feel silly even having this conversation. lol

BTW, I do Son Of cleanly now and expect to lead it sometime next season... but I still think it's very physically demanding. ;)

Side note - I do NOT agree that climbers retain the ability to accurately grade routes that are well below their lead limit. I can barely tell a 5.3 from a 5.4 now, and I'm only feeling solid at 5.8 or 5.9 There was a time not that long ago I actually felt like I was climbing while doing a 5.3, now it's a cakewalk. In conversations with others, this has been the consensus. This is also why some areas allow R pitches to remain unmentioned if the section of climbing falls X number of grades below the route's grade. It should be easy for a climber leading 5 grades harder, hypothetically.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Dec 5, 2012
Rumney

doligo wrote:
I think it's amazing that one can live in NYC


I agree with that!


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