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Buttermilk Falls 
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Buttermilk Falls 


Type:  Ice, 6 pitches, 800', Grade II
Original: WI3-4 [details]
Page Views: 6,901
Submitted By: Adam Catalano on Feb 27, 2007

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Unknown climber, the right pillar last pitch of Bu...


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.

Photos of Buttermilk Falls Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Buttermilk p3
Buttermilk p3
Rock Climbing Photo: Buttermilk, top pitch.
Buttermilk, top pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Upper falls (last pitch) of Buttermilk Falls.
Upper falls (last pitch) of Buttermilk Falls.
Rock Climbing Photo: pitch 4
pitch 4
Rock Climbing Photo: P1 of Buttermilk in the Catskills
BETA PHOTO: P1 of Buttermilk in the Catskills
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris with me belaying on the first pitch of Butte...
Chris with me belaying on the first pitch of Butte...
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris Gomez leading the left side of the first pit...
Chris Gomez leading the left side of the first pit...
Rock Climbing Photo: The top pitch.  This is the middle of what are usu...
BETA PHOTO: The top pitch. This is the middle of what are usu...
Rock Climbing Photo: The top two pitches of Buttermilk Falls, Catskills...
BETA PHOTO: The top two pitches of Buttermilk Falls, Catskills...
Rock Climbing Photo: P4(??) of BMF

Comments on Buttermilk Falls Add Comment
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By Dara
From: Boulder till winter
Jan 2, 2010

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.
By Gunkiemike
Feb 8, 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.
By MiguelC
Feb 7, 2013

Does any one know how how Buttermilk gets affected when there is a lot of snowfall? Avalanche danger?
By josh huntley
Feb 14, 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.
By susiQ
Feb 27, 2013

anyone know what township this is in ?
By Ryan and Jesse Morse-Brady
Mar 6, 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.
By Gunkiemike
Mar 15, 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.
By TheIceManCometh
From: Albany, NY
Feb 10, 2014

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.
By Jens Wachtel
From: New York, New York
Mar 16, 2014
rating: WI3-4

great ice climb area.
As of today, all falls are in a perfect condition.
By Kurtz
Mar 17, 2015

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.