Best guidebook for The Gunks???


Original Post
Mark L · · New York, NY · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

What is your favorite resource for climbing in The Gunks?  I currently have the Gunks App; it just seems to lack detail on the routes.  The descriptions are very basic, although the photos are a plus.  I was thinking about trying another source, so what do you recommend?

Chris Duca · · Havertown, PA · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 2,095

How much detail are you looking for?  The Gunks App is great in that it gets you to the base of the route, describes the essence of the line, yet it doesn't spoil the adventure by giving you a total beta spray down.  

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,740

If you need more than what's in the app(s), there's really only one reasonable solution: Dick Williams' books. (Or the Peterskill book :-)  )

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

You already have the best resource, unless you want more extensive coverage.  Climbing is overburdened with detailed beta, banishing the element of unknown and replacing it with a series of performance directives.  The routes become little more than receptacles for tick marks in the guidebook, things to have done rather than things to figure out.  The Gunks App is a step in the direction of full meaning, involvement, and commitment of the activity.  It tells you everything you need to know without flattening the climb into an elaborate form of hopscotch. Less is definitely more in this case. 

Nolan Huther · · Clarkson University · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 582

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

^^^ That is probably the worst guidebook ever written.

Michael Schneider · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 735
rgold wrote:

^^^ That is probably the worst guidebook ever written.

Only dwarfed in its banality by  certain Falcon Press offerings (the, Nick/ Sloan, Nj is an insult ). And further more you don't need a book if you have the app. If you want to be coddled (more ) hire GunkieMike 

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 300

I find Gunks App super useful and accurate. I supplement with mountain project for gear recommendations if it's a run out route or near the limit of my ability. Not to be snarky but if you're having trouble following the App topo you may want to spend more time with correlating the photos with the route from below. They really are quite detailed. 

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

Dick's book is amazing but I stopped carrying it because of how comprehensive the app is.   I still recommend it to people just getting out to the gunks because it's an awesome resource filled with historical information that, to me, is worth knowing. 

JSH · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 960

Have you seen the app that comes from the website you posted on?

Michael Schneider · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 735
JSH wrote:

Have you seen the app that comes from the website you posted on?

For real!

djh860 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 110

I like the app

Ben Hoste · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 303

Dick Williams' guidebook is hands down the best guidebook for the Gunks. Not only are there great descriptions for each climb (including details on lots of variations) there are also great historical photos and lots of stories on the history for the area. For example, why certain routes are named they way they are (like Boston...). 

The book is also every rugged and has zero ads in it. It harkens back to a day when guidebooks were made by those that established the areas and were published by organizations like the Sierra Club or AAC. Older versions combine Milbrook, The Near Trapps, The Trapps, and Skytop into a single guidebook. More recent editions split them up because there are simply too many routes to fit in one book. 

Mountain Project and The Gunks App are great, you can certainly find all of the routes with them, but when reading Dick Williams (who put up many routes in the area) you feel like you're participating in a long legacy of climbing in the area. As someone who was taught to climb by my father, maybe I'm just a sucker for stuff like this, i.e. a connection to the past. 

You can buy the guidebook at the Gunks visitor center or at Rock and Snow, which Williams founded (but no longer owns). 

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

I should add that I love Dick's guidebook and know it to be a true labor of love.  Moreover, if you want anything like comprehensive information about the Near Trapps, you still need Dick's Guide to the Near Trapps and Millbrook.

Mark L · · New York, NY · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

I just bought a copy of the Dick guidebook to supplement the Gunks App.

Gunkie · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 0

I prefer the Blue Dick.  It has all the classics in it, the cover is bullet proof and the grades have been lowered to give you the confidence to be able to do the climbs mentioned.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,740
Gunkie wrote:

I prefer the Blue Dick.  It has all the classics in it, the cover is bullet proof and the grades have been lowered to give you the confidence to be able to do the climbs mentioned.

The current edition of DW's Trapps book is blue.  Oops.

I suspect you're referring to his 1970's era all-in-one book. It was IMO THE REASON why Gunks grades were perceived as stiff for so many years. A classic for any bookshelf.

Christopher Woodall · · Somerville, MA · Joined May 2015 · Points: 138

I don't really use the GunksApp (usually my climbing partner has it) and I use the Grey Dick Williams book (the new one appears to be Blue again). I love that book, for the most part it is reasonable, and you still get some classic sandbags! Climbing at the gunks really is not fun without being sandbagged from time to time, keeps you honest and gives your ego a nice kick in the head

Christian Fracchia · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 80
Mark L wrote:

What is your favorite resource for climbing in The Gunks?  I currently have the Gunks App; it just seems to lack detail on the routes.  The descriptions are very basic, although the photos are a plus.  I was thinking about trying another source, so what do you recommend?

Hey Mark,   Does your Gunks App say "Gunks" or "Gunks +" under the icon?

Gunkie · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 0
Gunkiemike wrote:

The current edition of DW's Trapps book is blue.  Oops.

I suspect you're referring to his 1970's era all-in-one book. It was IMO THE REASON why Gunks grades were perceived as stiff for so many years. A classic for any bookshelf.

Exactly - old school.  But since the ratings were all relative to one another, they were accurate in a solopsistic sense.  I have two copies.

I also like the Red Art Gran guidebooks, or for more obscure climbs Ivan's ringed booklet.  I must confess I don't own the new Blue book.  I haven't even broken in the Grey one yet!

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
rgold wrote:

You already have the best resource, unless you want more extensive coverage.  Climbing is overburdened with detailed beta, banishing the element of unknown and replacing it with a series of performance directives.  The routes become little more than receptacles for tick marks in the guidebook, things to have done rather than things to figure out.  The Gunks App is a step in the direction of full meaning, involvement, and commitment of the activity.  It tells you everything you need to know without flattening the climb into an elaborate form of hopscotch. Less is definitely more in this case. 

+1

And to think that at one time all a guidebook needed to say for the middle section of a 1500' climb was: "wander upwards following indistinct cracks and corners for 400', aiming for a prominent tree on the left below some overhangs. 5.8"

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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