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c. Frog's Head - the Arch
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Arc of a Diver T 
Arch T 
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Easy Overhang T 
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Frog's Head T 
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Morning After T 
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Sixish T 
Size Matters T 
Son of Easy O T 
Sultana T 
Sundown T 
Trusty Rifle T 
Twisted Sister T 
Uncle Rudy T 
Wrist T 


YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
FA: P1: Hans Kraus and Bonnie Prudden, 1953
Page Views: 7,836
Submitted By: Ron Olsen on Aug 12, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (186)
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Pawel in the awkward bit of the traverse, all 6'7&...


A fun route; a classic, if combined with P2 of Wrist.

P1 - Climb the right-facing flakes on the lower arch and continue up an easy but runout face to a dirt ledge about 30' up. From here, aim towards the easiest exit out and over the arch on the right (optional belay after exiting the arch). Follow easier climbing right of the tree, then move left below the next tree and straight up to the GT Ledge. 160', 5.5.

P2 - Look right and climb the face to a notch in the shallow part of the roof (the right-hand side of the roof. The left is Wrist). Head straight to the top from there and finish in the right-facing corner and crack.

Descent: Walk right and down to a bolted rappel route. Three raps with a 50m rope will get you down.


The Arch access trail is about a 4-min. walk from the Uberfall, where the East Trapps Connector Trail meets the carriage road. At the cliff, walk left past Strictly From Nowhere and Ribs until you're under the huge arch about 70' up the wall.


Standard rack. Many trees as anchors.

Photos of Arch Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: After Keith led, I'm about to tackle the route
BETA PHOTO: After Keith led, I'm about to tackle the route
Rock Climbing Photo: The start of Arch on a cold, icy day
The start of Arch on a cold, icy day
Rock Climbing Photo: Arch P2 standard finish.
Arch P2 standard finish.
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the 'optional' hanging belay, at the tre...
View from the 'optional' hanging belay, at the tre...
Rock Climbing Photo: 'Optional' hanging belay after exiting the Arch. T...
'Optional' hanging belay after exiting the Arch. T...
Rock Climbing Photo: Amit pulling through the P2 crux
Amit pulling through the P2 crux
Rock Climbing Photo: P1 of Arch - after clearing the flake, trend right...
BETA PHOTO: P1 of Arch - after clearing the flake, trend right...
Rock Climbing Photo: Second pitch of Arch to Wrist, 5.6 - The Gunks
Second pitch of Arch to Wrist, 5.6 - The Gunks
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading the opening to Arch.  Of course we left th...
Leading the opening to Arch. Of course we left th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Opening moves on Arch 5.5, da Gunks.
Opening moves on Arch 5.5, da Gunks.
Rock Climbing Photo: Arch

Comments on Arch Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 5, 2016
By gblauer Blauer
From: Wayne, PA
May 26, 2009

To me, this looks improbable from the ground. But, once you are up there the climbing is really very easy. Keep you eyes out for pro, is kind of sparse, but, reasonable. It's not plug and play, but it's certainly not an R rated climb either. The exit moves out of the arch are fun and airy.
Jul 20, 2009

This isn't a great route for either new leaders or new followers - it traverses a lot in the first pitch, with large swings possible on either end of the rope. Also, this section of cliff has lots of loose rock on it - it's a good place to wear helmets, even on the ground.
By SketchySam
Nov 17, 2009
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

There are a couple of spots on P1 where you simply can't fall - the holds and pro a both bad in some spots. Granted, the climbing is easy, but the rock is suspect. In addition, the first pitch traverses so much that its difficult to protect well and prevent rope drag. P2 is mediocre climbing at best. The route is contrived - loose holds, dirty climbing, excessive traversing and sketchy pro.
By doligo
May 9, 2010
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

As gblauer says holds are there and protection is there - small cams and pink tricams sew it up pretty nicely. Rope drag can be avoided with extended slings. I would not give this climb 3 stars though - traverse was ok, I almost thought I missed the route and should have gone through the arch.

