Black Arches Wall Rock Climbing
BETA PHOTO: view from the base of plumb line.
Adirondack backcountry climbing crag with routes ranging from 5.3 to 5.12c, and potential for many more. Height averages about 125'. Faces East. Cliff roughly divisible into six parts, from L to R:
1. An isolated buttress (called the Isobuttress) separated from the Black Arches Wall proper by a bottomless, wet tree gully (location of the ice route Crystal Breeze
2. BAW Left Side (a.k.a the Amphitheatre), composed of several arching corners and a large overhang with a sharply-defined outside corner on its right side (creating the eponymous black arch),
3. The Tripe Buttress, the left side of which holds Gun Show
, the front face having Torcher
and the eponymous Eatin' Tripe and Lichen It
4. The Black Arch Buttress area, aka The Patio, a prow of rock jutting out and dividing the BAW in two, home of Black Arch Arête
and several crack/chimney lines, including Parallel Passage
and Plumb Line
5. The Low End, the lowest section of cliff, where Critical Crimps
and Second Job
6. The Right End Buttress, a final, steep, small prow, where several short, hard projects await completion.
~40 minutes: from the trailhead, walk east along the Boulderwoods path, through the Boulderwoods, and follow cairns until one reaches a fern meadow above a large clear-cut area. Slant up the hillside around boulders until the Measles Wall, a heavily pockmarked, low-angle cliff, is sighted. From near the center of the low point of this cliff, a trail runs along and up to a wooded height-of-land near the South Corner Cliffs. Follow this trail along the base of the South Corner Cliffs to where it levels off, crossing an overgrown rockslide area with a "pinnacle" block with a great view partway along it. The path continues through the talus/brush thicket to a short face, where it turns right along the cliff to meet the first climbable rock, the "Isobuttress".
The other sections of the Black Arches Wall are farther along the obvious path.
There are now several anchors for rappel at the "BAW":
One 12' below the top of the Isobuttress; this descent requires 2 rappels using an anchor on a tree at Recuperation Boulevard's belay ledge; an anchor 70' up Adirondack Rehab; or another at the top of E-Stim's first pitch.
In the Amphitheatre, there is an anchor 70' above the start of Broken Broom. This can be used for TRing any of the routes on the main face; directionals are needed for Amphitheatre Crack, Dexter's Dugout, and Impulse Drive.
There is a tree anchor on the top of the cliff, a 60m rope rappel will reach the Broken Broom anchor from it.
There is an anchor at ~100' on Birthday Corner.
There is a 1-bolt anchor at the top of the Tripe Buttress. Class 4 scrambling up the start of Tribulations can reach this.
On the Buttress containing the BAW's namesake route, there is a rappel anchor that requires 70 meter ropes near the top of Black Arch Arête. Note that climbers must rappel from above to reach this anchor, i.e. there is no walk-up access.
There is a rappel anchor above and left of Cranium (by the top of the original route line). Walk-up to this anchor is exposed but possible, so it can be used to TR (directionals needed for PP).
There is a rappel anchor near the top of Plumb Line, well below the top of the cliff (no walk-up access).
There is a rappel station around an oak tree at the top of the cliff near Critical Crimps. This can be used to gain the anchors in the Attic. Note that from the tree, 60 meter ropes will just barely reach the "Patio", the ledge where Plumb Line starts. 70 meter ropes do NOT reach the bottom of the cliff from the oak tree.
Directly below this oak tree, in an alcove under a big roof called the "Attic", is a fixed bolt anchor for rappeling with shorter ropes. 60 meter ropes will barely reach the ground from here.
Weather station 6.5 miles from here
38 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',14],['2 Stars',7],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',2]
Classic Climbing Routes in Black Arches Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Black Arches Wall
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Black Arches Wall:
E-stim 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, 2 pitches, 135'
Gun Show 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, 1 pitch, 30'
Torcher 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, 1 pitch, 105'
Plumb Line 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, 1 pitch, 100'
Hang Time 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
PG13 Trad, 1 pitch, 125'
Featured Route For Black Arches Wall
Amphitheatre Crack 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a NY
: ... : Black Arches Wall
The crux is the first 15'. The climbing continues to be interesting, though easier, after this.An excellent line for the 1st 70' - which is why there are now anchors at that position.The original ascent climbed all the way to the top, through questionable rock, poor protection, and damp sections.NOTE: A lot of ice forms over the lip of the Birthday Corner early in the season. It falls from >30m up, landing among the base of all the Amphitheatre area routes. Even after the m...[more] Browse More Classics in NY
Jay Harrison putting on an impromptu karate demons...
BETA PHOTO: BAW overview.
By Chris Duca
From: Havertown, PA
Oct 21, 2008
Wow, this area sounds great. When I get back to New England, I'll have to head out there with some bug netting and a tent, and stay for a few days.
Which trail should climbers take to reach this cliff: The one that goes over the mountain, the one that heads north, or the one that heads south?
From: Pottersville,New York
Aug 29, 2009
Chris, The BAW is accessed from the trail that goes through the middle of the boulderwoods. The trail starts just past the wooden guardrail in the parking lot. It is pretty well marked with cairns.
By Jay Harrison
Sep 10, 2009
I uploaded some pictures from FA-Day:Plumb Line, and posted them in an article on My Website
The photos on that page link to larger-scale versions.
Aug 7, 2012
There is now a new trail up to the SouthEast area (from a different start point along the access road) which is shorter more direct, than going thru Boulderwoods from the main Crane Mt Trailhead parking.
(I leave it to the local experts to decide how to give details for this.)
By Jim Lawyer
Aug 8, 2012
kenr: The *only* public access to the south side of Crane Mountain is via the Crane Mountain parking area at the end of Sky High Road.
The approach you mention requires that you park and cross private property. Several locals have permission from the land owner, but be aware that this approach is private. And, yes, it's about 10 minutes shorter.
By Steve Hazel
From: Philadelphia, PA
Aug 18, 2014
Climbed at BAW on 8-17. Area Map is spot on - thanks to everyone for making this area easy to find. There are some great climbs here and most routes are pretty well cleaned. Trail starts right at end of parking lot fence and is clearly marked with cairns though some trees have fallen onto the trail and you'll have to scramble over them. The path stays consistently clear with a few subtle turns to other walls along the way. One turn to avoid (if you're headed to BAW) is shortly after the "fern meadow" there is a trail that turns sharp right and down into a wet area. Not sure if this is the trail coming up from private property or not.
By Jim Lawyer
Aug 19, 2014
Steve, that sharp right turn goes to the road and is indeed a shortcut through private property that some locals use (with permission from the landowner).