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Peterskill Rock Climbing 

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Location: 41.7389, -74.2179 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: JSH, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Taino Grosjean on Dec 13, 2006

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BETA PHOTO: Topo of the Lower Peter's Kill cliffs. The one fro...


A "miniature Gunks", Peterskill has the same type of rock (quartzite conglomerate), the same type of routes (filled with roofs and horizontal cracks), and uses similar gear--but is only one pitch high. It's the perfect place to get used to leading/seconding, TRing, and learning to build gear anchors. Bouldering at Peterskill is also popular. There is an access trail that runs along the entire top of the cliff with several places to descend to a similar access trail that runs along the bottom of the cliff; getting up top to set up a TR anchor is extremely easy.

Peterskill is home to the globally-rare Ridgeline Dwarf Pitch Pine - in fact, it's one of the largest stands of Pitch Pines in the United States; consequently, Minnewaska State Park has declared the Pitch Pines as protected, and not to be used in any way as part of an anchor. If you don't know what a Pitch Pine looks like, then don't use ANY coniferous (pine) trees, just to be safe. Also, any tree used in an anchor should be padded in some way to protect against rope damage. Failure to comply with these rules can and will result in the closing of Peterskill to climbing.

Some of the routes at Peterskill have bolt anchors (Bunk Arete, Reach Around/Crack-a-lack, Captain's Log/Kling-On/Hanky/TP, The Scrotem Pole, Floops/Oops, Yellow Wallpaper and Psycho Cracks, Chalkboard wall, Skink, Fickle Fingers, Golden Dreams). Other than these, you'll have to build gear anchors. Also, since most of the trees closest to the cliff edge are Pitch Pines, it's important to bring along enough static line/webbing to reach back to the allowable trees. The anchor bolts exist due to the efforts of some of the guide services; they're the ONLY ones allowed to put in anchor bolts. Please do not add any without proper authorization.

The nicest thing about Peterskill--aside from the Gunks-quality rock and ease of access--is the fact that Minnewaska Preserve limits the number of climbers allow on-site per day. This tends to prevent the crowds you'll see at the Gunks. But get there early, or risk being turned away.

There is a thin guidebook available; check at Rock & Snow. Unfortunately, the guide doesn't have several of the new routes listed. There were plans to revamp the guidebook and include new pictures and the new routes; however, that has stalled and shows no signs of reviving. An updated map is here

Entry Fees - Unfortunately, your Mohonk Preserve season pass will not work at Peterskill, and your Peterskill season pass won't work at the Trapps - the areas are under different management. For 2013, Peterskill pricing is:

$10 per climber / boulderer per day
100 climbers and 30 boulderers allowed in the climbing area at one time
Season pass: $90 per person

When you leave for the day - especially if you leave early - check out at the booth. This will 1) help the management keep track of who might still be out on the rock if someone goes missing, and 2) allow another climber in, if the max for the day has already been reached. For each climber that leaves, they'll allow another in.

Guidebook: In 2015, Mike Rawdon and Marty Molitoris published a new guidebook: A Rock Climber's Guide to the Peter's Kill Climbing Area - find it at Rock & Snow, at The Inner Wall, at the Peterskill center, or on on Ebay. The mobile version is available from the GunksApp folks.

Getting There 

Peterskill is located approximately 1.4 miles past the West Trapps Parking Area for the Gunks; continue along 44/55 past the Trapps lot, and you'll see the Minnewaska State Park - Peterskill Climbing Area sign on your right. From the parking lot to the cliffs is no more than a few minutes walk; even at the furthest climbing wall, you're not more than 10 minutes from the parking lot.

Climbing Season

Weather station 4.1 miles from here

158 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',53],['2 Stars',76],['1 Star',17],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Peterskill

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Peterskill:
Slumber Party   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   b. Bunkbed Wall
Night Owl   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   b. Bunkbed Wall
Cool Hand Luke   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   j. Scrotum Pole/Drive in Ar...
Bunk Arete   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   b. Bunkbed Wall
Slot Machine   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   s. The Golden Wall
The Kling-On   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 40'   g. Enterprise Wall
First Day   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   f. Tom's Wall & Next West F...
Santa's Escape   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b X     TR, 1 pitch, 65'   k. Oops Wall
Skink   5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   r. Lou's Wall
Reach Around   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   f. Tom's Wall & Next West F...
Psycho Crack Right   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   m. Psycho Wall
Pop Quiz   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   q. Chalkboard Wall
Dunce's Corner   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   q. Chalkboard Wall
Pencil & Johnny's Arete   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 65'   k. Oops Wall
The Golden Dream   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   s. The Golden Wall
The Yellow Wallpaper   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   m. Psycho Wall
Crack-A-Lack   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R     TR, 1 pitch, 55'   f. Tom's Wall & Next West F...
Oops   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 75'   k. Oops Wall
Fickle Fingers   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   s. The Golden Wall
Floops   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 75'   k. Oops Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Peterskill

Featured Route For Peterskill
Rock Climbing Photo: The line plus cam placements to avoid big swings

