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 Post subject: Gunks Classics
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 9:27 pm 
UW Climber

Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:42 pm
Posts: 40
Location: U District
I went back to the Gunks this weekend to go do some of the classic moderates with Eric/photographer extraordinare, one of the guys I climbed with last time. Since he's been climbing at the gunks for 3 years mostly I ended up doing the money pitches which was fine with me.

We started off Saturday with V-3 (5.7) to warm up on because Madam G was taken already. After that we decided to do Thin Slabs (5.7 PG-R), Eric linked the first two pitches and once up there I decided to go for the direct finish which depending who you ask is either 5.7 R or 5.7+ PG. The first two pitches are really fun slab/face climbing that protect well, with lots of high stepping and semi-laybacking. The direct finish goes up corner and then onto a slightly overhanging hand traverse out about 20 feet until you pull around a horn onto a small ledge for a 5.5ish finish. The traverse is "protected" by 3 questionable pitons and one that I didn't even bother clipping. I managed to get one cam in while on the traverse and called it good enough. The exposure is quite high as you're traversing out over the first two pitches underneath a bigass roof so I overgripped like mad and was still pumped when I reached the anchor.

After that we headed over to the Arrow wall because it was directly in the sun and only 2 other people were stupid enough to climb on it. We started with Limelight (5.7 PG), Eric led p1, I led p2. Both are very fun pitches although p2 had a very cool feeling to it, techy face climbing to a layback up a flake, then traversing back out onto the face and up to the top. After that we climbed the next route over, Arrow (5.8 PG) Eric wanted to lead the second pitch and I was tired so I led the first pitch which is straightforward 5.6 face/slab, with about a 20 foot small right facing corner that was probably the best part. The second pitch starts off with a fun but overrated 5.6 roof although the chance of ledging out on a fall was about 99%. After the roof it transitions into very fun but deliberate and technical 5.7-5.8 face climbing. The last 30-40 feet or so is (was) unprotectable so 3 bolts have been installed. This last section is definitely the best part of the climb and everyone ends up staring at the last move for 5 or 10 minutes their first time trying figure out the sequence.

We forgot that our original intention for the day had been to climb Madam G so called it at that point and went into town for some Thai food and Starbucks. Altogether a great first day.

Sunday we got up bright and early to get up to Shockley's Ceiling before anyone else could. Ever seen the picture of the naked guy in a swami belt climbing in the gunks? Yeah that's Shockley. We decided to do the Strictly From Nowhere to Shockley because the first pitch of Shockley is not great and the second pitch of Strictly isn't great either. The traverse pitch is straightforward and protects well enough. The first pitch of Strictly is 5.6 or 5.7 and Shockley is 5.6. The roof is amazing, it protects well, is exposed, and is probably one of the coolest routes ever. I don't really remember much else about the climb except that it took us forever to find the rap station.

After we got down from Strictly-Shockley we BSed with some dirtbaggers for awhile and then went to get in line for Cascading Crystal Kaleidoscope (5.8 PG). We didn't feel like waiting for the 5.5 standard start so Eric led the first pitch of Erect Direction which is 5.8 (second pitch is 5.10a or b). Erect Direction is a slightly right leaning crack that goes up the side of a small buttress to the left of the normal start for CCK. It varies from < fingers to a squeeze chimney and then back down to hands-wide hands, although you end up mostly laybacking up it smearing your right foot out on the face and grabbing a jam where you can. The first 30 feet are very sustained and strenuous, my left arm was pumped like mad. The rest of the pitch is varied and somewhat sustained but technical and very fun. Once up on the huge ledge at the top of that pitch we had to wait for two parties to go up CCK before our turn. As the second two pitches of CCK are the money pitches it was my turn to rack up and sack up. The opening bit of p2 is a strenuous roof more or less right off the ledge that requires quite a bit of body tension. The sequence was something like layback-gaston-match-gaston-lockoff-reach waaay up for the horizontal crack and throw your leg up. Any fall means ledging out so the first meaningful protection is on the little thank god ledge above the roof. The rest of the pitch is fun, but feels quite easy after the first bit. The third pitch was also mine to lead. You traverse out on this little face with huge exposure on a horizontal crack system that is about a pad deep and barely big enough to fit my fat fingers in. It is tenuous to say the least. After traversing for about 20-30 feet you transition up onto a flake. This transition was definitely the technical crux for me because at the horizontal crack gets thinner and thinner and at the bottom the flake is left facing but also left leaning and I could barely get my tips behind it until higher up. Going up the flake after that though proved to be the easiest or maybe just least tenuous. From there you hand traverse out from under the roof on another horizontal finger crack and then scramble to the top. Alternately CCK Direct goes directly up through the "weakness" in the roof to the left. I believe it goes at 5.9+ PG or so.

We were going to do High Exposure (5.6) as well but were pretty wiped by the end of CCK and wanted to get home before it was super late so we called it a day. Altogether a sweet climbing trip and although I climbed some of the more well known classics there are classics everywhere you look in the Gunks and I can't wait to go back.

Sorry about the quality of the pictures, I don't have photoshop anymore so making them small enough for the forums isn't so great for quality.
A nice view of Eric's ass on V-3

Eric at the top of the second pitch of Thin Slabs

A shitty view of Thin Slabs Direct, I had to get myself psyched up for it and subsequently forgot about the camera. The route goes up the corner directly behind the tree, then out to the left from under the small roof, then up and the big traverse starts where the horizontal cracks are in the upper left of the frame. The bottom of the horn you pull around onto can just be seen in the upper right of the frame.

Balls back to normal size

"I'm gonna lead that?"

Apparently so

Moving to the flake

And on the flake

Aaaand hand traverse out.

I feel like maybe I should post this in craggin in WA... oh well.

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