Mountain Project Logo

Identifying Pitch Pines?


Original Post
David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55

So, we're not supposed to anchor to pitch pines in the Gunks. Is there a guide somewhere to identifying pitch pines, differentiating them from other pine trees?

Nick Votto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

Most trees on the top of the cliffs at the Gunks are pitch pines, building anchors with pro is the preferred method. 

https://www.google.com/search?q=pitch+pine&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwihudGai6DXAhUa24MKHSLUBLYQ_AUICigB&biw=1280&bih=676

Baba Fats · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Haven’t seen the ones growing in the gunks, but I’m the jersey pine lands, they are the skinny pines with 3 needles in each bundle.  Virginia and eastern white pines have 5 in each grouping.  

Look st the group of 3 on the left of the picture.  Those are the trees you need to avoid.  

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7b/NAS-143_Pinus_rigida.png/387px-NAS-143_Pinus_rigida.png

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55

Cool, it seems like the needles growing directly out of the trunk are a dead giveaway too.

Cron · · Barrington, NH · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 35

^ +1 

Identifying the number of needles in a fascicle (cluster) is the way to go. If you count 3 it's pitch pine. It's needles are also much more hardy/stiff than white pine. The needle clusters coming out of the trunk below the main  branches are called epicormic shoots, also quite unique to pitch pine. Also, many of the pitch pines at the Gunks are of the dwarf variety, basically meaning that they are very stunted and gnarled, whereas white pine tends to growth very straight stems. 

Fun fact. A lot of the pitch pines around the Gunks are old, like REALLY old. Back in 2013 I cored a tree at the nearby Minnewaska State Park (as part of a permit approved research project, don't go out and do this willy-nilly) that is the oldest known for the species, 398 years old. These things are real deal old-growth, which is one of the reasons the park wants to protect them. 

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55

That's cool. Yeah, I definitely don't want to damage these trees. I've generally just avoided anchoring to pine trees at all but I was running into the limitations of this approach.

I'm curious about the tree at the midcliff belay on Minty. That guy isn't doing so well due to rope damage, and I wonder if it's a pitch pine. It seems like a good candidate for a chained anchor to try to save that tree even though it's pretty close to other rap routes.

Kevin Heckeler · · Upstate New York · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,411
David Kerkeslager wrote:

I'm curious about the tree at the midcliff belay on Minty. That guy isn't doing so well due to rope damage, and I wonder if it's a pitch pine. It seems like a good candidate for a chained anchor to try to save that tree even though it's pretty close to other rap routes.

There's gear placements for an anchor nearer to the corner at that belay, no reason anyone should use that tree {it's not at an ideal angle for belaying anyway).
Unfortunately it's sometimes used as a bail, I've found booty bail gear and slings there on more than one occasion.  It helps getting an easy start on beginner's climbs.  :)  I'm sure others rap directly off it, although I wouldn't trust my rope around the base of a mostly horizontal tree.

From what I can recall, the tree has been pretty much the same the past 8 years.  It may outlive many other trees on ledges because it's horizontal.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745
David Kerkeslager wrote:

That's cool. Yeah, I definitely don't want to damage these trees. I've generally just avoided anchoring to pine trees at all but I was running into the limitations of this approach.

I'm curious about the tree at the midcliff belay on Minty. That guy isn't doing so well due to rope damage, and I wonder if it's a pitch pine. It seems like a good candidate for a chained anchor to try to save that tree even though it's pretty close to other rap routes.

I'm pretty sure that's a pitch pine.  Note - a sling on a tree isn't that bad. It's pulling rap ropes over them that causes the bark damage (and allegedly hurts the tree). If there's nothing moving on the bark, damage is negligible.

Taino Grosjean · · South Salem, NY · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 2,340

In other news, using pitch pines at Peterskill - as heard directly from Jorge, himself - as part of your anchor, is NOW ALLOWED. Standard safety rules apply - make sure it's large enough, and well-rooted enough. You shouldn't rappel off the trees, though, and try to pad/protect the bark from wear if you're using them for an anchor.

T

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745
Taino Grosjean wrote:

In other news, using pitch pines at Peterskill - as heard directly from Jorge, himself - as part of your anchor, is NOW ALLOWED. Standard safety rules apply - make sure it's large enough, and well-rooted enough. You shouldn't rappel off the trees, though, and try to pad/protect the bark from wear if you're using them for an anchor.

T

More discussion here:

https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/112825859/peterskill-tree-anchors-protocol

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply