REI Community
i. High E
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
50-50 T 
Alpine Diversions T 
Ants' Line T 
Bonnie's Roof T 
Cool Hand Dukes  T 
Directissima T 
Directississima T 
Enduro Man's Longest Hangout T 
Ent Line T,TR 
First Trapps Chimney T 
Groovy T 
High Exposure T 
In The Groove T 
In the Silly T 
Insuhlation T 
Lakatakissima T 
Lichen Forty Winks T 
Missing, But Not Lost T 
Nose Drops T 
Obstacle Delusion T 
Ridicullissima T 
Silly Chimney T 
Sleepwalk T 
Space Invaders T 
Teeny Face T 
Third Trapps Chimney T 
Throne, The T 
Ursula T 


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

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 180'
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
FA: John Wharton, F. Adams, B. Adams, Al Alvarez, 1958
Page Views: 9,543
Submitted By: Bob Hayes on Jul 9, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (202)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
BETA PHOTO: First pitch of Ursula. P2 continues up the face r...


The first pitch is a bit more devious than it looks from the ground. The crux corner of this pitch felt thin and challenging for the grade. The belay ledge is plush for the changeover. 5.5, 80'.

P1. Climb the right-facing corner, ramp and crack past a thin open book (left of the sentry box) and up to a stance. From here, sling everything long, traverse right 20', then up an easy chimney to a belay ledge and fixed slings.

P2. Pull over a nice bulge and go straight up to the GT ledge via some fantastic face climbing. 5.5, 100'.

Rappel the route in 2x60m (tree at top is dead as of 2015) or walk south to the High E rappel line.

Overall it's a great line; each pitch has its own distinct character.


Start in the first of two right-facing corners 25' right of the classic Bonnie's Roof.


Solid pro is available where you need it, but can sometimes be a bit tricky to place. Small wires helpful on the first pitch. Otherwise a standard Gunks rack is perfect.

Photos of Ursula Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Becky Diamond on pitch 1.
Becky Diamond on pitch 1.
Rock Climbing Photo: start of P2
start of P2
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading P1 of Ursula on May 16, 2013.
Leading P1 of Ursula on May 16, 2013.
Rock Climbing Photo: "sling salad" above P1 as of Nov. 2011
"sling salad" above P1 as of Nov. 2011
Rock Climbing Photo: !!Warning!! Boulders sticking out.  Some of them a...
!!Warning!! Boulders sticking out. Some of them a...
Rock Climbing Photo: zoom on the crux - P1
zoom on the crux - P1
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 2 of Ursula
Pitch 2 of Ursula
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 2
Pitch 2
Rock Climbing Photo: Tricia beginning pitch 2.
Tricia beginning pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rich Gottlieb checking out a variation that's like...
Rich Gottlieb checking out a variation that's like...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rich Gottlieb.
Rich Gottlieb.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the second pitch of Ursula.  The clim...
Looking down the second pitch of Ursula. The clim...
Rock Climbing Photo: Approaching the end of P1.
Approaching the end of P1.
Rock Climbing Photo: Damon Farnum protecting the route's crux on P1.
Damon Farnum protecting the route's crux on P1.

Comments on Ursula Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 6, 2017
Sep 2, 2007

I enjoy Ursula a lot. That said, it's not a route I'll recommend for a new leader - to paraphrase Dizzzy, there's only a little bit of 5.7 on it ;-) and protecting it well isn't trivial - the most obvious placements are nuts in the corner, which will get a significant outward pull. It's also hard to avoid rope drag - use long slings on everything you place at & after the top of the corner. You won't be able to see your second, so consider that as well.

Carefully inspect the sling salad that is the rap station above P1 - the slung constriction has sharp edges, and I've seen it chop through a few slings over the years.
By gblauer Blauer
From: Wayne, PA
Apr 6, 2010

P2 is all that and more. It's a fun, happy jug haul from the start to the finish. I think this is one of the nicer 5.5's at the gunks.

Let's talk about P1. The photo above shows what I think is a 5.7 variation. If you climb directly into the alcove, clip the pin in the alcove and then pull the move to get out of the alcove it's 5.5 all the way. If you do the 5.7 variation, it's really thin.
By doligo
Jul 19, 2010
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

Best 5.5 I've been on. Takes a lot of small to medium nuts on P1. Build a gear anchor in the horizontals on the belay ledge and step down so you can see your second. This also lets you get some of the shade coming from the trees.
By marcin
Nov 4, 2011

I really enjoyed that climb. Looks like we got into 5.7 variation on P1. So it got tricky but definitely worth trying. We used mostly nuts on P1 and camalots on P2. Great station on the end of P1 to make an anchor. At the end of P2 there is a solid tree.
By Kevin Heckeler
From: Upstate New York
Apr 30, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

This is one of the better 5.5 routes at the Gunks. Pitch 1 is thin, committing, and generally well protected. I followed the route properly last year but thought it felt more like 5.7 After following on it and then leading it again this year, Pitch 1 is definitely only 5.5 The 5.7 "variation" is to the right of the route as described.

