• Dennis O'Heney

Climbing at John Boyd Thacher


This past weekend we went climbing in New York, sampling the new sport offerings at John Boyd Thacher State Park and finally getting north for trad climbing in the Adirondacks.


First off, as this was Columbus Day weekend, Julia had Monday off, so we were looking to capitalize on the three days (I had to use a day of my precious little PTO). Friday night we drove about halfway from Philadelphia to Thacher, stopping to stay the night with friends at the AAC campground at the Gunks. We drove the rest of the way to Thacher in the morning, not too worried about getting an early start, as we couldn't get our climbing permits until the park office opened at 9:00 am anyway.

To give a little background here, climbing in Thacher only opened up in June of this year, so there is still a lot of route development and cleaning of loose rock that needs to take place. All of this happens in time though, and there is definitely a lot of potential for a variety of grades of face climbing. Julia and I expect Thacher to draw crowds away from Rumney during peak seasons in the future, as more and more routes are established.

Anyway, I'm not going to go into too much detail here. The routes we jumped on were definitely fun though, and there is great potential for further expansion and establishment of new routes. It was great for us to be able to back into the bolt-clipping kind of mindset, as we have a big trip to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky coming up, and we're both pretty excited to be getting back to pushing our abilities again.


A final note about Thacher... they try to restrict access to the base of the escarpment where the routes start to rock climbers only, which really helped to control the crowds. We had much of the area to ourselves for the day, which any climber will tell you is a rare occurrence at most crags. Plus, you had to go through a squeeze chimney to actually get to the base, requiring removal of packs and a little bit of squirming and grunting to get through. Pretty cool way to start the day.