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#14570 - 03/28/05 02:13 AM Re: signs. little yellow ones. [Re: crackers]
ctarmchair Offline

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 16
If I recall correctly, several areas far more adventurous than the Gunks have signs, and don't seem to have suffered for it. Yosemite and Mt. Washington, to take two areas...sometimes, as a way to handle traffic, it can make sense. Personally, I've always been able to find my way around with the Swain guidebook perfectly well, but that's just me.

I don't think Exum guides accumulated their climbing resumes by agonizing over these types of issues, though. For those who define hardness by high-level alpinism and want to add spice to life, it is entorely possible to get a simulated taste of the alpine rock side of things while at the Gunks, it's just up to the climber to decide they want more than a nice day cragging. Get up at 3, drive to the cliffs, start climbing with pack and approach shoes on, and shoot for, say, 2000 vertical feet of moderates. If you live within 4 hours of the cliffs, drive home, then get up at 3 the next morning and do it again. Climb in winter boots. Climb in the rain. Assuming you understand and accept the risk, protect only cruxes. Race thunderstorms in the summer. Climb on sunny winter days. Very early morning, when you have the cliffs to yourself, climb up one route and downclimb the next, working your way down. Climb up and down the stairmaster with a heaavy pack at least 5 times and then try to climb one pitch a grade below your onsight level, 4 2 grades below, and an hour or two at or below your lactate threshold. Try to climb the grassiest, loosest climbs in the guidebook. Signage will seem less and less important.

#14571 - 03/28/05 02:14 AM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: Smike]
ShakesALot Offline

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 258
Loc: NJ
Great idea, one minor addition perhaps.

Below that number on the 1st yellow blaze on each trail, a footnote, perhaps in a more muted yellow:
"To determine the meaning of this number, please walk South to the kiosk and look for the explanatory plaque."



OK lets suppose in all seriousness that mileage markers are placed on the carriage road at some interval (1/10, 1/4, 1/2 of a mile, whatever) How is this going to positively effect the issues that most have brought up that are in favor? The new Williams guide is almost complete and will not be able to include any reference to these markers. The markers alone will tell a climber nothing about where any of the climbs are. How will the marker information be translated into anything useful for climbers to locate climbs?

I think a reasonable solution would be to simply add a number to the 1st yellow blaze on each approach trail then at the kiosk have a plaque with a detailed map showing the climbs on the cliff while showing the numbered approach trails. This solves a few problems.

1. You only add 1 new sign (where there already is one)
2. You can chose to view it or not. You don't f-up the scenery any further with sign garbage along the carriage trail.
3. You can add historical and other information so non-climbers and climbers alike can learn about climbing in the Gunks and the cliffs.

I can see this as something that might also be of interest to the GCC to provide to the Preserve.

#14572 - 03/28/05 02:27 AM Re: signs. little yellow ones. [Re: crackers]
chip Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
The most dramatic impact is usually made in a visual way. For me, that came from seeing a picture of the Trapps taken about 1910, showing at least double the density of trees on the cliff than those currently there. We probably aren't killing them so much as making it real tough for new ones to grow and replace those dying off naturally. While by no means does this influence the overall population in the gunks, it certainly reminds us to tread lightly. Will marking trails help? I'm pretty sceptical, but don't see the harm in re-applying some yellow paint every year.

#14573 - 03/28/05 04:15 AM Re: signs. little yellow ones. [Re: chip]
tradjunkie Online   content

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 365
It seems to me that nobody is really seriously proposing actually putting up signs and a lot of the argument on this thread is due to a misunderstanding of the topic.

Is anybody here still proposing anything more obtrusive than modifying the [already existing] little yellow blazes? I know some folks oppose that idea, but maybe not as virulently as opposing "High Exposure 50 yards" signage.

I realize that some folks were at one point considering reinstating the old nature trail marker, but I think that idea has lost out to the blaze footnoting.

Hey, if we want to argue, let's at least argue about something potentially worse, like marking the clifftop trails to reduce impact [I oppose, but I wonder what the erosion/impact experts have to say].

#14574 - 03/28/05 02:50 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Allenperry Offline

Registered: 02/11/03
Posts: 195
Loc: Reading, Pennsylvania

Reductio ad absurdem

ad hominem

Et, tu, Brute?

