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Routes in Phoenicia, Sportsman's Wall

Azucar S 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Bearly Hanging On S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Bearly Hanging On Direct S 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Crotalid S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Dirty V S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Elapsid S 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Half Pint -Trailhead Boulder V0-1 4+
It's easy to be brave... S 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Mid Life Crisis -Trailhead Boulder V5 6C
Monkey! - Trailhead Boulder V3-4 6A+
Niether S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Thunder Down Under S 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
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Elevation: 1,205 ft
GPS: 42.086, -74.306 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 14,386 total · 194/month
Shared By: Erik Pikas on Sep 18, 2012 with updates from kenr
Getting weather forecast...
Access Issue: Parking near private residences. Please be considerate. Details


The Sportsman's wall is in the touristy town of Phoenicia, also near some great Catskills hiking and decent restaurants. The wall hosts about 10 fun, well bolted, moderate (from 5.8-5.12) sport routes on sandstone. At one time the cliffs were part of the local quarrying industry, but have been abandoned since the early 1900's. Many of the bolts have been painted to blend in with the rock. You may need to look closely to find the start of some routes. The routes vary from short with massive overhangs to slopey. As with any sandstone some of the holds can be crumbly, but most are on quality rock. The Sportsman's Wall is in a beautiful forest setting occasionally visited by black bears (don't pet them) with great views from the tops of the pitches. Bolted anchors at the tops of the climbs. Many of the anchors require re-threading at the chains. Be sure you understand this procedure before you climb, or plan to leave 2 biners. You may be able to top rope harder routes by leading easier ones nearby, but attempting to reach the anchors from above is not recommended. Before you climb do not miss the pancakes at Sweet Sues! (Update: Sweet Sues is re-opening soon, in the meantime try the Phoenicia Diner or Brios for breakfast.) The Sportsman's Alamo Cantina is great for burgers, burritos and beer outside after your climb. Mamas Boy has good coffee and snacks. There is also a little grocery store that sells beer etc, and several campgrounds.

Getting There

From the NYS Thruway, take exit 19 (Kingston/Woodstock). Take Route 28 west about 27 miles to Phoenica. The town has two entrances from route 28. Take the first one (the eastern). Follow the road down a hill across some train tracks and a bridge to the main street. Drive across the main street.

Immediately after the post office on your right is a paved driveway to the town park. It looks like a residential driveway, but it's not. There is a wooden fence along the far edge of the driveway. This is the parking area. If it's full you can park in town and walk over.

From the parking area start flat across playground field NE 250 feet and cross a wooden footbridge. Look for a sign pointing you to the Tanbark Trail. Across the footbridge on the left there are three worthy but not very hard boulder problems. Follow the signed trail to the left of the boulders. Please avoid going directly up the drainage as this is leading to significant erosion. The trail winds upwards and crosses below some low chossey sandstone cliffs. You’ll follow beneath these for about 650 ft. These look like they have the potential for top-roping if cleaned a bit, but they are apparently on the property of the church across the street, I don't know if there are access issues.

Continue east on the blue trail, eventually moving let and coming to a T intersection in the trail (~3mins). There is a sign on the left that says this is a loop trail. Go right. Cross a double-log bridge over a small stream. Follow the trail uphill. Pass under a low fallen tree. Soon the trail makes a sharp turn to the left (uphill). At this point you can see evidence of an old very overgrown logging trail. Don't take this one. Continue uphill a bit further and you will see another, more obvious but still overgrown logging road on your right.

This is 0.4 miles from the trail head. (If you find yourself enjoying the view from Grandview Ledge, you have gone too far.) Turn right onto the logging road. You’ll only need to follow the road for about 325 feet. Almost immediately you will be able to see the anchors of the short, but very appealing Azucar (.10b) up on your left. Follow the remnants of the logging road up to where it peters out below the cliffs, then follow the path of least resistance to the base of the climbs. Total 15 minutes walking slowly.

The GPS location below is for the parking area. There are resident biners at most of the anchors. Bad Joo-joo if you take them.

12 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Phoenicia, Sportsman's Wall

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Bearly Hanging On
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Thunder Down Under
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Bearly Hanging On
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Thunder Down Under
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Sport
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Kelli R
Endicott, NY
Kelli R   Endicott, NY
Awesome, quiet spot for a day of great climbing!!! Sep 18, 2012
Erik Pikas
Las Vegas, NV
Erik Pikas   Las Vegas, NV
This is sandstone. It really needs a full day to dry out after rain. It is 1000 times more fun when dry. Oct 2, 2012
Nice remote place with an short and easy approach. If you don't like the crowds in the nearby Gunks on the weekends - or you don't lead trad, this is a good place to go.

