Matt building stone steps at the Antlion cliff in the Gunks.

Antlion Trail Building Has Begun

Thanks to some mild December weather, we’ve had some opportunities to work on the trail up to the Antlion cliff. It’s a challenging project, with approximately 1.25 miles of trail with a 900 foot elevation gain needed to get from the proposed parking lot site up to the cliff. Much of the initial work, mapping out the route of the trail, has already been done by GCC Chair, Pete Cody, over many weeks since the project began. Now actual trail building has begun.

The second half of the trail will be challenging work, wandering through uneven vegetated talus, then ascending the rocky talus to the base of the cliff. We will also need trails along the base of the cliffs, and steps to prevent erosion in steeper sloped dirt areas.

Vegetated talus enroute to the Antlion cliff in the Gunks.

Challenging terrain for trails

Crossing vegetated talus en route to the Antlion cliff in the Gunks.

During the first week of December, a small crew did some digging work to cut the trail into a sloped area and build some steps with logs. The following week we had heavy rain and it was good to see the new trail held up well. Here’s some before and after photos:

In a dirt slope area from the main cliff up to an upper tier, Ethan started working on making stone steps to mitigate early signs of erosion. Lots more to do, but with the new equipment, we will be able to haul bigger rocks up there to build steps with. They will go up to a beautiful south-facing face with moderate crack climbs, the base of which will surely need some protection.

Last weekend, Matt tackled a pile of large loose talus near the cliff base and singlehandedly turned it into an easy staircase armed with only a rock bar. Some of the rocks he was able to move into position were huge! Very impressive. This section needs some finishing touches, then there’s plenty more to start working on.

Matt building stone steps at the Antlion cliff in the Gunks.

This slope needed stairs.

Matt building stone steps at the Antlion cliff in the Gunks.

Matt moving giant rocks to build steps.

Matt building stone steps at the Antlion cliff in the Gunks.

It’s just a flesh wound.

Thanks to all of you who have been adding your contact information to our Antlion Volunteer Sign-up Form. We are focused on specific technical jobs right now, with very small teams, due to the pandemic. There will be plenty of work to be done, and hopefully once it’s safe again, we can get larger groups for some big trail work days and make a lot of progress.

There’s lots of work to be done, and lots of money to raise. Please help us out by making a tax deductible donation to our GoFundMe campaign, as well as joining or renewing your joint Access Fund / Gunks Climbers’ Coalition membership. You can also set up Amazon Smile to make the GCC your favorite charity and Amazon will donate to the GCC with each purchase you make on their site.

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