Tra­verse of the Clods

Amaz­ing views, good gear, thought­ful 5.9 climb­ing, and 5.14 ex­po­sure: One of the least-climbed Gunks routes is also one of the most clas­sic.

Climbing - - THE CLIMB TOPO - BY LIZ HAAS

Be­gin­ning on the Trapps’s Grand Tra­verse Ledge, most eas­ily ac­cessed by climb­ing the first pitch of An­drew (5.4 PG; 100 feet), the 250foot Tra­verse of the Clods moves right above a mas­sive white over­hang. This freak­ishly ex­posed ceil­ing also fea­tures Twi­light Zone, one of the Gunk’s most clas­sic 5.13s, and the area’s two hard­est pitches, the 5.14s Ozone and Bro-Zone. Thread­ing through such wild ter­rain while climb­ing “mere” 5.9 is al­most un­heard of, and the airi­ness only in­creases as you go.

From a dizzy­ing hang­ing be­lay, you be­gin the “walk­ing the plank tra­verse.” Says Gunks lo­cal Chris­tian Frac­chia, “It’s like rid­ing a moun­tain bike along a rail­ing, ex­cept when the rail­ing ends you have to do a 5.9 move.” This move, a long reach to a jug, comes just af­ter a scrunched man­tel.

Tra­verse of the Clods tops out at the high­est point on the Trapps Ridge, pro­vid­ing views of the Sky­top Tower at the Mo­honk Moun­tain House and of climbers as­cend­ing the Trapps mega-clas­sic High Ex­po­sure (5.6). While High E sees up to 30 as­cents on busy week­ends,

Tra­verse of the Clods rarely sees more than one party a day, likely due to its pal­try one- and two-star rat­ings in early guide­books. How­ever, the cur­rent Gunks Apps guide bumped it up to four stars for in­ter­est­ing move­ment, ex­hil­a­rat­ing ex­po­sure, and in­cred­i­ble views.

Tra­verse of the Cl ods re­quires good route-find­ing skills, a strong part­ner­ship, and cre­ative gear place­ments, as the leader must place pieces a few feet above or be­low the climb­ing line to safe­guard the sec­ond against a pen­du­lum. With ju­di­cious rope­work and at least 10 alpine draws plus four 4-foot slings, you can skip the hang­ing be­lay and climb from the Grand Tra­verse Ledge to the sum­mit in a sin­gle pitch. Bring a stan­dard rack with dou­bles from mi­cro-cams through thin hands—and a stom­ach for ex­po­sure.

LO­CA­TION Shawan­gunks, New Paltz, New York GRADE 5.9 PG-13 TYPE Tra­di­tional LENGTH 250 feet FIRST AS­CENT 1976 Ivan Rezucha, Paul Pot­ters

AN­DREW BUNN WALKS THE PLANK WHILE PIERRE DE ST. CROIX BELAYS THE SEC­OND PITCH ON TRA­VERSE OF THE CLODS.

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