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c. Frog's Head - the Arch
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Rock and Brew T 
Rusty Jam T 
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Scungilli T 
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Size Matters T 
Son of Easy O T 
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Trusty Rifle T 
Twisted Sister T 
Uncle Rudy T 
Wrist T 


YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 220'
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Maria Millar, Fritz Wiessner, 1946
Page Views: 10,917
Submitted By: Ron Olsen on Feb 24, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (220)
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BETA PHOTO: Getting into the business on P3 of Maria. Photo c...


Another classic moderate, with three varied pitches.

Follow the approach directions for City Lights. Maria starts 25' right of City Lights, at a crack in a white block. The start is the same as for Frog's Head and Sundown, though with some creativity (noted below), multiple parties can easily share the start(s).

P1: Climb Frog's Head (note 1) until just past the crux bulge (note 2). Place pro for your second, then traverse about 35' right on thin face, with little pro, to the base of a large, left-facing corner. 5.6, 80'.

Note 1: An alternative start that avoids (climbers on) Frog's Head entirely is climb the right-facing corner with the detached block forming a squeeze chimney, to the right (5.6ish). This is the start for Sundown, and is more in line with the corners and the grade of Maria.

Note 2: It's possible to start diagonaling up then traversing right from just below the crux bulge on Frog's Head instead of just above it. Both options are well protected.

Finally, Maria Direct, at 5.9, is another option for the first pitch; the thin crack directly below the main Maria corner is Maria Redirect (5.11)

P2: Climb the steep corner to the GT Ledge. 5.6+, 90'.

P3: Reposition your belay 15 feet right from the top of the corner. Climb a right-facing corner to an overhang, turn the overhang on the left via a crack, and continue to the top. 5.6+, 50'.

Descent: From the clifftop, the Uberfall Descent is the best and fastest option. From the GT Ledge, move climber's left to a bolted rap anchor, where two 30m raps bring you to the ground.


Standard Rack.

Photos of Maria Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Jean Aschenbrenner on the second pitch of Maria (5...
Jean Aschenbrenner on the second pitch of Maria (5...
Rock Climbing Photo: Maria, Pitch 3
Maria, Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Maria, Pitch 1
Maria, Pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: The crowded, yet always entertaining Gunks. The gr...
BETA PHOTO: The crowded, yet always entertaining Gunks. The gr...
Rock Climbing Photo: Maria p2 corner
BETA PHOTO: Maria p2 corner
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back from the top of P2.
Looking back from the top of P2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up at P3.
Looking up at P3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back along P1.  We started with the Sundow...
Looking back along P1. We started with the Sundow...
Rock Climbing Photo: I found this roof to be no joke.  And not to be mi...
I found this roof to be no joke. And not to be mi...
Rock Climbing Photo: do not skip this... P3
BETA PHOTO: do not skip this... P3
Rock Climbing Photo: Fancy footwork makes the crux roof on pitch three ...
Fancy footwork makes the crux roof on pitch three ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jean Aschenbrenner starting the traverse on the fi...
Jean Aschenbrenner starting the traverse on the fi...

Comments on Maria Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 22, 2017
By John Peterson
Feb 26, 2006

The overhang on P3 is rated 5.6ma in my personal rating system. 5.6+ is the traditional Gunks rating so I can't fight that but anyone trying to work the move on lead for the first time will probably call it 5.7+ or so.

(5.6ma = 5.6 my ass)

And IMHO, mucking around with raps on this part of the cliff is a waste of time and an annoyance for all around you - especially as the rap route crosses right through the P1 traverse. Walk down left to the Uberfall. It takes all of 5 minutes.
By Adam Catalano
From: Albany, New York
Mar 28, 2006

If you're climbing Gunks 5.9, the direct start is the way to open this incredible climb. Got to be honest, I stick clipped the pin to start, but the opening moves were a lot easier than I thought (at least to get to the pin). Next time I won't bother. Two more committing moves before you get your next piece and then it backs way off. Waiting for parties to clear off Frogs Head is a bummer; just one more reason to go Direct.
By Ian Wolfe
From: Fayetteville, NC
Oct 9, 2007

I felt the 1st pitch traverse protected quite well. There was a large horizonal crack that I followed at about shoulder height that allowed me to place gear virtually at will. My second was shaky at 5.6, so I really made sure to protect it well, placing a piece every 6-10 feet.

We were almost tempted to just rap off when we hit the GT ledge since the bolts were right there. Don't do it! The last pitch, while only 50 feet, really caps off the experience!
By Bill Hutchins
From: Bethesda, MD
Oct 27, 2007

You sure don't want to skip the third pitch. The overhang is the best part of the climb.
By JoeLeiper
Feb 19, 2008

Direct start definitely the way to go; third pitch mandatory. Get a big nut as far out in the lip as you can. I heard someone came off and broke ankle swinging into wall. The overhang is very big. (Maria Redirect, next crack right from start, is excellent toprope but awkward to rig. 5.10+ technical shallow laybacks.)
By Jason Antin
From: Golden, CO
Aug 10, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Do the 3rd pitch - it's great!
By doligo
Aug 2, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

I sussed around quite a bit to figure out where to start the traverse. Grey Dick says under the Frog's Head bulge, but I couldn't see any pro, so I went over the bulge and saw a great horizontal crack. Yes, make sure to protect the traverse for your second. P2 felt easier than 5.6, the roof on P3 is easier if you are tall, BETA ALERT: but I was able to get my feet high enough to reach the key vertical crack above the roof. As for rating, I could see it seem harder for Gunkies as the key hold is a vertical crack and not a horizontal jug!
By Andy Weinmann
From: Silver Spring, MD
Oct 13, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Do not pass up of the most fun roofs to pull in the Gunks. Didn't think P2 was 5.6, but was still fun!
By Kevin Heckeler
From: Upstate New York
Mar 11, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

P2 is definitely not 5.6, maybe 5.5 ... but fun nonetheless!

