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In NYC - where should I go?
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By Jon Frisby
From New York, NY
Mar 1, 2013

Hey,
I live in New York City and am looking for somewhere to sport climb. I've obviously heard great things about the Gunks, and the Dacks to a lesser extent, but neither I nor my climber friends have trad gear. How is the sport climbing in the Gunks/Dacks and is there anywhere else anyone recommends that's not more than a few (2-3) hours away?


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By johnthethird
Mar 1, 2013

I cant really offer much help to you, except you can safely rule out both of those venues for sport climbing.


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By losbill
Mar 1, 2013

get a rack, don't look back


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By jake 356
From worcester
Mar 1, 2013

Rumney is propably going to be the closest destination sport area. A little more than 2-3 hrs though I would think.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Mar 1, 2013
At the BRC

There used to be a chipped quarry near the Gunks, but IIRC everything was pretty hard.
Sounds like there may be some new areas in CT.
Safe Harbor in PA- not sure of the distance.
Bellefonte Quarry in State Park PA, but may not be open any more.
Stoney Ridge in PA?
Western Mass areas? Farley??? Haven't been to any of these, just heard rumors over the years.


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By thomas ellis
From abq
Mar 1, 2013
Mint jullop

Get a rack. The gunks is sport climbing on gear. Seriously!


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By climbamt
Mar 1, 2013

Check out Birdsboro in PA also....


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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Mar 1, 2013
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

Rumney is the only extensive option, and it is a solid five hour drive from NYC.

There are some small bolted crags popping up in Connecticut; see the April Rock and Ice cover story, and there are also some bolted crags in Western Mass that would be within three hours from NYC, see www.climbgneiss.org/index.php/crag-info for these.

Probably your best bet is the Poison Ivy Wall at West Point, see www.mountainproject.com/v/poison-ivy-wall/107324741 on this very site for beta and directions.

Although not sport climbing, there are fairly extensive top-roping opportunities at Peterskill, in the Gunks.


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By Eddie2170
From Orange County, NY
Mar 2, 2013

The only sport within decent range with access is The Poison Ivy wall in West Point (Highland Falls, NY)

Its an okay little area, really only a day or two worth of climbing, the biggest downside would be the rock quality, almost feels greasy due to being a blasted rockface and having trains go by constantly underneath

If you need any beta or have some questions pm me

Or like stated above you can go toprope in Allamuchy or Peterskill because everything else is Trad or you're going to have to travel much farther north

Other than that you could hit up the gym scene or get some bouldering in Central Park, Harriman State Park, the Gunks, etc.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Mar 2, 2013
Epic free solo with a pack on

I would hardly call the gunks sport climbing on gear, buddy!


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Mar 2, 2013
modern man

thomas ellis wrote:
Get a rack. The gunks is sport climbing on gear. Seriously!


yeah, my thoughts too. if you like sporty roof pulling that is.


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By Jim Lawyer
Administrator
Mar 2, 2013

Look here for sport climbs in the Adirondacks.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Mar 2, 2013
Rumney

losbill wrote:
get a rack, don't look back


+1

I love sport but it's not a reality in the northeast outside of Rumney. To climb vertical one must do it trad. [fwiw, the ADKs that cover 6 million acres have as much pure sport as Rumney alone]

Maybe you want to look into bouldering if you're looking for hard climbing with relatively safe falls? ;)


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By Jon H
From Boulder
Mar 2, 2013
At the matching crux

Poison Ivy wall, IMO, is blocky and ledgy and many of the falls are not that safe. I've been there once and haven't bothered making the trip back since.

The other true sport option that IS within your 2-3 hr range is Birdsboro, PA. It's an old bolted quarry, relatively easy to find, and has a pretty good variety of climbing from 5.7- hard 5.13.

One thing I would caution is to definitely all wear helmets here.

Lots of info: www.mountainproject.com/v/birdsboro-quarry/106214658


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By Jon Frisby
From New York, NY
Mar 2, 2013

Great stuff so far. Thanks guys


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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Mar 2, 2013
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

Jim Lawyer wrote:
Look here for sport climbs in the Adirondacks.


Hmm. I've always thought that "bolts=sport," "gear=trad" misunderstands both genres.

