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South Face Gothics Direct 

YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b PG13

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 400', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b PG13 [details]
FA: See Description
Page Views: 813
Submitted By: Robert Hall on Jun 12, 2016

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Looking at the So Face of Gothics from near the Py...


P1 and P2 are two of the most stunning pitches I have done in 50 years of climbing. Fantastic rock, fantastic setting.

Originally rated 5.10a, a hold broke off in 2013 (after my ascents) and now the first pitch is given a 5.10d. If you rap in from the top (i.e. APPROACH 2) you could ( especially with a 70m rope, and with a few judicious quickdraws as directionals) TR the 5.10d first pitch if that's a bit much for leading.

The guidebook gives it a "G" and 4 stars, but I would give it a "PG" rating. In places if you "blow it" just below the next protection you could take a 25-30 footer (it's not a sport climb) and that's not a good idea this far into the mountains. Since Mountainproject goes from "G" to "PG-13" ("which seems to have originally meant "PG/R") I picked the more conservative "PG-13". You're 10 miles into the Adirondack Wilderness, and the way "out" is UP! (Not down as with most climbs.)

If you don't like strenuous overhangs (strenuous, IMO, either free or on aid) just take the original "5.3" finish. I've done the climb twice, including one of the earliest ascents, and prefer the original P3 as it is more in character with the first two pitches, and with most of the other climbing on this cliff.

FA of P1 & P2 by Ed Palen & Vinny McClelland in 2002 with the "5.3 P3 finish".
The "direct finish" (guide says 5.9, some have said up to 5.11; this climber did it as A-1 !) was by Chris Hyson & Tom Yandon in 2004.

APPROACH- One of two ways:
1) Via the Pyramid-Gothics col. Descend to the west down the faint drainage to the base of the slabs of the So. Face. (Some may want to rap a pitch, see more detail in the "Arch Route"). Wander left along the base to the start of the "Original Route". Climb up this for ?? feet until the route can be seen on the clean slab to your right.

2) Recommended - Descend west from the summit of Gothics on the Range Trail. Here I'm hazy, but the guidebook (Lawyer & Haas, Adirondack Rock) says 0.1 mile to a herd path/climber's-path on the left. Down this to a slab (care !... rope up? ) to where you can traverse west (skiier's right) at the top of an exposed slab (more care !!, some may wish a rope) The rap tree is 20-25 ft back, up in the bushes. Replace/extend the rap slings.
A single 60m will make the raps, but a 70m makes for more happiness!
Rap to the "Grand Piano Ledge", then rap to the mid-cliff belay on a small grassy ledge, then rap (swinging to rappeller's left at the bottom) to the corner/crack of the "Original Route".

START- When I was there last there was an old, rusty 1 1/4 (or 1 1/2) inch angle piton in the crack, a green (# 0.75) Camalot works well too.

P1- Follow the route up the clean, white rock. Quite sustained, nearly every move is 5.6 to 5.8, with the crux moves harder, of course. End on a grassy ledge with the dbl bolt belay at its right end. about 100 ft 5.10d

P2- When I last climbed the route, I thought this was crux pitch (excepting the direct P3 overhang). Move up left (photo) to a thin traverse (pitches's crux?) then straight up to the "Grand Piano Ledge" 90-100 ft I give it 5.9+/5.10a

P3 Direct Finish - Climb to the top of the large boulder, reach up to the overhang and crank over. Easy (5.5 +/-) slab to the top. 90-100 ft guidebook says 5.9 I used aid and found even that strenuous.

P3 Original Finish - Walk to the right end of the Grand ledge, scramble up though some trees and climb a dike-like line up and left-ish. When I did it there was one piton en-route along the "dike". 150-180 ft 5.4-5.5 R


8-10 quickdraws and a alpine draw or two (P2 traverses a bit)
#1 (green) Camalot for the belay in the "original route"
If rapping in from the top, cord or webbing long enough to extend the top tree anchor 12-15 ft.

Photos of South Face Gothics Direct Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: 6)  Ed leading the original P3
BETA PHOTO: 6) Ed leading the original P3
Rock Climbing Photo: 5)  Colin starts P2
BETA PHOTO: 5) Colin starts P2
Rock Climbing Photo: 4) S. Matz nears the end of P1
BETA PHOTO: 4) S. Matz nears the end of P1
Rock Climbing Photo: 3) S Matz on P1
BETA PHOTO: 3) S Matz on P1
Rock Climbing Photo: 2) S. Matz on the first move of P1
BETA PHOTO: 2) S. Matz on the first move of P1
Rock Climbing Photo: 1)  S. Matz raps the "headwall" pitch (P...
BETA PHOTO: 1) S. Matz raps the "headwall" pitch (P...

Comments on South Face Gothics Direct Add Comment
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By MasterBeta
Sep 6, 2017

by green camalot you mean .75? Red is #1..
By Robert Hall
From: North Conway, NH
Sep 6, 2017

You're correct. I remember it as a Green, and that's a 0.75. (But why not take a red #1 just-in-case my memory is off) I made the correction to the route description. Thanks !

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