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Climbing On Shale Rocks


Original Post
Nick Cavallo · · Massachusetts · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 1,293

Hello, I was reading up on a few place I would want to develop when it becomes summer and I though it'd be fun to do this. Although almost all the rock in upstate New York is shale. Shale isn't very common where I live (Massachusetts) and I know almost nothing about it. So I was wondering if I would be able to climb on it, at what points should I climb on it (ex. if it rains don't climb,) or if I should use glue-in bolts on sport routes. Thanks if you know the info!

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 14,716
Nick Cavallo wrote: almost all the rock in upstate New York is shale

Sounds like a question for the MountainProject Northeastern States forum.

David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2
Nick Cavallo wrote: Hello, I was reading up on a few place I would want to develop when it becomes summer and I though it'd be fun to do this. Although almost all the rock in upstate New York is shale. Shale isn't very common where I live (Massachusetts) and I know almost nothing about it. So I was wondering if I would be able to climb on it, at what points should I climb on it (ex. if it rains don't climb,) or if I should use glue-in bolts on sport routes. Thanks if you know the info!

Generally speaking shale is choss.  It is soft, and layered, won't hold gear, won't hold bolts, and breaks pretty easily.


I wonder, also, how you define "upstate" New York.  There's a heck of a lot of granite in the Adirondacks, and that looks pretty up-state from my point of view.
Daniel Winder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 100

Most of your questions would be easily answered if you actually went and looked at the rock in question.

Ashort · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 35

My experience with shale is that it is brittle. I'm leaning towards thinking that if you have to ask the question and don't understand rock types and strengths you shouldn't be developing. 

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490

There are plenty of places where people climb on shale, it´s variable between a bit soft and kinda hard  
There´s a large area which is climbed on in South West England called the Culm Coast, here´s a typical article about the climbing there http://javu.co.uk/Climbing/Articles/RubbleTrubble/index.shtml It´s trad climbing but not as you know it, not a place for the "if you ain´t falling you ain´t trying" type of climber.

This guy asked about shale in NY a few years ago https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/111534158/bolting-shale-for-mixed-climbing 

Max Supertramp · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 65

"developing" shale.  Ha!  every subsequent ascent will constitute chipping.  there is good shale and there is bad shale.  there is colluvium and alluvium mixed in.  the limy layers take bolts best, imo.  find your way.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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