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Best Gunks boulder problems to train for Eraserhead?


Original Post
David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 138

I'm really trying to push grades this year, and have set the goal for myself to climb Eraserhead 5.12 in the Near Trapps by the end of 2019. Maybe an unrealistic goal, but it can't hurt to try! I've been getting out with the nice weather a bit, but have a hard time climbing routes cold, so I'm focusing on bouldering as training. What are some Gunks boulder problems that would be good preparation for Eraserhead?

My understanding is that Eraserhead's 5.12a grade is roughly equivalent to a V4 crux, so stuff in the V4/V5 range is probably what I'm looking for. I've done some work on The Lorax, Black Boulder, The Boxcar Traverse, and The Goldstone Traverse, but I'm looking for some stuff that might have movement more similar to Eraserhead for more specific training.

Danny Poceta · · Calgary · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 40

Have you tried the route? It is both a safe lead and easy to toprope from the Roseland anchor. Train if ya like, but why not just hop on the route? It really comes down to only two moves from what I remember.

edit: Gill egg comes to mind.

David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 138
Danny Poceta wrote: Have you tried the route? It is both a safe lead and easy to toprope from the Roseland anchor. Train if ya like, but why not just hop on the route? It really comes down to only two moves from what I remember.

edit: Gill egg comes to mind.

Yep, I've been on it!

5.12 is a pretty significant jump from what I've climbed, so it's going to be a while before I can pull those moves, and I don't just want to spend the entire time doing the exact same moves. It's also a bit easier to work moves from the ground. But I will definitely still be making a few runs on it each week until I get it.
Suburban Roadside · · Abovetraffic on Hudson · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 1,804

Just keep top roping everything there at that spot.

 Also pick a climb with a  big safe overhang & start learning to fall off.
We used to call it, "getting our wings",
 it comes with the territory, "Loobing" off the crux of ....
 I don't want to suggest anything but there are dozens of suitable overhangs. at almost every grade

SethG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 250

Generally speaking, when a route in the Gunks has a one move crux the one move is really hard for the grade. I had some similar ideas regarding Eraserhead and I've tried it on TR a few times. I just can't do the move. Other twelves have moves that are still hard-- I am not trying to brag, believe me, they are very hard for me-- but after some work I understand what is required. By contrast, the Eraserhead move for me is one of those "how do humans do this?" kinds of moves.

Sort of like City Streets-- a one-move 5.10, with a pin right where you want it, but probably harder than lots of other tens.

PS If you are working on 5.12 you've made astonishing progress in the past year or so (just judging by your posts). My hat's off to you. Or you're crazy and should try some tens. You know 5.10 is the best grade at the Gunks right? There are at least 50 awesome tens.

David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 138
SethG wrote: PS If you are working on 5.12 you've made astonishing progress in the past year or so (just judging by your posts). My hat's off to you. Or you're crazy and should try some tens. You know 5.10 is the best grade at the Gunks right? There are at least 50 awesome tens.

Probably I'm crazy. :) I have made a ton of progress, but I will admit I've yet to lead a 10 clean yet. However, I've toproped a few 11s clean, and part of the goal here is to push my toprope grade closer to my lead grade (still not super comfortable falling on gear when pushing myself) and I've been progressing a lot bouldering indoors this winter. Maybe 5.12 is a too ambitious goal, but the worst that happens is I lead a bunch of 10s and 11s and do a bunch of boulder problems, so I'm not necessarily going to be heartbroken if I don't hit my goal. I'm just setting an ambitious goal and trying my damned-est to do it, so I push myself hard.

Nolan Huther · · Potsdam, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 530

I'd agree with the fact that foundations are important, as Seth suggests. An example to that effect is to redpoint / onsight / flash 20 pitches of 5.10-, 15 of 5.10+, 10 of 5.11-, 5 of 5.11+ and then you probably have adequate skills to try and redpoint a 12-. YMMV. Wiring one or two boulder problems won't really do much, but maybe being able to routinely send V4-6 and have a solid ability and judgement to lead trad at upper grades would, if you particularly like bouldering

