Gunks Online Aid Climbing Guide



I'm putting together this on-line aid climbing to the Gunks because I like to aid climb sometimes. A lot of the climbs in the Gunks lend themselves well to the practice of aid climbing. If you've ever had the penchant to go to Yosemite and climb a big wall, unless you're in the top 0.01% of free climbers on the planet, you're not going to get up anything.

I welcome any suggestions, additions or updates to this page. Please drop me a line [UPDATE 09/20/07:  Send updates to  scottghiz (at) yahoo (dot) com  because my SPAM filter is killing most additions to this online guide.  SPAMMERS suck and sorry for the lack of communication.] and let me know what you think of a certain climb; how hard was it, how long were the pitches, what kind of gear did you use, how scary was it, or if you have any questions.

Mark Carroll Following the huge Spinal Traction roof.The single restraint that we live under is what the Mohonk Preserve stipulates: No hammering, no cleaning, no dropping of rocks, and no trashing the place. Everything you do here has to be clean. If you want to learn the art of placing pins and heads, go to any scruffy, no-name crag and bash away. NO HAMMERING IN THE GUNKS. Be careful of using hooks. These can easily pry off thin flakes and small edges. These edges and flakes may be key for the free climb. Maintenance of the free climb is paramount. Aid climbing is retrograde to free climbing. If you have any question about the integrity of a key hold, don't use it for aid. Climb around it or bail... Don't take a chance.


Route Descriptions (Updated MAR 18 2012):

The Routes will be described with the free climbing route name, area, and the aid climbing and free climbing rating, some key gear info and a star rating. The star rating is based on how good the climb is as an aid route (in my opinion or your opinion). I might be writing my own trip reports for these climbs. These will be hyper-linked to the story. Also, some images are linked to some of the climbs.

Route Area Description

Ant's Line (C1) (*)


Kevin Curtis and Adrian Hill aided this climb on November 26, 1997. Follow the free line to the belay. Some awkward placements where the crack flares.

Gear: Wires and small to mid-size cams. One large cam (#4 Camalot) useful for the first move.

Asteroids (5.5 C2+) (**) Trapps Steven Cherry rope soloed this March 27, 1999. Not in the guidebooks, this is a name for a top-rope route between Groovy and Space Invaders (see the Swain guidebook). Go up Groovy to the roof and instead of cutting left to the anchors pull the roof at the right edge (crux). Finish by free climbing (5.5) to the Ursula belay.

Gear: Large free rack, hexes very handy

Bonnie's Roof w/Direct finish (C1) (**) Trapps Ryan Chelstowski and Wade Jackman aided this route on 2/3/2012.  Pitch 1: Start about 25 feet right of Ants Line in open book with many overhangs. Aid the open book and overhangs to belay ledge under giant roof (rap station). Pitch 2: Traverse to the end of the belay ledge and then straight up through the crack in the roof. Continue through two roofs to the top (rap station).

Gear: Standard rack with a lot of leap-frogging mid-to-large size cams (took doubles of mid-size cams). #4 BD Camalot halfway up first pitch in bomber horizontal. Some optional hook moves to make things easier/interesting, but not necessary.

Doug's Roof (C1) (***) Trapps Kevin Curtis and Adrian Hill aided this climb on December 16, 1997. Climb the obvious crack with a pin at the edge of the roof. A black alien can be placed about two feet out on the roof for an easy reach to the pin. Good placements lead to a ledge where you can walk to the tree on the left and rappel, or climb to the top.

Gear: A black Alien.

Eastertime, Too (5.4  C1) (**) Near Trapps Steve Shaud rope-soloed this climb in the rain, November 1989.  Follow your nose up the obvious crack to a rap station. 70'.

Gear: Wired stoppers and small to mid-size cams.

Ent's Line, direct variation (5.6  C2-) (**) Trapps Kevin Curtis and Adrian Hill aided this climb on November 26, 1997. Free climb for 25' to the first good protection break (the purist can hook immediately from the ground). Aid mostly on small wires (HBs helpful, and hook move on a large flake) to the overhang (good wires and aliens under the overhang). Hook moves up over the overhang, then left, lead to another break (mid-size cams in the break). Tricky placements trending slightly left to the arete lead to easy free moves (5.3) up to the belay.

Gear: Hooks, Aliens, mid-size cams, wires.

Filipina Crack (C1) (*) Trapps Steven Cherry rope soloed this route August 8, 1998. This line starts at Filipina and continues up the crack instead of breaking left. Single 70ft pitch, adequate rap station.

Gear: Large free rack, small TCUs and extra nuts helpful.

Harvest Moon (5.3 C1) (**) Near Trapps Zach Allen rope soloed this climb on 3/24/99. Start in chimney and follow Harvest Moon to top of block. Last easy free moves were dirty, wet and loose. Fixed rap station at the top.

