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Routes in Millbrook

Abram Believed --- Innumerable Stars T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a R
Access/Exit Chimney. T 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a X
Cruise Control T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Detached Flake T 5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c X
Great White Throne Judgment T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a R
Headstone of the Corner T 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a X
High Plains Drifter T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Ladder T 5.1 2 6 II 7 MD 2a PG13
New Frontier T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c R
Northern Grand Traverse Ledge Access T 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b X
Nuclear Waste T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c R
Parousia T 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b R
Realm of the Fifth Class Climber T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Redirectionalism T 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b R
Schlemiel T 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Time Being T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c X
Time Eraser, The T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Today you will be with me in Paradise T 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b A1 R
Toprope line: Bronze Serpent TR 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Toprope line: Worthy is the Lamb TR 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Toprope lines TR 3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a
Westward Ha! T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
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Access Issue: Partially closed. Details

Falcon Closure 2017

All routes south of Westward Ha! at Millbrook are closed for peregrines.


Don't miss local climber Chris Fracchia's labor of love, Millbrook (, where he provides excellent topos, photos, and select route descriptions. Props, Chris!

Millbrook is remote by Gunks' standards, but the "grueling" 40-minute hike rewards you with some of the best climbing the Gunks has to offer. Many consider it to be the Gunks' best cliff, but I think that depends on what you're looking for -- if it's fantastic views, no crowds, great climbing (although characteristically run out), a sense of commitment, and adventure in general, then you will not be disappointed. The wall is generally dead vertical, and the white quartzite that it is composed of yields a slightly different climbing experience than the Trapps or the Nears. Millbrook has more than 80 routes ranging in length from 130 to 200 feet.

"The Bank" was the first cliff climbed in the Gunks, via "The Old Route," by Fritz Wiessner in 1935. It's rated 5.5 and I've heard it's pretty chossy, but Millbrook isn't for sissies after all. Other "must do's" include Westward Ha! (5.7), Cruise Control (5.9), Time Eraser (10a), High Plains Drifter (10+), New Frontier (11-), and Nectar Vector (12+), along with a few others that, by tradition, aren't talked about too often. This is also the tallest cliff in the Gunks, and most routes are 1 to 3 pitches in length.

One interesting point to consider is that the climbs are typically approached via double-rope raps from above. This will not take you to the bottom of the cliff, but will instead land you on a "GT Ledge" of sorts. This ledge ranges from 2-20' wide, and the climbs begin from this point. If you traverse the entire length of this ledge you can escape from either side, but the best way to escape from Millbrook is to climb out -- you should plan for this. There are several rap station access points, but historically the most commonly used one, and most centrally located, was above "Westward Ha!" from a very large pine tree. Unfortunately this tree has since died so you may wish to set up an alternate anchor. Westward Ha! (5.7) is well-protected, solid, and makes for a great cool-down climb at the end of the day to exit the cliff. An efficient solution is to fix a line from the top, and just return to it after each climb. That way, if worse comes to worst, you could jug that line at the end of the day.

Getting There

Getting to Millbrook is tricky. You can begin from the 30-minute parking area just below the Near Trapps and follow the Ridge Trail all the way to the top of the cliff. There are also some other approaches which are faster, but require crossing private property or confusing route finding. It is highly advisable to make your first trip to Millbrook with someone who knows the way -- and who can find the rappel stations at the top of the cliff -- they are not immediately obvious.

22 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Millbrook

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Westward Ha!
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Cruise Control
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Realm of the Fifth Class Climber
Trad 3 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
The Time Eraser
Trad 2 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
High Plains Drifter
Trad 2 pitches
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Trad 3 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Westward Ha!
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Cruise Control
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Realm of the Fifth Class Cl…
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 3 pitches
The Time Eraser
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 2 pitches
High Plains Drifter
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R Trad 2 pitches
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad 3 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Millbrook »

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People can now approach Millbrook by the carriage road (either on bike or foot). This is definitely the fastest way in if you're on a bike. I've been told that Minnewaska rangers are OK with people carrying climbing gear as long as you tell them you're going to Millbrook. Finding the Westward Ha tree from there is also pretty easy since it's so close to the end of the road.
Feb 28, 2006
I got yelled at yesterday for returning to my car in the Lake Miniwaska parking lot at 5:55, the park signs clearly say it closes on 6:00PM in November. I was yelled at saying it closes at 5 and that climbing from the Miniwaska parking lot is not allowed. I may just have found a really disgruntled park worker. Consider getting back before sundown at least. Nov 3, 2014
donald perry
New Jersey
donald perry   New Jersey
Millbrook is a cliff with a lot of lose rock on it unlike the Trapps. Most climbers are unaware of how to deal with lose rock, so I will give some very useful information here and now about that and how to behave when you go to the Bank:

1. When you climb look for cracks around features which when weighted may come off, especially if you plan on putting pro around them. You will discover that on new climbs for no apparent reason holds will just pop off the rock, while at other times flakes that appear to be ready to fall off are quite solid. The cliff has the same rock as the Trapps, it is just that the climbs have not seen as much cleaning, therefore you need to be extra careful.

