The climb Redirectionalism stands as a significant achievement in Gunks climbing history, but perhaps more impressive is Donald Perry's persistence to conclude an effort to free the route that he began over 30 years ago. Included here, courtesy of Don is the story that led to Redirectionalism's first free ascent. The climb as it stands today has not been repeated in its entirety so the grades provided have yet to be confirmed.
If this climb was done today there would be no story to tell, but being that it took so long and it started so long ago the story may bear listening too.
FA: Early 70's Donald Perry & Michael Burlingame
FFA: August 2, 2011 Joshua Perry & Don Perry
Back in the 70’s the Gunks were an exciting place to climb, everyone was trying to put up new routes. Well, I guess not everyone, only certain people were driven to this. The people that were making this their hobby, naturally did not altogether appreciate the competition, for fear that either they would lose a route, or that the potential for a good route they were thinking about would disappear. So therefore, it was unanimously excepted that you had to climb in a particular style, or else what you did, whatever you did would be regarded with speculation. No one would consider what you did as credible, if you did not play by the rules. Climbs had to be done without any hanging around. I remember when Max Jones and Mark Hudon came to the Gunk’s and told Mark Robinson and Kevin Bein how they did the Yosemite Phoenix
. They did Between The Lines
the same way. When they explained their style to them they didn’t say anything, I was surprised. They did not apologize, they said they had to climb it like that, it was too hard to do it any other way. It was then and there where the idea was born in the Gunks, Phoenix Style, as Mark Robinson called it. I don’t think anyone put it into practice though over here right away.
Hunting Down The Climb:
Mike Burlingame and myself opted out of the world of Uber Fall and wandered into remote cliffs, and almost the entire Shawangunk escarpment looking for the perfect line. We ascribed to another rule adopted by a group of us which included Jim Munson, that climbing to record climbs in the guide corrupted ones soul and distracted from what climbing had most to offer, freedom, love, joy, and peace. After a year or so, we found a route to focus all our efforts on. And we soon found ourselves getting in over our heads, but we knew how to deal with poor protection without taking excessive risks, so it was within reason in that regard.
We found a few things worthwhile at Millbrook to think about. Some of these have been re-claimed by others, some were never completed, and some we never got around to, but I will try to stick to the point. Mike abandoned climbing and I quit for a long period of time. We found Jesus, became more interested in reading the Bible and church. We loved Jesus too much to spare any more time climbing.
One line we were considering was what later became Sudden Impact 5.12 R. From what I could see, it has a 15’ run-out on it, not as bad as what the guides now say. But we thought it was too short, not as much open space over there. Since then part of it fell off, the feature that most interested us. At the time there was no one out there, and for us we thought that was a good thing. So we had narrowed our first real project down to all that white rock just right of New Frontier. At that time we really were not able to climb much harder than 5.12.
Starting The Project:
So, we started this route over there and we called it The Meat Cleaver, and this was now in the Winter. We finished it at night in a snowstorm, after we came up every weekend, it was a lot of fun. Leaving the AMC cabin at 5:00 in the morning would get us to the base of the cliff as the sun came up. It would often get down to 5-10 degrees, but that couldn’t stop us, nothing could stop us. It finally went free between gear placements. We had to stick our hands in our pockets, you know it was fair, or else you could not get anywhere. This certainly did not represent the best warm weather style climbing in the Gunks, but we did this in our own style for cold weather lines. What was important to us was finding great lines to come back and repeat in the summer. If nothing else, we had broken new ground for cold weather climbing and route finding at Millbrook.
After some time we narrowed down the new route to only one line and threw everything else away. We told Dick Willams about it, but he refused to put any of our work in his guide book, even years after the fact. And this may have been because we refused to play by the rules, which in our minds seemed kind of hypocritical in that we were dealing with a Vulgarian.
