Elevation: 373 ft
GPS: 43.039, -74.848 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 25,222 total · 164/month
Shared By: Jeff Welch on Jun 5, 2006 with updates from James Maughan
Admins: Jim Lawyer
Getting weather forecast...
Access Issue: Permit Not Currently Required Details

Description

Moss Island is the most popular crag at Little Falls, and a good place to spend a day toproping or to bring new climbers to. The main cliff band is on the southern edge of the island and faces south, making it very hot on sunny summer days. The northern side of the island features several boulder problems, which stay much cooler in the summer. It is often called an "outdoor climbing gym."

I have yet to hear a definitive determination of the rock type at Moss Island. Some say it is gneiss; some say it is black granite. Regardless, Moss Island was victim to severe grafitti in years past, and while the paint is slowly wearing off, some still remains. The un-painted areas offer decent friction properties and a range of small edges and rounded slopers. The angle of the walls is quite varied, with several slabs, vertical walls, and steep overhangs.

Leading: Only a handful of routes accept good gear for leading. The rock is generally very solid, and holds gear well. Other than top anchors, not there are no protection bolts on Moss Island.

Toproping: Many of the routes have top bolts for anchors on Moss Island.  You will need long webbing to set up climbs since many of the bolts are at least 1'-4' back from the edge. Access to the top is easily gained at either end of the cliff, or via one of the many 3rd class ascent/descent routes along the wall.

Routes range from 5.0 to 5.12c, with everything in between. That said, sandbagging is a bit of a tradition here. Every inch of this wall has been climbed at some point or another, don't even think about a first ascent. The now out-of-print guidebook lists around 100 named routes; some good, some bad, some incredibly contrived. Good and popular routes of various grades include:

Jeff Loves Eileen (5.4)
The Thinker (5.7)
Older but Weissner (5.8)
Sno-White (5.8)
The Dreamer (5.9)
Curbar Edge (5.9)
Triple Overhang (5.10a)
Fool's Overture (5.10a)
Fred P. Jones (5.10+)
Spiderman (5.11d)
One Over The Hill (5.12c)

Getting There

Follow Route 169 from the NY State Thruway until you reach the large bridge spanning the river (Theodore S. Wind bridge). Just before the bridge, there is a very small road on the left with a small sign. Slow down more than you think, as there's a blind but avoidable hole that your car's suspension won't enjoy! Park in the lot under the bridge and walk up the road to the lock. Walk across the lock and followed the paved road next to the river to the cliffs.

Make sure not to park under one of the downspouts from the bridge. If it rains, your car will get thoroughly blasted.

68 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Moss Island Change
Type:  to 
Quality:
Pitches:
Sort by:   then:
 

Classic Climbing Routes at Moss Island

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
 30
Jeff Loves Eileen
Trad, TR
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 13
Tumbleweed
Trad
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 4
Climbski
TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 15
The Thinker
TR
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
 5
Crucifix
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 9
Sno-White
TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 4
Beer Crack
TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 7
Curbar Edge
TR
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 8
The Dreamer
TR
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 10
Fred P. Jones
TR
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Jeff Loves Eileen
 30
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad, TR
Tumbleweed
 13
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad
Climbski
 4
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a TR
The Thinker
 15
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b TR
Crucifix
 5
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Trad, TR
Sno-White
 9
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c TR
Beer Crack
 4
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c TR
Curbar Edge
 7
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a TR
The Dreamer
 8
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b TR
Fred P. Jones
 10
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c TR
More Classic Climbs in Moss Island »

Sun & Shade

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Photos

Owen Silver
Boulder, CO
Owen Silver   Boulder, CO
A bit of history: Many of the harder routes were first climbed by Chris Davis circa 1978 - 1982. Chris lived at the time in Clinton, NY where his parents were professors at Hamilton College, my alma mater. We climbed and bouldered frequently in Little Falls in those days and had a blast. Chris is now a film maker living in Paris. There are at least 2 guidebooks to the area, the first co-authored by Chris Davis and RL Stoltz in 1982 and featured Chris’s excellent sketches of the crags. (I wish I still had a copy.)

Chris' first ascents include:
Spiderman - 5.11d
Windex - 5.11, solo
Devil's Corner - 5.11b
Help On The Way - 5.10d
Little Feat - 5.10d Nov 27, 2007
Jeff Welch
Denver, CO
Jeff Welch   Denver, CO
Thanks for the history, Owen. I've updated the routes I submitted with FA info. If anyone else has any historical info to add please email me and I'll update my existing stuff. And, please feel free to add routes to the database! Although I no longer live in NY, Little Falls was home to many a day trip for me. Aug 1, 2008
Looks like someone has been projecting the harder stuff as of late. There is copious amounts of chalk on most of the good climbs. Nov 21, 2009
Mitch Hoffman
Fonda NY
Mitch Hoffman   Fonda NY
Moss Island guide currently at :

Thomannengineering Aug 10, 2010
Austin Benincasa
Barneveld, New York
Austin Benincasa   Barneveld, New York
Many popular climbs now have bolts on the top for easily setting up top rope anchors. Nov 2, 2014
Nolan Huther
Potsdam, NY
Nolan Huther   Potsdam, NY
What is the best length of cordage/webbing to use for setting up anchors off trees on non-bolted routes? Would 30ft be good or is 50ft better? Jun 26, 2015
Austin Benincasa
Barneveld, New York
Austin Benincasa   Barneveld, New York
Nolan, I would say 50 feet to be on the safe side. Most of the larger stronger trees a bit away from the edge of the cliff. There is also a lot of good gear placements at the top of the climbs to build anchors. Jul 16, 2015