Could not find P2 - ended up on P2 of Wrist, which sweetened up the whole climb!
By Neil Steinert
From: Hamilton
May 23, 2011
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

Not sure why the negative comments, I thought the climb was great. I lead it yesterday and it was a bit wet, but still very enjoyable. Good pro if you look for it. No drag with shoulder length runners and maybe a long one at the arete.
The very beginning of P1 is run out before your first piece of pro, but was good climbing. On P2 at the top I think I went off route and went straight up through a cracked roof with an old pin/ring. Fun, but I think that I didn't put enough slings there and had serious drag.
All in all, loved the climb and would do it again without hesitation and highly recommend it.
By Andy Weinmann
From: Silver Spring, MD
Oct 13, 2011
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

I actually linked most of P1 into the Billy Shears roof, which is def a 5.9 set of moves. With proper rope management, this was a fun alternate to going around the corner of the original Arch route. It was a little dirty in places, but that's trad climbing in the Gunks sometimes. P2 was fun and a bit airy. It traversed a bit, but the pro options are all there.
By Valerie Bachinsky
From: West Sand Lake, NY
Oct 18, 2011

Thought I led the 2nd pitch but not sure if I was actually on it. Felt like 5.5 but was very dirty and didn't look like it gets climbed much. I did break through a small roof with a piton, there was 2 death blocks directly beneath which added challenge to the move due to making certain I didn't disturb them. Be careful there...I initially pulled on one and it moved...very scary. Finished in a left-facing corner with a piton.
By Simon Thompson
From: New Paltz, NY
Nov 22, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

A fun outing and a classic at the grade. If you set it up right and don't mind a wee bit of run-out you can protect this well for your follower and avoid rope drag. I thought P1 was on the easy-ish end of gunks 5.5 while P2 crux is definitely hard for the grade.
By William Nelson
From: Cave Creek, AZ
Aug 28, 2013
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Fun route. First pitch exit right at roof is exciting. Last crux move on 2nd pitch, I backed up flexing ancient piton with rusty ring with a bd #3 c4. this move is awkward, steep and seems stout for 5.5. Great finish to first Gunks lead
By Russ Keane
Nov 26, 2013

Both pitches are great fun. The second pitch gets overlooked because you can so easily jump on Wrist from the GT ledge. But don't miss the super-cool 2nd pitch of Arch! Classic Gunks climbing, with a sweet notch at the beginning, then some random face climbing, then at the top is a gymnastic roof that requires some "cajones" for the leader!!
By Dan Africk
From: Brooklyn, New York
Sep 10, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13

Overall the climbing is easy, but has some very scary, exposed and unprotected moves for a 5.5!

Contrary to some comments, I found the first pitch well protected up until the corner exiting the arch- (mostly small tricams in horizontals, black through brown. Doubles of these would be a good idea, especially black, pink, and red). The rope drag after exiting the arch was terrible- I only used shoulder length runners in the corner, and regretted not using longer ones. After exiting the Arch to the slight ledge, you must not fall before reaching the tree- Otherwise it's a ledge fall likely followed by a bigger fall with a huge swing..

I used the 'optional' belay at the tree making it 3 pitches, rope drag was too much to go further. It's a hanging belay, there's a tiny ledge by the tree, but no way to build an anchor above it. The remaining climb up to the GT Ledge was easy, but the holds are all covered in loose dirt and pine needles. I think I climbed right of the actual route, which seemed safer and was well protected.

The 2nd / 3rd Pitch is pretty nice, almost enough to make the messy sections and hanging belay on the first pitch worth it. The crux at the beginning is slightly less scary than it looks from below, with great jugs, and protected by a solid looking piton as well as a horizontal offering solid pro (I used a brown tricam). Just be very careful of the precarious death blocks that tempt you to use them as footholds, lest you knock out your belayer!
By teresamatrix
From: Los Angeles, CA
Oct 6, 2014

Instead of traversing so far to the right on the face, I went up a wide crack on the upper right side of the arch. I guess this is the Billy Sheers roof variation. In my opinion, traversing so far to the right for the original 5.5 Arch is contrived. The way UP is through that crack! But it was much harder than I anticipated!

In agreement with Russ, the last pitch is very cool! Don't miss it - it's through the cool looking little notch just a little to the right of whatever tree you probably used on the GT.
By Brian Aitken
Aug 16, 2015

Like teresamatrix, my partner and I went up a crack on the upper right side of the arch and didn't traverse out right more. I was thinking this might be the Billy Sheers roof variation, too. Definitely was not the 5.5 moves I expected!
By adamsc
From: Cincinnati, OH
Sep 5, 2016

The directions in the description are opposite. You climb LEFT of the lower tree after pulling the corner to arrive at the RIGHT side of the upper tree, right below the 2nd pitch of Wrist. The traverse isn't bad and the gear is all there.

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