Writer's Block 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b  New York : The Gunks : ... : q. Chalkboard Wall
This is the single route up the wall just to the right of Standardized Testing and Dunces Corner. The climb ascends mainly up the center of the wall moving slightly left along the way.See JoeNY's comment below for a more detailed description....[more]   Browse More Classics in New York

Photos of Peterskill Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo of the Lower Peter's Kill cliffs. The one fro...
BETA PHOTO: Topo of the Lower Peter's Kill cliffs. The one fro...
Rock Climbing Photo: Peterskill in the Fall 2016
Peterskill in the Fall 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Peterskill Fall 2016
Peterskill Fall 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Saw this toprope setup at Peterskill a few weeks a...
BETA PHOTO: Saw this toprope setup at Peterskill a few weeks a...
Rock Climbing Photo: Map of the area with major walls. From the guidebo...
BETA PHOTO: Map of the area with major walls. From the guidebo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking at rap station above Psycho Crack.
Looking at rap station above Psycho Crack.

Comments on Peterskill Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 12, 2016
By Tabo
Aug 31, 2009
Peterskill is really a great place for beginners.

It can be a great place for learning to lead... but beware! I've had a few ropes come whizzing past while on lead, one in a rope bag almost took me out. Most people are there to toprope, and if they don't see an anchor at the top, they don't expect anyone to be leading from below.

So take care leading at PK.

Other info:
PK has bathrooms, with running water, so it can be more kid/beginner friendly.

The parking lot closes at dusk. Once they close the gate, you won't be able to get your car out of the lot.
By Pat Langendorfer
From: Muncie, IN
Mar 19, 2011
I was up there in September 2010, and didn't see any snakes, BUT it isn't just the copperheads you need to look out for. There are definitely rattlesnakes too. thankfully most of the nesting areas have been marked off by park staff, but beware when plugging gear for top anchors around the Khadejha Area. Don't end up in the hospital!
By Tommy Ormond
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jul 18, 2012
Why are so many comments about copperheads at Peterskill here on Mountain Project?

I lived on Trapps road and at Split Rock for a few years, worked as a Preserve Ranger and a Minnewaska State Park Ranger, spend years of my life at the Peterskill doing everything from climbing to dirtbiking out there. There are plenty of snakes, copperheads and rattlers all over. My friends dog got into a copperhead once, it was bad. Beware all over the Gunks for those little dudes.
By Tommy Ormond
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jul 23, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Gunks rattler
Gunks rattler
By DavidTighe
From: Cleveland, Ohio
May 15, 2014
Does anybody know the current state of anchor bolts in this area? I'm trying to figure out what I need to bring for top roping (assuming I can't build a gear anchor). I have 100ft of static line and 50/30/15 of webbing.

The description here says there are very few anchor bolts but I heard many anchors have been bolted since this was written.
May 15, 2014
Hi David, there have been several bolt anchors place since (I've updated the main Peterskill page just now with some route names). Individual route descriptions do tend to have more details in them, so browse around.
By Doug C
Jun 23, 2014
I've never been to Peterskill but heard great things. 2 questions: Does this place fill up early on weekends? I want to take my kids (8 and 10) climbing here and need some easy routes to get their confidence up after last time I took them. Any spots you highly suggest at Peterskill?
Jun 23, 2014
Hi Doug, as it says above - it does tend to fill up early, probably by 9 or so. Breakfast wall might do well for your kids, lots of easier routes (gear anchors, tho).
By Doug C
Jun 23, 2014
Thanks - if I am looking to tie onto bolts, trees (not the endangered kind), or rocks and still need a fairly easy route are there some places on the Breakfast wall?
By MojoMonkey
Jun 25, 2014
I can't seem to find the info anywhere, but I thought they opened at 9AM? It seems you are implying they open earlier if they tend to be full by 9AM. All I can find is that Minnewaska opens at 9AM. Can't find if $10 is still the day fee either.

Update: Someone answered the phone today and confirmed they open at 9AM and it is $10 per climber.
By andylei
Apr 28, 2015
I called them and asked if one could get into the park before 9am. She answered, "not legally".
By Arthur Torrey
From: North Billerica MA
Jul 29, 2015
Re comments on getting in - Based on my trip there as part of the Paradox adaptive climbing group.... Yes, they open at 9:00, and not a moment earlier. (Though the park employees seem to be there much earlier) BUT the line starts forming WAY earlier! The admissions shack is most of the way down the hill to the parking area but by 8:30 or so, the line was already backed all the way back up and onto the highway....

I don't know if it is possible for individuals or not, but they have a release form to sign (the usual Climbing is Dangerous, etc. stuff) and our group was able to get copies to fill out while we were waiting, and that helps to speed the process of getting in...
By Gunkiemike
Mar 19, 2016
The guidebook should be available by now at the PK office. So convenient! The app will be out later this Spring. Mid-May maybe.
By crackatoa
From: Boulder,Co
Apr 6, 2016
So I know I've seen a photo of a big wide crack in peterskill but I can't remember where.. it's covered in lichen on both sides but the crack looks clean.. anyone know what I'm talking about?
By Gunkiemike
Apr 27, 2016
Crak - you thinking of Bro Crack?
By Gunkiemike
May 12, 2016
Peterskill app is released today! Another great product from the GunksApp guys.

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