Type: Trad, 120 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Hans Kraus & Stan Gross - 1956FFA: Jim McCarthy - 1963
Page Views: 28,046 total · 176/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Feb 23, 2006
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You & This Route

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Directissima is most commonly (if not always) done as a more difficult start to High Exposure. It kicks up the difficulty a few grades, but it delivers a first pitch that is almost as classic as High E's final pitch.

P1 (5.9, 60'): Begin a little ways right of the original start of High Exposure, near the nose of the buttress. Make a bouldery move up to a ramp and a leaning crack to a low roof, undercling around this roof and around the corner to the right (slick holds, some tricky gear. Continue up the face to the obvious belay ledge on the right side of the High Exposure buttress. A short pitch.

P2: From the left end of the ledge, traverse up and left, almost to the arete. From here you have to perform a difficult long reach to a good hold (5.9+), which is well protected with fixed pins. Belay at a perch just after the crux.

P3: Easier climbing leads directly up the very exposed arete to the spacious area on the GT ledge.

It is possible to vary or combine the climbing to the GT in several ways, including: a) climbing straight up just after turning the major arete on P1 (a nudge harder and a bit more runout), b) belaying only at the perch past the P2 crux, or c) linking the entire pitch to the GT.

Finally: Continue up High Exposure's last pitch - how else would you finish a classic route?

Descend by the bolted rappel route right of the buttress (one rope will do).


Standard Rack, many fixed pins on the climb.
Decatur, GA
saxfiend   Decatur, GA  
It's an outstanding route from start to finish! Nov 16, 2006
Cory B  
I would recommend doing it in 4 pitches unless your team is solid. Jan 18, 2008
Brian Aitken  
words can't express how much i love this route... do it in 4 pitches, it's quick, saves rope drag and it's a fun short 5.9 pitch. Mar 20, 2008
eric larson
aurora, co
eric larson   aurora, co
i usually link the first two pitches and dont have that much a problem with rope drag.. just keep long runners on everything. saves a bit of time

that being said, this is the BEST way to do high E as it makes for 3 or 4 pitches of spectacular climbing. the arete pitch is stellar. Apr 22, 2008
Michael Goodhue
Michael Goodhue   Colorado
For the variation, bring some small gear! Definitely recommend this, makes the Directissima even more directissima-ey. Oct 23, 2008
Spiro Spiro
Spiro Spiro  
You can def. do the the second and third pitch as one with little to no rope drag. Just add long runner to the traverse and the pin at the end and it is smooth running. Good climb. Jul 29, 2009
Jay Harrison  
The section above the lower crux can be tackled by using the weaknesses 10' left of the arĂȘte, or by climbing more difficult terrain very close to it.

For the last pitch, one can keep the difficulty level up by tackling the High Ex pitch via starting on top of a boulder beneath the small left-facing corner that leads to the jutting boulder at the crux. This is hard 5.8 (maybe 9?), PG13 (needs small RPs), and significantly ups the ante for the last pitch. Joining the crux route after this eases things back down - which may be desired by then - or continuing up rightward keeps things hard (very hard) and a bit dicey on pro. Jun 23, 2010
Heather S
Dallas, TX
Heather S   Dallas, TX
We had major rope drag going around that first corner making it difficult for the leader on the face portion. He ended up belaying at the ledge at the top of the face before the arete portion. Nice climb with some pumpy moves. Would have been better for him without the rope drag. Nice link up to High E.