2. When you see a potential lose rock what do you do? Well, the correct answer is you should try to do nothing, you should not want to touch it you do not test it you do not move it. It has been there for hundreds of years until you came along. Once you start touching it you need to be *fully prepared* to deal with it in your hands. This is something you need to think about beforehand. You need to be anchored in, in such a way that you can deal with the baggage responsively. You should only consider throwing a rock when you have no way to lower it and you have no other choices. In some cases you will need to knock off a rock immediately and carefully before you do anything else because your next move will mean that the rock is coming off weather you like it or not. BTW, make sure there are no vultures underneath you, they move very slow and if you are on repel you could drop something on one of the birds.

3. Your belayer does not belong under you. He should be off to the side and not tied into the rock so he dodge the junk you might drop on him.

4. Your rope should not be directionalised under the climb but off to the side. Climbing well here sometimes means that you do a lot of down climbing in order to redirect your rope when necessary.

5. When you get to the top of the climb you pick up all the lose rocks and put them up the hill somewhere safe, don't be a sloppy or they will end up falling on you.

6. Look around for camouflaged lose rocks seemingly stuck to the side of the cliff or under leaves etc.

7. Do not run the rope in such a way that when tightened and a person weights it or swings it may brush across the face and dislodge rocks onto your head, or that the rope will go under a flake and pop it off.

8. Wear a hard hat, you are a long way from the road and if you get your head beaned. Lowering a person down and having a rescue crew come up from the bottom is typically not how this works. Once you are in the stokes litter in the middle of the cliff lowering you down over lose rock below the ledge is not safe. It is safer to haul someone up the cliff with a few people. What is needed here is a few ropes with 3 x 1 wall hauling pulleys and some 2 X 4 lumber so you can slide the litter over the edges of the top of the cliff. The lumber needs to be tied in, so some holes need to be drilled. Plan on this taking about 5 hours to get you out of there with a good number of people, and probably that will end up being finished in the dark. After you get to the top of the cliff it is not over yet, you still need to be carried around to the carriage road. This is not an easy place to do a rescue.

9. This is not the gym, you do not want to be taking ANY leader falls on some of these climbs. You can fall on nasty sharp flakes and get chopped, or else bust out some rocks onto your head after you first hit the ledge. Or your rope can get caught over your head on a sharp flake. Falling here is typically something to be avoided at all costs.

10. Bring a first aid kit and a cell phone.

11. Do not leave anything behind, that includes toilet paper under rocks and ropes and gear hanging around.

12. Do not be bashing in pins or drilling bolt holes, Millbrook has none of that going on. If you are worried about gear then top rope it. Don't be confused. Anything you can do on top rope you can lead, it just takes a lot longer to do it that way----my argument is that there is really no need for you to be defacing the rock to complete a climb in good style. However if there is some shale flakes rotten rock, or mud in a cracks you can rake it out with your nut tool all day and no one should complain. In other words leave your hammer at home.

13. Do not belay off in the woods somewhere so your partner needs to scream "ON BELAY" and the people in the houses can hear you annoy them. Your ears should be within sight of your belayer. If you can't Keep a low profile and you do not understand what this means then Millbrook is not the place where you should be, go back to the Trapps.

14. It is better to start early (6:00 AM) and leave early, Millbrook is not a good place for you to be hanging around creating a lot of attention to yourself up there with a light letting people know you maybe on their property. These people that live under the cliff bought that property to get away from people like you, do not even let them know your there, you should be invisible.

15. There are no fixed anchors on top ropes. Bring your own gear gym climbers. It's helpful to have two 70 meter static lines. The first you rap down with and use as the primary or backup anchor. And the second you top rope with. Gear when available is used to isolate the anchor/rap rope to help keep it from moving back and forth so as not to dislodge rock onto your head or remove any lichen. This means that when you get to the main ledge you will have three rope ends. Bolts are nessasarry on heavily overhanging walls (there are none at Millbrook), but otherwise they are now completely obsolete. You can reference my aid and top rope problems in person for more information on this.

Nov 6, 2016

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