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Moss Cliff

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L to R R to L Alpha
A Touch of Class T 
Brass Balls, Steel Nuts, and Sticky Rubber T 
Creation of the World T 
Falconer T 
Fear of touching Aerie T 
Hard Times T 
Mistah Luthah T 

Moss Cliff Rock Climbing 

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Administrators: Jim Lawyer, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: joe frankel on Oct 8, 2006
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Peter Kamitses placing gear on his new free route,...


Access note: fording Ausable River to access cliff is necessary. There is a tyrolean cable in place currently (10/06); also check for seasonal peregrine closures.

Check that--the Tyrolean Cable is gone.

Moss Cliff--a 500 foot shield of bullet-proof anorthosite that sits atop Wilmington Notch overlooking Route 86 and the Ausable River. Although this cliff is situated less than a mile from the climbers lot, it's committing reputation is rivaled by few other crags in the Adirondacks due to its surprising remoteness and shear faces.

Many stellar lines soar up the numerous cracks of this cliff, and most recently, the hardest lines in the Adirondacks--Illuminescence (13d) and Fire in the Sky (13c)--were unlocked here. Routes such as Hard Times (5.9+), A Touch of Class (5.9+), and Creation of the World (5.11), stand testament to the varied and unique beauty of long, free routes in the Adirondacks.

If it is your first visit to the cliff, don't underestimate it-- This is not a cliff to be toiled with. Many of the routes are stout and require climbers to top out. This makes for a true adventure, as the rap station is on the far left (climbers' left) end of the cliff hidden in a gully and guarded by a treacherous bushwhack.

Make sure you get and early start, and be sure to check for closures, as this cliff is closed for a good portion of the spring and summer months for peregrine nesting.

Getting There 

Rt 86 just east of Lake Placid. Park at lot below cliff. There is a sign for Climber/Grimper in the correct pull-out. Before the Tyrolean cable broke in October of '06, one could cross the river directly below the climbers' lot; now, you must walk upriver about 1/4 mile to a shallower section of water in order to cross. Once on the other side, walk uphill along a faint climber's path for about 20 minutes to the base of cliff. Creation of the World and Children and Alcohol are just around to the right; Touch of Class, Aerie, and Hard Times just left.

Climbing Season

Weather station 12.9 miles from here

7 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Moss Cliff

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Moss Cliff:
Hard Times   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 380'   
A Touch of Class   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   
Fear of touching Aerie   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 350'   
Creation of the World   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 3 pitches, 350'   
Falconer   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 3 pitches, 310'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Moss Cliff

Featured Route For Moss Cliff
Rock Climbing Photo: Mistah Luthah

Mistah Luthah 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a  NY : Adirondacks : ... : Moss Cliff
This route was completed in the summer of 2008 by Will Mayo and is yet another classic addition to the Daks. This route was rated 12a by the first ascentionist and it should be noted that this route is SOLID at this grade to say the least.Launch up extremely technical climbing past 3 bolts and a tough second clip to a wonderful 11a finger crack to the top....[more]   Browse More Classics in NY

Photos of Moss Cliff Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Moss Cliff from 86, Creation on right side (orange...
Moss Cliff from 86, Creation on right side (orange...
Rock Climbing Photo: 3rd pitch of Spirit of Adventure -Karl K.
BETA PHOTO: 3rd pitch of Spirit of Adventure -Karl K.
Rock Climbing Photo: Moss Cliff as seen from the High Falls Crag
Moss Cliff as seen from the High Falls Crag
Rock Climbing Photo: Moss Cliff from the pullout, late Oct. 2012
Moss Cliff from the pullout, late Oct. 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: The tyrolean
The tyrolean

Comments on Moss Cliff Add Comment
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By colin loher
Oct 12, 2006

The tyrolean traverse cable broke this past weekend. Luckily no one was hurt. As of now the only way to get to Moss Cliff is to walk across the river. The best place to do this is about a half a mile up stream.
By tuscanes
From: rosendale, ny
Oct 14, 2008

The tyrolean is back up.
By Chris Duca
From: Havertown, PA
Oct 21, 2008
So it's back up...anyone know who replaced it, and is it in the same location?

My wife and I were "lucky" enough to have been on the cable when it broke two years ago. We walked away with nothing more than two bruised arse cheeks and a good story. It was Oct. 6th, a week after our wedding, and we had just climbed "A Touch of Class", finish through the dirty 5.10 finger crack to a little scrub climbing above and out right of the normal finish...nothing ultra memorable. However, after our quick descent and run down to the Tyrolean, the sun had set, so Lindsay rapidly set off across the cable. She got to the other side, but was too short to unhitch herself, so she remained attached to the cable with the idea that I would lift her off once I got to the other side, as well. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing we hadn't done before. I began my shuffle across, and at about 2/3 of the way across, I heard a whipping noise, then the cable unwound from the tree behind be, dropping me, with a thud, into the dark, thigh-deep water of the Ausable below. We both landed on our rears, luckily, quickly unclipped, then scurried out. Both of us couldn't believe what had just transpired. But the story doesn't end there...there were still folks stranded on the other side that, when all was said and done, had to be recued by the a crew of firefighters, park service employees and local police officers. What a memorable event!
By stredna
From: PA
Jul 26, 2010
whats with the poor excuse for a tyrolean?! is there an issue with putting up a cable instead of dynamic rope which will, when weighted, deposit you and your pack in the Ausable! we pushed our packs across on the rope and held on for the shimmy shimmy shake in our underwear! Cheers to whoever put up the former cable, that was luxury!
By Chris Duca
From: Havertown, PA
Jul 27, 2010

The Tyrolean was never endorsed by the Park Service, so when the original one broken on my wife and me back in 2006, it wasn't replaced until 2008 when it was relocate down stream. In years past, the cliff closure lasted well into August, so the river typically wasn't running as high, so that's why you found yourself going for a chilly swim. One can also walk up stream about 1/4 mile to a low spot in the river, and wade across--with packs overhead--to the other side, whereupon you can hike back to where the steep uphill trail meets the river. This is the option that many people have used in the past even when the steel cable was in situ. Typical practice is to pack along pair of sandals and and pair of quick-drying shorts with us so we don't have to deal with wet feet/pants all day. Hope that helped!
By Tyler Gagne
Oct 15, 2010
The Tyrolean traverse is present and in good condition now. Climbed Hard Times there this weekend, saw some dudes trying to free the aid wall.
By Ben Brotelho
From: Albany, NY
Oct 29, 2012
Tyrolean was up and in good shape this weekend (10.27.12)
By Andy Casler
From: Ithaca, NY
Aug 11, 2015
The bolts on the free wall's central rappel looked pretty rusty this weekend. Possible galvanic corrosion.

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