Southern copperhead snake

Gunks Temporary Hazard Report, 7/29/2021

Wow, the critters have been busy! We got 9 new sightings reported in our Gunks Temporary Hazard Report! Beginners Delight rap anchor continues to be a great place to get stung by wasps, while new sightings of wasp nests and copperhead snakes have been reported, as well as sightings of bear scat in the Nears.

If you have a new hazard to report, please use the form here: Please include enough details so readers can know where the hazard is (on the ground, on the cliff, which pitch, how far up, etc…). That’s the best way to make sure your sighting makes it into the report. Random posts and comments on Facebook are likely to get lost or forgotten, so please use the form.

The list is in alphabetical order by crag, with the newest additions to the list in red font.

Hoping that these warnings can help you decide which climbs you may want to avoid for a bit. Thank you to everyone who submitted reports!

Gunks Temporary HazardsSouthern copperhead snake


  • Airy Aria/Carbs and Caffeine – Snake
    • Baby copperhead in the path between Airy Aria and Carbs and Caffeine (6/16/2021)
  • Andrew – Wasps/Hornets
    • Wasp nest in the corner climbers left 15 ft below the GT ledge (6/5/2021)
  • Andrew/Brozone – Snake
    • Very young copperhead snake slithering around the base of Brozone on the GT ledge (5/13/2021)
    • Black snake . To the left of Andrew (5/22/2021)
  • Ant’s Line & Approach Trail – Snakes
    • Two copperhead snakes on stairs leading up to Ants Line area like 15 feet up the stairs from the carriage road. (5/15/2021)
    • Baby copperhead at the base of the large oak tree at start of Ant’s Line. (6/24/2021)
  • Beginner’s Delight Snake
    • Small copperhead living under Beginner’s Delight start boulder. Found him snaking through pack! (7/27/2021)
  • Beginner’s Delight / Blueberry Ledges – Wasps
    • Wasps. Angry. Stung 4x. End of first pitch of Beginner’s Delight, in corner with bush. (7/10/2021)
    • Wasp nest the size of a grapefruit hidden in some blueberry bushes to the right of P2 chains of Blueberry Ledges/second rappel station of Beginner’s Delight. Numerous and angry if disturbed. (7/10/2021)
    • At bolted rap station on GT ledge, climbers right, head height…a grapefruit size wasp nest buzzing with activity. (7/10/2021)
    • Angry bee hive behind the blueberry bushes on the Beginner’s Delight 2nd rap station (GT Ledge). (7/10/2021)
    • Was told there are bees right on the second rappel (bolts) of Beginner’s Delight. We joined ropes and skipped this station so did not personally confirm. There are also chiggers somewhere on Beginner’s Delight (my entire party got bit). (7/10/2021)
    • Hornet’s nest on the GT ledge rap station for beginner’s delight (right at/above the chains=unavoidable). Got stung twice. Consider alternative rap stations. (7/23/2021)
  • Betty -Snake
    • Baby copperhead on first pitch crux holds. NOT what you want to find when you’re climbing ropeless (or any other time for that matter) (6/30/2021)
  • Boxcar – Snake
    • Baby copperhead (6/5/2021)
  • Bunny – Snake
    • Copperhead on ledge (5/3/2021)
  • Casa Emilio – Snake
    • At 1st pitch anchor below pine tree on rappel — copperhead nesting in crack . (7/5/2021)
  • Dirty/Herdie Gerdie – Snake
    • Copperhead base of Gerdie block (5/20/2021)
  • Ent’s Line – Wasps/Hornets
    • Small nest of ground bees at the base. Built a small cairn over the nest (6/2/2021)
  • Erect DirectionSnake
    • Unidentified snake at the top of P1 (4/14/2021)
  • Friends and Lovers – Wasps/Hornets
    • There’s a wasp nest behind the very appealing rightmost flake higher up on the pitch (after the crux). It can be seen as you’re approaching it, standing directly beneath it. It’s avoidable (there are other holds to grab), but move quickly and don’t linger. (7/23/2021)
  • Frogs Head – Wasps/Hornets
    • Wasp nest approx 4 feet right of the second piton on the second pitch. Located in an appealing hand hold pod. (6/11/2021)
  • Ken’s Crack – Snake
    • Baby copperhead in Ken’s Crack. I was following, removing gear, and it was sitting right behind my nut. 100% a baby copperhead. (5/22/2021)
    • Baby copperhead at the beginning holds of kens crack. To the left of the Boulder (6/6/2021)
  • Madame G’s – Wasps/Hornets
    • Pitch 2 at top of right facing corner. Small wasp nest in a juggy horizontal. (7/24/2021)
  • Modern Times – Snake
    • Medium sized copperhead living between the rocks of the base path. (6/27/2021)
  • No Picnic – Wasps/Hornets
    • Wasp nest at base of No Picnic (7/24/2021)
  • Retribution – Wasps/Hornets 
    • Bees/yellow jackets underground at base beneath the rotten stump (7/23/2021)
  • Simple Suff  – Vulture
    • Victor the vulture lives in a small cave at the base of the cliff just to the left of Simple Suff. Just hung out and watched us for a couple hours (6/10/2021)
  • Sixish – Snake
    • Baby copperhead in a crack at base of Sixish (6/6/2021)
    • Baby copperhead on ledge at start of pitch 1 (6/6/2021)
  • Son of Easy O – Snake
    • Copperhead 1/3 of way up route (7/22/2021)
  • Three Pines – Snake
    • Rat snake (harmless) on three pines GT ledge (6/18/21)
  • Trashcan Overhang – Wasps/Hornets
    • Located in the crux roof (6/6/2021)
  • Uberfall Area – Across from Outhouse – Snake
    • Baby copperhead crossing the trail right in front of the bathrooms at the Uberfall (6/8/2021
  • 2020 Notable Reports
    • CCK – Snake – 3 reports in July 2020
      • Copperhead in the approach stairs just before the base of the climb, at the very top of the CCK trail
    • City Lights/Frog’s Head Wall/Pas De Deux – Snake – 3 reports from July to September 2020
      • Copperhead was reported  in various places on the access trail up to the base of the Frog’s Head Wall/Pas De Deux area.
    • Madame G’s – Wasps/Hornets – multiple reports of nest & multiple stingings on Pitch 2, July through September 2020
    • Northern Pillar – Wasps/Hornets – 2 reports, people getting stung on 1st and 2nd pitch in July 2020
    • Red Cabbage – Wasps/Hornets – 2 reports in July 2020 of a ground wasp nest in the rocks next to the steps at the base of Red Cabbage.
    • Sixish – Wasps/Hornets – 2 reports in July 2020, wasp nest in finger crack of 2nd pitch about 3/4 of the way up.

