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Routes in Sky Top

A Pilgrim's Progress T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Crash and Burn T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Cretin Corner T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Foops T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Gargoyle T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Grey Face T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Jekyll and Hyde T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Lakeview T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Minnie Belle T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Overhanging Overhang T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Petey's Spare Rib T,TR 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13
Rear Exposure T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13
Ringwraith T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Sound and Fury T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Strawberry Yogurt T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Super Crack T 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
Taste of Honey T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Yellow Verschneidung T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Zig Zag Man T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

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. (Also see comment below) 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 and encouraged, as escorted by an authorized guide from Alpine Endeavors.
For more info, 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!
While public climbing is still legally and enforceably prohibited at Sky Top, you may climb LEGALLY at Sky Top as a guided client, since 2007. Details

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.

19 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Sky Top

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Had a half day (4 hours) quoted in 2014 at 270 bucks (67.50/hour) with the guide leading all pitches. For that price, just not worth it to not be able to lead anything. Not sure if price has come down, or if that's typical prices for other areas that AE guides. Jun 3, 2016
Eli
Lives in a truck
Eli   Lives in a truck
What is the cost to hire a guide for a day at Skytop? Dec 1, 2015
Note that you no longer have to be an over night OR meal guest to climb at Skytop. Climbers still must climb with a guide contracted to the Mountain House but can now avoid the added expense of having to be an overnight or dinner guest of the hotel.

Note that Skytop was closed to climbing when the Mountain House's insurer informed them that they would lose their liability insurance unless they strictly enforced a ban on rock climbing. Mohonk Mt. House is a massive liability risk; very old and massive mostly wooden structure with a fire place in each room, horseback riding, carriage rides, mountain biking, golf course, cross country skiing, swimming and boating, hiking trails with boulders and cliffs everywhere... Climbers should note that we are not the center of the universe, that there is more going on at Skytop than access for the relative handful of us that might visit the cliff in a season. With 850 employees Mohonk is the largest employer in Ulster county and the hotel has been continuously operated by the same family for over 140 years. Climbing is allowed in it's limited format today because the guide service contracted to Mohonk carries additional insurance specifically indemnifying the Mountain House (not cheap!).

Skytop is one of the finest single pitch trad crags in America. I disagree with Josh's comments that the cliff is dirty, etc. There are dozens of stellar climbs at Skytop, it is an absolutely brilliant climbing area. May 19, 2014
Ed Bustamante
accord
Ed Bustamante   accord
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. Sep 23, 2013
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! Mar 12, 2006
JLBurns  
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. Mar 12, 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. Mar 9, 2006

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