Jim Lawyer wrote:
The Adirondacks has its own style of "sport" routes. Older routes were often climbed ground up, meaning that the leader climbed to the next stance before drilling, creating routes with substantial runouts.


Those older routes fit my definition of trad climbs, because although bolt-protected, the location of the protection was dictated by nature (the location of stances from which drilling is possible) on a ground-up ascent.

I think that nowadays, when people speak of sport climbing, they mean rap-bolted and cleaned routes with safe falls from closely-spaced bolts and, in the case of bigger spacing, very clean overhanging falls. If this is your understanding of sport climbing, then better read the descriptions in Adirondack Rock very carefully before launching up a route that might be, in my lexicon, bolted trad.

If you do go, don't forget your clip stick. At least at Poko, some of those first clips are high enough to scare my ancient bones and ligaments.


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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Mar 2, 2013
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

thomas ellis wrote:
Get a rack. The gunks is sport climbing on gear. Seriously!


I'm only responding to this because it is could be dangerously misleading for sport climbers new to trad.

Indian Creek might be sport climbing on gear. There you're climbing a continuous crack whose size variations can be understood from the ground. You can often rack up in order at the base of a pitch and leave behind the stuff that won't fit. Most of the placements will be cams, and there will be almost no fiddling around trying to get small gear into irregular features.

The Gunks isn't like that at all. At the base of a pitch or at any point on the pitch, you can't tell where the pro might go and you can't tell what sizes you'll need. When you get to a placement, it might be tricky and require clever use of small gear. When you are sketching in mid-pitch trying to decide whether, how, and where to move up, you often can't tell how soon to the next placement will be and what size will be required. The ground ahead might be runout, or you might make faulty route-finding decisions and end up in runout territory in spite of the route's reasonable protection grading, and this can be difficult to figure out until you are already in trouble. Finally, there isn't going to be a line of bolts (and draws) telling you where to go, and even if there is chalk it only takes one person going wrong to make it unclear where to climb.

I'm not saying this is good or bad or better or worse than other types of climbing on other cliffs. It is typical of trad face climbing as opposed to trad crack climbing. You should understand what you are signing up for, and "sport climbing on gear" paints a seriously misleading image.


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Mar 2, 2013

rgold wrote:
If this is your understanding of sport climbing, then better read the descriptions in Adirondack Rock very carefully before launching up a route that might be, in my lexicon, bolted trad. ... At least at Poko, some of those first clips are high enough to scare my ancient bones and ligaments.


I like to tell people that the gear selection required for Poko "sport" climbing is 10 quickdraws, a set of RPs, and a screamer. This description, while semi-joking, is also sort of true.


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By Rob Davis
From Brooklyn, NY
Mar 2, 2013

Jon -

I moved to the city a year ago really loving sport climbing but at least competent at climbing trad. I have fallen in love with the gunks. Please learn to place gear. Instead of spending money on day trips to west point or birdsboro (gas+tolls+parking) I say take up climbing trad. You live within a few hours of some of the best climbing in the WORLD! Don't waste your time climbing man-made choss just because they have bolts.


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By Jon Frisby
From New York, NY
Mar 2, 2013

Rob Davis wrote:
Jon - I moved to the city a year ago really loving sport climbing but at least competent at climbing trad. I have fallen in love with the gunks. Please learn to place gear. Instead of spending money on day trips to west point or birdsboro (gas+tolls+parking) I say take up climbing trad. You live within a few hours of some of the best climbing in the WORLD! Don't waste your time climbing man-made choss just because they have bolts.


One concern I have is that no one I know knows trad, and I'm a bit sketched out trying to teach myself how to place gear via Youtube (not to mention the abject stupidity in that idea. Any recommendations on that front?


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By rogerbenton
Mar 2, 2013
Whoever this guy is, he's just plain irresponsible.

jon-

on that front, post up in the partner finder and be honest about where you're at and where you want to go with your climbing. you could meet many gunks trad climbers here (hint- the guys who just told you to "get a rack").

if you are climbing 5.10 you are going to love the gunks.

for me, some of the stuff rgold spoke about concerning the "unknown" qualities of what lay ahead on a new trad climb is more than half of the fun.


