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Thoughts on the Gunks

John Stannard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 0

There are not many of us Stannards, fortunately for everyone else and I climbed at the Gunks with Goldstone, of whom there are not nearly enough. So I have to plead guilty.

The underlying theme for the thread is the old American attitude that more is always better and only best is good enough. That attitude degrades our lives and in fact produces nothing. Thus it was I was encouraged to respond.

The area has its merits, as do all things, and it is available to us only because of the unremitting efforts of an amazing family over nearly a century and a half. That alone is enough to encourage us to appreciate what we have and to appreciate each other, more.

I think the objective of learning to appreciate both of these things, equally, is the central task of American democracy for the next century. The people of the Gunks have an unequaled opportunity to have at it.

That process will be fun. When Bragg and I managed to get over the last ceiling on Kliegfields folly we planned to get Wunsch belaying in that last tenuous inside corner and to jump off from above, smiling and waving to him as we went by. It would have been a hoot. Maybe next year.

worth russell · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 40

I'm a relatively new leader and and did the same thing as coop but I went all 1-3 star routes up to 5.8 and into the 5.9s. The gunks are amazing and have a massive collection of exciting moderates. Thinking gelsa at 5.4 and modern times at 5.8. I've never been to another area that possesses such easy access to these types of moderates. As for sandbagging it's stiff from climb to climb not grades as a whole. I can think of routes at the gunks that are two grades or more off but in general I would say comparable to other areas. I was out in red rocks this past winter and was told it was so soft. Well the rock was about the only thing I found to be soft. It's just a different style of climbing. Best of luck out west coop. I call bullshit on the Jstan post but if it's not a troll thanks for the pitons. people are still whipping on them after all these years. Scary stuff

Erboutitman · · farmingdale ny · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 5

If you have been leading gunks 11s and haven't done a good route your doing something wrong... But i might be jaded i learned most of my skills at the gunks and i don't hate on any of the places i climbed...

Arch Richardson · · Grand Junction · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 20

I first started climbing at the Gunks back in the early 70's. Recall it was (just as?) crowded back then on weekends. Most weekdays its pretty easy to get on a route. Don't know about the 11's, but those glorious 4's, 5's, and especially the 6's. Can't think of anywhere else that has so many good 6's. Lotsa good 8's, 9's too. The Uberfall climbs may be overrated, but its a fun place to hang out. As for price, the annual membership is reasonable if you use it.

I would venture that the Gunks is the best (at what it's good at).

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,936
Dana wrote:As for the grades, I've been climbing there for almost 40 years, and I never thought that the grades were sandbagged. They might be a bit - just a bit - more difficult than some areas, but nowhere near to the degree suggested by this urban legend.
For the benefit of folks who haven't been climbing the Gunks as long as Dana, let me point out that most of the starred classics (yes, I mean most; I counted them several years ago) have been upgraded from their early published ratings. So the Gunks WERE quite stiffly graded back in the early days, but that's not been the case for the last few guidebook editions. I don't have my books in front of me, but think about the following: Retribution a 5.9, Shockley's a 5.5, Yellow Ridge a 5.6, Gelsa a 5.3, and you get the idea. (OK, maybe I'm off on the old Gelsa grade)
Happiegrrrl · · Gunks · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 60

Reminds me of the time I was in JT and was introduce to an old school local who asked what I had climbed that day. I told him about a lead I had done - which for me was a nice thing since it was my first lead in the park.

He asks more about the cracks...and then says "Oh, yeah. That used to be the walk off..." Grrrr

wivanoff · · Northeast, USA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 553
Gunkiemike wrote: Gelsa a 5.3, and you get the idea. (OK, maybe I'm off on the old Gelsa grade)
Gelsa was 5.3 in the 1972 Blue Dick.

But, Travels with Charley was 5.6, now 5.8- R
Raubenheimer Special was 5.5, now 5.7 PG-R
Boston was 5.3, now 5.5
Strictly From Nowhere, Limelight and Arrow all moved up a full grade.

Lots of other examples...
Go Back to Super Topo · · Back of my truck · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 260

Living in an area that allows me to frequently travel to the new or the red I am always hearing how the new grades are so much stiffer and harder and blah blah blah.

