Crane Mountain Rock Climbing
BETA PHOTO: Diagram showing directions to various crags on Cra...
In the foothills of the Adirondacks lies this subtle mountain, far enough to feel remote yet still close enough to civilization that you won't be completely isolated.
The summit used to house a fire tower. The support blocks are still visible in the rocks, along with a few mountain markers dated around 1946. Remnants of the care-taker's house are also visible behind the summit. When reading up on the area, you may notice that a "ladder" is mentioned. There are two physical ladders (made of wood) on the summit trail: the lower, shorter one passes a small steep slab, the taller, upper one breaks through the summit cliff.
The largest town nearby is Johnsburg. However, you'll get more accurate weather reports by searching for Thurman, NY.
Crane Mountain is not one climbing locale, but many small crags spread across several miles of mountainside. Starting points and approach routes for many of these locales varies greatly. Currently, the most popular areas lie along an unofficial trail known as the East Path. The summit cliffs also see a fair share of climbers.
Crane has cliffs up to 320' tall, though most are a pitch or less. Until 2009, none were very concentrated with climbs; a few have now become destinations in and of themselves. The rock is solid, but dirty due to little climbing traffic. The bases of climbs can also be a gamble between slanted ground, several inches of brush, pine needles and sticks, rock, dirt, moss, or a mixture of all.
Approaches can be long if hiking from the base (approx. 1.4 miles). To the pond is 1.1 miles. Give yourself an hour to reach the summit cliffs. Most of the summit climbs can be approached from the summit via rappel, which may be easier than bushwhacking.
The surroundings are spectacular. One of the most notable hiking destinations is Crane Mountain Pond, which lies halfway up the mountain. On a warm summer's day, you may even enjoy a swim. The floor is largely rocky, and the water is very clear.
There's prime real estate for camping on this mountain. The ground is soft, and the water near the pond offers a good source of H2O. The downside is that camping at the pond offers a one-hour hike to the summit, and isn't central to any of the climbing destinations. There ARE spots to camp near the summit. Explore for these, and it makes the adventure that much better. Be advised that in the Adirondacks, camping is allowed on State Land if you are 150' away from roads, trails, and water, unless otherwise posted. Crane Mountain isn't in the Eastern High Peaks Region, meaning that a bear canister is not legally required (although it's still a good idea.)
Bugs are BAD in the spring, particularly May and June. The summit offers slight relief from the swarming fury at the base, but attempting to climb during the height of bug season adds significantly to the difficulty.
From the south or north: Take Interstate 87 (Adirondack Northway) to Exit 23, Warrensburg. Head toward Warrensburg, turning right to head north on State Route 9. From there:
Drive into Warrensburg and turn
L on Highway 418.
418 crosses a bridge (over the Schroon River) and immediately turns sharp right.
Do not go straight uphill after the bridge!
Drive ~ 3 1/2 miles out of town. Rt. 418 crosses another bridge (over the Hudson River). It then crosses a RR track and swings sharply left.
R on Athol Road (this turn is easy to miss)
Athol Road curves a lot, swinging sharply right and passing through the hamlet of Athol, then swings left and goes uphill for about a mile. At the top of the hill turn:
R on Mountain Rd
Stay on Mountain Road its entire length, until you come to a stop sign. Here, you go left (-ish, it's almost straight ahead) onto Valley Road.
Drive about a mile and turn:
L on Garnet Lake Rd
Drive about 1 1/3 miles and turn:
R on Sky High Rd (which may be spelled Ski Hi)
NOTE: if the bridge is out, continue past Sky High Rd. 1/4 mile and turn sharply right onto Putnam Cross Road to regain it.
Drive to the bitter, rough end of the road. At the end, about 1 1/2 miles up, is a parking lot.
OR, you can type in the directions to Sky High Road, Thurman, NY 12885
From the trailhead, there are two official trails and one climber's trail. One official trail heads straight up the mountain, the other goes west along the base before turning upward to reach the pond. The climber's trail heads east along the base of the mountain.
Crane Mountain has many climbing areas scattered along its SW and SE flanks, and of course, along its summit ridge. For places like the Wayout and Beaverview Walls, the west hiking trail is the best access. For the Viewpoint, Brown Slabs, and Summit cliffs, the summit trail is used. Since 2007, much of the development on Crane has focused on the South Corner Cliffs and Black Arches Wall, which are accessed via the climber's path.
The new Adirondack guidebook "Adirondack Rock" by Jim Lawyer and Jeremy Haas is extremely helpful, a "must-have" for this and many of the lesser-known Adirondack climbing areas.
Weather station 6.5 miles from here
237 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',10],['3 Stars',48],['2 Stars',86],['1 Star',64],['Bomb',9]
Classic Climbing Routes in Crane Mountain
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Crane Mountain
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Crane Mountain:
Featured Route For Crane Mountain
Bella Vista 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
: ... : Bella Vista Slab
A long, fun jaunt up the side of Crane Mountain. The top of this route is open and the view is excellent.P1 110' 5.4 PG: Climb the slab up and right, running it out on friction 25' to the first bolt. Continue weaving upward, following clean patches and bolts, to a right-facing corner. Hop left, up on this, and make a semi-hanging belay.P2 90' 5.5 G 5.3 R: Climb a short vertical crack, then the slab above, moving up and slightly left to a flap. Go over this and up the unprotected sl...[more] Browse More Classics in NY
Crane Mountain Pond in the morning.
Jeff & Bruce having fun getting to the climbing at...
Crane Mountain Pond from Pond View Slab
Alex on the 2nd ascent of parallel passage 5.9
Jamie McNeill on the FA of Black Arch Arete, Black...
Jamie McNeill on FA of Black Arch Arete, Black Arc...
Crane Mountain from Crane Mountain Pond.
Alysia climbs Cornerstone 5.5; Summit Prows of Cra...
Liam Campbell TRing Plumb Line. View from the Blac...
BETA PHOTO: Upper Pitch of Carpenter & Das, on the Isobuttress...
View from Black Arches Wall. Yeah, you do have to ...
David Ferkaluk on Crane Mtn's summit.
So nice we'll do it twice! Jamie McNeill TR's Blac...
Jamie McNeill sends the FA of Plumb Line, 5.10c, a...
Crane mountain in fall. From the approach road.
By Chris Duca
From: Havertown, PA
May 31, 2008
Thanks for posting information about Crane. I've heard and read a lot about the enormous potential for this area and have always wanted to visit, but have always had a hard time pulling myself away from Keene Valley and Poko. Perhaps your post will act as the proverbial fire beneath my feet!
By Jim Lawyer
Nov 29, 2008
The directions need adjustment. First, from Exit 23, you go north (or west) on NY9, not east. The roads change names and are confusing. This link should resolve any ambiguity about the directions:
By Jay Harrison
Aug 18, 2010
There are many new routes on the mountain since Lawyer & Haas' guidebook publication; however, they've done a fantastic job keeping up with this (and the burst of activity throughout the Adks) on their new routes web page:
Adirondack Rock New Routes
In particular, check out the bevy of new stuff at the Black Arches Wall.
By Charlie S
From: Ogden, UT
May 11, 2011
I have since moved away from NY and will not be able to update this page. Can I put this page "up for adoption" so that a more active member in this area can update the page when needed?
Aug 7, 2012
Note that the shortest easiest trail access to the SouthEast area (from a different start point along the access road) is now rather different from the map + directions in the latest print edition of the Adirondack Rock guidebook. (I leave it to the local experts to decide how to give details for this.)
By Ben Brotelho
From: Albany, NY
Feb 25, 2013
The name of the final road is spelled "Ski Hi"