Type: Trad, 160 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Hans Kraus, Roger Wolcott, Del Wilde, 1941
Page Views: 23,497 total · 149/month
Shared By: Guy H. on Feb 21, 2006
Admins: JSH

You & This Route

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Though it has some competition, this is the best 5.3 at the Gunks. It is the steepest 5.3 that I have ever been on! This area, the Mac wall, is another destination area, since there are a number of high quality routes nearby. One of the three old pine trees is now missing due to an ice storm in 2002.

The Three Pines access trail is about a 5-6 min. walk from the Uberfall, and a 1-2 min. walk from where the East Trapps Connector Trail meets the carriage road. The trail arrives just below MF.

Start below a corner system 30' left of the obvious crack of Something Interesting, at a short right-facing blocky corner with a small tree on a ledge at ~8'. Two huge pine trees can be seen above.

P1: Angle up and left into a left-facing dihedral. Follow this crack to a large ledge with a pine tree. 5.3, 60'.

(It is straightforward to combine P1 and P2 - just take care to keep your rope away from pine sap.)

P2: Continue up the right-facing dihedral with a large fat crack to your left. Finish on a large ledge with a bolt anchor. 5.3, 50'.

P3: Re-establish your belay about 30' to the right, below the next left-facing corner system. Climb the blocky left-facing dihedral above, using the "diving board". Step right (or straight up the short hand crack -- 5.6), then work up the face above. 5.3, 50'.

Descent: Walk back left to a big pine tree, and find a set of bolts; three rappels with one rope using bolt anchors.


Standard Rack.
Not sure if its the BEST 5.3 at the Gunks (my vote would be for Beginner's Delight or Minty), but it sure is a fun route. Great pro the whole way, great exposure on the 3rd pitch, hard to believe its a 5.3. My first trad lead ever. Watch for rope drag on 3rd pitch. Sep 9, 2009
Mike McLean  
I agree with the 3rd pitch rope drag issue brought up by Puzman. Belay from the right side of the ledge to avoid it. Jun 26, 2010
David Ford
Cambridge, MA
David Ford   Cambridge, MA
Fun route. Recommend doing at least one of the 5.6 variations on the third pitch to limit the otherwise mind-boggling rope drag. Alternatively, make another belay once you complete the traverse to the ledge. Communication with your second from the top of p3 may be difficult. Aug 9, 2010
  5.4 PG13
  5.4 PG13
Can be kinda tricky to get off the ledge at the start of P3. Especially for less-tall climbers who aren't accustomed to taking high steps.

If have any doubt about the ability of your second, best to split P3 into two, stop and belay just above the exciting traverse, so you can talk to your follower(s).

There are two possible left-facing corners that could be climbed to start P3. I've usually taken the left of the two, because I found that I could protect it with a stopper and oppositional. Of course placing pro means that I've committed my second to climb the same corner that I chose.

Most recently I tried the (more obvious) right corner to start P3 -- seemed a little easier to get off the ground, a little more interesting climbing moves -- but definitely I was higher off the ledge before I could get in some solid pro. Oct 29, 2010
Took my first Trad lead on it today. Really nice, and it wasn't too busy. Many stances with which to place gear really solidly. Then again, its a (5.3). Thanks to Tony Lopez for all the help in getting me on my first Trad multi-pitch lead! Oct 22, 2011
Led the 2nd and "4th" pitches today. We did the 3rd pitch from the chains at the top of the second pitch to the ledge above the Dangler. That made communication easy for both of the upper pitches. Did the 5.6ish finish straight up the face (with the pin) to top out. Great climb, though the crack on P2 was a bit wet Oct 22, 2011
We did a 2.5th pitch by traversing across the GT ledge to underneath the Dangler and setting up another belay station. I would highly recommend bringing walkie-talkies for this one, as the 3rd pitch goes up and around making nearly impossible to communicate with your follower esp when it's windy.

The first half of the 3rd pitch was great - lots of exposure but the holds were all there. For those without walkie-talkies, I would recommend setting up another belay station right after coming around the left-facing corner.

I also thought the final 15 feet up the grey face was much harder than a 5.3 - not as many footholds and jugs. I belayed the follower from the pine tree. Has anyone belayed from the bolts on the last pitch? Apr 22, 2012
I've done this climb more times than I care to admit. It's a great climb that can be ruined by overcrowding. I like to bring new climbers up it, but I like to do so at 7AM or earlier so we can get on it first and have it to ourselves.

I usually link P1 and P2 if crowds allow, they are both short and straight. If I'm doing the traditional finish, I like to split P3 and belay at the ledge with boulders right after the crux traverse. This allows me to talk new climbers through the crux and reduces drag.

If you can climb 5.6, going straight up the corner and then up the slab with the pin is much more fun than the wandering 5.3 P3. May 24, 2012
This was my first multi-pitch trad lead at the Gunks. Great choice with lots of pro and good holds. The step around on pitch 3 was airy but took a bomber hex right before the move. The guidebook talks about traversing right after pic three but that ledge was all overgrown. I thought the 5.1R option of walking up the slab to the chains was easier. Aug 6, 2015
Justin Meyer
Madison, WI
Justin Meyer   Madison, WI
The description says this is right of Something Interesting ("Start below a corner system 30' right of the obvious crack of Something Interesting...") but I think it is left of Something Interesting. I'm new to the Gunks so maybe I'm missing something. Does the description need to be corrected?
Sometimes it takes new eyes to see those types of mistakes! Thanks, corrected -- Admin May 19, 2016
Just did this again for the first time in a while, doing the 5.5+/5.6 variation going directly up the white face at the very end of the route. I faintly remember there being a piton there to protect this move when I did it a few years back, but did not see one this time around. Does anyone know what happened to it? or do I just have a bad memory? Oct 23, 2017
Hayden Ward
Hayden Ward   CA
There is a loose rock on Pitch 2 of this climb. It is a few feet above the first piton to your left when you enter the small alcove. Beware! The recent rain washed off the chalk x and it was too wet to mark at the time. Stay safe! May 17, 2018