David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 138
Nolan Huther wrote: I'd agree with the fact that foundations are important, as Seth suggests. An example to that effect is to redpoint / onsight / flash 20 pitches of 5.10-, 15 of 5.10+, 10 of 5.11-, 5 of 5.11+ and then you probably have adequate skills to try and redpoint a 12-. YMMV. Wiring one or two boulder problems won't really do much, but maybe being able to routinely send V4-6 and have a solid ability and judgement to lead trad at upper grades would, if you particularly like bouldering

Yeah, I agree. I've got a whole list of climbs I'd like to lead before I make my redpoint attempt this December, with dates I'd like to lead each climb by to see that I'm on schedule. I'm a bit behind schedule right now because a bunch of my projects from last year are at Peterskill, which is closed to climbing currently. I like Peterskill for redpointing because it's easy to set up topropes, but closing for winter really screwed me. But once Peterskill is open I should be able to knock out a few 5.10- leads once I've refreshed my memory on the beta. And I learned my lesson: all my 5.10+ and 5.11 projects are in areas that won't close for winter.

We'll see what happens. Bouldering today was a bit discouraging, though I did make a few moves of progress on the Goldstone Traverse.
SethG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 250

Don’t let me talk you out of trying twelves. I probably am not someone to emulate. I futzed around with the tens for years. Good for you if you sent some elevens, even on tr. which ones?

Jon Frisby · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 120

Toprope any of the 11 and up routes on that wall. To be has progressive difficulty. 

Suburban Roadside · · Abovetraffic on Hudson · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 1,804
Jon Frisby ·Wrote:
Toprope any of the 11 and up routes on that wall. To be has progressive difficulty.

That`s what I said

Suburban Roadside wrote:

 Just keep top roping everything there at that spot.

 Also pick a climb with a  big safe overhang & start learning to fall off.
We used to call it, "getting our wings",
 it comes with the territory, "Loobing" off the crux of ....
 I don't want to suggest anything but there are dozens of suitable overhangs. at almost every grade
Nolan Huther · · Potsdam, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 530
David Kerkeslager wrote:

Yeah, I agree. I've got a whole list of climbs I'd like to lead before I make my redpoint attempt this December, with dates I'd like to lead each climb by to see that I'm on schedule. I'm a bit behind schedule right now because a bunch of my projects from last year are at Peterskill, which is closed to climbing currently. I like Peterskill for redpointing because it's easy to set up topropes, but closing for winter really screwed me. But once Peterskill is open I should be able to knock out a few 5.10- leads once I've refreshed my memory on the beta. And I learned my lesson: all my 5.10+ and 5.11 projects are in areas that won't close for winter.

We'll see what happens. Bouldering today was a bit discouraging, though I did make a few moves of progress on the Goldstone Traverse.

Why wait for Peterskill to open? I'd be down at the Trapps this weekend if I could. There's even a few climbs to toprope from easier climbs, though nothing compares to working climbs on the sharp end to hone trad skills (so long as they are reasonably safe). Nosedive and Retribution are obvious options that fit into either of these aformentioned categories. But jumping on lead on difficult routes builds strategy, in placing gear and protecting cruxes, which will hopefully allow you the skills and confidence to safely approach harder routes. A skilled Gunks leader is probably very intelligent at protecting their climbs, albeit if they don't know how to hand jam (overhead at the Mountaineer on a rainy day - "man, I just redpointed Coex, but Arachnid Traction kicked my ass")

Anyway, if any 10- in the Trapps seems too hard or too soon in the season, then grab some 5.8s and 5.9s to build up a foundation to start working on that grade more. If you can wire a Gunks 11 on TR but are not comfortable jumping on a 10-, that suggests some kind of disconnect that may likely be remedied by stepping above some gear. Keep it safe

David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 138
SethG wrote: Don’t let me talk you out of trying twelves. I probably am not someone to emulate. I futzed around with the tens for years. Good for you if you sent some elevens, even on tr. which ones?

Nerdie Gerdie and Super Skink. I was told they were 5.11s, but I just looked both routes up and MP has them both as 5.10d. Comments seem to indicate that Nerdie Gerdie is 5.11- in the Dick Williams guide, and Super Skink is very height dependent.

