While many people think of the cliffs of Ouray and the Flatirons in Colorado when it comes to ice climbing (see Ice Climbing in Colorado), there are also spectacular venues closer to home for those who live in the eastern half of the United States. Nestled in the state of New York are two incredible locations for beginner and veteran extreme sports lovers alike: the Adirondack Mountains in northeastern New York and the Shawangunk Ridge (locally known as the Gunks) located just north of New York City. When it comes to ice climbing in New York, these two mountain ranges are the premier destinations for anyone looking for the thrill of the chill.
The Best Locations Around
There are several areas within the Gunks and Adirondacks that offer first-class climbing experiences and other opportunities for extreme sports enthusiasts. The Peterskill Climbing Area in Minnewaska State Park has two trails for access, with one at the bottom of the mountain and one at the top and over 100 pitch routes. You can gain access to these great trails for only $15 per day (includes parking fees). Sam’s Point Preserve is another great area in the Gunks for ice climbing in New York. Renowned for its ice caves, there are a variety of different trails to pick from in this location. Costs are solely for parking, which is $10 per day.
In the Adirondacks, Keene Valley is the unofficial center of ice climbing. The geography of the area is perfect for ice climbers and fans of other extreme sports. The High Peaks, as they are known, provide hundreds of different ice climbing routes; some of the favorites include Pharoah Mountain, which can take up to two days to climb, Trap Dyke (an easy one-day climb), and Avalanche Lake. There are also maintained ice parks in the area, such as Rock and River Ice Park.
Gearing and Guiding
If you have decided on a venue but are still looking for that ultimate guiding experience that really knows what ice climbing in New York is all about, here are some suggestions on guiding companies for you to consider.
- Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service – In business since since 1988, ARRGS operates out of the heart of the High Peaks and provides private instruction and group instruction for as low as $85 per day. With both ice park and back country instruction, along with other extreme sports tutorials, ARRGS can provide assistance for any type of ice climber.
- Cloudsplitter Guides – In service for over thirty years, Cloudsplitter Guides provides rock and ice climbing experiences based out of Keene Valley. CG provides all equipment needed and provides a full checklist of what to bring and where to go while in the Adirondacks. Ice climbing services are available November-April.
When it comes to extreme sports in New York, there is very little that can compare to the challenge of scaling ice faces in the Gunks and the Adirondacks. With locations within one to two hours of millions of people and major metropolitan areas, you can enjoy the pristine beauty of nature without being completely isolated from the rest of the world. If you are making plans to visit the Northeast US, take a side-excursion into the Gunks and Adirondacks; you won’t regret it!