The largest rock climbing area within an hour's drive from New York City -- in the southwest corner of Harriman State Park. The rock of Powerlinez can easily be seen when driving north on the New York Thruway, just a couple miles north from the big interchange of routes 87 + 287 + 17 at the southern border of NY state with New Jersey.
It's big but it's not tall. It has many interesting rocks for bouldering
, but for rope-protected climbing the highest wall is about 80 feet. There are a couple of sectors higher than 50 feet, but most of the roped climbing cliffs are less than 50 feet tall -- good mostly for top-roping, but also some trad leading, and five short routes with bolts.
Waiver of Liability form must be submitted elsewhere before arriving, but there is no fee for climbing. Rock
is mainly granitic gneiss, which is hard metamorphic rock. But there had to be weaker parts to erode in order to form steep cliffs for us to enjoy climbing -- so of course now some of the climbable rock is loose or breakable, especially as it's only starting to get climbed much - (If you don't want to deal with that, better wait a few years).
This gneiss rock tends to have lots of interesting holds aimed in different directions -- and mostly high-friction (some would say "abrasive", or sometimes even "sharp") -- which together make for a high "density" of interesting climbing sequences. So ... Climbing
... it's easy to find sectors with lots of good Bouldering
problems close together. And also ...
Top-Roping several interesting lines close together works for many of the sectors (using a top anchor with a static line cleverly arranged so it can be quickly moved from one climbing line to the next alongside). From the work of setting up one route, you get to climb several short interesting lines - (which helps compensate for Powerlinez being not tall).
Leading: There are some nice single-pitch routes which can be protected with Trad equipment on the Tower Wall, also some shorter Trad-protectable routes in other sectors. Bolts? There are five routes with some bolts at Powerlinez -- but these bolts were there already before the area was officially opened, so the composition + strength + durability of that hardware is unknown, and they are not inspected or maintained by the TVCC or the Park - (Concern that Powerlinez might be in high-corrosion region for steel: with acid rain from the west, and salt water 40 miles to south and east). Required Waiver form
: Before arriving at Powerlinez to climb, you need to obtain and submit a completed + signed Waiver of Liability form, by visiting an organization which is not
located by the parking or trail access for Powerlinez. As of 2017, these organizations include Gravity Vault indoor climbing (at Upper Saddle River NJ, Chatham NJ, and several other locations), The Cliffs indoor climbing (at Long Island City NY and Valhalla NY), and Rock & Snow climbing shop in New Paltz NY.
No fee to be paid for climbing at Powerlinez (as of 2017). Administration
by the Torne Valley Climbers Coalition (TVCC) [ on Facebook
Undeveloped: The current policy of the TVCC as of 2017 is that the climbing infrastructure remain undeveloped, except for some approved maintained trails to make it convenient to get access to potential climbing. No routes or bouldering problems have been designated as suitable for climbing by the TVCC. It is the responsibility of each climbing party to decide which areas or routes or problems might be suitable or safe for them to climb (perhaps getting advice from other sources). Also any rappel or top-rope anchor materials (slings or ropes or bolts, etc), or any bolts or other materials for protection partway up on a cliff, are not approved by the TVCC, and are not maintained or inspected by the TVCC or by the Park - (and installation of new bolts is forbidden). It is the responsibility of each climbing party to decide whether or how to rely on any anchor or protection materials they find.
Please access the boulders and roped-climbing sectors by using the TVCC-approved trails (marked usually with white diamonds or sometimes yellow paint), or using already-well-trodden paths, rather than creating some new way.
Boundaries: The area of Harriman State Park which has been opened for rock climbing is called the "Wrightman plateau" on the southwest side of Ramapo Torne. Key point is that this does not
include the Ramapo Torne peak itself. Any cliffs or rocks higher than the "Books Tier" are closed
to climbing as of 2017 - (so the biggest most visible climbable rock in the area, around the summit of Ramapo Torne peak, is closed
. . (also there are some rocks below
out west or south which are closed to climbing, because they are now outside Harriman Park). More info
- other sources ...
- The Powerlinez Beta Shed group on Facebook -- Helpful place to ask questions, get info about problems and routes.
- rakkup.com phone app -- Has more bouldering problems not yet easy to find elsewhere. For roped climbing, could be useful as a "second opinion" (and sometimes more helpful photos) for routes on MP.
