Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
The Gunks could fairly easily, with a change in current direction, become a place where a bit of the adventures of remote locations still abides.
... informed by a particular view of trad climbing that may also be fading, a view that includes far more than the what type of gear is or is not used for protection.

I recall a wise climber writing ten or twenty years ago that future generations would be grateful that the adventurous character of Gunks climbing had been retained. Well now, my feeling is, based on: (a) The percentage of 20-year-old climbers in the southern NY - NJ area who do any Trad climbing; and (b) The smaller number of climbers in the Trapps (even smaller number in the Nears?) on recent wonderful weekend-weather days -- that this future generation is not feeling much gratitude.

I do know a couple of 20-year-old climbers who are excitedly discovering Trad climbing in the Gunks, rapidly "working their way up through the grades" in leading. They have not mentioned the slightest discomfort with convenience anchors, or any preference for routes that lack them.

I recall Russ Clune in the last couple of years was quoted as saying that Trad climbing is really about long multi-pitch routes, so most of the Eastern USA really can't match the Western mountains for that.

Myself, I love long high-mountain routes: I eagerly seek them out in Europe, and I'm much looking forward to a trip to the high Sierras soon. But the Gunks can't deliver that level of adventure for me in roped climbing, because I carry a mobile phone with the Preserve phone number in memory, and I lead with double-ropes, so I can just sacrifice some gear and escape by rappeling all the way to the ground from 99.9% of the rock in the Gunks.

Anyway I actually enjoy building Trad anchors when I'm Leading in the Gunks, because it's my own creative action. It's when I'm Following that I hate it, because it's just more time sitting around waiting while somebody else does their creative adventure thing.

Free soloing: There's still adventure in the Gunks, and no amount of additional convenience anchors can take that away. Great easy/moderate climbs mostly on pretty sound rock -- the key ingredients for a free solo circuit. Also great prep for long high-mountain routes, and great motivation for doing lots of practice down-climbing.

For a possible future of two-pitch Trad adventure climbing without convenience anchors, check out the thread on MountainProject about Delaware Water Gap climbing, note the frequent comments about "vegetation" on good routes that nobody seems to do much any more. So when I need that good old-time two-pitch adventure climbing I know where to find it -- if not on the hundreds of Gunks routes that will still be un-convenienced (and newly vegetated?) twenty years from now - (and there's the Dacks).


Edited by kenr (06/13/13 07:16 AM)