New Fixed Rappel Anchors in the Trapps
The GCC would like to give a huge Thank You! to the Mohonk Preserve, the Bolting Sub-Committee, the American Safe Climbing Association and the Gunks climbing community for their continued support and efforts to help protect the land we all love for future generations!
Over the past year and a half the Gunks Climber’s Coalition / Anchor Evaluation Committee has presented suggestions and plans to help manage climber ecosystem impact, fixed protection and fixed anchors on the Mohonk Preserve. It is our ultimate goal to improve and strengthen the communication between the climbing community and the Mohonk Preserve. After a very lengthy review and approval process with the Mohonk Preserve’s Land Stewardship Committee and the Bolting Sub-Committee, five Trapps climbs were removed of all tree anchors and installed with fixed rappel anchors. These rappel anchors were primarily chosen because of climber safety, high traffic causing slope erosion with dangerous rock filled gullies developing, and the potential loss of trees from soil compaction. Placement of these fixed rappel anchors are not for climber convenience but rather to regenerate the ecosystem, to help avoid rappelling on top of other climbers, to lessen the use of fixed anchors for top-roping, and to maintain the legacy of traditional climbing.
In an effort to reverse climber impact and erosion the tree anchors have been removed, Bolted Fixed Rappel Anchors have been installed and slope restoration areas have been roped off at the top of Jackie, Betty and Baby to move climber traffic to more durable rock surfaces.
The Trapps climbs No Picnic, Double Chin, Jackie, Betty and Baby all have Stainless Steel 1/2″ Bolted Rappel Anchors installed by the Mohonk Preserve and the volunteer efforts of Christian Fracchia, Dustin Portzline, Jason Hurwitz, and Jason Beaupre. All anchor supplies were graciously supplied by the American Safe Climbing Association, Rock and Snow and donations from GCC members. Thank you everyone for your stewardship and for helping to support the conservation of the cliffs and environment we love!
Please support and follow the ASCA at http://www.safeclimbing.org, their efforts are paramount for the future and safety of our sport.
Here are photos of the GCC Anchor Evaluation Committee and Mohonk Preserve ranger Frank Tkac replacing environmentally damaged tree anchors with new bolt anchors in the early summer of 2015.
I love climbing at the Gunks because there are no bolts. I have no judgement against bolts, i just prefer setting my own gear. My setting of my own gear is part of my enjoyable climbing experience. I find when I climb at crags that are all bolted that my climbing experience is poor. I have found finally that this is because i like setting my own gear. Just the way I am. So, I prefer having places like the Gunks that have traditionally been without bolts to stay that way.
This project of protecting trees by installing bolted rappel anchors has merit for the trees, yet I ask that it not lead to more bolting.
And as far as the idea of creating rappel anchors, PLEASE CONSIDER THE IDEA OF HAVING RAPPEL ROUTES BEING AWAY FROM CLIMBING ROUTES so that the up-down traffic congestion is reduced.
I really DO LIKE walking off climbs that are so close to the Uberfall such as NO PICNIC, JACKIE, BABY, BETTY — so why are we encouraging rappelling?? i personally don’t get it.
Sorry for the long delay in responding.
Regarding protection bolts: The Mohonk Preserve has banned the placing of new protection bolts in the 80’s. The bolts already in place prior to the ban have been grandfathered. The GCC has replaced most of these aging bolts. There have been no new protection bolts added.
Regarding anchors: We share your concerns about the climbing experience and the joy of building your own anchors and the pleasure of walking off a climb. Due to the large number of climbers walking off of certain climbs, erosion gullies have formed. The bolted anchors have been put in place to move traffic away from trees, vegetation, and soil to lower the impact of climber traffic on ecologically sensitive terrain. The only two climbs that have been roped off are Betty and Baby. No Picnic and Jackie still have walk-offs but the walk-off have been re-routed onto rock surfaces to avoid erosion. Whenever possible rappel routes are placed to avoid ascending climbers, but this is not possible in all situations.
We appreciate your comments Day. We are making every effort to preserve the traditional climbing experience while simultaneously protecting the landscape we love. Many long hours were spent in researching and debating every anchor that was placed. We invite you to become part of the conversation by attending the GCC meetings which are held once per month and announced on our Facebook page.
Christian Fracchia on behalf of the GCC
SOME of the new bolts absolutely will encourage rappelling e.g. the bolts on the GT Ledge at Minty. Those only two purposes as I see it – discouraging folks from climbing the 3rd pitch; and channeling ropes and rapping climbers onto the heads of climbers on Snookys (directly below).
A set of rap bolts, say, 30 ft south of the top of Beginners Delight would make much more sense.
Thanks for the response. A committee composed of 9 people including Gunks veterans, a preserve ranger, preserve staff, and GCC members discussed and voted unanimously to install the anchors. The discussion included factors such as erosion control, cliff ecology, climber impact, rescue scenarios, safety, and preserving the traditional climbing ethic. We understand that all of the anchors have pros and cons, but we are doing our best to arrive at solutions that address a wide degree of problems. We invite you to become part of the conversation by attending the GCC meetings which are held once per month and announced on our Facebook page.
Christian Fracchia on behalf of the GCC