My thoughts on "stiff" grades in certain areas

1.) climbing is often difficult in areas you are not accustom too. It takes time to get used to granite after climbing on sandstone, or limestone after climbing granite, etc. I think that is why many locals dont think it is sandbagged

2.) many noobs, or new to trad, climbers go to the gunks where the head game may not be 100% or simply they just except all 5.8's to be a ladder

3.) Certain areas are more conducive to onsights. That is, the climbs are more often more straight forward and therefore easily climbed in the first few goes (this is obviously only for climbs within your limit and not projects). I have found this particularly applicable to a few places; HCR and RRG. Both places seem to have "soft" grades by most peoples standards because the routes within those peoples limits are fairly straightforward and therefore done in s shorter time. I cant tell you how many times in the new I have floundered on a particular graded climb MY FIRST TIME that I can easily do first go at the red. But after unlocking the beta for the climb at the new it feels on par with the red's grading.

thats just my thoughts on why grading feels different for different people

Benjamin Brooke · · San Pedro, CA · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 1,050

There are a ton of factors that contribute to why I am loving the Gunks right now. I am relatively new to climbing. I just began coming down "south" to the Gunks at the end of last summer. Every time I climb there I can chose from literally hundreds of moderate climbs to onsigiht that are within my ability. I generally go on weekdays and rarley find a climb I want to do occupied. The weather in Feb and March yields a few pleasant days. The style of climbing is much different than at home in the ADK. Jugs and exposure are fun. My season pass will end up being something like 2bucks a day to climb. Given my current pace, within a couple years things might not be as thrilling, but for now im agonna enjoy.

As for the ratings, I do not beleve the hype. I've been saying they are comprable to the ADKs. Of course, both areas have their sandbags. The style at the gunks is just very athletic requiring a bit of power endurance. Also, exposure and committing moves require steady nerve

Nathaniel Ward · · Winston-Salem, NC · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 35
John Stannard wrote: There are not many of us Stannards, fortunately for everyone else and I climbed at the Gunks with Goldstone, of whom there are not nearly enough. So I have to plead guilty. The underlying theme for the thread is the old American attitude that more is always better and only best is good enough. That attitude degrades our lives and in fact produces nothing. Thus it was I was encouraged to respond. The area has its merits, as do all things, and it is available to us only because of the unremitting efforts of an amazing family over nearly a century and a half. That alone is enough to encourage us to appreciate what we have and to appreciate each other, more. I think the objective of learning to appreciate both of these things, equally, is the central task of American democracy for the next century. The people of the Gunks have an unequaled opportunity to have at it. That process will be fun. When Bragg and I managed to get over the last ceiling on Kliegfields folly we planned to get Wunsch belaying in that last tenuous inside corner and to jump off from above, smiling and waving to him as we went by. It would have been a hoot. Maybe next year.

I stumbled on this thread by accident looking for information on an obscure route, and this is the best comment in the history of Mountain Project, and apropos of our current historical moment. We should all do so well as to “get stuck” at Gunks 5.11, long may it wave. I guess if you know, then you know. And if you don’t know... 

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 312

Good bump.... only been a few times, I thought it was a fantastic place to climb at. Anytime I meet a climber who cut their teeth at the place - I know they are solid- and strong as heck.

Rob D. · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined May 2011 · Points: 30

Anyone have the Stannard Life/time/whatever article from back in the day?  I remember reading it on supertopo but can't find it now!

Gerald Adams · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2019 · Points: 0

On a NYC business trip in the early 80s ,I went to the Gunks for the weekend & climbed with Kevin Bein . It was a fine weekend  with a great climber. I had never such  crowds in Yosemite Valley or Lover's Leap or anywhere else in California before .Kevin introduced me to Fritz Wiessner & Jim McCarthy as we walked out .I came back the next year & I climbed with Jim Munson .The local craze was skin-tight thin  tights .It looked like the circus had come to town !

