Type: Trad, 150 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Ken Prestrud, Lucien Warner, 1948. FFA: John Turner, 1950s
Page Views: 10,802 total · 68/month
Shared By: Denis O'Connor on Apr 13, 2006
Admins: JSH

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Tree Preservation and Rappeling Details


A very enjoyable 5.8 that gradually builds in difficulty as you move higher. Usually done in 2 pitches; it can be done in one with careful attention to rope drag, which allows you to avoid the somewhat awkward belay below the crux notch.

P1: Climb the corner and face to a ledge, then step right and ascend the corner in the larger orange open book. At the top, or slightly below it, traverse left to a notch and belay. (100 feet, 5.6)

P2: Move up right through the notch, then traverse right and up to the finish. (50 feet, 5.8)

Walk-off to climber's right.


The route begins in a left-facing corner 30 feet left of Grand Central.


Standard rack.


One move 5.8 (pulling the roof) that is fairly sustained at 5.7 the rest of the way. Can be climbed in one go with two ropes or long slings. Aug 4, 2008
Leon Story
Leon Story  
One of my favorite Gunks routes. Yes, I really climbed it first in April of 1964, and many times since. Delightful slightly overhanging gunksy crux (shown well in the pix), by far the hardest move, is reasonably protected and closer to 5.7 than 5.8 if you move up with reasonable speed. Jun 22, 2009
gblauer Blauer
Wayne, PA
gblauer Blauer   Wayne, PA
A very nice climb that can easily done in 1 pitch. use long runners at the traverse, protect your second and go. The 5.8 move is very mild. Aug 17, 2009
Please don't use the rappel tree at the top of Alphonse unless you have double ropes or a 70 meter. The walkoff takes only a few minutes. Sep 6, 2009
Matt Westlake
Durham, NC
Matt Westlake   Durham, NC
Hi all, I climbed this route Fall 09 and took a line like those shown in the photos (the lady being documented as she works through the crux).

However, as I was later looking up info on the route, I found this guide site, and it looks a bit like they continued up and exited right either at or just after the big roof of the corner the route starts in. See second photo down:

When I was climbing I noticed a couple pins heading out right below the big roof, across the thin face and also saw a bit of chalk heading up and right as well above that roof.

Anyone have any beta on these variations? They might make Alphonse a bit more of a full credit Gunks 8, unless they are deadly difficult. Dec 5, 2009
The walkoff takes only a few minutes.

That's true. Twice last week I walked off from routes near Alphonse. Both times we got back to the base before the parties that had topped out when we did and were rapelling off. May 11, 2010
Frank F
Bend, OR
Frank F   Bend, OR
Matt, Dick William's most recent guide to the Near Trapps describes both variations you asked about. The lower one that goes past the pins is a 5.9 that connects to Grand Central. Nice variation. I haven't tried the one right under the roof, which is rated considerably harder (5.10d/11a).

The rock on the route is superb and any way that you do it, it's a hoot. May 18, 2010
As of 11/13 there was a fat static line and two locking biners fixed for rap on the tree on top of Alphonse. Me and my partner walked off, but afterwards I kept seeing people rapping off the tree and a group of teens even set a giant top rope on Alphonse (assuming off that tree). Someone needs to bring a knife up and chop the slings off that tree! Nov 15, 2010
Jersey City, NJ
BrianRH   Jersey City, NJ
Great climb. We linked both pitches on a single line with thoughtful rope management and a 4-foot sling in the middle of the traverse, which made the rope drag bearable. The tree at the top appears to be sturdy and in good health to me. Healthy enough to provide shelter from the light rain. May 16, 2011
Late response to Matt W - that Alpine Endeavors pic is the normal crux section. Not a variation. Really - look closely. Maybe just shot from an unusual stance (hanging way out from just below the top). Jun 24, 2011
Em Cos
Boulder, CO
Em Cos   Boulder, CO
Climbed this last weekend. If I had it to do over, I definitely would have linked the pitches. The belay situation is awkward enough and the second pitch is short enough that next time I'd rather protect the traverse more sparingly with long runners and deal with the remaining rope drag. If your follower is solid on 5.8, the traverse will be no problem - the entire first pitch is no harder than 5.6. May 14, 2012
This is such a great route. Varied climbing with a built-in warm-up. I did it in 2 pitches. P1 to the ledge with the big boulders (~40-50'), and P2 up to the top. It worked out really well with a spot where my partner could comfortably belay and watch.

There were several X-marked blocks in the corner. Avoiding them entirely is not so easy so I tested them and they seemed OK to stand on but not recommended for outwards pulling.

--------Gear Beta-----------
If you're going to link the pitches or do the one long P2 like we did, try to have save 1-2 small C4s for after the traverse. Oct 22, 2015
Bob Johnson
Philadelphia, PA
Bob Johnson   Philadelphia, PA
Really fun climb! Slinging most of the pieces in the corner long and back cleaning the piece at the start of the traverse makes it pretty easy to link the pitches. Your follower should probably be solid on 5.6 though, since they could potentially go for a swing if they fall at the start of the traverse. Even though the Nears walk off is safe and easy, the rappel from Alphonse is really fun. It's pretty much a straight 110' free-hanging rappel back to the ground with a great view of the Trapps! Bring a 70m! Nov 13, 2015