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By Jim Lawyer
Administrator
Mar 3, 2013

rgold wrote:
Hmm. I've always thought that "bolts=sport," "gear=trad" misunderstands both genres. Those older routes fit my definition of trad climbs, because although bolt-protected, the location of the protection was dictated by nature (the location of stances from which drilling is possible) on a ground-up ascent. I think that nowadays, when people speak of sport climbing, they mean rap-bolted and cleaned routes with safe falls from closely-spaced bolts and, in the case of bigger spacing, very clean overhanging falls. If this is your understanding of sport climbing, then better read the descriptions in Adirondack Rock very carefully before launching up a route that might be, in my lexicon, bolted trad. If you do go, don't forget your clip stick. At least at Poko, some of those first clips are high enough to scare my ancient bones and ligaments.


The region has a reputation for bolt-protected routes that have a more "trad-like" feel (e.g., Bill Route @ Rogers Rock, Ukiah @ Poke-O, Space Walk @ Poke-O Slab). There are also a good number of routes that qualify as "sport" routes -- generously bolted, clean routes with safe falls. It's good advice to check the guidebook descriptions. Pay special attention to gear suggestions, protection rating, and the FA date. Anything listed on the newroutes page is, of course, new. Even better: know your limits and back off if you don't like it; you can always toprope. And know this -- no matter how well a route is protected, a fall at the wrong moment can be dangerous (like when you're making that second clip, or above a ledge).

Where to start for super safe, bolt-protected routes? How about Snowy, Otter Lake, Ark Wall, Beaver Brook, Lost Hunter's, Potash, Shanty, Shelving Rock, Silver Lake or Spanky's.

When you go to these areas, you'll wish you had a rack to explore the neighboring routes which require gear :-)


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By Rob Davis
From Brooklyn, NY
Mar 3, 2013

Jon Frisby wrote:
One concern I have is that no one I know knows trad, and I'm a bit sketched out trying to teach myself how to place gear via Youtube (not to mention the abject stupidity in that idea. Any recommendations on that front?



Save up some money and hire a guide for a few days.

Or alternatively, if you have a car, drive me to the gunks and we can climb. Most city climbers feel stranded because of no car and many will trade a kidney for gunks trips (looks at the ground with a sense of shame for no longer having a car and constantly begging for rides).

The good part about being part of a group of folks learning trad is that you don't each have to buy all of the gear, which greatly reduces the cost per person.

or like others have said, just drive to rumney/the new every weekend.


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By Jon Frisby
From New York, NY
Mar 3, 2013

Rob Davis wrote:
Save up some money and hire a guide for a few days. Or alternatively, if you have a car, drive me to the gunks and we can climb. Most city climbers feel stranded because of no car and many will trade a kidney for gunks trips (looks at the ground with a sense of shame for no longer having a car and constantly begging for rides). The good part about being part of a group of folks learning trad is that you don't each have to buy all of the gear, which greatly reduces the cost per person. or like others have said, just drive to rumney/the new every weekend.

A few of us (NYU students) are thinking of renting a car and going up in the spring or so. You want me to keep you posted?


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By RockinOut
From NY, NY
Mar 3, 2013
Gear

Rumney is the closest decent sport climbing from NY. West Point is OK but make sure your belayer is on their A-game bc there are tons of ledges and is pretty slabby, Rumney is worth the drive if you make it a long weekend...leave Friday and return ate sunday after climbing most of the day.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Mar 4, 2013
Rumney

rogerbenton wrote:
jon- on that front, post up in the partner finder and be honest about where you're at and where you want to go with your climbing. you could meet many gunks trad climbers here (hint- the guys who just told you to "get a rack"). if you are climbing 5.10 you are going to love the gunks. for me, some of the stuff rgold spoke about concerning the "unknown" qualities of what lay ahead on a new trad climb is more than half of the fun.


And I'll add - don't climb at your limits when learning. Follow on some routes and pay close attention to how the gear is placed, where, etc. Ask questions. Get Freedom of the Hills (climber's bible). Then when you feel ready enough, do some EASY routes to practice pro placement. Don't lead at your limit until you have experience placing gear at poor and/or pumpy stances. I learned from a school of thought that you sport and gym climb to get better, and trad climb for fun. [so pushing grades on the sharp end is adding a lot of risk to an already risky proposition]


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