S2k 4life · · Rocks st. Park · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 126

My thoughts are,
I've seen bears, frogs, porcupines, and millipedes here but never any snakes. .so that's cool

Rangers are present and chill while on any given day you can see people volunteering and helping clean the place up, as well as the legend locals like fritz or dick

I love the easy approach

I love climbing roofs/overhangs, there fun af
so many high quality climbs right next to each other... Y to wait? But being around some people is nice right.?Brings me to my next point

Shout out to all the climbing ladies at the gunks. Always . One weekend I was there and I saw more girls then guys climbing. It was amazing.

It is a little like a circus, you see everything, people climbing in costumes, girls and guys in skin tight leggings, groups top roping 1st pitchs of a multi trad climbs, the smell of pungent reefer, everything from 1st timers to seasoned pros..  so you can Definitely find a couple crushers here which is cool. Finding someone to put up 10s in the rain for you is nice and watching the occasional 11 trad lead is inspiring.
 
Wish they still had camp slime
Rip bo
 

mnjsan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 695
Nathaniel Ward wrote:

I stumbled on this thread by accident looking for information on an obscure route, and this is the best comment in the history of Mountain Project, and apropos of our current historical moment. We should all do so well as to “get stuck” at Gunks 5.11, long may it wave. I guess if you know, then you know. And if you don’t know... 

I have struggled and been humbled on Stannard's climbs only to find out after the fact that when he did the climb he graded 5.9+.  And of course with not nearly the protection or shoes we have today.  The man is a legend and far ahead of his time.


Just wondering what route were you looking for info on?
mnjsan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 695
Rob D. wrote: Anyone have the Stannard Life/time/whatever article from back in the day?  I remember reading it on supertopo but can't find it now!

This is the thread.  Unfortunately Supertopo has been purged of all images so the scanned article is gone.


http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1097594/John-Stannard-in-Life-magazine-1971
Nathaniel Ward · · Winston-Salem, NC · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 35
S2k 4life wrote: My thoughts are,
I've seen bears, frogs, porcupines, and millipedes here but never any snakes. .so that's cool

Rangers are present and chill while on any given day you can see people volunteering and helping clean the place up, as well as the legend locals like fritz or dick

I love the easy approach

I love climbing roofs/overhangs, there fun af
so many high quality climbs right next to each other... Y to wait? But being around some people is nice right.?Brings me to my next point

Shout out to all the climbing ladies at the gunks. Always . One weekend I was there and I saw more girls then guys climbing. It was amazing.

It is a little like a circus, you see everything, people climbing in costumes, girls and guys in skin tight leggings, groups top roping 1st pitchs of a multi trad climbs, the smell of pungent reefer, everything from 1st timers to seasoned pros..  so you can Definitely find a couple crushers here which is cool. Finding someone to put up 10s in the rain for you is nice and watching the occasional 11 trad lead is inspiring.
 
Wish they still had camp slime
Rip bo
 

Man I miss camp Slime. Started camping there at 14 years old with school friends. Seen plenty of snakes in the Gunks, too! 

Nathaniel Ward · · Winston-Salem, NC · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 35
mnjsan wrote:

I have struggled and been humbled on Stannard's climbs only to find out after the fact that when he did the climb he graded 5.9+.  And of course with not nearly the protection or shoes we have today.  The man is a legend and far ahead of his time.


Just wondering what route were you looking for info on?

Forbidden Zone. Hoping to get a day out at Lost City if I’m up North this Summer for the first time in 20+ years. Or... I was hoping before 6 months of quarantine seemed like a thing that might happen. 

Garry R · · Guelph, ON · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 0
Gerald Adams wrote: On a NYC business trip in the early 80s ,I went to the Gunks for the weekend & climbed with Kevin Bein . It was a fine weekend  with a great climber. I had never such  crowds in Yosemite Valley or Lover's Leap or anywhere else in California before .Kevin introduced me to Fritz Wiessner & Jim McCarthy as we walked out .I came back the next year & I climbed with Jim Munson .The local craze was skin-tight thin  tights .It looked like the circus had come to town !

I met Jim Munson there in October of 2018. Super nice guy. Unfortunately it rained for days so the climbing was a bust.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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