Crane Mountain Rock Climbing
The summit used to house a fire tower. The support blocks are still visible in the rocks, along with a few mountain markers dated around 1946. Remnants of the care-taker's house are also visible behind the summit. When reading up on the area, you may notice that a "ladder" is mentioned. There are two physical ladders (made of wood) on the summit trail: the lower, shorter one passes a small steep slab, the taller, upper one breaks through the summit cliff.
The largest town nearby is Johnsburg. However, you'll get more accurate weather reports by searching for Thurman, NY.
Crane Mountain is not one climbing locale, but many small crags spread across several miles of mountainside. Starting points and approach routes for many of these locales varies greatly. Currently, the most popular areas lie along an unofficial trail known as the East Path. The summit cliffs also see a fair share of climbers.
Crane has cliffs up to 320' tall, though most are a pitch or less. Until 2009, none were very concentrated with climbs; a few have now become destinations in and of themselves. The rock is solid, but dirty due to little climbing traffic. The bases of climbs can also be a gamble between slanted ground, several inches of brush, pine needles and sticks, rock, dirt, moss, or a mixture of all.
Approaches can be long if hiking from the base (approx. 1.4 miles). To the pond is 1.1 miles. Give yourself an hour to reach the summit cliffs. Most of the summit climbs can be approached from the summit via rappel, which may be easier than bushwhacking.
The surroundings are spectacular. One of the most notable hiking destinations is Crane Mountain Pond, which lies halfway up the mountain. On a warm summer's day, you may even enjoy a swim. The floor is largely rocky, and the water is very clear.
There's prime real estate for camping on this mountain. The ground is soft, and the water near the pond offers a good source of H2O. The downside is that camping at the pond offers a one-hour hike to the summit, and isn't central to any of the climbing destinations. There ARE spots to camp near the summit. Explore for these, and it makes the adventure that much better. Be advised that in the Adirondacks, camping is allowed on State Land if you are 150' away from roads, trails, and water, unless otherwise posted. Crane Mountain isn't in the Eastern High Peaks Region, meaning that a bear canister is not legally required (although it's still a good idea.)
Bugs are BAD in the spring, particularly May and June. The summit offers slight relief from the swarming fury at the base, but attempting to climb during the height of bug season adds significantly to the difficulty.
Turn R on Athol Road (this turn is easy to miss). Athol Road curves a lot, swinging sharply right and passing through the hamlet of Athol, then swings left and goes uphill for about a mile. At the top of the hill turn R on Mountain Rd. Stay on Mountain Road its entire length, until you come to a stop sign. Here, you go left (-ish, it's almost straight ahead) onto Valley Road. Drive about a mile and turn L on Garnet Lake Rd. Drive about 1-1/3 miles and turn R on Sky High Rd (which may be spelled Ski Hi)
NOTE: if the bridge is out, continue past Sky High Rd. 1/4 mile and turn sharply right onto Putnam Cross Road to regain it.
Drive to the bitter, rough end of the road. At the end, about 1 1/2 miles up, is a parking lot.
From the trailhead, there are two official trails and one climber's trail. One official trail heads straight up the mountain, the other goes west along the base before turning upward to reach the pond. The climber's trail heads east along the base of the mountain.
Crane Mountain has many climbing areas scattered along its SW and SE flanks, and of course, along its summit ridge. For places like the Wayout Wall and Beaverview Walls, the west hiking trail is the best access. For the Viewpoint Slab, Brown Slabs, and Summit cliffs, the summit trail is used. Since 2007, much of the development on Crane has focused on the South Corner Cliffs and Black Arches Wall, which are accessed via the climber's path.
The new Adirondack guidebook Adirondack Rock by Jim Lawyer and Jeremy Haas is extremely helpful, a "must-have" for this and many of the lesser-known Adirondack climbing areas.
Classic Climbing Routes at Crane Mountain
Days w Precip