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a. The Uberfall
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Unsorted Routes:

Horseman 

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: Hans Kraus, Fritz Wiessner, 1941
Page Views: 31,036
Submitted By: Guy H. on Feb 23, 2006

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Horseman in the winter

Description 

This is probably the best single pitch of 5.5 at the Trapps. The climbing so steep, you can't believe you are on a 5.5! The start is to the left of Laurel and to the right of Nosedive, at a crack system with the stump of a tall skinny tree about 15' up, below a huge hanging corner that you'll soon be walking out.

P1: Start in the obvious crack system leading to the large right-facing dihedral that starts 25' off the ground. Clip a fixed pin at the roof, and continue up the fun dihedral. At the tiered roof above, traverse left around the nose to a small ledge. (Optional belay here).

Continue up the crack and face to the top of the cliff. A real gem...

Descent: Walking down by the Uberfall Descent is usually the best option; walk north, trending close to the cliff edge, until you find yourself atop of Ken's crack.

You can rap with two ropes, but consider that the carriage road is at its busiest point here, with dogs and babies and cyclists and tourists hanging out -right- where your ropes will land, blindly, when you toss them. A single 70m does get you to the ground, and there are reports of some 60m ropes getting there with rope stretch and/or downclimbing -- but the last 40' of the rappel are free-hanging, making errors very difficult to correct.

Protection 

Standard Rack.


Photos of Horseman Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: twilight on horseman.
twilight on horseman.
Rock Climbing Photo: midway up Horseman. Lots of fun as one pitch!
midway up Horseman. Lots of fun as one pitch!
Rock Climbing Photo: PW leading horseman
PW leading horseman
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike coming up the face
Mike coming up the face
Rock Climbing Photo: Do yourself a favor and don't use the tree that is...
Do yourself a favor and don't use the tree that is...
Rock Climbing Photo: Protecting the traverse
Protecting the traverse
Rock Climbing Photo: Great route!
Great route!
Rock Climbing Photo: Climber on the first belay of Horseman
Climber on the first belay of Horseman
Rock Climbing Photo: A climber moving into the corner on Horseman, one ...
A climber moving into the corner on Horseman, one ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Nearing the traverse left at the top of the corner
Nearing the traverse left at the top of the corner
Rock Climbing Photo: Slinging some sweet pro right off the deck.
Slinging some sweet pro right off the deck.
Rock Climbing Photo: End of Horseman. Quite steep for 5.5
End of Horseman. Quite steep for 5.5
Rock Climbing Photo: Horseman ready to be cleaned
BETA PHOTO: Horseman ready to be cleaned
Rock Climbing Photo: The view from the top of horseman made me happy I ...
The view from the top of horseman made me happy I ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Horseman unoccupied, a rare sight on a summer day
Horseman unoccupied, a rare sight on a summer day
Rock Climbing Photo: Yelled greetings from the carriage road can be qui...
Yelled greetings from the carriage road can be qui...
Rock Climbing Photo: Adam working out of the dihedral on Horseman.
Adam working out of the dihedral on Horseman.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climber following the upper half of Horseman.
Climber following the upper half of Horseman.

Comments on Horseman Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 1, 2016
By Paul Crowder
Mar 12, 2006

This is a great route, with what seems like a lot of exposure on the traverse left to the arete, above the large roof. You can establish a somewhat hanging belay at the arete, at the end of the traverse, if your second will need a lot of encouragement on the traverse. This is the "optional belay" that is referred to in the route description. I once enountered a very large black snake in the horizontal crack that you use for your hands as you do the traverse. I shouted "Shoo! Shoo!" at the snake, until it retreated far enough into the crack that I could (very, very quickly) traverse past it. My partner on that day, Bryan MacDonald, who has a serious snake phobia, was horrified. Folks who come from afar to climb at the Gunks should be alert for unusual wildlife encounters at the crag.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Feb 29, 2008

Try to find one route in SE Arizona that is that cool. You can't. It is climbs like that that make the Gunks so fun. Steep enough to feel like real climbing. More than one pitch. Nice air and it is so easy even a total beginner can succeed. I love this route.
By Tim Schafstall
Mar 26, 2009

The climbing is really great and the gear is good, but the noise from the road can be a major bummer for this climb and the others at the Uberfall. So much so that communication will be a problem if you run both pitches together.
By gblauer
From: Wayne, PA
Apr 18, 2009

This is a great climb, best done in a single pitch. The first pitch is getting a bit polished in places, but, it's still great. P2 is just pure climbing pleasure.
By Jay Harrison
Jan 17, 2010

One can also climb directly through the corner in one pitch rather than traversing left onto the face. It probably ups the rating a half-grade - maybe - but takes great pro, has tremendous fingerlocks, and feels awesome.
Be careful with how the rope runs if you do this, as it can jam in the crack at the lip of the OH.
By Steven Cherry
Jul 26, 2010

I just spent a day with two climbers for their first day at the Gunks. I have to agree with the polish question - the crux of Frogs Head is pretty hard for 5.6- with all the polish, and we encountered some smooth spots on Horseman as well.

I've never heard anyone question the rating of Horseman in 20 years. It might be the defining 5.5 in the Gunks. Does anyone claim that there isn't some 5.5 climbing in the last half of the second pitch?
By Tim Wolsonovich
From: Boston
Sep 19, 2010
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

My first "real" trad lead, and it felt great. The traverse wasn't as bad as the climbers before me made it look, but there is some air out there. After the traverse, its pretty easy climbing with loads of solid gear and even a few pins (if you're into old rusty iron pro).
By farkas.time
From: Storrs, CT
May 29, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

Excellent, excellent moderate climb. Pro is abundant, but tricky, and crux is a little committing, so I wouldn't recommend for a beginner lead, despite the grade.
By Logan Schiff
From: Brooklyn, NY
Jul 25, 2012

Great climb! Moves are on the soft side for Gunks 5.5, but I still find it a somewhat heady/uncomfortable lead. Gear placement is ample but occasionally thoughtful, good amount of exposure, some of the footholds before the traverse are a tiny bit awkward, and there is the potential for a good amount of rope drag if you don't extend enough.
By JSH
Administrator
Apr 9, 2013

What happened to the tree on p1?
Time, love & tenderness.
By kenr
Jul 12, 2014

I found the big corner / dihedral had lots of awkward moves. Not many with elegant stemming, and fewer of those if your legs aren't fairly long.

Overall a interesting + great climb, but don't be surprised if you can't find an elegant way to do much of the dihedral.

I think the direct variation (continuing up the corner where it gets overhanging along left side of roof) is pretty fun (though likely much harder for people less tall than 5ft5inch).
By Kevin Heckeler
From: Upstate New York
Feb 22, 2016
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

The rope on the first anchor is getting weathered and the backside of the knot is worn through the sheath. IMO the climb is better combining both pitches to the top anyway (just watch the rap from the top, requires a 70m - or just walkoff right).
By GilaShot
Sep 1, 2016

I thought a #5 would have been nice to protect the traverse out of the corner.