Elevation: 1,199 ft
GPS: 42.663, -74.021 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: RJ B on Aug 1, 2017 · Updates
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Description

Thacher Park hosts the newest climbing area in the Northeast and is one of the few sport climbing areas in the region. The area has steep limestone sport climbing on hard smooth faces and bulging overhangs and roofs. The rock varies from a lower layer with horizontal strata to a main upper layer hosting most of the climbs.

At Thacher, climbers have their own special use area separate from the Indian Ladder Trail area. When visiting for the first time, you are required to visit the Park Visitors Center and pick up a FREE waiver with a permit number. PLEASE bring a pre-filled waiver (available on the Park's website here) so that the process can go smoothly, especially if you have a larger group

You must sign both in-to and out of the logbook, located in the kiosk at the top of the crevice, with your valid permit number EACH time you visit.  When you are in this area you will have to follow additional rules including no-off route or off-trail travel, no trad climbing, and to follow all Leave-No-Trace principles.

While the area has moderate routes, most of the lines are over 5.10 due to the nature of the rock. Unlike many areas, you park at the top and access the base of the cliff via the Helmus Crevice. The crack takes you to the bottom where a trail system fans out to access routes clustered into sections. The cliff line is continuous so this crack is the only legal entry. Private property butts against the ends of the climbing zone. Climbing is only permitted in the Hailes Cliff South and the Horseshoe North Cliff areas and only on routes listed in the official guidebook.

60m ropes or longer are recommended. A stick clip is useful as many routes start with a crux overhang.

Getting There

Google Maps address point: 60-76 Hales Cave Rd. Altamont, NY 12009. This area is accessible from three main directions.

If coming from Western NY via I-90, you will travel on a series of windy small roads to get to the Park. It is easiest to just use google because there are a lot of turns. In general: I-90 -> NY-162 south -> NY-20 east -> NY-146 -> NY-157.

If coming from the southwest via I-88, you'll get off at Central Bridge and follow most of the directions above. 

If using I-87 from either direction, just find your way to 85 west and follow that until you see signs for Thacher. 

You must pay for parking at the little green kiosks near the attendant booth (may be staffed or not). There is a nominal parking fee of $6 during the normal Park season (May 1st to Oct. 31st); the green kiosk will tell you if you need to pay or not if you are unsure. The annual NYS Parks Empire Pass is valid for Thacher State Park and available through the State Parks website.

Park in the Hailes Cave lot (slightly left after paying) to access the climbing area. Do not park in the Horseshoe Lot, there is no access down to climbing from there and rappelling is illegal due to loose rock on the cliff-top area.

Thacher Climbing Coalition

This is the organization that made climbing happen at Thacher State Park. You can support ongoing efforts to try to get ice climbing legalized and expand sport climbing at the park by donating at climbthacher.org/swag. The GunksApps guidebook helps support the organization by donating 50% of the guide coast back to the TCC.

To learn more visit the TCC at www.climbthacher.org or email info@climbthacher.org if you have any questions.

Get the guidebook from GunksApps at gunksapps.com/

Rules

Please visit climbthacher.org/visit for the latest rules.

The NYS Police are very active in enforcing the 30 mph speed limit on the main road (Route 157) and 15 mph on internal park roads.

Sport rock climbing is the only type of climbing currently permitted at Thacher Park. Trad and off-route top-roping is not permitted. Rappelling from the cliff top for climbing access purposes is prohibited with the exception of sanctioned rescue and development work. Rappelling from the installed anchors is permitted when cleaning a route. Otherwise, all route access is from the bottom.

Dogs are NOT allowed in the climbing area but are allowed in the rest of the Park with current rabies vaccination and must be leashed (6') at all times. 

Guidebooks

GunksApps smartphone guide: Download the GunksApps from the play store or apple store for free and buy the Thacher guide book license for $9.99 which includes lifetime updates as new routes are developed. Includes GPS coordinate navigation as well as high-res route images and topo. This is currently the only guidebook available. 

Camping

Thompson's Lake Campground is about two miles away and is open from the beginning of May to Mid-October. This is a full-service campground with warm showers, new bathrooms, RV hookups, and a sizeable lake with a beach, boating, and plenty of fishing for rest days.

There are many State Forests that allow primitive camping within 30 minutes of the Park. Check out the NYS DECinfo Locator map for links to the individual State Forests and the specific rules for each area.

60 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Thacher State Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 34
Pow Wow
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 44
The Wizard of Schenectady
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 54
Tossin Ze Chossin
Sport
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
 29
Steinmetz Slab
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 23
Battle of the Bulge
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 35
Jibs 'n' Jugs
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 15
Hailes Traverse aka Not the Fitz…
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 27
Winkler's Bushwack
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 30
Mutt
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 35
Dragon Kite
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 28
Theophany
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 20
Lucifugus
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 14
Cosmik Debris
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 14
Permian Extinction
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 16
Crimptogramma Stelleri
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Pow Wow Hailes Cave South > Haven Wall
 34
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Sport
The Wizard of Schenectady Hailes Cave South > Mahican Section
 44
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Tossin Ze Chossin Hailes Cave South > Mahican Section
 54
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Steinmetz Slab Hailes Cave South > Mahican Section
 29
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c Sport
Battle of the Bulge Horseshoe N Cliff > Hyphen Section
 23
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Jibs 'n' Jugs Hailes Cave South > Haven Wall
 35
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Hailes Traverse aka Not the… Hailes Cave South > Cave Wall
 15
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Winkler's Bushwack Hailes Cave South > Mahican Section
 27
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Mutt Horseshoe N Cliff > Dark Block
 30
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Dragon Kite Horseshoe N Cliff > Dark Block
 35
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Theophany Hailes Cave South > Haven Wall
 28
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Lucifugus Hailes Cave South > Cave Wall
 20
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Cosmik Debris Horseshoe N Cliff > Dark Block
 14
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Permian Extinction Horseshoe N Cliff > Fossil Wall
 14
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Crimptogramma Stelleri Hailes Cave South > Mahican Section
 16
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
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