Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Gunks Fall Season Has Arrived!

The e-connection of my computer's still funked, but at least now I have exhauseted all hope of doing a self-fix..... Resignedly, I'm packing the thing up and taking it to the shop this afternoon, where I'm expecting to receive a diagnosis of "fried modem" or something similar.

In the interim..... Despite a slow start on Saturday(morning climbing called on account of rain), the day did an about-face around 10am and a splendid "feels like autumn" day stepped forth. Though it had been raining steadily since late night Friday, the cliffs hadn't even gotten wet. Must have been the direction and angle the precip dripped. Nature had thrown a curve ball in the team's favor and the backside of the Trapps got a nice watering, while the front side stayed cool and dry to the touch. Climb on!

Plenty of people out there, too. Teddy couldn't move ten paces without someone from his fan club stopping to say hello and shake his paw.

I flailed lightly before slipping into the void of "the move" on Shockley's Ceiling. Luckily, I brannish a pair of prussiks like a cowboy does his pistols. Embarrassing - but true.

Still, it was a good day, and later we headed into town for the John Bragg slideshow - first entertainment event of the season. Beautiful pictures, incredible scenery, fun stories - If you missed it, you missed a good one.

The event was in support of the Gunks Climber's Coalition Rescue Fund, and $800 was raised.

Perhpas even more valuable.... was the announcement updating us on the status at the Rosendale Water Works.

If you don't know, this is an area that came into the spotlight a short while back; bouldering has been going on there, to climb what is allegedly(I've never been, nor spoeken to anyone with firsthand knowledge) world class third class..... Word was spreading and whispers of access issues arose in the mix.

Something had to be done....

The GCC has been working with the Mohonk Preserve and Open Space Institute on acquiring this land, and a Letter of Understanding was signed last week. So far as I have seen, the Open Space Institute gets things done, and if all goes as hoped....the Gunks 2008 season will be seeing an incredible new venue for serious bouldering.

I like to boulder, and even though I climb less than V0, can't wait to see how this pans out. Hopefully, many of the area boulderers will be interested in stewardship for this new locale, and will avail themselves of the considerable amount of work that will go into developing and maintaining the space. The Rosendale Water Works will be part of the Mohonk Preserve, which excels in educating preservation ethics, so the place should become a crowning gem in the US bouldering scene.

In other news - when I recently spoke with guidebook author Dick Williams about his progress on the lates edition(updated guidebook to the Near Trapps), he said the writing had been completed!

This was no small task, as the man personally (re)climbed most of the existing routes in order to insure as accurate a book as can be made, while putting in many new routes at the same time. (We joke, a while back, that when he'd written in the earlier guide not to bother with sections of the cliffs duew to loose and dangerous conditions, that he was actually trying to deflect interest because he hadn't been able to snag all the FA's he'd been eyeing!)

Of course, parts of the Nears ARe known to have loose, chossy sections and Williams, in his climbing research, safely trundled rocks that were ready to roll as he came across them. This made for slower progress with his book work, but it's of incredible benefit to our climbing community, and something most of us will never even be aware of. Thanks Dick!

The book has been(or is soon to be) handed to an associate who will put it into Quark for editing, and Dick is going through his picture collections to decide which photographs wil be included in the new guide. He expects the book to be available in stores early next year, in time for the spring season of 2008.

Though many will lament the sure to be expected production that might aptly be called "Gumbys at the Gunks" to quickly run through the Nears, the publication will certainly be a most welcome one by the majority. Not only will many existing routes that have not been included in previous editions come to light, but also variations and linkups, along with new lines put up since the last edition. As happened with the release of the Trapps guide a few years ago, the Gunks will suddenly seem bigger, as people explore lines they'd previously been walking past unawares.

I also heard that the Adopt-A-Crag Skytop CleanUp, which I mentioned a few posts back, went very well despite a rainy day start. Volunteers filled five large bags of trash, the majority of which consisted of plastic water bottles left in situ by hotel guests and day-hikers visiting the property. One need only think about this in juxtaposition to an average Peterskill CleanUp day to comprehend the difference in mindset between those committed to the area(such as climbers and dedictaed hikers) and the person for whom a daytrip to the outdoors is their adventure of the year.

Keep in mind that the next Adopt-A-Crag event will be on October 20th. This is a great way to meet others from the area, give a little back, and get involved.

As well, the New Paltz Film Festival takes place on Saturday, October 6th. There are plenty of events the whole weekend too. Kick off the weekend on Friday night with a slideshow at the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center. There's a bagel breakfast and climbing clinics on Saturday at the Trapps, the Film Festival that evening, and another slideshow (or film?) at Rock and Snow on Sunday night.

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