David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 138
Nolan Huther wrote:

Why wait for Peterskill to open? I'd be down at the Trapps this weekend if I could. There's even a few climbs to toprope from easier climbs, though nothing compares to working climbs on the sharp end to hone trad skills (so long as they are reasonably safe). Nosedive and Retribution are obvious options that fit into either of these aformentioned categories. But jumping on lead on difficult routes builds strategy, in placing gear and protecting cruxes, which will hopefully allow you the skills and confidence to safely approach harder routes. A skilled Gunks leader is probably very intelligent at protecting their climbs, albeit if they don't know how to hand jam (overhead at the Mountaineer on a rainy day - "man, I just redpointed Coex, but Arachnid Traction kicked my ass")

I was in the Trapps today! I bouldered, but both Retribution and Nosedive are on my TODOs for the spring, and I've already done a few TR laps on each (no clean runs on Nosedive yet).

Anyway, if any 10- in the Trapps seems too hard or too soon in the season, then grab some 5.8s and 5.9s to build up a foundation to start working on that grade more. If you can wire a Gunks 11 on TR but are not comfortable jumping on a 10-, that suggests some kind of disconnect that may likely be remedied by stepping above some gear. Keep it safe

"Wire" is a strong word. The two 11s I got on TR, I got once, a feat I probably couldn't repeat on demand. I think the hardest climb I would say I have wired is Golden Dream (5.9) in Peterskill.

EDIT: But yeah, there's definitely a disconnect. I actually have done some fall practice (as recommended by Arno Ilgner) and feel fine when I take a breath and just fall, but for some reason it's way scarier for me to take the same fall when I'm actually trying to do the move.
David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 138
Jon Frisby wrote: Toprope any of the 11 and up routes on that wall. To be has progressive difficulty. 

Thanks for the recommendation! I have mostly been looking at things with more friendly pro (the R rating scared me off from looking into this one), but it looks like it's pretty easy to set up a TR on To Be Or Not To Be. Maybe I'll give it a go this weekend.

PosiDave · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 65
David Kerkeslager wrote: I was in the Trapps today! I bouldered, but both Retribution and Nosedive are on my TODOs for the spring, and I've already done a few TR laps on each (no clean runs on Nosedive yet).

"Wire" is a strong word. The two 11s I got on TR, I got once, a feat I probably couldn't repeat on demand. I think the hardest climb I would say I have wired is Golden Dream (5.9) in Peterskill.

EDIT: But yeah, there's definitely a disconnect. I actually have done some fall practice (as recommended by Arno Ilgner) and feel fine when I take a breath and just fall, but for some reason it's way scarier for me to take the same fall when I'm actually trying to do the move.

What is the crux on eraserhead? 

Try Sonja is you want to lead a short (10) & double clutch is another short one (9). Find if your weakness is endurance or power and you can find what you should work on (bouldering or sport). Another thing that really helps for gunks roofs is a strong core 
David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 138
PosiDave wrote:

What is the crux on eraserhead? 

Try Sonja is you want to lead a short (10) & double clutch is another short one (9). Find if your weakness is endurance or power and you can find what you should work on (bouldering or sport). Another thing that really helps for gunks roofs is a strong core 

Definitely power is my biggest weakness, my endurance is fairly decent for the grades I'm on.

The crux on Eraserhead is basically a boulder problem, so I think it does address my weakness. However, that's not really why I chose it as a project. I mostly chose it because it's a fairly easy to protect 5.12 that's easily accessible to toprope via Gelsa, Roseland, or Shitface, the last two of which are fairly decent goals in their own right.

A lot of my goals before Eraserhead are much different styles, to try to get more general skills, though.

EDIT: Here's my intermediate goals list. Some parts aren't fleshed out yet.