If you want a great Gunks photo opp, have your friends climb Modern Times at the same time and take a photo of you on the arete of Directissima from the Modern Times GT ledge. Oct 12, 2010
Jason Antin
Golden, CO
Jason Antin   Golden, CO
Linked Directissima and High E - A classic Line! Nov 2, 2010
Jersey City, NJ
BrianRH   Jersey City, NJ
from the ground to the GT ledge can be linked with doubles but I don't particularly recommend it. My main comment is to ensure that you climb right up the arete rather than farther left on the second pitch (which is what I did the first time I climbed this). So much more exposed and classic. Nov 9, 2010
Jaysen Henderson
Brooklyn NY
Jaysen Henderson   Brooklyn NY
It's totally reasonable to link the entire thing in one pitch if you have doubles, especially if you do the 5.10b/c variation (which is sick). I would recommend if you are doing the harder variation to bring even your smallest micro cams on it, though -- they help. Mar 25, 2012
Jay Shultis
Oneonta, NY
Jay Shultis   Oneonta, NY  
When climbing this we were under the impression that the move up through the pin was 5.10+, so we traversed around the arete on the Pitch II traverse to the left of the pin. Excellent & easy blind move around the corner, then cruised up the left face to join the arete.
As someone already mentioned you can climb the face, but MAKE SURE you slide over to the right to climb the arete, beautiful exposed and easy climbing leads you to the GT ledge @ High E. A bit of rope drag but seemed worth it to remove the 5.9 mini-pitch. Apr 11, 2012
Joe Baker
Phoenix, MD
Joe Baker   Phoenix, MD
We started right of P1 start and linked back up with Directissima for the second pitch. The crack traverse is entertaining, definitely a great bolder problem that requires a solid amount of strength. Jun 25, 2012
K Baumgartner
K Baumgartner  
Did it in 3 pitches and didn't have any rope drag issues. Thought the crux for P1 was the layback off the ground and then the awkward moves to gain the roof traverse. Although short and sweet, P2 was a bit of a pump fest by the time I got up to clip the pin and make the long reach move, which I thought was 5.9+. Once I found the correct hand holds, it was definitely at least a V3 bouldery move. Definitely worth giving this route a twirl. Aug 27, 2012
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
I loved this route. Just a perfect line with perfect stone. Oct 18, 2012
Simon Thompson
New Paltz, NY
  5.9 PG13
Simon Thompson   New Paltz, NY
  5.9 PG13
That reachy 5.9 move really got my goat. I pulled on my draw on the piton. My partner who is shorter than me made the move look easy though. Traverse is easy but pumpy. Finished on the last pitch of High E in the dark with one headlamp. Classic outing. Nov 10, 2012
Chris Seminack
Chris Seminack   Oakwood
If there is a long wait to do the High E money pitch or you want to spice things up a bit, I highly suggest walking around the corner on the GT ledge and linking up to the final pitch of Lakatakissima. It is a phenomenal sustained 5.8 pitch that doesn't seem to get much traffic. Jun 16, 2013
Andy Weinmann
Silver Spring, MD
Andy Weinmann   Silver Spring, MD
Agree with Chris regarding Lakatakissima. Great, pumpy and sustained 5.8 pitch. P1 was a nice wake-up in the AM. The P2 crux is just a reach. I'm 5'6" and ended up just needing to get my body position right so I could reach and walk my fingers up with my left hand. P3 was just pure fun. All around great route. Nov 4, 2013
Another thumbs up for the final pitch of Lakatakissima. Looking up I wasn't expecting much since it looked like it didn't get a lot of traffic. I was very pleasantly surprised. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fun, interesting climbing at grade pretty much the entire pitch. Nov 4, 2013
Amazing arete climbing to the GT ledge! Linking the first two pitches merits a great climb with a little of everything. Jul 13, 2016
Fan Zhang
Silver Spring, MD
Fan Zhang   Silver Spring, MD
On P1, going around the low roof/arete, the chalked up jug might be hard to see until after you've committed to the move. For the traverse left on P2, the hands get increasingly better but the feet don't. P3 from alcove to GTL is amazing and just as good as last pitch of High E.

While climbing Directissima, we saw Sam Elias hike up either Directississima or Ridicullissima and then go for a stroll on P2 of Enduro Man, for a North Face photo shoot. Daniel Woods didn't bring a harness but somehow hiked up to the GTL to check out the party up there.

If there's a big line at the GTL waiting to finish on High E, and you don't want to go around the corner on the right to Lakatakissima, another option is to walk left along the GTL to finish on P2 of Modern Times. Sep 6, 2016