On Wednesday we rolled deep, and drove up to the Gunks in two cars. The crew rendezvoused at The Bakery, loaded up on breakfast and food for the day, and then were off to the Trapps for what turned out to be a wonderful day of bouldering. It was a perfect fall day, the sky was crisp and blue, the leaves were at their peak. As the newest member of Brooklyn Boulders route setting team, I was bubbling with excitement to be outside climbing on such a beautiful day with my new gnomies.
I’ve been climbing in the Gunks for over ten years, so I had no agenda for the day other than to enjoy the weather, circuit, and spot my friends who had big plans. Ivan was amped to work on Paul Robinson’s “Agent Orange” V13. While we warmed up he busied himself cleaning a very tall, direct finish to the problem. During the warm up we all ran a train on the super classic “Susie A”, a tall V1, that in the first guide for route climbing in the Gunks was called 5.11.
To the right of “Susie A” is it’s companion “Susie B”. “Susie B” is a good deal taller, easier, and with a worse landing. Mark sauntered up the climb, and it occurred to me that I’d never climbed it before. Next thing I knew I was fully committed, and topping out this equally classic line.
Thoroughly warmed up, we ambled down the path to Andrew’s Roof. Jeremy and Mark wanted to try “Dragon Turns” V9 and it’s lower start “Crouching Dragon” V10. I gave a go on “Crouching” and punted at the lip of the climb first burn. Having done it some years ago, I took off my shoes and took out the camera to take photos of Jeremy and Mark’s efforts. Jeremy had some very strong goes on “Dragon Turns” and fell off within inches of latching the finishing jug. After a few false starts, Mark sewed “Crouching Dragon” up, and put it in the sack. This was to be the start of a big day for Mark.
With a productive session under our belts, we hustled down the carriage road to meet up with Ivan who was ready to go on “Agent Orange.” Ivan had had to figure out alternate beta from that which Paul had used on the first ascent. Instead of doing a large left hand cross he was forced to bump his right hand to the hold because he has too much goddamn muscle. He was able to suss out his beta pretty quickly, but unfortunately split a tip on the gnarly crozzle of a crimp that is the left hand.
Mark, Pete, and Jeremy hiked down to “Euphoria” V11, while I walked down the Carriage Path enjoying the autumn leaves. The Gunks is a very spectacular place at this time of year, and living in Brooklyn, I value my time outside of the city very much. I was pulled out of my bucolic musings, by the sound of a bestial roar coming from up the cliff. Unknown to me at the time, Mark had just sent “Euphoria” on his first try of the day. Pete had many consistently strong attempts at the line, falling on the last jingus tweaker before the lip.
I left the trio up there to session and continued down the road to the Near Trapps. Ivan and I were both very psyched on a sit start to “Waiting for the Messiah” V7. The line was established by Ivan in 1996 and has an obvious lower start on a jug undercling. The sit start has been a project for the past fourteen years, and has been tried by many a strong climber in the northeast. I have thought about this climb for years, and was very happy to work it with another climber for the first time. Ivan and I went under the overhang to brush and chalk the holds. The low start adds three to four very difficult, long, compression moves into the high start. One hour later Ivan and I had done all the moves, and had a sequence. The sun was setting and we were tired after a long day out, we had to return to Brooklyn without the first ascent.
I called Pete to see where he, Mark, and Jeremy were. They were at “Karajo” V10 or V11, up on the carriage path. Mark had sent first go of the day. He had just completed his best day of climbing to date, the trifecta of double digit boulder problems. Hats off Mark, your day was truly sick gnar.
I can’t wait to roll out with everyone again, temps are only getting better from here on out. Hopefully we’ll be able to dodge the Autumn rains.
-Garrett “GK” Koeppicus