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Recap of GunksFest 2023

The GCC would like to send a huge thank you to all those who took part in our second-ever GunksFest October 4th-6th with our amazing partners at the Stone Mountain Farm.

It was easy to say “rain-or-shine” on the website – it was something else entirely to see everyone show up in New Paltz. And show up people did! Folks braved the wetness to go out climbing (still with routes from 5.4 to 5.11+) and bouldering together in the Grotto and Waterworks area, as well as a new ropes area we introduced this year: Owl Cliff.

Bouldering at Waterworks, 2023 GunksFest

Climbing at Owl Cliff, 2023 GunksFest.

Slab climbing on the Owl Cliff (photo: Yueran Zeng)

Given the forecast, a surprising number of our free and paid clinics sold out, from the beginner-friendly “Intro to Self Rescue” led by EMS Guide Eric Waldron to local legend Julie Seyfert’s “Advanced Women’s Climbing Techniques.” Marian Perez of Rise Outside led a sold-out BIPOC affinity-space specific clinic on cleaning and rappelling off fixed gear/bolted anchors and Jannette Pazer offered a sold-out “Intro to Mushroom Foraging” workshop. Dr. Miguel Zavallos returned to offer one-on-one custom sessions with his PT and Rehab for Climbers session, as did Yoga instructors Laura Obringer to get folks moving in the cold mornings.

Yoga for Climbers clinic at 2023 GunksFest.

Yoga for Climbers (photo Jiayin Zhang)

Marian Perez climbing clinic at 2023 GunksFest

Clinic by Marian Perez (photo: Jiayin Zhang)

The GCC is proud to sponsor individuals from community organizations with Brown Girls Climb, CRUX, NYCCC, Kinship Climbing Collective, ParaCliffHangers and Adaptive Climbing Group. Thank you to all clinic providers for sponsoring one spot for these individuals to learn and grow from their experience at the GunksFest. To read more about the GCC’s JEDI mission statement and JEDI principles, please see our website.

Enjoying the film fest at the 2023 GunksFest.

Watching the Film Festival (photo: Jiayin Zhang)

Our contests were sponsored by Arc’Teryx NYC, Patagonia, The Cliffs, and VITAL. For our hang contest: first place went to Eli G., second place went to Martin N., and third place went to Alex C. For the rope coiling contest: first place went to Ben S, second place to Eric B, and third place to Ondrej S. The knot tying contest was won by Evan with second place going to Marjana T. and third place to May P.

Contests at 2023 GunksFest.

Hang contest (photo: Xiaoai Chai)

Contests at 2023 GunksFest.

Contest at the Arc’Teryx booth (photo: Jannette Pazer)

Campers and attendees braved one wet night and a – thankfully – dry, but still chilly evening, both for the film program and to browse all our visiting vendors, offering everything from handcrafted leather goods to local ecological educational non-profits. 

Vendors at 2023 GunksFest

Vendor: Gunks Mugs by William Moratz (photo: Xiaoai Chai)

Vendors at 2023 GunksFest

Vendor: Thea Oh of Yarn Belay (photo: Xiaoai Chai)

As ever, our Film Festival schedule was packed with hits, including “Shawangunk PUMP! Roof Climbing in the Gunks” and “The Long Wall” which take place in the Gunks. Special thanks to our special guests Raheim Robinson and Julie Seyfert for their film contributions and discussion at Saturday’s installment of the Film Festival and thanks also to Mohonk Preserve Ranger Dan Cassidy, returning on Sunday to discuss PSAR initiatives and updates about the Preserve. And we were all nourished by the delicious Rail Trail Café.

Raheim Robinson and Julie Seyfert at 2023 GunksFest

Raheim Robinson and Julie Seyfert discussion, Sat night film festival (photo: Jiayin Zhang)


Dan Cassidy’s presentation on PSAR and Mohonk Preserve accidents (photo: Xiaoai Chai)


Film Festival at 2023 GunksFest

Film Festival at GunksFest (photo: Jiayin Zhang)

Our event would have never been possible without the support of our sponsors (our presenting and contest sponsor Arc’Teryx NYC, contest sponsors Patagonia, The Cliffs, and VITAL, as well as Gravity Vault, and of course our local Rock & Snow), our tireless volunteers, and our extraordinary community. It continues to be a dream of ours to host a festival like this, and we look forward to growing it even bigger and better in 2024.

Arc'Teryx booth at the 2023 GunksFest.

Arc’Teryx booth in vendor area

Until then, enjoy these photos from the weekend and we hope you’re able to take advantage of what’s left of the Gunks’ fall 2023 climbing season!

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