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Toprope advice for Gunks


Original Post
Dave K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 9 days ago · Points: 0

Hi - I used to do a lot of lead climbing at the Gunks .... but ~20 years ago  ... am planning to go back this summer for some top-roping with my kids, they've done gym climbing and now want to get outdoors.  It's been a while, so I'll need to get new gear to set up some anchors.  So, four questions:

1.  Advice on what's needed to set up top-ropes on a single-pitch would be appreciated (generally I'll be scrambling up to create the anchor and then rappelling or walking down).  Was planning to bring two cordelettes (20ft each) and maybe some nylon slings along with a half-dozen locking biners.

2.  I want to avoid the weekend rush ... are Mondays generally pretty quiet during the summer?  

3.  Is Peterskill the best place to go for this (ability to set up top-rope anchors for 5.5-5.9 routes without leading them first)?

4. Book vs app?  Will the app help me figure out where I can access the top to set up top-ropes?

Thanks!

JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 90

Yes to Peterskill.  There are relatively few climbs in the Trapps/Nears/LC with easy top access.  PK is the way to go if that's what you are looking for and there are plenty of high quality routes with top access. Mondays will generally be close to empty.

The app is amazing for finding routes. Almost too good.  It takes the adventure and skillI out of route finding. The app does often say that the top has double bolted anchor, but not every time.  There are many anchors that use trees and the amount of cord you're bringing won't be enough for ALL routes, but will be enough for MANY routes. Bring some old carpet/pads for wrapping trees please, and learn how to identify Pitch Pines as they are protected and not to be used as anchors.  There are three things to remember when identifying pitch pines, 1: the needles grow in clusters of three, 2. the pine combs are short and fat compared to other combs, 3: the bark is larger, thicker flakes (youtube.com/watch?v=kiKDzqm… fast forward to the second half)

Jon Rust · · Chesterbrook, PA · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 0

Peterskill. The app seems better than the guidebook, and is cheaper I think. A lot of people bring a long static line ... not strictly necessary but definitely worth getting if you don’t have a rack & you plan on TRing regularly.

Dan Riti · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 191

+1 to Peterskill.

And this topo made it very easy to find all the crags last time I was there: https://www.mountainproject.com/photo/110578250

Dave K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 9 days ago · Points: 0

Thanks, so PK it is. I purchased the PK package in the app and agree it’s pretty good. Any suggestions on what routes to set up top ropes on (that don’t require a static rope as I’m not ready to splurge on that right now). 

JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 90

depends on the grade youre looking for. There are some great 10 b/c/d hidden in there.

I personally love Golden Dream, its a gorgeous 5.9ish corner crack. I believe you can also work from those anchors to get on the 12+. Also, Dunce's Corner is a fun 8 and you can do the stiffer face climbs from the same anchor.

Psycho Crack left and right are both good and there are DBA's in the super cool chimney to the left of psychocracks too.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,861

The guidebook (p. 19) lists the bolted anchors. Since then, bolts (hard-to-see glue-ins at the top edge) have been added to Anna's Route, Jumbled Arete, and Easy Crack.  You can set up a TR off of any of these with nothing more than a pair of slings/cordelettes, with the exception of the Captain's Log bolts, which are set well back from the edge. There are some routes with trees close to the edge suitable for setting up a TR, but you'll have to find these on your own.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,861
JRZane wrote: Psycho Crack left and right are both good and there are DBA's in the super cool chimney to the left of psychocracks too.

No bolts for the chimney routes. The closest anchor is Yellow Wallpaper just at the mouth of the chimney (left of Psy. Crack). Of interest to the OP though, a couple fun lines in that area can be set up without static rope: "Not All It's Cracked Up To Be" can be TR'ed from the large WHITE pine above it, and "Santa's Escape" from gear (also "The Ripper" in that same area, but that one's beyond OP's stated grade range). Two cordelettes needed in either case IIRC.

Dave K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 9 days ago · Points: 0

Thanks. My son (age 20) has done a lot of gym climbing but first time outdoors so not sure, guessing 5.7-5.9 for him.  Golden dream and Dunce's Corner look good for him?  My daughter is 16 and hasn't really climbed before but is pretty fit.  Guessing 5.5-5.6 for her.  Looking maybe at Captain's Log (looks like my son can use the same anchor for Kling-On), Cornflake, Genuflect, Slot Machine?

I don’t have the guide book (so I can’t see p19) just the app. In the App, what does the white hexagon mean at the top of some routes?

