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Shawangunks (The Gunks)

When you hear any local climber talk about “the Gunks,” you might think that the climbing here actually sustains their existence like food and water to the rest of us. This may come off as overzealous, but after climbing my first pitches, on the route High Exposure (5.6), I understood why this place is said to host the best rock climbing in and around NYC.

Trad climbers are in luck (and need a bit of humility)

The Gunks climbing is most decidedly traditional, and the newcomer should prepare for exposure and adventure — as well as maintaining a healthy dose of humility. Similar to other high-exposure adventures like rock climbing in North Carolina, this is one location where it may really benefit you to go out with a guide. It is not uncommon for 5.10 climbers to arrive and decide to climb routes around 5.6-5.8. New climbers to the area need to familiarize themselves with how the horizontal breaks are spaced.

Due to the airtime in play, in the event of a fall from pumping out, climbers need to ensure that their protection on these features is sufficient. While not all of the climbing at the Gunks is a steep jug haul, this style is certainly indicative of the Gunks.

Know where you’re permitted to go (or better yet, hire a guide!)

A big consideration for new visitors to note is that access to certain cliffs is either closed unless you’re with a guide or very close to (or even on) private property. It is best to consult a guidebook or visit a local guide service to find out if any of the areas you want to climb are off-limits.

About the author
In Memory: AMGA Certified Rock Guide and 57hours Ambassador

On September 1, 2022, we learned of the passing of Cody Bradford, a friend, an inspiration, an educator and community member. During his time as a guide, he made an indelible impact on the industry and those around him, with an unceasing smile and positivity and the way he welcomed others into the outdoors through teaching (#TechTipTuesday), humor and compassion. We first met Cody five years ago and it was his love for people, enthusiasm for guiding, and determination to become a fully certified mountain guide that impressed us and motivated us to build this company. Cody began his guiding career with the North Carolina Outward Bound School in 2012 and rapidly tackled challenge after challenge to gain his AMGA Rock Guide Certification in April 2018. We were lucky to have worked with Cody and he will forever be a part of the soul of 57hours. He will be deeply missed and remembered by the 57hours team.

In memory of Cody Bradford

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