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

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 120'
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
FA: 1953, Hans Kraus and Bonnie Prudden
Page Views: 6,287
Submitted By: Taino Grosjean on Mar 29, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (90)
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BETA PHOTO: Resting(?) belayer at the start of Asphodel


Named for a white and yellow flower in the lily family that, according to Homer's Odyssey, grows in abundance in the hereafter. This route had either no or one stars in the old guidebooks, and wasn't mentioned in the Williams Select guide either. However, with the new "Gray Dick", it was awarded three stars - and rightfully so. Great route, protection thin but solid, crux is well-protected with some thought, and there's some very heady, lower-angle face-climbing to end off the pitch. Pitch two, however, is very much not worth doing - overgrown, little protection, and very difficult communication.

P1: Climb the corner - watch for loose blocks - to the roof (crux), angle left, then climb much easier terrain to a belay near the top of Welcome to the Gunks.

P2: Bushwack through tons of shrubbery over uninspiring rock to the very top. Not worth it, IMHO.

Descent: from the top of P1, two 60m ropes reach the ground, or rappel to the bolt anchor above Welcome to the Gunks.


Start at a large, yellow right-facing corner, 120 feet left of Beginner's Delight and just to the right of Welcome to the Gunks.


There's just enough protection to make this PG; the crux protects well although it requires a bit of thought, and above it can be run-out - but the terrain is literally 5.3 or less.

Photos of Asphodel Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Asphodel
Rock Climbing Photo: Tim on Asphodel (from Tequila Mockingbird)
Tim on Asphodel (from Tequila Mockingbird)
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking for the right piece.
Looking for the right piece.
Rock Climbing Photo: The giant dihedral of Asphodel
BETA PHOTO: The giant dihedral of Asphodel
Rock Climbing Photo: From the belay
From the belay
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the face climb section below the belay
View from the face climb section below the belay

Comments on Asphodel Add Comment
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By Bob Hayes
Mar 30, 2007
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13

Great moves and a good committing route at the grade. However, as mentioned in the description above, as of last spring ('06), there was at least one very large block in the corner that was about ready to part ways with the wall. This thing is big, but moves easily... too easily. I don't envy the climber that pulls it down, or the belayer that happens to be holding the rope the day it goes. I'll second the PG13 because of the block, when it's gone it'll be PG. Climb gingerly... it's a great line otherwise.
By Daniel Wesley
Apr 23, 2009
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

Did this on 4/18/09 and found it a lot of fun, requiring some thoughtful and committing moves for the grade, with sustained climbing up to the crux. I'd definitely recommend the climb, but the descent (with one rope) was a real buzz-killer.

IMHO the pro was G/PG. Up to the crux, the climb follows a corner with a nice consistent crack. The crack made the climb really gear-friendly, and I had no problem slotting nuts or cams at will. After the roof I found the pro slightly trickier, but I was never "run out" by more than about 10'. The page won't let me rate this safer than PG13, so I've just left the safety rating blank.

While the first pitch is great, I have to say the second pitch is definitely not worth doing: it's a bushwhack over lichen-coated 5.0 rock. I recommend pulling through the crux, climbing partway up the face above, then turning the corner on the left to a nice ledge belay and rapping from the tree at the far end.

While this was a great climb, the descent was truly awful. I'd strongly encourage two 60m ropes for rappeling, which will reach the ground in one go even from the p2 belay. We took one rope, and this required three rappels. The first rappel (from p2 belay) was from a thick but dead pine. The second rappel started at a tree hanging awkwardly out over a ledge (unfortunately this is where you'll rappel if you just do p1). But the last rappel station was the real treat: three rusty pitons, a corroded micronut and an old pink tricam tied together with bleached slings and cordelette. No thanks.
By Steve Bo
From: harrison NY
Sep 17, 2009

Definitely bring 2 60m ropes.
By doligo
Aug 9, 2010
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

If Credibility Gap is occupied, don't hesitate to jump on Asphodel. The route is well protected all the way. Stiff for the grade, sustained climbing. Bring long slings or double ropes.
By worth russell
From: Brooklyn, NY
Jun 14, 2011

If you're climbing this route or anything using this rappel station i.e. Credibility Gap or Welcome to the Gunks, please, if you value your life, do a double rope rappel or bring a 70m! The second rap station is a manky tricam, nut and two seriously rusted out pitons tied together nicely with some cord-shot static rope. This station is a disaster waiting to happen.
By kenr
Jun 17, 2012

For the sake of good communication, I made a semi-hanging belay for P1 on the slab higher above the cruxes, with gear in the corner crack by a small tree -- at roughly the horizontal level of the ledge with two pine trees. Worked fine. When my follower arrived, she just continued around left to the two pine trees. We didn't go any higher, and the two-rope rappel off one of the pine trees worked great.

Fun climb in an interesting space. Not one of the harder Gunks 5.5s we've done. Seemed plenty well-protected for me. The lower corner section just ate up mid-to-large stoppers. In the slab above I was able with care to find places for smaller stuff -- perhaps not as solid as the easy obvious placements in the lower section, but felt good enough considering the difficulty on the slab.
By Kevin Heckeler
From: Upstate New York
Oct 7, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

70m for the rappel is useful. The 2nd rap anchor is definitely gnarly.

When I climbed it, I could not see that the climb was wet in small sections from the bottom, which added a little pucker to a few of the moves. The route might stay wet for a while after a rain, so keep this in mind. It hadn't rained in almost 2 days when I climbed it.

This is a worthy corner climb amongst many quality corner climbs at the Gunks. Unavoidable rope drag at the top (coming around the last corner) is the only route killer for me, otherwise an easy 3/4 stars. If you extend everything as I did it's just a nuisance, but I can imagine inexperienced climbers having difficulties with the belay.

IMO this wasn't as hard at 5.5 as Bloody Bush, which is very similar in style. Of course most consider Bloody Bush to be 5.6
By Simon Thompson
From: New Paltz, NY
Oct 25, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

As of 10/21/12 pretty sure the large unstable block is gone.
By LamontagnedeGatineau
Jul 8, 2015

Don't bother with P2. It's a mess of poor rock, lichen and shrubs. The loose rock in particular is concerning since anything that falls off is in direct line with any party behind.

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