The Mohonk Preserve has just announced a substantial closure of the Gunks Trapps cliff due to nesting peregrine falcons, effective March 19, 2018. The section of the Trapps cliff between and including the routes Wisecrack (5.6) (in the Middle Earth area) and Scary Area (5.12) (in the Yellow Wall area) is temporarily closed to rock climbing.
That means that this closure includes popular climbs like Sente, Thin Slabs, Arrow, Andrew, Moonlight, CCK, High Exposure, Ant’s Line, Bonnie’s Roof and The Yellow Wall. Please plan accordingly and consider the many other quality routes in the Near Trapps, Lost City, or Bonticou (except the Sunbowl which is also closed for peregrines), as well as Peter’s Kill and Dickie Barre in Minnewaska State Park.
The Mohonk Preserve asks that to help protect the nesting Peregrines:
- Do not use ascent trails or rappel routes that access this area.
- Do not use the trails at the top of the cliff in the closure area.
- Do not use the section of the climber’s trail at the base of the cliff between these routes.
- Please refrain from excessive noise making while in the vicinity of this closure.
We spoke with Elizabeth Long, Mohonk Preserve Director of Conservation Science about why the closure is so large this year. Here’s what she told us:
“Unfortunately there is no perfect formula for how much of the cliff to close. Each year we have to evaluate things like the location of the eyrie, the location of the sentry points, location of preferred feeding locations, proximity to rappel routes, the topology of the cliff area, etc. This year the birds have chosen sentry and feeding points pretty far apart from where their eyrie is, taking up a large section of cliff. We have a group of folks (many of whom are climbers) who observe all three cliff sites almost every day and we stay very engaged on what’s happening with the breeding season, so we have a pretty good understanding of how the birds are using the cliff and how they’re interacting with what they perceive as intruders. The closure is put in place not only to protect the birds, but also to protect climbers. Falcons are highly territorial and they will aggressively defend their nest. Injuries to the face are not uncommon, and obviously that is an incredibly dangerous situation for a climber.”
To learn more about why the cliffs have to be closed to climbing when the Peregrine Falcons are nesting, read our blog post Why Cliffs Are Closed For Peregrine Falcons.
We thank you for your patience and helping to protect the Peregrines.