Gear: Small nuts to medium cams, #4 Camalot would be nice but optional and one wobbly slung chock stone

Hook Line, No Sinkers (C2+) (**) Trapps First Recorded Ascent: Adrian Hill and Kevin Curtis aided this climb on January 22, 1998. Starting behind the right end of the block under Ken's Crack (on the side next to Phoebe) hook straight up to the rail. Move 5 feet left and then straight up to join Ken's Crack at a large ledge 5 feet from the top. FA all moves on good hook placements, gear only placed for protection.

Gear: 2 BD Talons, grappling hook, and one skyhook. Protection is small aliens and wires - two placements in the first ~35 feet. Can easily be top-roped.

Kansas City (5.8 C1) (*) Near Trapps Scott Ghiz rope-soloed this climb 11/29/97.  This is the first huge roof you run into while walking into the Near Trapps. Free climb up to the optional belay under the roof (5.4). Aid out the roof (C1) to a free move past the lip (5.8). P1: 130' to anchor tree.

Gear: Medium nuts, medium cams and a #3 Camalot.

Ken's Crack (C1) (*) Trapps Kevin Curtis and Adrian Hill aided this climb on November 21, 1997. Easy, straightforward short pitch that follows the crack up the face. Good introductory pitch with lots of bombproof stoppers.

Gear: Stoppers!

Laurel (C1 5.4) (*) Trapps Zach Allen and Steve Yadzinski Aided this climb on December 27, 1997. Good fun practice aid route at the Uberfall. P1: 60'.

Gear: Medium nuts and small to large cams (#4 Camalot helpful).

Low Exposure (C1 5.5) (*) Trapps Zach Allen and Steve Yadzinski Aided this climb on December 27, 1997. Good strenuous aid route at the Uberfall. Free climb to the start of the big roof. P1: 30'.

Gear: Mostly cams, everything from blue Alien to #4 Camalot

  M&M Roof (5.3 C1) (**) Peterskill Mike Wohner and Michelle Valiante aided this climb 9/98. Unsure of history or name of climb, if any. Climb starts approximately 20 ft right of 'diving board' boulder problem in the 'rock garden' area of Peterskill (refer to Gunks bouldering guide). P1 climbs straight up slab to a small roof , traverses right 25-30 feet to start of 30-foot roof. P2, continue out roof and over , exiting on a left-hand crack system and topping out by a small pine tree. Feedback on successive repeats appreciated.  

Update by Dave Indino 03/27/00: 1st pitch is more like 5.6 and the aid crux is moving over the 1st roof (awkward).

Gear: Placements abound; Large free rack adequate; duplicates of large sizes helpful.

Man Who Fell to Earth (C3/C4?) (***) Trapps Comments from:
Mincer (5.4 C2/C2+) (***) Near Trapps Tom Fralich and Felix Danila aided this climb on August 24, 2003.  Comments from Tom:  The route starts in a very obvious thin crack a few feet left of Harvest Moon and the chimney of White Pillar (Near Trapps). I used small wires and Aliens for the first 20 ft, plus one micronut, to reach a big horizontal which took a #3 BD Camalot. After this, a few more small to medium wires and small cams until the crack became really narrow and placements become sparse. The route is very close to Harvest Moon at this point, so it would be easy to move over. I advanced one move on the mini Leeper cam hook and then tried several hook placements with no success. Finally, I was able to move left on a marginal stopper in a shallow and flaring horizontal. Next a few free move out left towards the nose, then back right to a 0.5 BD Camalot where the crack opens up again. About five more placements, all medium cams and large nuts (0.5-1 inch), got me to the anchors.

Gear:  See above description.

Nosedive (5.3 C1+) (*) Trapps Kevin Curtis and Adrian Hill aided this climb on December 16, 1997. Scramble up the blocks to the right and then walk along the ledge back into the crack.

Gear: Lots of wires, and red aliens in flared pin scars make for a fun pitch.

Outer Space Super Direct (5.5 C2+ R) (**) Near Trapps

Rob Mecus did this climb around March 2002.  Start on the greasy slab right of the Outer Space Direct start, and climb straight up to the big block.  Surmount this, and aid the thin, overhanging seam up [C2+ R] and slightly right into a right facing corner.  Thin aiding up this leads to easier climbing and the exit for Outer Space Direct.


Gear:  Small + hooks.

P-38 (5.3 C1) (*) Trapps Kevin Curtis and Adrian Hill aided this climb on January 22, 1998. Climb the obvious crack until it is possible to traverse right after about 40 feet where the crack ends. Straightforward aid.

Gear: Bring lots of small wires, #2 and #3 cam as well as a BD talon hook.

Pink Laurel (5.5 C1) (*) Trapps Recently aid soled by Kyle Story [May 2008].  Seems to be a pretty good clean aid pitch.

