Type: Ice, 800 ft, 6 pitches, Grade II
FA: unknown
Page Views: 8,176 total · 56/month
Shared By: Adam Catalano on Feb 27, 2007
Admins: Jeffrey Dunn

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Buttermilk Falls is a prominent gully high on the left as you're heading up to Kaaterskill Clove from Palenville. Approach is well worth it for the 6 pitch NEI 3-4 climb. This climb has six fun pitches with about a one minute walk following each step. The steps are anywhere between 40 and 80 feet high. About half are WI3 and half WI4. The final pitch is a pillar that is by far the tallest, toughest and latest to come in.

Standard approach is from the parking lot on the left side of the road as you drive uphill past the Asbestos Wall.


Typical ice pro, use directionals at the top of each pitch and angle off to a tree for anchors.
Rap off trees back to packs.
Peep's republic
Dara   Peep's republic
This one is big fun; the approach can be a bit treacherous, especially if there is no snow, just wet leaves over slippery shale slabs. And take care not to punch through when crossing the creek. Jan 2, 2010
No need to rap P1, 2, 6, or 7. Look for tracks off to the side: climbers' right on P7, CL on the others. If you don't see fixed slings, it's because there's a walk-off. Lots of folks rap P7 and bust the ice underneath before it has a chance to fill in; please don't be that guy. Feb 8, 2010
Does any one know how how Buttermilk gets affected when there is a lot of snowfall? Avalanche danger? Feb 7, 2013
It is probably much easier to descend with a lot of snow especially with snowshoes. It can be treacherous with rocks and falling through ice with little snowpack. No avalanche hazard here. Feb 14, 2013
anyone know what township this is in ? Feb 27, 2013
I'm not a local and found Kaaterskill Falls proper (which is not on this site but had numerous easy, and very steep routes) instead of Buttermilk falls but I am fairly certain that it falls on 23A somewhere between Haines Falls and Palenville there is quite a bit of ice on that stretch. With the given directions I'm still unsure, more cross referencing to other parking areas and other routes will be required before I understand, but there is plenty of see a climb and walk to it options on 23A so that anybody could get by for a number of days down there. Mar 6, 2013
Ryan - there's a full page map in the Catskill Ice guidebook that makes the location of Buttermilk and the other Rt 23A climbs very clear. Mar 15, 2013
Albany, NY
TheIceManCometh   Albany, NY
Some approach beta...

The approach is fairly long. Dropping down to the steam from the parking lot bear left along the stream until you find a place to cross. Finding a place to cross can be difficult depending on how cold it has been. Definitely head downstream (left) .

Once across after you have trudged uphill to the logging road/trail head left again. Once you intercept the ravine head uphill. Don’t bother with the first small 20 ft ice you come across. Continue uphill for twenty minutes? Might have been 30 minutes. Seemed like a long time but that could have been partially because it is steep uphill. The first pitch to climb is apparent. It is 30 or 35 feet high. From there there are belay trees and rap anchors at the top of each pitch. Various route up each set of falls of varying difficulty 3/4. Feb 10, 2014
Jens Wachtel
New York, New York
Jens Wachtel   New York, New York
great ice climb area.
As of today, all falls are in a perfect condition. Mar 16, 2014
Fort Collins, CO
Kurtz   Fort Collins, CO
Per my GPS, the approach is just over 3/4 mile. It took us 45 mins. Everyone seems to use a different variation of the trail except where it takes a right up the ravine. Pretty hard to go too far wrong.

To clarify the comment above. The logging road is old and faint, but is the obvious place to walk. It parallels the stream about 35 yds. uphill. Mar 17, 2015