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Sky Top

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
A Pilgrim's Progress 
Crash and Burn 
Cretin Corner 
Foops 
Gargoyle 
Overhanging Overhang 
Petey's Spare Rib 
Ringwraith 
Sound and Fury 
Strawberry Yogurt 

Sky Top 


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Page Views: 11,743
Administrators: JSH, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Feb 22, 2006
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Shane Cobourn on Super Crack, 1980's
While public climbing is still legally and enforceably prohibited at Sky Top, there will be LEGAL climbing at Sky Top available starting April 1, 2007. MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Sky Top is the long but relatively low cliff that sits immediately below the obvious Sky Top tower. There are some great climbs at this cliff -- the most famous of which are probably Foops (11+) and Supercrack (12c). Sky Top has more than 300 routes ranging in height from 50 to 150 feet.

Sky Top is property of the Mohonk Mountain House, and was closed to climbers for many years. From what I understand, the cliff was closed to climbing because the hotel owners didn't want their guests to be frightened by or disturbed by the riffraff. The debate rages about what the proper course of action is concerning this closure -- some hope that by not climbing there and negotiating peacefully, access may one day be restored. Others feel that since the Access Fund, and other groups and individuals, have failed to make any headway whatsoever in the past ten years, they never will, and climbers who want to climb there should do so at their own risk.

Update: Climbing at Skytop is now allowed in two modes as of 5/30/10: both overnight guests and day meal guests of Mohonk Mountain House can climb at Sky Top while escorted by an authorized guide from Alpine Endeavors.
For more info or to book a stay or meal, contact the Mohonk Mountain House. Enjoy! -- JSH


I've heard people say that the closure is truly a shame because it may be the best cliff at the Gunks. This is simply not true -- while there are some great climbs there, it doesn't compare in quality to The Trapps or Millbrook. You're better off investing your time in other areas, but if you do choose to climb there, be invisible and don't get caught. Rumors of people getting busted span the gamut from a slap on the wrist to confiscated racks and heavy fines. It certainly will not do good things for future access negotiations.

Due to lack of traffic, climbs can be overgrown (especially with lichen), and chalk-free. There is a hiking trail that runs along the base of the cliff and is frequented by the hotel guests and security staff.

But there's a good reason to leave information about areas like this on the website. Climbers can't be allowed to just forget about classic climbing areas that become closed by the landowner. The more information out there about Sky Top the better. This information is NOT to encourage climbing against the wishes of the landowner - it's to make sure the climbing community doesn't forget what a great place Sky Top was to climb. With guidebooks that cover Sky Top going out of print, it's important to make sure the information lives on.

So go ahead and add routes to the database - don't let everyone forget!


Getting There 

After leaving the NYS Thruway at Exit 18, turn left at the traffic light onto Route 299/Main Street. Follow Main Street through New Paltz. Immediately after crossing the bridge over the Wallkill River, turn right (follow "MOHONK" sign).

After 1/4 mile bear left at the fork and follow Mountain Rest Road and Mohonk signs to the Gatehouse. (NOTE: The Mohonk Gatehouse is located about six miles west of the Thruway Exit.)

You will be obliged to stop at the gatehouse. Then, follow the road leading off to your right to the Mountain House proper; be on the lookout for wildlife, and notice that they're VERY strict about the speed limit.


10 Total Routes


['4 Stars',7],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',3],['5.7',1],['5.8',3],['5.9',1],['5.10',1],['5.11',1],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Sky Top:
Petey's Spare Rib   5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 120'   
Overhanging Overhang   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   
Browse More Classics in Sky Top

Featured Route For Sky Top
Bradley, my 9 year old, blasting up the climb!

Petey's Spare Rib 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a PG13  NY : The Gunks : Sky Top
A wonderful route that zig-zags back and forth over an arete, with thin, facey moves and not too many of the classic Gunks jugs. I found the route rather sustained, but there is a very obvious crux section above gear. This route is not a good one for a 5.5 leader; it's devious, with questionable footholds and lots of smearing throughout. In the guidebook at 5.4 PG***, I'd give it a 5.5....[more]   Browse More Classics in NY

Photos of Sky Top Slideshow Add Photo
front door....
front door....
Sky Top from the Trapps
Sky Top from the Trapps
Mohonk Mountain House
Mohonk Mountain House
The Mountain House
The Mountain House
No Exit 5.10+ Bob Bickford
No Exit 5.10+ Bob Bickford
As seen from the Trapps
As seen from the Trapps
Sky Top in late summer.
Sky Top in late summer.
Fall colors.
Fall colors.
beautiful views from Sky Top
beautiful views from Sky Top
Looking up The Crevice
Looking up The Crevice
Sky Top with fall colors.
Sky Top with fall colors.
Lake Mohonk, the Mountain House, and the cliffs that you'll never be allowed to climb!
Lake Mohonk, the Mountain House, and the cliffs th...
the tower
the tower
The tower at Skytop through the clouds and drizzle on a rainy day along the carriage road.
The tower at Skytop through the clouds and drizzle...
Comments on Sky Top Add Comment
Show which comments
By Paul Crowder
Mar 9, 2006

Sky Top has some really incredible routes at all grades. My own observation of climber interaction with hotel guests prior to closure of this crag is that climbers were typically polite, but occasionally really rude. And the hotel definitely didn't like to see scruffy climbers in their lobby, as the hotel positioned itself as a pretty upscale getaway for folks from NYC. It's a shame that the climbing community lost access to this crag, and I hope that we have a chance to see access restored in the future.

By JLBurns
Mar 12, 2006

This area does not have "access issues." It is private property and the owner -- the Mountain House -- does not permit climbing. It is off limits, period. Do not climb there.

By John Peterson
Mar 12, 2006

This is quite right - DON'T CLIMB AT SKY TOP! But there's a good reason to leave information about areas like this on the website. Climbers can't be allowed to just forget about classic climbing areas that become closed by the landowner. The more information out there about Sky Top the better. This information isn't to encourage climbing against the wishes of the landowner - it's to make sure the climbing community doesn't forget what a great place Sky Top was to climb. With guidebooks that cover Sky Top going out of print, it's important to make sure the information lives on.

So go ahead and add routes to the database - don't let everyone forget!

By Ed Bustamante
From: accord
Sep 23, 2013

An update: you no longer have to be an overnight guest. The Mountain House has a guided rate for day users of their property that is marked up from Alpine Endeavors' rates. Lead climbing has additional requirements, but you can get to climb these classic climbs with Alpine Endeavors. I was lucky enough to win the GCC auction last year for a guided climbing day for two. On 9/15/13 I climbed 8 or so climbs in the eight hours, and it was a real treat to get back to where some of my first climbing started. I will post info and photos in the near future.