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New York

Description

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.

With the rise of Sport Climbing, several places once illegal and/or dangerous to climb at now bristle with gleaming metal, providing another facet to NYS's menu. Many of these places still exist under tenuous legal conditions, so check with the locals and be discrete.

A few crags relegated to the dustbin of history have been revived. These include places like the "Powerlinez", a crag that saw occasional traffic up to the early 80s but then became off-limits and fell into obscurity; and Thacher State Park, which finally opened to legal climbing in 2017.

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 mountainproject.com/v/power… mountainproject.com/v/thach… Thacher State Park

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The 5.7+ third pitch of Cascading Crystal Kaleidoscope (CCK), an airy and exposed Gunks classic.<br>
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Photo by [[11870]].
[Hide Photo] The 5.7+ third pitch of Cascading Crystal Kaleidoscope (CCK), an airy and exposed Gunks classic. Photo by Michael Amato.
Just so everyone is clear, according to the New York tourism marketing team, here in NY we only free solo, wearing hiking socks, tennis shoes, and something that looks like a motorcycle helmet. That sounds pretty darn accurate to me!
[Hide Photo] Just so everyone is clear, according to the New York tourism marketing team, here in NY we only free solo, wearing hiking socks, tennis shoes, and something that looks like a motorcycle helmet. Tha…
I'm the little red dot up top.
[Hide Photo] I'm the little red dot up top.
J Mo belaying Dan on the FA of Killer Pillar... somewhere in the western outskirts of NY state. (Photo: Brian Aitken)
[Hide Photo] J Mo belaying Dan on the FA of Killer Pillar... somewhere in the western outskirts of NY state. (Photo: Brian Aitken)
Climber on pitch #2 of Splashtic - www.TimetoClimb.com
[Hide Photo] Climber on pitch #2 of Splashtic - www.TimetoClimb.com
Ann Marie bouldering at Nine corners lake in Adirondacks of NY Read More
[Hide Photo] Ann Marie bouldering at Nine corners lake in Adirondacks of NY Read More
Try Three Philosophers. <br>
Photo by Blitzo.
[Hide Photo] Try Three Philosophers. Photo by Blitzo.
returning from the Gunks
[Hide Photo] returning from the Gunks
Rappelling down Good Luck Cliffs.
[Hide Photo] Rappelling down Good Luck Cliffs.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

JJ Schlick
Flagstaff, AZ
[Hide Comment] When ya'll gonna post some Spiders Web stuff??? Aug 17, 2006
[Hide Comment] 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! Apr 27, 2007
RobHudson
Boulder
[Hide Comment] True True, McKenzie Pond is a hidden treasure when its dry!! May 17, 2007
[Hide Comment] I like the adirondack's secrets. ;) Jul 6, 2007
AdamB Bunger
Chattanooga, TN
[Hide Comment] I'll 3rd that McKenzie comment Aug 14, 2008
[Hide Comment] There used to be a online guidebook for McKenzie Ponds but I can't find it anymore unfortunately. Jul 29, 2009
AdamB Bunger
Chattanooga, TN
Bronson
Estes Park, CO
[Hide Comment] Dear Trumpeterfrodo,
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.

Feb 10, 2010
Jaysen Henderson
Brooklyn NY
[Hide Comment] Adirondackrock.com is the guidebook for the region Dec 12, 2010