P3 is quality, although short. The roof is easy to protect, especially if you have a C3 that fits in the crack (nut might work too). I'd say it's a thousand times better that Shockley's [ie - crappy climb with one mediocre move]. Maria is quality the entire climb.
By Galen Rahmlow
From: Woodbury, MN
Apr 1, 2013
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Fantastic climb with lots of variety, P2 and P3 are excellent with really good protection. The roof on P3 took a little to figure out. Easily protected with small cams (C3s or aliens). Beta: There's a couple good holds if you look for them that allow you to examine the situation before committing to the big move.
By kenr
May 11, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

To me both the start into the P1 traverse and the traverse itself seemed well-protected. The start into it which seemed easiest and better protected was lower than I expected, significantly lower than the Frog's Head crux bulge. The move up into the traverse was a little tricky, but seemed not harder than 5.5.

From talking with very experienced Gunks climbers, what I've heard is that the people who think the traverse is difficult or not well protected are taking it too high. To me the hands and feet on the lower traverse seemed straightforward, not harder than Gunks 5.4.

P2 is excellent fun moves in a dihedral. I've heard there's supposed to be a 5.6 move in there somewhere, but I couldn't find it.

P3 offers a dramatic climbing situation, but the crux move is intimidating, and I'd call it solid 5.7

So I'd say you can either select P1+P2 only as a great 5.5+ route, or take all three pitches of Maria as a "one move wonder" 5.7 with a long fun approach.
By divnamite
From: New York, NY
May 29, 2013
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

I know people like to say Gunks is sandbagged, but 5.7 on P3?

BTW, does anyone know if it's possible to do direct start all the way to top of P3 with a 70M?
By AndrewJ66
Jun 25, 2013

P 2 is steady and exposed 5.6, thus the added half grade. The P3 roof isn't any harder but after the sustained difficulty of P2, the single strong move to pull the roof makes this feel much harder. If you don't get your feet right and make the mistake of looking down, this quickly feels like 5.7 or more. The British grading system would make this all apparent. VS 4a?
By Kurtz
May 27, 2014

A wise, old Gunks climber told me, "Traverse on P1 with your hands in the shrubbery" (the horizontal with the most plant life).
By Dan Africk
From: Brooklyn, New York
May 11, 2015
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Great route with a spicey move on the third pitch! I found the first two pitches pretty easy, on the easy side of 5.6, maybe more like 5.5+, and very well protected.

I had to build gear anchors at the top of both pitches- the fixed slings at the top of P1 are all wrapped around a single fixed nut or hex- a decent piece, but I would use it alone! I used a red tricam and #3 camalot for the P1 anchor, and medium-large cams (#1), tricams, and nuts work well for the P2 anchor.

As someone who gets intimidated by roofs, the move out of the roof on P3 freaked me out a bit. But it's well protected under the roof (I used a .3 and .5 X4 cam), and once you commit, it's not nearly as hard as it looks. 5.6+ seems fair, mostly because of the exposure. Beta alert: Just grab the crack, high-step, and before you know it you'll be back to jug-hauling.

Carefully follow the trail to the uberfall descent, it seemed much easier and faster than bothering with 2-3 rappels.
By losbill
May 11, 2015
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Dan congrats on a good job at getting one of the best, albeit short, 5.6 roof pitches in the Gunks done in good style! But "C'mon man!" let's tone down all the beta spray. Life is an adventure or nothing at all. Let others experience the joy of figuring it out for themselves!
By Gunkiemike
May 12, 2015

I KNOW this reply is 2 years late, but I want to address Divnamite's question about linking 3 pitches with a 70m rope. I suspect the cord will be long enough, but you must understand that the second will have ABSOLUTELY no security through the difficult moves of Maria Direct. A crash pad MAY be sufficient there (the ground under the tricky start is pretty flat, as I recall), but realize it's going to be a ground fall until your feet are above the pin. I know the usual advice - squat a few times to take the stretch out... sorry charlie, that ain't going to keep a climber from hitting the ground.
By Dylan Randall
From: Denville, NJ
Jul 29, 2015

If P2 is 6+, P3 is not...
By Jackson vermeulen
Mar 13, 2016

I linked the direct start into pitches 2 and 3 yesterday with a 70m rope. While the rope was long enough, Gunkiemike is definitely right that the starting moves will not be protected due to how much rope stretch will occur. The rope drag on pitch 3 is also quite bad due to the traverse on the GT Ledge. If you're willing to put up with these issues, though, it is a very long, fun pitch.
By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
Sep 11, 2016

^^+1^^ ditto to gunkiemikes comments regarding the Maria Direct start with a 70 m rope and linking the three pitches.
By Russ Keane
May 22, 2017

Nice climb. IMO the pitches go: 5.5 / 5.5 / 5.6

The overhang at the very tip-top is super fun!

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