Areas + Sectors:
- Jon Crefeld's print guidebook 2013 edition -- Key breakthrough for showing the early possibilities for bouldering and roped climbing, but so much has been discovered and opened since. Still has some problems not found elsewhere, and could be useful as a "second opinion" on problems + routes on MP or Rakkup.
. * Powerlinez Bouldering
. - - > See the Bouldering section
Roped climbing ...
. . (sequence roughly low to high, left to right (E to W)
. . . . (a. West End - CLOSED to climbing)
b. Swath (above right from the Boulder Road, below Tower Wall tier)
. . . includes Stockade, High Electricity
c. Boulder Rd crags - along the road which rises up NW toward Basilisk.
. . . includes Shots Fired wall, God Jam, Fern.
d. Swamp (below Yankee Ramparts and Revolutionary Ramparts)
. . . includes Swamp King, Jumble n Tumble, Snake Hole
f. Yankee Ramparts (westward extension of Revolutionary Ramparts)
. . . Party Wall, Vulnerability, Northwest Territories,
. . . D J E A, Army Rampart, Smoke em if you Got em, Gut Truck.
h. Revolutionary Ramparts (westward extension of Tower Wall Tier)
. . . includes Immelman,
. . . Basilisk, and west Lenapehocking rocks
k. Tower Wall area
. . . Daves Wall, Three Bears, The Tower Wall, Happy Picnics, and
. . . east Lenapehocking rocks Ramapaugh, Munsee
. . . Manayunk, Tulpehocken, Scheyichbi, Nechtanc, Wichquawanck
n. Perched Ramparts (half-way up and east from Tower Wall)
. . . Enclosure, Baldy, Albion, Shadow Castle, Devonshire, Jumble Hotel,
. . . Puzzle Palace
p. East End
. . . El Cap, Giving Tree, Monkey Bar, Dragon, Nose, Beard, Ear,
. . . Kitty Doll, Kitty Corners, Jersey Volunteers.
q. Kittatinny (above Picatinny, below Books Tier, west from main trail to Good Book)
. . . includes Crazy Tree?
r. High Northwest - (NW extension of Books Tier)
s. Books Tier
. . . Adventure Stories, Romance Novels
. . . Good Book Wall
. . . Career Guides, Proving Grounds, Check Book, Radical Books
z. More -- areas which are Closed -- or stuff we don't know where it fits - (or even where it is?)
The Powerlinez access path starts (GPS lat long N41.1423 W74.1622) on the north side of Torne Brook Rd in Ramapo, NY -- just west from its intersection with Torne Valley Rd (Rockland county rt 95). The recommended Parking is at (N41.1415 W74.1618) along the west side of Torne Valley Rd, a short ways south of that intersection.
Driving from New York City or New Jersey or PA: Go to the giant interchange of routes NY Thruway 87, 287, and 17 near Suffern NY. Exit onto rt 17 North, which immediately goes into a traffic light. Turn sharp Right on rt 59 South for about 0.5 mile. Just after curving left, up and over railroad tracks, turn sharp Left onto Torne Valley Rd (Rockland County rt 95) and go about 1 mile generally North with some curves, past the recreational center.
Driving from NY state coming from the North: NY Thruway (I-87) south to exit 15A for rt 17 North + rt 59, Sloatsburg + Suffern. Exit to the right, go 0.1 mile curving right to reach a T intersection. Turn Right (NorthEast) and go about 0.2 mile to another T intersection. Turn Right (South) and go about 0.4 mile. Just after curving left, up and over railroad tracks, turn sharp Left onto Torne Valley Rd (Rockland County rt 95) and go about 1 mile generally North with some curves, past the recreational center.
Park by some 10-15 ft wide wire fence enclosures (sometimes called "the vents") and a green manhole cover, on the left (west) side of the road -- GPS latitude longitude approx (N41.1415 W74.1618). This is about 100 yards before (south from) the left turn for Torne Brook Rd. If you reach the entrance for the waste management facility on the right, you've gone too far.
Walking - From the parking, walk North 100 yards on Torne Valley Rd. Turn left (West) on Torne Brook Rd and walk 50 yards across new bridge over creek. Turn right (North) onto dirt road uphill.