What better way to experience one of the best pitches in the Gunks than to experience it after climbing a challenging, aesthetic line before it? Directissima is one of the many variations that ascends the High E Buttress alongside spicier variations like Doubleissima and Ridiculissima. Directissima offers the right amount of challenge for a leader breaking into the 5.9-5.10 grades, as the most difficult sections of the climb are not exceptionally long. That being said, be prepared to see everything from bouldery starts, hand traverses, and roof-pulling on this route, and it all culminates in what is possibly the most mega of mega classic lines in the Gunks!
If you park in the Wawarsing (lower) lot, you will first have to ascend the Stairmaster. Once you reach the carriage road, turn right. It is about a ten-minute walk from the trail junction. If you are coming from the West Trapps (upper) parking lot, it is about a 15-17 minute walk. You will be looking for the High E Buttress, which is a distinct, triangular-shaped buttress. For some landmarks, you will pass some low overhanging boulders as you approach the buttress. Look for the yellow trail blazes that ascend a fairly large boulder pile; the approach to Dirtectissima/High E requires a bit more scrambling than some of the more artfully arranged trails leading to other climbs.
Upon reaching the buttress, flake out your rope just to the right of High E’s standard start, on the left side of the buttress proper. There will be a boulder right up against the wall that is wide enough for you to stand on; start the route from atop that boulder.
Chris Farmer reaches the juncture of P1 and P2 on Directissima. The pitches are much more easily linked with double ropes, as you can mitigate the fierce rope drag that would otherwise come out of the hand traverse crux.Pitch 1
: A bouldery start up a thin flake. Continue liebacking until you are underneath a small roof. Reach out right to a jug and pull around to escape the roof. Continue upward on a slab/ramp until you hit a small ledge. Belay from here. If you have double ropes, you can link pitches 1 and 2, which requires clipping your right rope for all of pitch 1 and the hand traverse of pitch 2. You start clipping the second rope once the hand traverse ends, and you move into the short vertical sequence to reach the belay ledge.
If you stop at the end of P1, the P1 anchor definitely needs small gear if you want to have a convenient belay, preferably some small TCUs or C3s. Otherwise, you are going to have to build a seriously over-engineered anchor. (~60 ft.; 5.8+)
Step across from your belay and get a piece of gear in early. Move out left along an exposed hand traverse until you hit an upward trending crack that features a fairly beefy piece of fixed gear (clip at your own risk!). Climb the crack (reachy!)to a small, triangular ledge and bring up your second. (~30 ft.; 5.9)
Head straight up from the belay ledge and begin trending right until you are directly on the arête proper. The arête will be steep and the exposure will be excellent (as a preview to the final pitch). Climb the arête until you hit the spacious section of the GT Ledge beneath the final pitch of High E. Build your lazy man’s belay and recline as you bring up your second. (5.6+; ~80 ft.)
(High E Linkup) Does it get any better? You get to link a challenging start with a mega classic! Climb up from the left side underneath the High E roof and trend right until you are at the far end of the roof. Protect with some long slings to avoid rope drag around the roof. Throw the legendary blind reach around the roof and pull! Enjoy the 200+ ft of air underneath you and continue pulling the jugs until you hit the top of the cliff. (5.6+; ~100 ft.)
: Use the cracks in the upper sections of the boulders once you reach the top. The trees are awkwardly far away from the finish of High E.
From your anchor, scramble up until you are off the rock proper and walk right until you hit some big chains that are facing up, as they are sitting atop a rock. It will take 3 raps with a single rope to get down and 1 rap (stretched to its limit!) with 2 60m ropes.
60 m single or double ropes
Cams to 4”, though the #4 is not required
Small Cams (C3s or TCUs… they’ll make life easier on pitch one)
Your standard day-trip climbing swag
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