Monday, July 30, 2012

Gunks Routes: Unnamed (Pitch 1 5.0), Dis-Mantel (5.10b) & Dat-Mantel (5.10b)

(Photo:  Gail giving Dis-Mantel (5.10b) a try.)

Did I mention that I am on vacation?

I am at the beach. I cannot go rock climbing.

But I am going to try to catch up on my posting.

I have been on the hunt for the easy 5.10 climbs at the Gunks. The climbs on the Mantel block seemed like maybe they would be good candidates. They are short climbs up the sixty-foot block, with roof cruxes.

But those one-move cruxes can be stiff for the grade. I was also worried that these climbs might not be very good, a waste of time.

I had bugged Gail to do these climbs with me for the last few months. We finally got around to them on Friday.

I decided to start with Dis-Mantel, the climb on the right. From the ground it seemed to me that I could get pro in the flake at the first, 5.10b roof. And I thought I might have better luck on Dis-Mantel than on the climb to the left; the roof on Dat-Mantel looked incredibly large.

the early moves up to the first roof on Dis-Mantel were simple enough. But the pro in the flake at the lip was kind of iffy. I got a green Camalot to sit in there but I wasn't absolutely sure about it. I had a rock solid piece back where the roof met the wall but I wanted something higher. There was absolutely no pro up over the roof.

I can't remember if I ever really tested that green Camalot. What I do remember is that I couldn't figure out the move at all. I kept going up and climbing down, trying this and trying that. There was a good hold that was very very far away. I'd read that the climb was height-dependent but this was ridiculous. I couldn't figure out how anyone could reach it. I tried under-clinging the roof, I tried using the flake as a side pull. I tried holding on to various parts of the shallow left-facing corner above the roof. I tried using a little fingerlock seam below the jug. Eventually I decided to give up, climb down a few moves and try Dat-Mantel to the left.

(Photo:  Getting the holds above the lip of the roof on Dat-Mantel (5.10b).)

I found a few interesting moves on my way over to the Dat-Mantel roof. I was still below the roof, confronting a thin move up an orange face, when I realized that I didn't have any of my big cams. I'd left my blue # 3 in my bag and I'd somehow used both my red # 1 and my yellow # 2 below. I could see that I needed at least one bigger cam for the horizontal beneath the roof. And who knew what I might need above?

I was trying to decide what to do about this problem when it started raining.

This was the excuse I needed. Things weren't exactly going in my direction anyway. I decided to bail. I backed up my top piece and had Gail lower me, thinking when the rain stopped one of us could go up Unnamed, the climb that ascends the left side of the Mantel block at 5.0, to set up a top rope and retrieve the gear.

When I got to the ground the rain stopped before it even really began. So I led up Unnamed, a climb that has a 5.3 second pitch above the Mantel block. The first pitch, which goes up the left side of the block, is just 5.0. It isn't bad climbing for 5.0. It's better than Dirty Chimney, for sure. The pro is a little funky. There are big vertical cracks but they are flaring. At one point there are three old pitons hammered into one crack, right on top of one another. Maybe they were put in as practice placements, forty or fifty years ago?

Up atop the block is a stone with several ratty old slings and a couple of newish ones threaded. This anchor is well placed for Dat-Mantel. You don't even need a directional.

Gail took the first stab at Dat-Mantel on toprope. She looked a little shaky at the thin move up the orange face below the roof, where I had given up the lead. Then I got the benefit of watching her figure out the huge overhang, which surely helped me when it was my turn. Still, I was happy with how it went when it was my turn. I figured out an easier way to get through the orange face. And I went at the roof a little differently than she did. She crimped up to the horizontal above the roof using some holds that looked truly awful. I had a notion that it would be easier to get up there if I moved a little to the right and this turned out to be a good call. Then I threw a heel, pivoted up, and presto-- I had done it on the first try.

Dat-Mantel is a nice little climb. There are a few nice moves below the roof, and then the roof itself is a good challenge. It is well-protected, too. There is a good slot right where the underside of the roof meets the wall, and then once you get the horizontal above the roof, but before you attempt pulling over, you can get another solid placement. I wish I had been more insistent on going ahead with the lead of this climb. If I'd tried it first instead of Dis-Mantel maybe I would have done it.

I hope to go back this year and send Dat-Mantel on lead.

Dis-Mantel, on the other hand, remains a mystery, and I don't think I will be heading back to lead it. Neither Gail nor I could figure it out, even on top rope. (We set it up from the same threaded station, using a directional placement.) And I'm still not sure how I feel about that cam in the flake at the crux roof. There aren't any cracks for pro above the roof, so even if the cam in the flake holds I don't really like the thought of the fall at that roof if you blow it on lead. The second (5.8) roof also looks to have funky pro. Each of us tried it on top rope by cheating around the first roof to the right, doing the Kernmantle crux before heading left to the second Dis-Mantel roof. Gail had no problem with the second roof but I was so hot and tired by the time I got up there that I blew it once before pulling through it on the second try.

If someone would take me up Dis-Mantel and show me what I'm doing wrong, I'd appreciate it! I still feel reasonably good about the effort. I was safe about it, explored around the roof without losing control, and climbed down when I correctly decided I was out of my depth.


  1. Hi Seth,

    I had the same experience on Dis Mantel years ago. I came back later and figured out a way that works for me.

    I grab the horn thing at the base of the left facing corner, in which I have a green camalot in a flaring placement. I pull up and left, then I get my left fingertips in a small undercling about chest or head height, on the face to the left and above the horn thing. I shift my feet a little higher under the roof and then press my right hip against the left facing corner.

    This hip scum is the key to the move. You have to have your feet positioned so that you can press your right hip against the rock. It is not secure at all, but if you do it right, you will be able to let go with your right hand and reach straight up (way up) for a good edge.

    If you can’t reach, try scootching your right hip higher. Or sink back down and move your feet slightly higher under the roof, then try again.

    The good news is that it’s not that committing. I often can’t reach because my feet aren’t high enough, and I’m able to downclimb underneath the roof to rest. I’ve never had to test that green camalot, which always looks shaky, but feels like it will hold.


  2. Now that is some beta! I know exactly which underling you mean. I kept thinking it had to be the answer but I couldn't reach the good edge. I need to go back and try the hip thing. Thanks.

  3. Undercling, not underling. Cursed autocorrect.