Second Gunks Blitz of 2011

The weather lords waffled all week about the weekend, so until early Sunday morning, Jamie & I were up in the air about where to climb. When a final spin of the wheel indicated our best bet was New Paltz, we put our money there and landed ourselves at the Trapps by about 11am. In the final rush to reach vertical terrain, I forgot to bring the camera along. Sorry folks, no photos this time.

We walked down to the area just beyond the current falcon-closing turf and began our day on Thin Slabs. Both Jamie & I have climbed this route before; experiencing a near-epic on the direct finish way back when, so despite being a bit stale in our memories and a bit run-out as always, we were able to climb the first pitch without incident.

We headed farther north, walking past the huge peregrine-inspired off-limits section before climbing back up to the area near Three Doves. I’ve climbed this before, once some time back in the early 80s; Jamie hadn’t ever done it. With two pitches of stout 5.8, effectively unfamiliar terrain for both of us, this proved challenging, but we were both up to the task. Rapping down from the top, we had ample time for Jamie to lead the upper pitch of Annie O and me to lead that of Limelight before hunger and cold drove us back to the cliff base.

There, we mulled over options before deciding to look farther north. Several of our intended destinations turned out to be loaded already, but we noted that the High Exposure buttress was curiously unoccupied, notably Directissima. So it was that we ended the day climbing three pitches there: the first two of Directissima (using the “direct” line through the crux in one pitch, then climbing to the GT ledge), and the final pitch of High Exposure itself.

Over 650′ of climbing in eight hours, not bad for two spring-pale climbers barely beginning their season. Yesterday was a reminder of how great it was – is – climbing with Jamie. Rock on, man!

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