Type: Trad, 500 ft, 5 pitches
FA: John Turner, Brian Rothery, and Wilfried Twelker, 1959
Page Views: 20,915 total · 151/month
Shared By: Chris Duca on Dec 4, 2007
Admins: Jim Lawyer

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Peregrine closures and approach trail issues Details


Gamesmanship is one of Poke-O's oldest and finest routes.

Begin the route in the right hand of two handcracks behind a nice, large birch tree.

Pitch 1:
Technically, the route's crux is the first 15 feet of climbing and consists of insecure (read: slippery) jams in a fist-size crack. Once past this section, expect endless jamming in an impeccable crack to a bolted anchor. (5.8+ / 140 feet)

Pitch 2:
Continue up the left-facing corner above and belay at the dike on a comfortable ledge. (5.7 / 120 feet)

Pitch 3:
Easy does it up the broken rock above until it is possible to trend right up less-than-vertical rock to clump of trees on a spacious ledge below a left-facing corner. (5.4R / 100 feet)

Pitch 4:
A great pitch. Move out right and climb a pure handcrack that slices through the airy face above. The crack will end, but continue up much easier terrain to a lone white birch tree on a small, but comfortable belay ledge. (5.7+ / 140 feet)

Pitch 5:
A pitch of much less difficulty leads up the clean, open slab above to the top. Belay at the trees. (5.1R / 150 feet)

Getting Down:
From the top of the route look down and to the right. There is an island of trees at the cliff's edge with a slung tree to rap the route. Walk across and down the open slab to the trees. 3 rappels with two 60 meter ropes will deposit you on the ground.


Roughly 120 feet to the right of the large, grassy Positive Thinking area.


A standard rack with several #2 Camalots and a couple #3 Camalots for the first pitch. Two Cordolettes, and two 60 meter ropes to rappel the route.
rosendale, ny
tuscanes   rosendale, ny
On the pitch 3 description....I think you meant to trend RIGHT to clump of trees. Dec 19, 2007
Chris Duca
Downingtown, PA
Chris Duca   Downingtown, PA
I sure did...thanks for catching that! Dec 19, 2007
Michael John Gray
Queensbury, NY
Michael John Gray   Queensbury, NY
I thought Pitch four was harder than two! I see you caught that too. Cool! Aug 23, 2008
Derek Doucet
Derek Doucet  
An excellent first pitch and a good 4th pitch are detracted from by uninteresting and unaesthetic climbing on pitches 2 and 3. I'd give P1 4 stars and P4 3 stars, but none to the other pitches, and so the route as a whole only 2 stars.

Better to do P1 and rap, then do the Sting and Green Onion to take in 3 excellent 5.8s. IMHO, the only compelling reason to do the entire route is because it provides a moderate way to get to the top of Poko, which is admittedly a rare thing! Jun 10, 2010
Peter Lewis
Bridgton, ME
Peter Lewis   Bridgton, ME
Outstanding jamming (except for the choss of the third pitch). A couple of notes about the rappel. You can do just two rappels with doubld 60s, but, it involves about 40 feet of 4th class downclimbing on the blocky dike rock between rappels (dangerous). A much safer alternative is to make one short rappel (about 40 meters) from the tree island at the top to a fixed anchor on a small ledge on the steep wall. Then make a second rappel down through the dike-rock to the next anchor, and then a third to the ground. Be extremely careful on the last rappel, however--twin 60's JUST make it (tie knots and use an autobock backup). If in doubt, stop at either of two other anchors about halfway down the last rap. Sep 20, 2010
ddriver   SLC
I thought pitch 2 was just as good as pitch 4, neither of which in any way compares to pitch 1. Nonetheless, a very worthwhile outing. Sep 27, 2011
Simon Thompson
New Paltz, NY
Simon Thompson   New Paltz, NY
I would definitely double up on BD #1 and #2. I had a #4 and was fine without having double #3s. Nov 14, 2011
San Pedro, California
Benjaminadk   San Pedro, California
as a side note. pitches 2 & 3 AND 4 & 5 can be linked with a 70m rope if u move the belay at the top of p3 up and right to the base of the "Ski Tracks" pitch. (easily done because this section is a large ledge) Feb 14, 2013
Kevin Heckeler
Las Vegas, NV
Kevin Heckeler   Las Vegas, NV
Opening moves on P1 are 5.8ma

Otherwise great climb with every possible jam/crack technique in my tool kit used. I agree with P2 being 5.7-ish, and the ski tracks on P4 were difficult and felt there might be a few 5.8 moves (found a couple spots during the hand jam were as difficult as the climbing on P1). 5.7++ perhaps. Pitch 5 is probably 5.3-ish near the top, otherwise 5.fun . Being solid on slab helps a lot with the runout. Jul 27, 2013
Derek Doucet
Derek Doucet  
Public Service Announcement:

As of 6/10/14, there are two softball sized but square loose rocks 2/3s of the way up the second pitch. They are almost completely detached, and one is covered with chalk. Both are directly in the line of ascent, and could even conceivably be dislodged by rope movement. I wasn't able to trundle them for fear of hitting others in the area at the time, and so had to settle for avoiding them and placing gear to keep the rope away from them. If the area is clear, they could very easily be dropped.

Jun 11, 2014
I was able to do the Central Rappel with two 60's as of 10/2015. For the first rap, it is MANDATORY to have knots in the end of your ropes--I had maybe a foot or two left at the most when I clipped the slings on the tree. Two 60's from the tree on the dike will take you to the top of The Sting ledge, no problem. I hope this beta saves someone time, but please, sé cuidadoso!!! Nov 13, 2015
Zak Munro
VT,CO, Bar Harbor ME
Zak Munro   VT,CO, Bar Harbor ME
Best jamming on the east coast? Didn't find the 3rd pitch R rated, pro where you need it just take the path of least resistance. Doubles of #1-#2 Camelots is the ticket. Sep 28, 2016
Start is tricky and greasy - something to be mindful of if this is closer to your redpoint/onsight limit :) Apr 24, 2017
Did the first three pitches of this route this past weekend. First and second pitch were really fun and there was options for pro everywhere. third pitch was chossy but short. had to bail due to incoming storms. It was nice to have double in BD #1 and #2. Sep 4, 2018
Cres Simpson
Cambridge, MA
Cres Simpson   Cambridge, MA
Climbed P1 last weekend, and a word of caution: I pulled a small bulge up to where I thought the anchors were to find 30 more feet of climbing - and I had nothing bigger than a .75, so they were completely unprotectable for me. Ended up being a pretty hair-raising runout, though the climbing is probably only 5.7 at that point. Save something in the 1-2-3 C4 range for the end! Start did not feel as insecure as rumored and protects well. Oct 9, 2018