David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 145

Well, this is getting confusing. Now there's another David K in the Gunks?

David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 145
David K wrote: In the App, what does the white hexagon mean at the top of some routes?

I think it's supposed to mean "bolted anchor". But there are some bolted anchors that have been added to older routes which haven't been added to the app--Slot Machine, Golden Dream, and Yellow Wallpaper all have bolted anchors but no hexagons.

What's your comfort level with setting up gear anchors, or anchoring off trees? That opens up a lot more options.

EDIT: Actually Slot Machine doesn't have bolts. The bolts are on Fickle Fingers, the neighboring climb.
Dave K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 9 days ago · Points: 0

Haha, I just changed my profile from David to Dave, let's see if that sticks on this post?  Great advice so far, I'll need to study the app to plan it out.  I got rid of my gear along with the rope a while ago, so at this point I've got cordelettes and slings and a few quickdraws ... so I'm not able to set up a gear anchor but could anchor off a tree if it's not too far away.

JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 90
David K wrote:

I think it's supposed to mean "bolted anchor". But there are some bolted anchors that have been added to older routes which haven't been added to the app--Slot Machine, Golden Dream, and Yellow Wallpaper all have bolted anchors but no hexagons.

What's your comfort level with setting up gear anchors, or anchoring off trees? That opens up a lot more options.

the hexagon with an arrow means fixed anchor/rappel.  In the Trapps that could mean a slung tree with rings, or those funky steel cables with QLs.  At PK, that generally means bolted anchor because there are few, if any, slung trees.

Dave K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 9 days ago · Points: 0

Thanks all for the great advice.  I think we'll focus on the following (all 5.9 or below, with DBAs and easy walk up/down to set top-ropes):

Anna's Route / Jumbled Arete / Easy Crack
Slot Machine / Golden Dream
Psycho Crack / Yellow Wallpaper
Reach Around
Dunce's Corner

JimN · · Parsippany, NJ · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 30
David K wrote:

Slot Machine

Unless I'm blind (quite possible), there are no bolts for Slot Machine.  Maybe you mean Fickle Fingers, next to Golden Dream?

David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 145

I'm going off memory here, so I may be misremembering, but I don't think Jumbled Arete, Easy Crack, or Dunce's Corner have bolts.  As JimN pointed out, the bolts near Slot Machine are actually on the neighboring climb, Fickle Fingers. The Anna's route bolts may be hard to find.

Adding 50 ft of static line to your kit will allow you to build anchors on almost any route, and the ones that require 100 ft aren't a big loss, IMO.

Let me know via PM when you're heading up. If it fits my schedule I could show you some of the routes and bring my static line. I'm not a guide (yet!) but I know the area pretty well. And we can swap stories on both being named David K.

David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 145
JimN wrote:

Unless I'm blind (quite possible), there are no bolts for Slot Machine.  Maybe you mean Fickle Fingers, next to Golden Dream?

You're right--I've edited my previous post to avoid confusing anyone.

Albi Eds · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 216

The universe is full of David K's.

JimN · · Parsippany, NJ · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 30

Skink is right near Golden Dream and has bolts too.  It's 5.8, although depending on your height, you might disagree.  You can also get pretty cool pics of people climbing Golden Dream standing near the bolts at the top of Skink.

I would also add that getting to the base in that area is kind of a pain in the ass, but it's totally worth it.  Golden Dream is probably the best climb at Peterskill.

Bunk Arete and Night Owl are both 5.6/7ish and are right near the parking lot.  There are bolts at the top, and you can do both climbs on the same anchor without needing directionals.  It's pretty popular with guides though, so it can sometimes be tough to get on.

Reach Around also has bolts and is really nice.

Mike K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2018 · Points: 0

Golden Dream is good but gets a little busy on the weekends. Skink used to be 5.6, is now a 5.7+, definitely not a 5.8. There's also Stinky Americans and another 5.10c (can't remember the name) right next to it to the climber's left of Slot Machine. You can easily build an anchor for Slot Machine at the top of the route.

Also, i'd recommend either rapping down off of Golden Dream or Skink if you want an easy way down.

David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 145
Mike K wrote: There's also Stinky Americans and another 5.10c (can't remember the name) right next to it to the climber's left of Slot Machine.
I think the other 5.10c is Completely Francois.

Also, i'd recommend either rapping down off of Golden Dream or Skink if you want an easy way down.

There's also a 5.2 descent gully between the Skink Block and the main cliff which locals frequently solo, if that's your thing.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Northeastern States
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