Near Trapps

  • Gelsa – Snake
    • Copperhead below the trail By Gelsa (6/18/2021)
  • Grease Gun Groove – Wasps/Hornets
    • Persistent yearly ground nest on the blocks to climbers’ left of the route, right where you’d naturally put your packs or sit to shoe up. Been there multiple years now. (7/24/2021)
  • Trail Between Eastertime Too and the Voids – Bear
    • We saw at least four piles of bear scat on the trail, between Eastertime and the Voids. Tread loudly. (7/24/2021)
  • Yellow Ridge – Wasps/Hornets
    • Wasp nest on the second pitch. Avoided it by staying lower on the traverse and moving fast. (6/10/2021)
  • 2020 Notable Reports
    • before King of P – Snake – multiple reports in August and September of 2020, adult copperhead lounging on a rock in the middle of the trail on a slab just before King of P.
    • Yum Yum Yab Yum – Wasps/Hornets – Ground hornets nest spotted in 2019 and 2020 at base, just to left of the start, also start of P3 underneath a block 12′ above belay ledge.

Peter’s Kill – Minnewaska State Park

  • Golden Dream Area – Snake
    • Baby copperhead seen in between talus coming into the amphitheater from the right hand side approach. (6/11/2021)
  • Short Stacks – Breakfast Wall – Spider bite
    • Orb Weaving Spiders / cobwebs – will only bite if threatened, not venomous to humans. Got bitten by surprise reaching up for a horizontal.

Gunks Rockfall Hazards

Rockfall on ledge under Predator, near Yum Yum Yab Yum in the Nears

Rockfall on ledge under Predator, near Yum Yum Yab Yum in the Nears – click to expand


  • Andrew Significant rockfall (from GT?). Widespread debris at base of Andrew. Rock debris on ledges easily kicked down. (7/4/2021)
  • Bonnie’s Roof (classic 5.7 finish) – At the top out, there’s a large (refrigerator sized boulder) that wobbles with the touch of a finger. Be careful not to push outwards/off-wall on it. Not sure if this has been here the entire time or not, but think it would fall by its own momentum if pushed by accident. (6/12/2021)
  • Middle Earth – Large unstable rock on the climb that injured a climber is no longer there, but there is still loose rock on pitch 2.
  • Moonlight Very loose microwave sized block on pitch 2, shortly after leaving the belay on the right side of the route. Part of the route shared between Moonlight and Erect Direction. Felt like a natural place to grab and pull up. Pulling hard would likely tip it off the ledge, angle of the cliff there makes it likely that it would bounce past GT and down to bottom. (4/17/2021)
  • Three Pines Large (~200 lb) loose blocks 15 feet up first pitch. Slid 3 feet with almost no effort.
Loose rocks on Three Pines at the Gunks.

Large loose blocks at the start of Three Pines. (photo: EJ Rimerman from Gunks Climbing Partners Facebook group)

Near Trapps

  • Yum Yum Yab Yum – Remnants of massive 2020 rockfall from Predator (nearby climb) left lots of loose rock on ledges.

    To learn more about snakes you might see at the Gunks, check out our blog post, Snakes of the Shawangunk Ridge.

    If you have a hazard to report, please use the form here:

    This is a public service for the Gunks climbing community based on reports submitted by the climbing community – sightings are not verified. Please do not spam it with jokes and bogus entries, those of us monitoring this have better things to do than delete multiple bogus comments a day. If there is too much abuse, we’ll have to shut it down.

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    Have fun and be safe out there!


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