Location: Mohonk Preserve, New York
Best Seasons: Spring-Fall
Climbing Style: Overhanging face climbing on bullet-hard quartzite conglomerate; A trad haven with loads of steep, fun moderates and hard test-pieces
Home to the steepest moderates in the country, the Gunks are a climber’s paradise. Boasting over 1100 routes on impeccable white quartzite, it’s no doubt the Gunks are an ultimate destination. Steeped in tradition and legendary feats, this is one of the first climbing areas in the country to be developed. The cliff line is as long and steep as the tales are tall. Stories aside, the truth of the matter is that you can climb a three pitch 5.4 that is as steep and exposed as the 5.11 right next to it. The Gunks are notorious for overhangs and big jugs, short approaches and friendly faces. A recent explosion in bouldering development has also added to the allure of this incredible area, just an hour’s drive from New York City. Check out the new guidebook.
The Gunks are a neccessary rite of passage for any climber, anywhere, period. Thousands of steep, exciting routes await the adventurous spirit that heeds the call. And with close proximity to many major population centers of the Northeast, it's easy to get to. The ethic of the area is staunchly traditional, although you can find a spattering of bolted routes around. Most of the routes are face climbs and protection can consistently be placed in the many horizontal cracks that abound. Alien cams are the best gear you can use here, particularly some of the smaller offsets such as the yellow-green and yellow-red. Of course, you should have a full rack with nuts and a few larger cams as well, but Aliens tend to work like a charm.
Entrance Fee: $15/Person; valid for 1 day
You can also purchase an annual pass that saves a bundle:
Basic Annual Membership + Climbing Option - $85 - Available at the visitor center. This pass grants you 1 year of access to the Mohonk Preserve.
Camping: There are 2 campgrounds close by, one inside the park and one outside. They are both free, but tend to fill up quickly on busy weekends.
Mohonk Campground: inside park by the Trapps Bridge
NY State Multiple Use AreaCampground: Along Route 44/55 between New Paltz and the cliffs