TRIP REPORT: Gunks Rock Climbing – Mohonk Preserve, NY 4-30-16

Routes/Problems Climbed:

High Corner – 5.5

Bunny – 5.4

Black Boulder V-5


In a change of pace from my usual hiking related posts I have decided to do a short write up on my most recent rock climbing trip to the Gunks in New York. The weather on this particular day turned out to be great and although it was a bit overcast all day it was still pretty warm and the rock had great friction for climbing. This trip was meant to be a pretty mellow day of climbing with friends and it was also fun to get Kelly out on real rock for the very first time!

We arrived at the upper parking lot at around 9:30 which normally would be much too late but by some miracle we snagged one of the very last parking spots in the lot. On the weekends if the weather is even marginally nice you can usually count on the parking lots to fill up quickly. Since we were pretty psyched to get started we packed up quickly and headed down the carriage road towards the cliffs.


View from the carriage road and the newly renovated overlook off the road.

We had a little bit of time before Jeff and Eric arrived so I thought it would be fun to drop the bouldering pad under the Black Boulder (V-5) before they arrived. I hadn’t been on this particular problem for a long time and since it was right on the carriage road I figured it would be a good place for them to find us. The boulder was nice and dry and the climbing was great. I had forgotten how much I liked this particular problem.


Me on the Black Boulder.

The guys arrived soon after so I packed up the map and pulled out the guidebook to undertake a time honored Gunks tradition…..finding an open moderate route on a Saturday! We walked down the carriage road for a while before turning up the talus slope towards High Corner (5.5). There was a party on it already but we decided to just wait it out.


We had a good time chatting with the other climbers hanging out around the route while we waited for our turn so the time went quickly. Before too long I was gearing up to lead the first pitch. I lead the first pitch without any difficulty, but I have to admit I wasn’t entirely sure what the proper route was. The climbing was easy up to the pine tree belay but the gear was a bit finicky and I could see this being a stressful lead for someone climbing at the grade.


Looking down from halfway up pitch 1 of High Corner.

The belay at the pine tree was also incredibly awkward and made for a challenging place to set up a toprope despite what it looked like from the ground. However, after some finagling I got the toprope anchor sorted out and lowered off the climb.

It wasn’t the best pitch of climbing in the Gunks by any stretch but it was still a fun climb and after gearing up Kelly made short work of her very first outdoor climb. She cruised up the route without any problems at all.


Kelly all smiles during her very first outdoor rock climb!

Once everyone had climbed the route Eric did the honors of cleaning the route and we moved on to the next climb of the day. We decided to just walk back down the carriage road until we found something open that fit the bill for the day.

In the end we settled on going with Bunny (5.4) which is not far from the parking lot and offers a nice long moderate route. I have climbed this route a couple of times before but at the grade it is really quite a lot of fun so I didn’t mind. The climb also offers a 5.6 variation if you go straight through the roof as opposed to around it to the left.


Starting up Bunny.



Just under the small roof on Bunny. You can either go to the left at 5.4 or straight up at 5.6.

The climbing on Bunny is pretty steep and varied as well so it gives a nice introduction to what Gunks climbing is usually like. Bunny also offers easy access to the anchor above Retribution (5.10a)  and No Solution (5.12a) if you are looking to set up a toprope on those climbs.

After everyone had their turn climbing Bunny we wrapped things up as it was already pretty late in the day. We didn’t get a ton of pitches in on the day but it was still a great day to be outside with friends climbing so I have no complaints. I am looking forward to getting out to the Gunks more often this year and working on some of my still uncompleted projects!

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