Monday, June 2, 2014

Old and New, Tried and True

We took Friday off to get a 3-day weekend in at the Gunks and mother nature cast upon us a blessed 3 straight days of perfect early summer spectacular! Would you complain about mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s??? Never!

The plan was to introduce 2 of our climbing friends, Toby and Valerio, to the Gunks - they had never been there. The old gals from Vermont aimed to show the young'ns from New Hampshire the ropes.  They arrived Friday night to start their Gunks school Saturday.  Their learning curve was short as they ticked off one classic route after another with aplomb!  Here is a picture of Toby and Annie following their leaders up Jackie and Classic - side by side. Cute.
Annie and Toby discussing the meaning of life on their way up Classic and Jackie

By the second day they were sending exposed classics like High E and CCK.
Toby topping out on CCK. Sweet!

Annie and I set out to try a new route we have never climbed before each day.  This year I am happy to report on 3 new routes I had yet to experience, all of which I recommend.

  • No Picnic (a challenging overhang crux for 5.5 IMO)
  • Red Pillar (a very worthwhile climb at the Arrow wall. Do it when all other routes are taken. Looks dirty and grungy from the ground but far better than it looks. Wild finish!)
  • Unholy Wick (P1 only accomplished, but 160 feet of quality climbing! A Dick Williams first ascent, 1965)

On Sunday, after dropping off the young'ns at CCK, we headed over towards the High Exposure buttress expecting to get on one of the alternative routes. The weekend crowds were so mellow and to our surprise no one was queued up for High E, so we grabbed it. There wasn't even a line at the ledge for the last pitch - smooth sailin!

The highlight was without a doubt meeting and talking with Dick Williams, Mr. Gunks himself.  Dick was part of a work crew building new stone pathways at the cliff base and he was delighted to autograph our guidebook.  It is always such an honor to meet the legends of climbing. It is one of the great things about our sport - the passion for climbing runs deep, so the old guys and gals continue to climb and give back to the climbing community through their entire lives.  There is no such thing really as celebrity status like there would be in professional sports.  We are all equals and it is easy to rub elbows with the legends.  Thanks Dick, for all you have done and continue to do for climbing!

The legendary Richard "Dick" Williams signing our guidebook at the base of High E

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