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Best beginner toprope ice in Adirondacks


Original Post
El Duderino · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 70

Now that old man winter is around the corner, what are people's favorite beginner toprope ice climbing spots in the Adirondacks?  

Kevin Heckeler · · Upstate New York · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,407

Pitchoff (Quarry).  There's a few spots in Chapel Pond canyon that have walk arounds for setting up a top rope.

Both places can get crowded though when ice is in.  An early start helps.

Valerie Ann · · West Sand Lake, NY · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 35

Lock Ness. It is also a good spot to go early in the season because when the ice is thin there are some interesting mixed lines. 

Also, just west of where you park for Lock Ness there is another line of cliffs that get some ice. A friend and I did some lines in there a few years back but never reported anything because we did find an old anchor on a tree. Not sure if anything is published in the new Blue Lines. We were going to call it 'Lock Less" (haha). 


Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480
Valerie Bachinsky wrote:

Lock Ness. It is also a good spot to go early in the season because when the ice is thin there are some interesting mixed lines. 

Also, just west of where you park for Lock Ness there is another line of cliffs that get some ice. A friend and I did some lines in there a few years back but never reported anything because we did find an old anchor on a tree. Not sure if anything is published in the new Blue Lines. We were going to call it 'Lock Less" (haha). 


 Ha! A friend and I went to the pass one 45 degree day to scope things out. Everything was falling down and dangerous AND crowded of course. We drove up to Loch Ness seeing how it's higher elevation. We came across the spot you're talking about. It's pretty low angle and nothing special. Great for my friends first lead though.

 OP: Check out Blue Lines 2. There's Chiller Pillar, Pitchoff Right, Pitchoff Quarry, Loch Ness, there's a spot across from all the multipitch lines at NFOP. 

Luc-514 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 9,087
Kevin Heckeler wrote:

Pitchoff (Quarry).  There's a few spots in Chapel Pond canyon that have walk arounds for setting up a top rope.

Both places can get crowded though when ice is in.  An early start helps.

The Quarry is not a beginner cliff, that's generally WI4 in there, Look more at Pitchoff right, where all the guided groups go.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,785
Valerie Bachinsky wrote:

Lock Ness. It is also a good spot to go early in the season because when the ice is thin there are some interesting mixed lines. 

Also, just west of where you park for Lock Ness there is another line of cliffs that get some ice. A friend and I did some lines in there a few years back but never reported anything because we did find an old anchor on a tree. Not sure if anything is published in the new Blue Lines. We were going to call it 'Lock Less" (haha). 


Sounds like it might be the "Irene's Gift" area. It's in BL2. Left of, and just a touch lower than, the main LN cliff. Top out Irene's (named b/c AFAIK it was a slide that Hurr. Irene opened up) as one long or two short pitches and it's a short walk up through the woods to the "other, other" LN cliff, home to "Groove Thang".

Valerie Ann · · West Sand Lake, NY · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 35
Gunkiemike wrote:

Sounds like it might be the "Irene's Gift" area. It's in BL2. Left of, and just a touch lower than, the main LN cliff. Top out Irene's (named b/c AFAIK it was a slide that Hurr. Irene opened up) as one long or two short pitches and it's a short walk up through the woods to the "other, other" LN cliff, home to "Groove Thang".

Not sure. To access the area I am thinking about you would have to go right. So, if you are on route 9N where you start into Lock Ness you would venture along route 9N to the right until you see a drainage and head in. Looking at a map tho it is to the left. It really is nothing special...has a couple steep short lines and one low-angle wide flow. I thought I had it all written down somewhere but cannot find it. 

'LESS' on the map.

Edit-Mike, I think I know what you're talking about now. The new low angle ice flow that you pass on the way to Lock Ness?

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,785

OK, your LESS is certainly not the IG slab area. And I suppose, depending how one approached LN, yes you could pass IG on your way in. We've always been to hikers' right of the small drainage as we come up and the main LN cliff comes in on our left. Pretty much according to BL directions.

Kevin Heckeler · · Upstate New York · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,407
Luc-514 wrote:

The Quarry is not a beginner cliff, that's generally WI4 in there, Look more at Pitchoff right, where all the guided groups go.

You're absolutely right, I meant Pitchoff Right (although I've only climbed at the Quarry).


You mean WI4 isn't the new WI2 by now?  Like 5.10 is the new 5.6 standard for beginners?  :p

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,785
Kevin Heckeler wrote:

You're absolutely right, I meant Pitchoff Right (although I've only climbed at the Quarry).


You mean WI4 isn't the new WI2 by now?  Like 5.10 is the new 5.6 standard for beginners?  :p

A rock climber capable of getting up, say, 5.8 should be able to enjoy themselves at the Quarry. A few hangs perhaps, but it's no joke that modern tools make near-vertical ice "fairly straightforward". I say this having watched countless first-timers find their way up steep ice.

OP - it's worth mentioning that Pitchoff Right is quite possibly the most heavily used toprope ice crag (meaning no leading required; there's a vast amount of TR action in other spots like Chapel Pond Canyon but typically someone needs to gun the rope up on those flows) in the Adirondacks.

The Chiller Pillar area is another option, especially if you're north of Keene-Lake Placid. The beginner ice there is off to the left.

Kevin Heckeler · · Upstate New York · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,407
Gunkiemike wrote:

A rock climber capable of getting up, say, 5.8 should be able to enjoy themselves at the Quarry. A few hangs perhaps, but it's no joke that modern tools make near-vertical ice "fairly straightforward". I say this having watched countless first-timers find their way up steep ice.

That describes me!  :-D

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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