Do you get the feeling that Larry the Cable Guy is not RG's favorite comedian? Get 'er Done!

Homer Simpson would probably say: "But Marge, he has to be right, He's using Latin!"

Basically, I can see good points being made on both sides of this Great Issue of Our Time But these long arguments make you sound...

This gets me thinkin' there's a market for them there "Where in the Hell Is ..." T-shirts


#14575 - 03/28/05 03:26 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: Allenperry]
browndog2 Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/24/01
Posts: 767
Loc: livin' on the edge
Another great T-shirt idea:

"Trad is what I do on my rest day"

(actually heard a bouldererer say this to one of his homies).
(not that there's anything wrong with that...sorta)

#14576 - 03/28/05 11:23 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: Allenperry]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Fortunately we're at least talking about actual names of routes. After the first Swain guide came out (iirc), where all the climbs were numbered, there was a memorable period when people would ask "Where is climb number 151?"

The typical sarcastic answer was, of course, "Between 150 and 152!"
- Marc

#14577 - 04/04/05 08:42 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: MarcC]
LesterLeBlanc Offline

Registered: 03/06/02
Posts: 1916
Loc: Los Angeles
Maybe I'm stupid ... but I actually enjoyed the process of learning the sections of the cliffs and how to find the routes. It seemed like part of the experience of learning climbing and learning the area. And, frankly, it wasn't that hard to find most of the climbs.

Later, Swain introduced the "route locator" feature to his guide ... in the upper right-hand corner an arrow showed you where you were along the Trapps according to what page of routes you had turned to. Handy little thing ...

The theory that signage will help alleviate the crowds seems feasible, but if I were still a local I'd be against it ... the whole point of being a local (or regular) was that on crowded weekends you knew that you could avoid the crowds by hiking to the ends of the cliffs ... because the gumbies wouldn't 1) invest the hiking time and 2) were not sure of the location of the routes further down the cliff.

And heck ... the carriage road is splendid ... I wouldn't want to see signs along it.

#14578 - 04/05/05 01:07 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: LesterLeBlanc]
ctarmchair Offline

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 16
"The theory that signage will help alleviate the crowds seems feasible, but if I were still a local I'd be against it ... the whole point of being a local (or regular) was that on crowded weekends you knew that you could avoid the crowds by hiking to the ends of the cliffs ... because the gumbies wouldn't 1) invest the hiking time and 2) were not sure of the location of the routes further down the cliff."

I don't know how the Preserve charter reads on the specific issue of managing cliff access, but I believe it is more of a prudent conservation type charge than having a responsibility to protect locals' access and locals' interests. If signage works, similar to the visual intrusion of roping off areas for slope restoration but as a "positive" guidance rather than a "negative" roping off, then it may even have less impact than other ways of dealing with the trail issue.

Localism can still survive at the Gunks, even with signs, don't worry. (Hope the smiley face inserted there.)

Also, Cathedral/Whitehorse certainly comes to mind as one area(s) where signage did seem to help with the trail braiding situation, in particular. And the locals have definitely managed to maintain a strong trad climbing ethic along with the signs. The sun is out, let's climb!

#14579 - 04/10/05 12:41 PM Re: Carriage Road Signs? [Re: feck]
strat Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/30/01
Posts: 4242
From Baby to the area which is currently closed for Nesting Falcons (Blue Stink), the upper parts of the cliff-carriage road paths are marked with a nice yellow blaze. Blazes from the cliff to the carriage road are spotty but, the paths are obvious. The bottom of the paths have either a yellow blaze on a stone at the start of the trail or on an adjacent tree.

The under-cliff path is obvious to follow when the path is right near the cliff and at those places where the path goes down hill, the preserve has blazed it with yellow markers fairly well. Of course, obvious in this case is somewhat open to interpretation but, in almost all cases there is a path which is eroded down between areas of vegetation or soil that is not as eroded down, hence I chose the word obvious.

The only legitimate reason anyone has for going off-trail while walking the base of the cliff is to avoid people's piles of gear. This behavior was in full-force on Saturday in the afternoon.

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