This a popular club favorite wintertime destination. The above jpg file can be viewed from the documents section on this website.

The above TOPO from USGS give perspective to this climbing area we know as the Dacks.


The Adirondacks (‘Dacks’) has great rock climbing and ice climbing.  While there are many climbs in wilderness settings, there are also roadside or near roadside crags.  If you venture to the more remote locations, be prepared for wilderness conditions.  Warning:  Do not rely on your cell phone as almost all of the Dacks is not covered by cell phone service.


 Rock Climbing

“Adirondack Rock:  A Rock Climber’s Guide” by Jim Lawyer and Jeremy Haas, Adirondack Rock Press, 2008 (1st ed.) and 2010 (2 ed.).  This is the most up-to-date guidebook for the area and has updates at

“Climbing In The Adirondacks” by Don Mellor, Adirondack Mountain Club, 1995 (3rd ed.).  This is an out-of-print guidebook that has many rock climbs and ice climbs.

Ice Climbing

“Blue Lines:  An Adirondack Ice Climber’s Guide” by Don Mellor, Adirondack Rock And River Guide Service, 2005.  This is the most up-to-date guidebook for ice and snow climbs.

Dacks Climbing Topo (pd) This PDF file is a bit interactive and was created alongside “BLUE LINES: An Aidirondacks Ice Climber’s Guide” by Don Mellor.

Suggestions For Driving From Washington DC Area

MOST DIRECT but also travels directly thru the most populus section of the planet so traffic can be an issue:  I-95 north to the NJ Turnpike to the garden State Parkway to the NY Thruway (I-87N toward Albany) to the NY Northway (I-87N toward Montreal)
MAYBE AN HOUR OR SO LONGER but rarely has traffic issues:  MD-15N from Frederick, MD to Harrisburg, PA to I-81N to Scranton, PA to I-84E to the NY Thruway (I-87N toward Albany) to the NY Northway (I-87N toward Montreal)
2+ HOURS LONGER but least traffic concerns by far:  MD-15N from Frederick, MD to Harrisburg, PA to I-81N to Watertown, NY to NY 3E to Lake Placid .

Adirondacks [trad & ice]


The Adirondacks (‘Dacks) is a very large park in upstate New York set aside to be preserved from development.  It contains many wilderness-like areas that have rock faces suitable for rock climbing as well as ice and snow climbing.  It is one of the largest wilderness-type areas on the East Coast.

The rock climbing varies from single pitch climbs near the roadside to multiple pitch climbs that require almost full-day bushwack approaches.  The ice and snow climbing varies from short roadside flows that can be top roped to remote climbs that will require a pre-dawn start from the car and will have you hiking back to the car in the dark.

Some of the most popular rock and ice climbs are in the Chapel Pond area in the Keene Valley area.  This area typically has climbs with approach times of 30 minutes or less.  The rock is generally solid, but there is some loose sections.  There is no fee to climb here unless one parks at the Adirondack Mountain Club Loj.

Note that this is a state wilderness area, so please treat it as such and prepare for such.

 Climbing Gear

Rock Climbing

Although some areas can be top roped, this is mostly a traditional climbing area.  There are very few if any bolts.  A standard rack would consist of a set of nuts, a set of micronuts, and a full set of cams up to 3.5 inches.  You may need more gear from multiple pitch climbs.  Also consider bringing webbing for possible rappel slings.

Snow And Ice Climbing

Some areas can be top roped with a walk up approach, but many other areas are multiple pitches with rappels or walk offs.  The gear entirely depends upon the climb.  For pure ice climbs, you may want 8-12 ice screws depending upon the route.  For snow and ice climbs, you may want several pickets and a selection of ice screws.  Note that some areas such as the Chapel Pond Slab regularly have thin ice in certain areas, so you may want a few short (13 cm) screws on certain climbs.  Bring webbing or cord for rappel anchors.