Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gunks Scene

Most climbing areas have a scene. In some places there are just a few climbers, and everyone knows everyone else. Other areas, like the Red River Gorge or the Gunks have large groups of local climbers and a weekend influx of "locals", climbers that frequent the area nearly every weekend. In places like this it becomes impossible to meet everyone else that's a climber.

In the Gunks it's pretty difficult to be a dirtbag for long periods of time. This seems to have kept a large crowd of "young" climbers away from the area. When I first moved to the area I remember thinking there were so few other young climbers in the area. As time passed I began to meet many other climbers, some young, others a bit older.

One of the most interesting local groups of climbers to watch has been a group of boulderers, many of whom have begun to trad climb. Bouldering has helped them get really strong, and they've taken their climbing skills and transferred it to harder traditional climbing. When you boulder V10 or harder climbing 5.12 starts to feel a little easier.

In early July I went out to Giants Workshop, a small but impressive crag between Skytop and the Trapps with a few of these hard-climbing Gunks locals. Giants Workshop only has a handful of routes but all of them are traditionally protected 5.12's and 5.13's.

Here are a few photos of Andy Salo and Jesse Littleton, two young and very strong local Gunks climbers working, ground-up, on Projectile, a radically overhanging juggy route with a 12c endurance crux near the top. Jesse is working on the route still, and Andy sent it second go with preplaced gear. I have no doubt that by now he's sent Intruders (13a) and Toys for Tots (13a) there as well.

Andy nearing the top of Projectile

For really awesome and funny footage of things this crew of climbers is doing check out Bass For Your Face. These guys don't take themselves too seriously. It's become one of my favorite East Coast climbing blogs.

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