Gear: stoppers, small to medium cams.  Could probably use a cam hook.

PR (5.5 C2+) (*) Trapps Lawrence Clayton solo aided the first pitch of PR on 7/21/01. It went at about 5.5 C2+.  

Gear:  At least 2 hook moves in a row, Leeper cam hook useful.

Rhododendron (C1) (*) Trapps Rope soloed by Andrew Gram February 18, 2000.  Fun easy pitch in the Uberfall. Easy 5.3 or a hook near the top. 60'

Gear: Stoppers, small to medium cams.

Single File (C1) (**) Skytop Rope-soloed by Wayne McMahon circa 1994.  Nice nuts and cams to medium plus one #3-1/2 Friend for the top. Best part about soloing this route was the woodsy solitude and one scary exit move!

Gear:  A 'standard' Gunks rack will suffice, with 20 extra biners plus 12 draws.

Something Interesting (C1+) (*) Trapps Rope-soloed by Wayne McMahon circa 1993.  Nothing terrifying, but a sustained exercise in the mechanics and mental game of soloing. I don't remember anything unusual, except that I used upwards of 40 free biners.

Gear:  Regular large Gunks free rack + lots of extra biners.

Space Invaders (5.5 C1) (*) Trapps Steven Cherry rope soloed this route September 12, 1998. Final moves are easy free climbing (5.5ish) to the Ursula belay/rap station.

Gear: Large free rack; small TCUs helpful, small wires (#1 or 2 stopper size) essential. 50m rope suffices.

Spinal Traction (5.6 C2+) (**) Near Trapps Comments from Ivan Rezucha, who did the first ascent.

Scott Ghiz climbed the route with Mark Carroll April 1992.  Climb up to the crack which diagonals across the HUGE roof (5.6). Aid out the roof to the lip (C2+). Traverse right at the lip (C1) and up to the tree. P1: 140'.

Comments from  Wayne McMahon (1995 ascent)Towards the end the quality of the rock deteriorated to a sandy consistency. A couple small nuts pulled while aggressively jump-testing, but no falls. After the sandy section, there were was a fixed wire, then a substantial improvement in rock quality before turning the lip.

Gear: Ball nuts to medium large nuts, tiny to medium cams.

Stupid Crack (C1) (**) Trapps Zach Allen and Steve Yadzinski Aided this climb on January 9, 1998... starting at 8:00 PM!! Follow the thin slightly overhanging crack on the back of the Mental Block boulder with a weird (optional) hook move near the top. P1: 50'.

Gear: Small to medium stoppers and cams. Bring a hook (optional).

Supercrack (C1) (**) Skytop Kevin Curtis and Adrian Hill aided this climb on December 9, 1997. Easy C1 except for the need for back-cleaning the pieces. First part of the crack to the roof is consistent 1.5 friends then red aliens for 30 feet with a few large wires. Green aliens and small wires (maybe one hook move- BD grappling hook) gets you to the 5.3 scramble to the top.

Gear: 1.5 Friends (+ extras), red Aliens, large wires, hook optional.

Trashcan Overhang (C1 or C2-) (**) Trapps Kevin Curtis and Adrian Hill aided this climb on November 21, 1997. Aid the overhang (nice hook on the edge) and then scramble straight up or traverse right (1.5 friend) onto the face for 3-4 more hook moves to the top ledge (C2-).

Gear: Hook, 1.5 Friend.

Twilight Zone (C2 5.7) (***) Trapps Scott Ghiz climbed this with Mark Carroll December 31, 1991. Scott Ghiz also rope-soloed this climb 7/97.  Click the Twilight Zone for a trip report.  Climb up the Andrew corner to the GT ledge (5.4). Climb up to the chimney at the start of the aid traverse (5.3). Follow the fixed gear left to the notch. Follow the crack over the roof, up a shallow corner to a move left to the hanging belay (C2). Step up and left to a free traverse to a small right facing corner (C1 5.3). Up the corner (C1+ 5.7) to a small overhang. Step right and free climb to the top. P1: 150', P2: 110', P3: 70'.

Gear: Small-to-medium nuts, small cams up to a #3 Camalot (optional), flat Leeper hook (optional), a long reach.

Uphill All the Way (C2+) (**) Trapps Kyle Story reported aiding this route on May 31 2008.  Follow crack/arch to where the free climbing route breaks out left.  Use multiple hook moves over the overlap to the anchors.

Gear:  Lots of hooks, nuts, small to medium cams.

Wasp Stop (C2) (*) Trapps Kyle Story reported aiding this route on May 31 2008.  Follow obvious crack to bulge.  Traverse to The Sting anchors.

Gear:  Double TCUs, grey Metulious, lots of small nuts, hooks.



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