Peterskill Rock Climbing
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A "miniature Gunks", Peterskill has the same type of rock (quartzite conglomerate), the same type of routes (filled with roofs and horizontal cracks), and uses similar gear--but is only one pitch high. It's the perfect place to get used to leading/seconding, TRing, and learning to build gear anchors. Bouldering at Peterskill is also popular. There is an access trail that runs along the entire top of the cliff with several places to descend to a similar access trail that runs along the bottom of the cliff; getting up top to set up a TR anchor is extremely easy.
Peterskill is home to the globally-rare Ridgeline Dwarf Pitch Pine - in fact, it's one of the largest stands of Pitch Pines in the United States; consequently, Minnewaska State Park has declared the Pitch Pines as protected.
If you don't know what a Pitch Pine looks like, then don't use ANY coniferous (pine) trees, just to be safe. Any tree used in an anchor should be padded in some way to protect against rope damage. Failure to comply with these rules can and will result in the closing of Peterskill to climbing.
According to Jorge Gomes, Assistant Park Manager at Minnewaska State Park (MSPP): MSPP does not require padding around trees, but they would however appreciate the use of it if possible. Using unpadded trees and pitch pines is allowed, but MSPP requests you use them in ways that does not cause the tree any damage. The use of static rope, slings, webbing, and cordellettes around trees is acceptable as long as they don't move around to cut/burn into the tree. Unacceptable: pulling your rope from rappelling directly off a tree (meaning no anchor between the tree and your rope), or using girth hitches (constricting around the trunk possibly breaking off bark).
Some of the routes at Peterskill have bolt anchors (Bunk Arete, Reach Around/Crack-a-lack, Captain's Log/Kling-On/Hanky/TP, The Scrotem Pole, Floops/Oops, Yellow Wallpaper and Psycho Cracks, Chalkboard wall, Skink, Fickle Fingers, Golden Dreams). Other than these, you'll have to build gear anchors. The anchor bolts exist due to the efforts of some of the guide services; they're the ONLY ones allowed to put in anchor bolts. Please do not add any without proper authorization.
The nicest thing about Peterskill--aside from the Gunks-quality rock and ease of access--is the fact that Minnewaska Preserve limits the number of climbers allow on-site per day. This tends to prevent the crowds you'll see at the Gunks. But get there early, or risk being turned away.
Please note that climbing is not permitted at Peterskill during the winter. You can check the status on their website.
An updated map is here
Entry Fees - Unfortunately, your Mohonk Preserve season pass will not work at Peterskill, and your Peterskill season pass won't work at the Trapps - the areas are under different management. For 2013, Peterskill pricing is:
$10 per climber / boulderer per day
100 climbers and 30 boulderers allowed in the climbing area at one time
Season pass: $90 per person
The park opens at 9am.
When you leave for the day - especially if you leave early - check out at the booth. This will 1) help the management keep track of who might still be out on the rock if someone goes missing, and 2) allow another climber in, if the max for the day has already been reached. For each climber that leaves, they'll allow another in.
Guidebook: In 2015, Mike Rawdon and Marty Molitoris published a new guidebook: A Rock Climber's Guide to the Peter's Kill Climbing Area - find it at Rock & Snow, at The Inner Wall, at the Peterskill center, or on on Ebay. The mobile version is available from the GunksApp folks.
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