New Frontier 5.11 R
FA: 1962 Jim McCarthy & Ants Leemets
FFA: 1969 Gary Brown & John Stannard

Pitches 2 & 3 of New Frontier

  When John Stannard appeared on the scene in 1968 eight of the eleven routes established at Millbrook had been done with aid. In one year Stannard freed seven of the eight routes leaving the McCarthy masterpiece New Frontier as the only remaining aid line* at Millbrook. As the only route to receive a grade of A4 in Art Gran's 1964 A Climbers Guide to the Climbs of the Shawangunks their route was new ground for hard aid, and indeed, a New Frontier.

  The previous routes Stannard had freed in 1968 had been rated A1 or A2 but New Frontier at A4 was in a different league. It was first route to break through the roofs of the intimidating Wall of American History which is by far the most breathtaking section of any of the cliffs in the Gunks. So it seems logical that if any of the eight routes would lie in wait until the following season it would be New Frontier.

  In 1969, fresh from a trip to Yosemite, Gary Brown returned to New Paltz where he met up with friends who convinced him to get in their car and head down to a "concert" in Bethel, NY. The concert turned out to be Woodstock! Brown was soon back in New Paltz where he hooked up with Stannard where the plan was to head out Millbrook to climb New Frontier.

  Brown said that he and Stannard hadn't discussed the difficulty of the line as much as the draw of its aesthetic nature. New Frontier follows two striking right facing corner systems the second of which rises dramatically toward the skyline. Brown took the first lead which, in rotation, put him on the lead for the final 3rd pitch crux.

  Brown recalls Stannard's silence as he moved further and further from the single piton far below the upper corner. "Stannard understood the situation and knew to keep silent." After moving up to the crux and down climbing several times Brown calculated he had about a 70% chance of doing the move. "Once I resolved to do it, I just went up and did the move.", Brown recalls. Not knowing what was above he managed to get in some pro and continued up the corner heading for the notch which would conclude one of the great achievements in Gunks history. Twelve years would elapse before another free route would be established on the Wall of American History.**

*In 1968 Dave Ingalls and Roy Kligfield established new aid line, Promise of Things to Come. Henry Barber and Stannard returned to free it in 1973.

**In 1979 Donald Perry and Mike Burlingame established an aid line opposite New Frontier called The Meat Cleaver. Over 30 years later Perry along with his son would free this line in 2012 renaming it Redirectionalism and giving it a grade of 5.13.

On New Frontier

Gary Brown in Gardiner in 2013

Gary Brown still cranking 44 years after the first ascent of New Frontier