Pitch 2 I feel is PG at the start and stout for 5.5 Even as a solid 5.6/7 leader at the Gunks I felt this was on the hard side, and the gear above the initial piton/pin wss either far left/right, or just wasn't there for a few moves. There's actually two cruxy moves off the belay ledge and it moderated after that. I feel the start of Pitch 2 is PG-ish.
By BrianRH
From: Jersey City, NJ
Jul 8, 2012

the variation on pitch 1 that breaks left and goes up to the roof and ends at some slings (on a couple of pitons and a nut) goes about 5.7 G and stays pretty dry, making it a nice variation for rainy days.
By Logan Schiff
From: Brooklyn, NY
Jul 25, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Great climb but stiff for the grade. I agree with Kevin that pitch 2 feels like PG at the start getting over the initial crux move.
By John Gassel
From: Boston, MA
Oct 1, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Just did this route yesterday and really enjoyed it. My new favorite 5.5's at the Gunks. I linked pitches together on doubles and had no issues with rope drag. Makes an awesome ~180ft pitch.

Felt that the first pitch crux as very tough for the grade. Gear placement mid-crux is tricky, best to just push through it, so 5.5ish leaders beware.

Second pitch has some large wobbly blocks.
By Simon L
From: Hartford, CT
Nov 12, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Great climb with a whole mix of variety. P1 takes small gear, as of 11th Nov 2012 there are fresh slings at the belay/rap station. P2 is quite a bit longer, nice crux move pulling a small overhang then sustained juggy climbing up the face. Takes lots of tricams and cams in C4 0.4 range. Couple of loose blocks to watch out for. Trees at top for anchor, slung for rappel as of 11th Nov 2012.
Apr 8, 2013

That P1 rappel pinch eats slings for breakfast -- they HAVE to be replaced often. Inspect carefully.
By Dana Bartlett
From: CT
May 17, 2013

That P1 rappel pinch eats slings for breakfast

That's for sure.
By Ron Birk
From: Boston, MA
Jun 18, 2013

I climbed Ursula last weekend and the slings at the rap station after P1 are indeed in bad shape because of the sharp coarse rock they wrap.

I tried smoothing it out a little with my nut tool (and it got a little better), but it's nowhere as good as a file would be. Someone should really file that one small tiny edge at the anchor and the issue with the slings needed to be replaced every few months would no longer be an issue.
By kenr
Aug 4, 2013

P1 - felt to me like it was hard to point to any single move as harder than 5.5, but it's very sustained. Also seemed like several stances in a row for placing protection were fairly sloping and not as positive as you'd normally expect for placing pro on a Gunks 5.5.

Not a good choice as an early lead for someone whose previous experience is mostly indoors.
By ARMoss
Aug 17, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Great route! Not a 5.5!! Fun, fidgety first pitch followed by a steep, exposed second pitch not unlike High Exposure. Like nearly everyone else has said in one way or another, calling this a 5.5 is a great way to get a new leader seriously hurt.
By Derick L
From: Philadelphia, PA
May 19, 2014

Guy climbing before I led this added a new blue sling at the top of P1 on 5/18/14. I added a grey one at the top of P2.
By Justin Compton
From: Lafayette, CO
May 22, 2014
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

If you're climbing with a 70m the easiest descent is to walk north 40 ft and scramble down to a tree with slings around it. It's one rap to the ground and you can see the tree with the slings around it if you look north after topping out the second pitch.
By Pawel Janowski
From: WA
Jun 8, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

The rappel option Justin Compton speaks about is also good for a 60m. You'll have to very easily downclimb the last 7 or 8 feet, and it's a single rappel. Better than rappeling down Ursula over parties that are coming up.
By Gunkiemike
May 22, 2015

The tree in the above 2 comments is now dead. Probably will be useably solid for another year though.
By WillamR
Jun 21, 2015
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This is my 3rd season leading, and I'm breaking into the 5.9 range, and I would not call this a gimme at even 5.7 on the route I used. This was the last climb of a fairly big day, but I was hoping for the happy 5.5 that the local guide told us this would be. I echo the comments above. 5.5 leaders be warned.
By Jon Po
From: Mahwah, NJ
Feb 22, 2016
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Perhaps one of the biggest sandbags I know of in the Gunks... Great route but it's not 5.5
By Pierce L
From: NY
Sep 6, 2017

My 4th trad lead. I found it fairly nice. I think the route is pretty close to 5.6. Used a standard rack used mostly my nuts maybe 1 small x4 cam and a marginal #3 on the second pitch. Rapped using a 60 and 70 together to get to the ground didn't stop at the ledge.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About