Gear Check for a Weekend Climbing Trip in the Gunks

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Gear Check for a Weekend Climbing Trip in the Gunks

27 February 2017
 Categories: , Blog

If you're planning on taking a weekend trip to the Shawangunks (nicknamed the Gunks) to do a little climbing, then you need to be prepared. The Gunks are one of the most popular climbing spots in the northeast and are within driving distance from NYC. However, they are still relatively wild and not too commercialized, which climbers love. But this does mean that you will have to bring your own gear.  Here is a list of some things you should bring with you. 


Don't overlook sunscreen. You'll be at a higher elevation and more susceptible to sunburn, so just make sure it's in your bag. 

Chalk and Chalk Bag

There are some sheer cliffs and you will definitely need to have dry hands for gripping cracks. You want to bring along a chalk bag so that you can have it right on your hip while your climbing. If you don't normally chalk up while on the rock (maybe you are not used to climbing sheer walls and don't need to re-chalk during an ascent) you need to buy a chalk bag in preparation for the sheer walls of the Gunk.

Carabiners and Rope

While you won't have to worry about bolts and pitons (the gunks have routes with permanent bolts in place) you will need to bring your own carabiners and rope. You should make sure to have a good supply of both locking carabiners, non-locking carabiners, and also a quick-release carabiner set. You might find old carbiners on the bolts while you are ascending, but they might not be secure, so you want to have fresh ones in your pack. In addition to your carbiners you're also going to want to bring along rope. As was mentioned, the Gunks are not overly commercialized, so you won't find too many shops in the area that sell climbing rope, especially if you have a favorite brand.

Climbing Shoes

Make sure to get a good pair of climbing shoes. The Gunks are quite extensive, with areas for bouldering as well as rappelling, but there are still lots of sheer faces that require special climbing shoes. You might be able to get away with using sneakers when you're an an indoor climbing spot, but if you want to have success climbing the sheer face walls that you find in the Gunks, you are going to want to get special climbing shoes designed for mountain work. They are lightweight, so you can stash them in your bag and put them on when you get to the base. Your regular sneakers or hiking boots are great for getting you to the base, but switch them off once you are ready to climb. Check out retailers like the Bootdoctors to find the right climbing shoes for you.