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Routes in Moss Island

Beer Crack TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Black Beauty TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Canes Crack TR 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Chunky Chimbly T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Climbski TR 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Clown, The TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Crucifix T,TR 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Curbar Edge TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Da Ma Was Here T 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
Dance on a Volcano TR 5.0 2- 4 I 6 MM 1c
Dany's Demise T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Dreamer is to Hard, The T,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Dreamer, The TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Educational Corner TR 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
Fearsome Fern Flake TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Fool's Overture TR 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Fred P. Jones TR 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Freddie Kreuger TR 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Goat Crack T,TR 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
Goat Crap or The Ladder T,TR 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
Good Boulder Problem V3 6A
Good Boulder Problems V-easy 3
Hang Man TR 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Jeff Loves Eileen T,TR 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Joker, The TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
La Mouche TR 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Lets Stand Him on His Head T,TR 5.1 2 6 II 7 MD 2a
Little Feat TR 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Looking Glass TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Loose Lobster TR 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Marvin Gardens T,TR 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
Moon Walk TR 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
More or Less T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Mother's Day Mayhem TR 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Mr. Smiley V5-6 6C+
Muntjack TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Older but Weissner TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
One Over The Hill T,TR 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
One to the Right, The TR 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Outside Looking in TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Playback T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Poof! You're a Pomegranite! TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Poof! You're an Avocado TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Power Tower T,TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Prince of Darkness TR 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Raid TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Roof Roof TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Seque T,TR 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Sit on It T 5.13+ 8b 30 X- 31 E7 7a A3
Sno-White TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Spider Web TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Spiderman TR 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Super Sonic Flake T,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Superman TR 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Thinker, The TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Thit or Tam Cam Loves You T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Triple Overhang TR 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Tumbleweed T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Un-named T,TR 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b R
Unhinged or the Hinge TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Unnamed TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Vegematic TR 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Warmup, The TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Who Put That There? TR 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
Windex TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

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.

Most routes are best suited for toproping, as placing bolts on Moss Island is not allowed and only a handful of routes accept good gear. However, the rock is generally very solid, and holds gear well. For toprope anchors, bring very long webbing or static line (50'+) for trees, a set of nuts and cams for sections where the trees are too far away, and webbing to sling the occasional boulder. 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)
Permit Not Currently Required Details

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.

65 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Moss Island

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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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
Nolan Huther
Clarkson University
Nolan Huther   Clarkson University
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
Many popular climbs now have bolts on the top for easily setting up top rope anchors. Nov 2, 2014
Mitch Hoffman
Fonda NY
Mitch Hoffman   Fonda NY
Moss Island guide currently at :

Thomannengineering Aug 10, 2010
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
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
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

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