Gunks Climbers Coalition Buys New Crag at The Gunks
Although there is some historic evidence of climbing on the cliff, dating back to the 1970s, the area has never been officially opened to climbing or route development
Gunks Climbers Coalition (GCC) and Access Fund announced the purchase and opening of a new cliff at The Gunks, New York. The acquisition adds routes trad routes from 5.5 to 5.13.
“We were given a rare opportunity to secure access and protect a beautiful portion of the Shawangunk Ridge,” says GCC Chair Peter Cody. “This acquisition is an important milestone for climbing conservation and will showcase and safeguard the diverse nature of the ridge itself.”
The newly acquired property includes 350 metres of the Millbrook Mountain cliff line, including the historic Ant Lion Crag. Although there is some historic evidence of climbing on the cliff, dating back to the 1970s, the area has never been officially opened to climbing or route development.
In the spring of 2018, GCC and Access Fund began working in earnest to find a conservation and access solution to secure the property. The organizations partnered with neighbouring landowners Robert O’Brien and Kevin Abberton in a unique, three-way purchase to secure the crag and the undeveloped forest below, as well as provide public access.
GCC worked with Access Fund to purchase the climbing area, using funds from the Access Fund Climbing Conservation Loan Program (CCLP), and struck a deal with the two private landowners, who purchased additional forested acreage around their existing home sites and agreed to an access easement across their land to make the cliff publicly accessible. Access will be established via a new trailhead off South Mountain Road and a mile and a half of trail to reach the cliff.
“This was a complex acquisition project that required the collaboration of numerous parties working on their individual pieces of the puzzle,” says Access Fund National Access Director Joe Sambataro.
“This partnership allowed us to acquire and permanently conserve a property that was out of reach of each individual buyer alone.”
GCC will notify climbers when the parking and trail system are open for public access, which are expected to be completed by fall 2021.
Ant Lion is the 29th climbing area conserved through the CCLP, which provided $109,000 to allow GCC to purchase this property. The CCLP is a revolving loan program, which means loan funds will be repaid so that those dollars can be used to open or save other threatened climbing areas.
Since the CCLP’s inception, Access Fund has loaned $3.2 million to local climbing communities around the country to secure and permanently conserve climbing areas.
We recently shared a photo by Chris Vultaggio of Jon Siegrist making a rare send of Brozone 5.14b trad at the Gunks. Check it out: