The Spider's Web.
Photo by, Graham McDowell
The Dacks. An untamed tract of public and private land spanning a topography larger than Vermont. The Park is preserved by legislation from 1885 declaring that the lands of the preserve "be forever kept as wild forest lands." That statement by the Forest Preserve was the formal beginning of what has now become a 6,000,000 acre wilderness--the largest state park in the lower 48.
The Adirondack park is prized more for the recreational potential it offers than for the economic value of its natural resources. That being said, don't come the Dacks thinking that you are going to be welcomed with large welcome signs, visitor centers every 100 yards, and tourist shops around each bend. On the contrary; the Adirondacks are a quiet swath of rugged terrain that offers a very humbling and traditional approach to rock climbing.
The sheer number of crags and walls within the Parks' boundaries is enough to satisfy someone for a lifetime. There are well over 250 climbing areas in the Adirondacks, all of which deal a very unique experience from the next. Areas such as Keene Valley and the Cascade Lakes Region offer the largest variety of climbing, allowing a climber to sample massive multi-pitch slab adventures and desperate single-pitch test-pieces within minutes of the parking lot. There are also numerous backcountry crags such as Wallface, Gothics, Big Slide, and The Cranberry Lake Region that test climbers fortitude, patience, stamina and route-finding skills. On many of these committing routes, don't expect the climbing to be clean 100% of the time. It is best to carry a brush for cleaning and a healthy understanding of adventure.
Unlike many other climbing areas across this country, there is no epi-center for the climbing here. One could argue that Keene Valley is the central locus for climbing in the Dacks, and this very well may be the case. However, you'd be hard-pressed to find teeming hordes of chalkbags spraying beta from below. Those who have climbed before you have tried to leave very little evidence of their passage, save for a few slings growing from the side of the cliff. You won't find overly-chalked holds, or tick marks marring a route from top to bottom. What you will find in the Adirondacks is adventurous, character-building climbing that carries with it the very essence of traditional rock climbing.
In April of 2008, Jim Lawyer and Jeremy Haas released the most comprehensive guidebook for Adirondack Park to date (www.adirondackrock.com). This 652 page labor of love meticulously documents every route, crag, and trail system within the parks vast boundaries, and it invites the reader/climber to become intimately involved with each route thanks to the stories and reflections scattered throughout the guide. 19 color photos grace the pages of this text, as well, breathing depth and life onto the unique landscape and rock texture of the Adirondacks.
Be aware that several cliffs throughout Adirondack State Park observe seasonal closures to allow for Peregrine nesting. Such cliffs include: Moss Cliff, Poke-O-Moonshine and The Washbowl Cliffs. Check with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation website (www.dec.ny.gov) before attempting to climb at any of the aforementioned areas.
The Dacks are big, REAL BIG, and can be accessed from various points in New England and from the flatlands below us.
If you are coming from the south, Interstate 87 (The New York Thruway) will deposit you in the Park.
Traveling from the east, there are several ways, all of which offer similar travel time, that get you there. The Charlotte, VT Ferry, The Burlington, VT Ferry, and the Grand Isle, VT Ferry all drop you off along the eastern precipice of the Adirondacks. Once across Lake Champlain, find your way to Route 73, the central corridor through the Park proper.
From the west, travelers can take Route 3, 28, or 8 depending on the destination you wish to visit.
At this point you should refer to the detailed descriptions for each area, as many of the areas are sprinkled along, or right off Route 73, or off Route 9 or 9N located just to the north and east.
Browse More Classics in Adirondacks
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Adirondacks:
Featured Route For Adirondacks
Creation of the World
: Moss Cliff
Start just below and left of the steepest part of head wall. A bolt protects the initial slab moves (10' off ground). Work up slab and corner to chimney/flare, climb flare and traverse left to the crack. Decent belay in small left-facing corner. Up the offwidth for 2 pitches. Can belay in wonderful cave before the last bit of offwidth breaks a short roof section. At end of offwidth exit on easier cracks and corners.No getting off route on this one; pretty obvious and beautiful nat...[more] Browse More Classics in NY
BETA PHOTO: The bears are always smarter than you are. Bring t...
Route: Flying and Drinking and Drinking and Drivin...
Mystery Achievement (5.9) at Good Luck cliff. Tig...
Snowy Mountain's, In the Buff, 5.7
Stewarts Ledge, Lithium, 5.10a
Jimmy on Upper Washbowl, Weekend Warriors, 5.10
This is what it's all about. Luxury dirtbagging
|By Ladd Raine|
From: Plymouth, NH
May 10, 2007
For a sample of climbing in the 'Dacks check out the film Uncommon Ground
|By Chris Duca|
From: Hinesburg, Vermont
May 28, 2009
The "Poke-O-Moonshine Area" has been moved to the "Lake Champlain Region", and the "Wallface Area" has been to the "High Peaks Area" to help those folks cross-referencing the ADK Rock Guidebook with this site, or vice versa.
|By Jim Lawyer|
Mar 24, 2010
Info on Silver Lake can be found here. This area is north of Whiteface and not far from Poke-O. It consists of 14 major cliffs, and opened to the public in 2009.