Re-Starting The Old Project:
After I started climbing again, we had a close call climbing with my son, so we retired from climbing. But the need to get out of the house and the need for exercise brought me back to Millbrook. Sitting around typing all day is very bad for your health, especially if you intend on getting up someday and beating on something with a hammer.
I still had an idea for one last new line which was still open, a better line that should go, perhaps. This would take some work. The only problem was, that my son was now stuck to the X-BOX. After some time and some trickery I taught him how to fly off buckets like a squirrel, and set him loose on the Direct Line off the Meat Cleaver, which we called Redirectionalism. And I got myself up and ready for climbing 5.12. The goal of the climb had always been to find the finest line, everything else every other line was to be trashed, if not you could have [4 different starts X 4 first over hangs X 4 second overhangs x 6 third overhangs x 3 different finishes = 1152] quite a few different variations keeping you from the perfect line. After some time, I finally convinced the boy to finish the thing, against his better judgment. All of which pitch after pitch he deemed either nearly impossible or deadly until after the fact. It was amazing to watch, the climbing was spectacular.
Redirectionalism was first done as an aid climb, and thereafter freed on lead. The most remarkable find was the slot for a BLACK DIAMOND CAMALOT C3 - 000 on the 4th pitch. Make sure it is in all the way with the inside cam facing to the left and it will not damage the rock. It kind of just appeared seemingly out of nowhere, full of crystals. Joshua first saw it, I thought he was seeing things or only hoping for gear placements where there was none in the crux roof. Initially we were preparing for 50’ falls, so as to avoid contact with the rock. My son’s new find made climbing with much shorter falls and doing the climb quickly, suddenly very plausible. I think his new placement is bomber, Joshua as usual, is not so sure. We can rate that pitch R not G.
The route is now finished, the line we were looking for is found, and better than all of the other variations combined, finishing off on the left facing corner opposite New Frontier. No bolts necessary. The first part of the climb sets you up just above the sickle on a small flat ledge. From here you traverse right on some small holds and up to a notch. There is some what of a puzzle here, that not everyone can figure out. After this you run it out till you get to the next set of overhangs and come back down to a very small ledge. The climbing up to this point is a little dangerous, somewhere between R-X but not too bad. The next part is not too bad and is nicely sustained, this pitch is unforgettable. Originally we were not sure if it was possible for us. The rock is white and different colors, and very interesting. The next pitch over the big roof is mind blowing, it looks impossible but it goes. The pitch after this is above some spectacular overhangs.
The next thing we might do, is someday visit that one west facing cliff we never got to look at, uphill from the Ulster Correctional Facility. I always wanted to go there. Climbing while watching the sun set in the Gunks is something special you don’t get to see very often.
REDIRECTIONALISM 5.13 August 2, 2011 Joshua Perry & Don Perry. Start 45 right of New Frontier.
FIRST PITCH 5.9 Climb up past two separated right facing corners to an overhang. Traverse right under overhang to another right facing corner over the roof. Climb through this right facing corner to the base of a ramp. Climb up a ramp left (this ramp is called The White Meat Cleaver) to its top and a small ledge.
SECOND PITCH 5.12 Traverse right a few feet and up to the roof at a notch directly over the Meat Cleaver. Climb upwards and then left (this is the point where Redirectionalism goes direct) around the left side of a wide black streak into overhangs above and protection. Move back down to belay on a narrow ledge to the left.
THIRD PITCH 5.12 At the overhangs, climb slight right over small roofs, then left around a large white bulge and up to roof. Under the roof traverse right pasting a small hole 5' to turn the immediate roof in the middle of the next roof above Climbing straight up to belay under the last roof above.
FOURTH PITCH 5.13 Traverse left 6' just before the obvious break in the giant roof. Turn the roof through a hairline crack and small right facing corners that start 6' out over the overhang. Climb up into short right facing corners in the overhang and left a few feet until under another overhang just before the top.
FIFTH PITCH 5.12-. Traverse left some more on good holds to a giant left facing outside corner facing New Frontier. Climb over the prow to the top.