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 the excitement around this place.
Trad climbers are in luck (and need a bit of humility)
The style of climbing here is most decidedly traditional, and the newcomer should prepare for exposure and adventure — as well as maintaining a healthy dose of humility. 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.