Mountain Skills Climbing Guides and Gunks Rock Climbing Instruction

Gunks Rock Climbing – 845-853-5450 – – Guiding the Gunks and Beyond

Archive for Recent Trips

Keeping Cool on a summer day!

A full crew of first time rappellers took to the Catskills to hone their skills on the wild waterfalls of Platte Clove. Water levels were pretty tame, but still ‘sporty’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlenty of wet rock scrambling between the drops kept people on their toes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese guys are a million miles away from the hard pavement of downtown Gotham.There was time to contemplate nature and take plenty of pictures along the way.


Eventually the sun came out midway thru the trip at the bottom of the second drop plunge pool.


By the final long drop, these guys were looking confident and having fun!


Before hiking out, the last pool was too tempting as the sun made another appearance, capping a perfect summer day.


High Angle Rescue Training with Mohonk Preserve Rangers and Mountain Skills Climbing Guides

Mark Folsom lowering with the litter

Mountain Skills Climbing Guides Wes Converse, Mark Folsom, and Doug Ferguson and the Mohonk Preserve Rangers Frank Tkact, and Ken trained with the high angle rescue equipment last week in the Uberfall area of Ken’s Crack 5.7.  The Preserve Rangers are really experienced with high angle rescue senarios and it was a honor to be able to learn from them.  Frank and Ken allowed us to see what to do in case the rangers are not around in the event of a accident at the cliff.  Our guides got to raise and lower the litter, build the wrap 3 pull 2 anchors, use the rack rappel device, and play around with the Gizmo bag (tether and 5-1 hauling system).  I’m sure I’m just being a gear geek but some of the equipment the Mohonk Preserve has is way cool to use.

Doug Ferguson lowering with the litter

Wes Converse lowering with the litter

Lots of Gunks Climbing Instruction

Bonitqou Crag 5.4

Gelsa pitch 2 5.4

With great weather all week and Labor Day weekend Mountain Skills Climbing Guides were busy on the cliffs.  I did a lot of Learn To Lead courses and also had a great day with Noah climbing all the routes on the Arrow Wall.  Wes Converse and Brendan Mealia headed up to Rumney in New Hampshire to clip bolts for a couple of days with Wes red-pointing 5.12a/b and Brendan red-pointing 5.10d.  John Mackey and our friend Gabi went to the Wind Rivers Range in Wyoming for a week.  I’ll get some photos from him and a trip report this week.  Mark Folsom got rave reviews from a client on his own Top Rope Anchor building class.  The leaves are already starting to change in the higher elevations and a real feel of fall is at hand.  Brendan and Ralph will be headed to New Jersey this week to guide on some of the rock in the Delaware Water Gap.  Things are really starting to shape up well for everyone and I am proud of our guides traveling to different areas to climb and guide.

Peterskill Top Rope Building, Rappelling, and Rock Climbing

Building top rope anchors and rappelling safely

I had taken Daniel up to the Peterskill in the Minnewaska State Park Preserve about a month ago to teach him top rope anchors, rappelling, and knots.  Daniel is getting ready to start college next week and really wanted to be able to hit the cliffs at the Gunks and to climb knowing he was doing everything correct.

Bronto Plater 5.6 Peterskill

This time we went back to the Peterskill to see if Daniel could do everything he had been taught on his own.  Daniel had been practicing his knots at home in Long Island on his piano bench.  He built two point anchors from his bench, equalized everything and imagined he was at the top of the cliff ready to rappel and climb.  Thetime he had to digest everything he had learned really helped him be efficient and clean with his anchors and transitions into safe rappels and on to bottom managed climbing sites.  Daniel really did a great job and if he focuses on college like he did his anchoring skills he’s going to really excel at college.  Good luck Daniel.

On a other note, Roger and I did a road clean up in the Catskill Mountains by an ice climbing area we like to frequent during the winter.

Adopt A Highway in the Catskills Roger Ennis

Adopt A Highway in the Catskills Doug Ferguson

Frost Valley YMCA at the Gunks

We took out the Frost Valley YMCA to the Mohonk Preserve to climb on Friday and Saturday.  Friday we went to the Trapps and climbed all the Uberfall routes with the kids and counselors.  On Saturday they climbed at the Near Trapps.

Boston 5.5 The Trapps

The kids already knew how to tie the figure 8 knot, lowering correctly, belaying, and the correct commands for starting a climb and finishing a climb.

Frost Valley kids at The Trapps

These kids are a real treat.  They are all excited about climbing and respecting nature.  The counselors really do a good job keeping them under control and minding their manners during the day.  We all enjoy taking these summer camps climbing.  It’s fun to interact with the kids and to show them the things we like about being outside.

Hudson Valley Mountain Rescue training

Mark Folsom at Hudson Valley Mountain Rescue training

Mountain Skills Climbing Guides trained with the Hudson Valley Mountain Rescue squad on Wednesday in the northern section of the Mohonk Preserve.  The training was really just to get people more aquainted with the command center operations and sending teams into the woods on a mock search.  Mountain Skills Climbing Guides Mark Folsom, Ralph Schimmenti and I set out as a team to search for a fake child who had been lost since the night before.  Our area to search was a sub ridge line up by the Larson property.  We set out on our mission and hiked the ridge line looking for the clues the DEC had given us that morning.  After hiking and searching for about 40 minutes or so we found the big prize waiting in the woods.  It was actually a DEC Ranger and not a small child.  We were all pretty happy that we found the subject in good condition and did not have to carry anyone out.  Even though this was a easy exercise in search and rescue it was fun and fairly educational.  The Preserve Rangers, DEC Rangers, and volunteers did a great job putting everything together and making this training work.

Ralph Schimmenti at Hudson Valley Mountain Rescue training

Amazing day at Gunks rock climbing

We took a group rock climbing over at Bontiqou Crag on the Mohonk Preserve northern end this weekend.  The weather was perfect September Gunks like weather.  The clouds were puffy and multi colored and the Catskill mountains view was crystal clear.  Oh yeah and one more thing.  Nobody else was at the cliff rock climbing.  Had the place to ourselves.I love rock hopping though the talus field below and the hike in is a good warm up for the day.

Hiking the Talus at Bontiqou Crag

Thong on pitch 2 5.5 at Bontiqou Crag

Spending just about everyday outside I realize Fall is noticeably creeping forward right now.  The air is a little crisper, the sun comes up later and goes down earlier.

Brendan Mealia belaying at Bontiqou Crag

Connie climbing 5.7 at Bontiqou Crag

It really won’t be long until the leaves are going to start changing and that famous Gunks fall climbing season will be at hand.

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