Updated: One of the World’s Longest (and Most Absurd) Climbs Finally Sees a Continuous Ascent

This article originally appeared on Climbing

In October of 2021, choss wranglers Drew Herder and Ben Wilbur completed the first continuous ascent of the Great Wall of China, a 9,000-foot route that traverses the entire Trapps cliff band at the Shawangunks, and they've just released a hysterical documentary about their adventure. The team touched two or three holds on every single route on the Trapps wall, with thousands of feet of questing through untouched terrain in between. In a single 36-hour push, the team climbed for nearly two miles, completing what is likely the longest continuous rock route ever climbed. Spoiler alert: It wasn't all splitter.

The Great Wall of China has only been climbed one other time by Gunks' locals Ken Nichols and Dave Rosenstein in May 1987. During their traverse, Nichols and Rosenstein would climb until dark, lower to the ground, sleep at home, and return to their sideways high point at a later date and continue climbing. They completed the traverse over the course of several weekends, and left a surprisingly detailed pitch-by-pitch description for the 67 pitches they climbed. Nichols and Rosenstein originally graded the route 5.9R, but considering it includes 5.10+ R-rated downclimbing, the grade remains open to interpretation. The Great Wall of China really just follows two main rules: you cannot use the ground or GT ledge for forward progress. In 2011, Doug Ferguson got the second ascent, returning to the ground each night like the FA party.

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