The Gunks!

We met up with Jannette (@cliffmama on Twitter) at the Mountain Bistro area near whre we were camping.  She told us to look for the “asian looking one on the patio.”  She’s a pretty quick-witted woman and we got to spend a good amount of time with her today.

She talked with us for a while at the café but I, expecting there to be a bathroom there where I could change and brush my teeth, explained that I needed to find  place before heading off to climb since there was no bathroom to be found. She offered her place in addition to a guidebook she had there, so we made our way over and got cleaned up a bit.

She then took us over to the Mohonk Preserve where we was able to get us in for free and acted as our tour guide. She showed us all the climbing and bouldering in the area. It’s all shaded by trees and seems to stay wet a while after rain, so we weren’t there at the best time as it had recently rained and will be raining for the next week.

She left us to go climb as she had to pick up her kids from school.  We hit up the Welcome Boulder first but it was soaking we except one problem on it.  I chalked up and as soon as I put my hands on it, found that the chalk had been washed right off my hands.  This went on throughout the rest of the time there; each area looking like lots of fun but being completely water-logged.  Except for one dry problem on Welcome Rock and another area that was a traverse, I didn’t get much bouldering in. Didn’t matter much anyway, as the rains came in soon after getting back to the car.

I was surprised, however, by the climbers here during the week.  In a pleasant way… there are lots of older (above 50 years old!) climbers here and everyone seems to know each other.  When Jannette was showing us around, she stopped several times to talk to other climbers and would tell us about their climbing history and how everyone knew each other.

Jannette was a great guide. Not only did she know tons of people and have tons of info on the climbs, but she also knew the history of the area and funny little anecdotes about different climbs.

After we finished our not-very-exciting climbing there, we headed back to Janette’s house to return the book and ended up staying for a couple of hours.  She showed us photos of her visits to Portrero near Monterrey, Mexico and the climbing there. The cliffs are insane! The tallest one has 22 or 23 pitches and there are tons of other multi-pitch climbs.  The area is supposed to be  extremely friendly.  She suggested we go there on this trip instead of heading to the other areas in the Southwest, but I’m too afraid to go across the border because of tall the drug cartels and violence happening in Mexico.  She says it’s worth the trip but I think it will be a while before I go to Mexico again.

One Response to “The Gunks!”

  1. Cliffmama

    Hi folks – thanks for such a nice write-up! It was a pleasure to show you guys around the Gunks, but it would have been even better if it wasn’t acting like monsoon season while you were here. Hope you can make it back to the Gunks again someday.

    By the way, I don’t recall saying that Potrero was very small… the cliffs there are huge and the number of climbs seemingly endless. Because the cliffs are the walls of canyons that go in and out from the road like fingers, it’s not far from one wall to the next, but it’s by no means small! Keep Potrero on your radar for when things settle down in Mexico, it’s so worth it!

    Hope everything’s going well – with your trip and your lives.

    Jannette (2 n’s)


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