In October 2021, Drew Herder and Ben Wilbur completed the first continuous ascent of the Great Wall of China, a 9,000-foot route that traverses the Trapps cliff at the Gunks. They climbed the three-kilometre route in a 36-hour push, making it a contender for the longest technical rock climb ever done in one go.
The route was first climbed by Gunks climbers Ken Nichols and Dave Rosenstein in May 1987. They would climb a section, lower to the ground, head home and return later to continue climbing. It took the first ascent team several trips over a few weekends. They graded it 5.9R, but many believe it to be a sandbag. The only other repeat was in 2011 when Doug Ferguson climbed during the day, but lowered to the ground at night.
Their adventure is documented in a newly released film by PopTop Productions called The Long Wall, which you can watch below. The description reads, “You may have guessed that it was the great Mt. Thor on Baffin Island, Canada (4,101 ft), or perhaps even the Azeem ridge on the Trango Towers, Pakistan (7,400 ft), both impressively large in size, but even these are dwarfed in comparison to the unlikely record holder. Nestled amongst the lush hillsides of upstate New York sits a bluff of quartzite rock known as the Gunks. Regarded as the birthplace of American climbing, its short yet mighty wall stretches more than 9,000 ft… horizontally.”