Rock Climbing in New York State consists of three main regions: the world-famous Gunks, properly called the Shawangunks; the Adirondacks, a vast state park with dozens of crags scattered across an area the size of Rhode Island; and Moss Island, a small crag near Little Falls. Several other areas exist, e.g. bouldering in Central Park, the Timp in Harriman Park, as well as many places of questionable access and/or worth.
The main rock climbing venues are near the eastern side of the state, so folks out in Rochester, Buffalo, etc. have a tough time of it - they're either traveling a long ways, pumping plastic, sneaking into the Niagara gorge, or driving across the border to climb in Canada.
Ice climbing is a bit more evenly spread out. The Adirondacks holds the most reliable and extensive ice, but the Catskills generally forms a lot of good ice as well, and the Finger Lakes Region boasts a few lesser-known classic lines (many of which, alas, are not legal to ascend).
Alpine climbing is limited to the Adirondacks, though a few Catskill peaks come close. None of the mountains are particularly tall - Mt. Marcy, at 5,344' is the highest - but the weather is capricious and runs the extremes. Winter ascents of the High Peaks can be very serious endeavors, especially when climbing a classic line such as the Trap Dike or Gothics North Face.
Although a small state compared to the big West, travel in NY, especially to its mountainous regions, can be tricky. Public transport is decent within two hours of NYC along the major transport corridors, but off these or farther away, and car rental, good maps, and good luck are required.
The great majority of visitors arrive in New York City; for those who do, the Gunks is a 2 hour bus ride to reach, and is definitely the place to go for rock climbing. The Catskills is a bit farther north, and having a car is almost mandatory, particularly during ice season. The Adirondacks is 4 to 5 hours away, and also requires a car. Moss Island lies along Interstate 90 and busses stop in the neighboring town of Little Falls
1,899 Total Routes
['4 Stars',188],['3 Stars',598],['2 Stars',703],['1 Star',304],['Bomb',14]
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Latest Regional Forum Messages
|By JJ Schlick|
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Aug 17, 2006
When ya'll gonna post some Spiders Web stuff???
Apr 27, 2007
Someone should post some topos on McKenzie Pond Bouldering in Saranac Lake. I recently moved from the area, but it was my bouldering home. Anyone who has been there knows what a treasure it is! The Dacks are the BEST!
May 17, 2007
True True, McKenzie Pond is a hidden treasure when its dry!!
|By Mike O|
Jul 6, 2007
I like the adirondack's secrets. ;)
From: Charlotte, NC
Aug 14, 2008
I'll 3rd that McKenzie comment
|By Eric Thomson|
Jul 29, 2009
There used to be a online guidebook for McKenzie Ponds but I can't find it anymore unfortunately.
From: Estes Park, CO
Feb 10, 2010
I agree with you that McKenzie Pond bouldering is a treasure. There is the guide that Adam mentioned, which gives a nicely detailed map of the boulders and their names. The only incorrection it has is that many of the boulder problem names have been renamed in the early 2000's. Depending on when you began bouldering there, it may be a bit weird reading new names for many of the routes.
Hope you get to go back there and boulder.