Type: Trad, 320 ft, 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: Ivan Rezucha, 1980
Page Views: 3,865 total · 33/month
Shared By: proto on Jun 5, 2009 with updates from SethG
Admins: JSH

You & This Route

43 Opinions

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Pitch 1: Boulder up to a good crimp, and then very carefully step up again to a small horizontal slot just beneath the small overhang, about 12 feet off the ground, where you can place your first protection. Step left and work your way up an awkward vertical slot. Then mantel onto a sloping ledge, crossing the route Up Yours. (People used to belay here in days of yore but it is best to continue.) Step up to an obvious thin vertical crack that arches up and left. Be mindful of the ledge as you commit to engage with this crack; I like to reach way up and place a nut over my head before I get going. Once you get onto the face, continue up the crack, with thin moves and good gear placed from tenuous stances, and then follow the crack to the left, reaching a jug beneath another overhang. From here, move to the right as you surmount the overhang, finally ending on a good ledge with a tree that has cord and rap rings attached. Whew, what a pitch!

Ivan Rezucha: The original P2 went up an obvious 5.8 jagged crack that had been done earlier as a variation of a nearby route. That 5.8 crack was one of the "cleavages" that led to the name Elder Cleavage.

Pitch 2 as it is usually done today (and as described in guidebook), 5.4: From the tree at the end of pitch one, move up and a little bit right, through an overhang. Then follow the path of least resistance past several more ledges with trees, some of them with fixed gear on them, until you reach the large ledge. The climbing is all 5.4 with occasional loose crap and dirty horizontals. It is pretty much straight up with some slight jogs to the left and right. Avoid the thickest fields of lichen and you'll stay on track. This pitch is worth doing just to get to the third pitch. Once you reach the big ledge, move to the right about 15 feet to a good-sized tree that is just to the left of a pile of blocks that is leaning against the wall of the cliff.

Pitch 3, 5.10b: This is one of the best 5.10 roofs in the Gunks! Start up the right-facing corner above the stacked blocks. Climb easily up to a stance beneath the large roof with a hanging, left-facing corner just to the right. Make the committing moves up and into the roof; there is good gear to be had next to some blown-out old fixed nuts. Once you are fully into the roof, move right to the pointed block/outside edge of the left-facing corner. Then move up and escape the roof. Climb easily to the top through a forest of lichen.

On P3, from Seth: If you are doing P3 of Elder Cleavage you are cheating yourself if you don't also do Boob Job (5.10b), another awesome roof pitch twenty feet to the left off of the big ledge.

 Descent: Right now I would not use the existing chain anchor around the dead/dying tree to get back down. Instead I would put a cordalette around the big tree at the Elder Cleavage topout, rap down to the big ledge to do Boob Job, then walk off.


About 100 feet downhill of Lonely Challenge, and just right of the right-leaning ramp and crack of Up Yours. Start 10 feet left of a small boulder standing very close to the cliff.


Standard rack - get a spotter for the bouldery start.


Falmouth (MA)
proto   Falmouth (MA)
I led the first pitch last Sunday but it was too late to finish the route. So I've described the first pitch only ...
It's definitely a nice one. Jun 5, 2009
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
Ivan Rezucha   Fort Collins, CO
First ascent was NOT Annie O'Neill. Maybe Rod Schwartz? I forget! Jun 8, 2009
Make sure you have tiny cams (blue-black aliens) for the 2nd pitch. Run out the begining of 3rd pitch- (it seems like 5.5 if you pick the right route) to avoid rope drag. Aug 6, 2009
gblauer Blauer
Wayne, PA
gblauer Blauer   Wayne, PA
My what a climb. P1 is hard, thin and has a set of moves under a flake that feel very awkward and slippery (feet). P2 is beatiful with a very cool (but easy) roof move. The crux (for me) were the moves right up under the roof, getting there was a bit tricky. Aug 17, 2009
The Gunks
chris_vultaggio   The Gunks
Definitely don't miss the top pitch - it adds some adventure and intimidation to compliment the technical first pitch.

Just beware the loose blocks up high, I've had a party above knock off some microwave-sized blocks in a shower of quartz-conglomerate death from above... Apr 29, 2014
Old Lyme, CT
Sardocius   Old Lyme, CT
Hey everyone, I attempted to lead this onsight a few weeks ago and found the moves off of the ledge to be really kind of sketchy (at least onsight). This being the "5.9" section after pulling through the harder section. Without knowing that there is pro after a move or two off of the ledge (which there is) you risk falling back onto the ledge. Any thoughts on this? I did not send the route until I was able to set a TR, so I will not offer a PG13 rating but this seems a little sketchy. Nov 18, 2014
The moves up the second pitch off that ledge/slab are indeed committing. A few years back someone fell and broke their back there. That was enough to keep me from leading it (did it on TR, led all the other pitches). Oct 2, 2015
Regarding Sardocius' comment above: I take it he or she is talking about the moves to start up the left-facing, arching flake in the middle of what most people do as pitch one these days. This is just after the route crosses Up Yours. It is an interesting/big move off of the ledge. I was able to reach up and place a good nut over my head, just below the obvious sidepull/jug that you are reaching for. This nut gave me some comfort although I still was very careful not to blow the move as I was still worried about the ledge. Apr 24, 2017
Anchor alert: The rap route established for this route is not good. There is a steel cable around an oak tree about twenty feet left of the topout. The cable is encased in a black rubber tube so it can't be evaluated. And the tree is dead or dying. It gave me the willies. Also, the next station down is not a "threaded anchor" as described in the book (or at least I couldn't find it), but a tree with five or six bleached, stiff slings, and one cord that looks newer but is still rather faded. I thought this station was better than the one above but it is a time bomb. We decided to walk off. Apr 24, 2017
Simeon d
Phila, PA
Simeon d   Phila, PA
This rt description makes no sense to me. Everyone tells me that the 2nd pitch has hard climbing, not 5.4. I hear there are a few cracks and it is more like 5.10. I guess the 1st pitch and 3rd pitch are straight forward. The second pitch I don't understand, seems contrived? I fell off the direct start to the first pitch and hit the ground. I plan to return soon. Can someone share with me the 2nd pitch? Mar 7, 2018
Simeon, if you are hearing that pitch 2 has hard climbing, then people are talking about the second half of what is described above as pitch 1. There are two crux sections in what is usually done today as pitch 1: the first bouldery bit, and then a second section up a vertical crack which arches left off of a ledge, just after the route crosses Up Yours. Then the pitch finishes over an overhang. Mar 12, 2018
Went back to pitch one again today— this is one of my favorite tens. By turns sketchy, bouldery, awkward, then thin and technical, the first pitch just keeps coming at you. It certainly isn’t for everyone. You could easily break an ankle (or worse) if you blow the opening moves off the deck, and the moves off the ledge are tricky to protect as well. But the climb is varied, challenging and rewarding. And the pitch three roof is awesome. Apr 1, 2018