Thanks a lot for showing us around Erik! It's always an great experience if you're getting introduced to a cliff by THE local.
Especially the easier climbs are still pretty dirty since the area is fairly new and the routes have been hardly climbed yet, but I'm sure they'll clean up nicely once the area becomes more commonly known.
Make sure it didn't rain heavily the day before. The slab on "Crotalid" was still soakingly wet because we didn't consider that. Oct 22, 2012
Found a helmet here today. pm me if its yours Mar 30, 2013
If it is green and black it is the masterminds behind these climbs. He left it there in case he forgets one sometime. Also more routes going up as we speak. Stay tuned for directions. Apr 2, 2013
Erik Pikas
Las Vegas, NV
Erik Pikas   Las Vegas, NV
There was an accident here on Sunday 5/5/13 related to re-threading the rope at the anchors/lowering. My most heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery for all involved.
Please, if you climb here (or anywhere) please make sure you understand how to re- thread your anchors, double check and make a clear plan for lowering vs rappelling with your belayer before you leave the ground. May 6, 2013
Walt Heenan
New Paltz, NY
Walt Heenan   New Paltz, NY
Any locals looking to climb here mid-week? Preferably afternoons or later.

Walt May 27, 2014
Erik Pikas
Las Vegas, NV
Erik Pikas   Las Vegas, NV
We finally added chains at the anchor of Neither, and per feedback of several climbers we moved a couple of the bolts higher, making the crux significantly safer. May 29, 2014
Pure Guava
Colorado Springs
Pure Guava   Colorado Springs
Hey Walt I am fairly local right near westerlo
I would love to check out this area May 31, 2014
Getting There
I visited in October 2015, and here's how I got there.
Drove to Phoenicia, NY, parked at the recreaction park on the NorthEast side of the village (GPS latitude longitude approx N42.0845 W74.3122).

Location of the climbing crag at (GPS lat long approx N42.0861 W74.3064)

Hiking approach Total about 400 vertical feet of uphill over a distance of 0.45 mile to get to the climbing crag - (125 vertical meters up over 0.7 km distance).
Typical hiking time 15-30 minutes.

My hiking approach was ...
Start flat across playground field NE 70 meters and cross a wooden bridge. See sign for Tanbark Trail. Next up through some boulders. Turn Left (NW) and go up on trail marked with blue plastic for about 50 meters. Then right and directly up slope a short ways. Then more Right (SSE) and go along the base of a sandstone cliff roughly horizontal for about 200 meters. Continue East on blue, then Left up a short ways to a T-intersection (N42.0851 W74.3093), with a sign saying that it's loop trail.

Turn Right onto the loop trail, marked with blue plastic, and go NNE about 100 meters, at first slightly down and immediately cross a two-log bridge across a little water-flow, then up a way and duck under a fallen tree. Next the trail curves Right a little, then curves up Left, gets wide, more up Left around to aiming North. About 150 meters after the fallen tree, the trail reaches a flat spot. Turn Right (East) off the trail onto an overgrown logging road and angle up about 100 meters to reach the Sportman's Wall cliff - (likely you're between the route Crotalid and the route It's Easy to Be Brave).

If the main blue trail turns sharp right and then you reach some sort of view down over the village of Phoenicia, you've gone too far . (Not surprisingly, this viewpoint is just above the middle of the top of the Sportsman's Wall cliff).

The cliff runs roughly WNW to ESE. To understand the route descriptions (as of 2015) linked from this page, I suggest first walking Left (WNW) along the base of the cliff to find the left-most route Azucar, big low roof. Oct 17, 2015
Tali Gutman
Sunnyvale, California
Tali Gutman   Sunnyvale, California
We were there today, here's how we got there:
Walk on the blue trail until the T junction (it's marked with a sign). Turn right, and follow the blue trail until you see a trail with a mossy boulder across from a blazed tree.
We added a photo of the turn spot for your convenience.
Sep 14, 2017
Erik Pikas
Las Vegas, NV
Erik Pikas   Las Vegas, NV
There are a couple of 12ish sport routes with fixed draws at a higher cliff. They are not posted because the volunteer fire department can not rescue you from up there. But if you’re adventurous and self sufficient go find them. You might need a brush for cleaning. No one has been up there in a while. If there are fixed lines on the anchors they are old and fair game to be cut. The anchors are ½”x5 ¾” Stainless Steel. Feb 21, 2018

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