April 15    5.9 Golden Dream (already have this wired, could probably even skip it since I've already led 5.9).
April 30    5.10a Oops (already have this fairly wired)
May 15        5.10b Nosedive (have done some work on this one already, probably gonna hit this hard in the next few weeks)
June 5        5.10c ? (maybe Texas Flake/Wishbone at Lost City? I'm not sure I could find these climbs. Looking for a project in this range that inspires me, or might just skip this grade)
June 25        5.10d Low Exposure
August 15    5.11a Harvest Moon
September 5    5.11b ? (Maybe No Man's Land?)
September 30    5.11c ? (Maybe Kligfield's Follies?)
November 30    5.11d Persistence (Lost City)
December 31    5.12a Eraserhead

There are some classics not on this list (Resistance, Coexistence) but that's because I want to save a few classics I haven't seen for onsights rather than Redpoints.
Danny Poceta · · Calgary · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 40
Nolan Huther wrote:

Why wait for Peterskill to open? I'd be down at the Trapps this weekend if I could. There's even a few climbs to toprope from easier climbs, though nothing compares to working climbs on the sharp end to hone trad skills (so long as they are reasonably safe). Nosedive and Retribution are obvious options that fit into either of these aformentioned categories. But jumping on lead on difficult routes builds strategy, in placing gear and protecting cruxes, which will hopefully allow you the skills and confidence to safely approach harder routes. A skilled Gunks leader is probably very intelligent at protecting their climbs, albeit if they don't know how to hand jam (overhead at the Mountaineer on a rainy day - "man, I just redpointed Coex, but Arachnid Traction kicked my ass")

Anyway, if any 10- in the Trapps seems too hard or too soon in the season, then grab some 5.8s and 5.9s to build up a foundation to start working on that grade more. If you can wire a Gunks 11 on TR but are not comfortable jumping on a 10-, that suggests some kind of disconnect that may likely be remedied by stepping above some gear. Keep it safe

This is really good advice. It sounds like you are in the habit of TRing routes before leading them. Stop. There are so, so many 10s and 11s in the Gunks that protect really well with a standard rack and I think you would be missing out on some really good experiences by not trying to just climb them onsight.

Danny Poceta · · Calgary · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 40
David Kerkeslager wrote: 
June 5        5.10c ? (maybe Texas Flake/Wishbone at Lost City? I'm not sure I could find these climbs. Looking for a project in this range that inspires me, or might just skip this grade)

Erect direction maybe?

SethG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 250
David Kerkeslager wrote:



EDIT: Here's my intermediate goals list. Some parts aren't fleshed out yet.

April 15    5.9 Golden Dream (already have this wired, could probably even skip it since I've already led 5.9).
April 30    5.10a Oops (already have this fairly wired)
May 15        5.10b Nosedive (have done some work on this one already, probably gonna hit this hard in the next few weeks)
June 5        5.10c ? (maybe Texas Flake/Wishbone at Lost City? I'm not sure I could find these climbs. Looking for a project in this range that inspires me, or might just skip this grade)
June 25        5.10d Low Exposure
August 15    5.11a Harvest Moon
September 5    5.11b ? (Maybe No Man's Land?)
September 30    5.11c ? (Maybe Kligfield's Follies?)
November 30    5.11d Persistence (Lost City)
December 31    5.12a Eraserhead

There are some classics not on this list (Resistance, Coexistence) but that's because I want to save a few classics I haven't seen for onsights rather than Redpoints.

This list is hilarious. Please don't take this the wrong way.

It's as if my Yosemite list had the Nutcracker as my April goal and The Dawn Wall for my September goal.

If you can't walk up to nines and tens and lead them on-sight (even with some falls now and again) then you have the whole world of Gunks climbing ahead of you. By all means work on some 5.12's but the idea of of working through all of those grades in the time frame you've set for yourself is insane! You have so many fun classics to do, at every grade level.

I might also add that it seems to me your choices on your list, plus the elevens you've tried, plus the twelve you want to do, all reflect a desire to find a short cut to ticking off numbers. Nothing wrong with that but it has nothing to do with actually becoming a 5.11 climber or a 5.12 climber. You should (and perhaps you do) recognize the limitations of such an approach. One of my goals in climbing lots of tens at the Gunks was to feel like I could call myself a 5.10 climber and walk up to a 5.10 at any climbing area and have a fighting chance to succeed.
jessie briggs · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 240

It seems your list is fairly ambitious. Probably more like a nice tick list for someone confident on .11s. I’d suggest finding a bunch of good nines and tens and getting comfortable leading those. Start with rehearsing the tens then move to trying some onsight. You’ll get there with work but it’ll take time. The pyramid way of working through grades explained in the self coached climber is a good way to go. Helps build a solid base before considering higher grades. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Northeastern States
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