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The Shawangunk Mountains have some of the best rock climbing in the east. We hiked to a few pitches that are off the beaten track with Doug Ferguson, owner of Mountain Skills Climbing and two of his guides, Ralph Schimmanti and Dustin Portzline.
It was a perfect late fall morning. First, the guides warmed up on a relatively easy pitch, rated a five-four. The five means it’s a technical climb that requires hardware and ropes. The four is a measure of difficulty on a scale from zero to fifteen.
The warmup over, it was time for some serious ascents. Routes are named by the first person to successfully follow it to the top. This one is called Golden Dreams and it’s a five-nine.
Fickle Fingers is a straight up wall with a nasty overhang up top. The route is a test of a climber’s technique, reach and finger strength. This one is a 5.10b.
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