Wet at Wallface, Scared in the Gunks

May, 2002: Towards the end of the school year, my roommate Eric and I decided that an early spring attempt on Wallface, the highest cliff in New York state, would be a good way to pass a week in May. Our goal was Mental Blocks, a 5.7 A2 line that employs all sorts of fun bigwall tricks as it weaves up the easternmost buttress of the cliff.

We didn’t get very far. Actually, we didn’t even touch the rock. It rained, snowed, or crapped on us every day for four days. When a bit of blue sky finally appeared, we racked up, but sure enough, the next morning Mother Nature decided to let fall another blanket of snow. We had enough, packed up and fled to the Gunks.

The Gunks treated us a bit better. Rather than sleep away damp days in a mink-infested shelter, we slept in soaked sleeping bags at Camp Slime and during the days ticked off all the four-star 5.6s we could find. Towards the end of the trip, it seemed like a good idea to try out all the shiny aid gear we had hauled up for our attempt on Wallface. Twilight Zone, a 5.13a free line, was the target, and it was rumored to fall at a moderate A2 with clean pro only. Go try it. You’ll like it 😉


All in all, it was a great trip that laid a foundation for a host of future daks trips. It was the most time I ever climbed with Eric, and we did quite well. In eight days we waited and then bailed from Wallface, and climbed several classic 5.6/5.7 trad routes at the Gunks including High Exposure (5.6), Madame Grunnebaum’s Wulst (5.6), City Lights (5.7), Shockley’s Ceiling (5.6), Frog’s Head (5.6), Strictly From Nowhere (5.7), and had the aforementioned aid epic on Twilight Zone.


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