I’ve always been a hiker, but about 10 years ago peak-bagging and slide climbing followed a natural progression that led me into rock climbing. Living north of Albany, most of my climbing has been done in the Adirondacks. Following are a few favorite Adirondack climbs.
Long low-angle routes in a spectacular setting make the Chapel Pond Slabs one of the most popular climbing spots in the Adirondacks. The climber on lead in the photo above is probably ascending Empress, one of several routes that lie next to each other. Empress, like most of the other routes on the slab, runs for about a half dozen rope lengths. All routes on the slab feature outstanding views of Chapel Pond and Giant Mountain.
Also in Chapel Pond Pass, the Jewels and Jems crag is one of my favorite mini-crags. The climber in the photo above is top-roping Diamonds and Coal, a fun 5.6 climb up clean rock with nice horizontal pockets. Just out of sight to the left is a beautiful (and popular) 5.6 right-leaning handcrack, North Country Club Crack.
Near the top of Cascade Pass, and clearly visible to drivers on Route 73 below, is the Pitchoff Chimney Cliff. The El is a 3-pitch 5.8 route that traverses out the horizontal ledge visible in the photo above, rounds the spectacularly exposed corner, and then continues for another 40 feet or so before heading straight up the cliff through a crack and corner system capped by a small overhang. As a bonus after climbing The El, you can do Pete's Farewell, a classic 5.7 diagonal handcrack and the most popular climb on the cliff.
Above, Nick Wakeman of Saratoga Springs shows how it's done while guiding on Lions on the Beach, an ice climb in Chapel Pond Canyon. But then again, why mess around with clawing your way up a frozen waterfall when there's powder to be skied?