Ice climbing in the Catskills has been going on for four decades and much of the history is unknown. For the third edition of An Ice Climber's Guide to the Catskill Mountains, I tried to gather as much historical information as possible and found it to be an inaccurate, never-ending, constantly changing task. People have been climbing here for a long time, and some of the new routes or areas listed may actually turn out to have been rediscovered. Details seem to change so much that I hesitate to put them in print and instead decided to list them online so others can provide feedback and hopefully we can get more accurate records.
Here is a list of what is currently collected. Please accept my apologies in advance if someone accidentially gets credit for a route someone else did. If you have any historical and/or new route information on the areas in the Catskills, please post a comment below or send it to: email@example.com
A special thank you to Rick Cronk (original 80's guidebook author) for some of the history of the early days!
Indian Head Ledge and Palenville Overlook
Moore’s Bridge Gully
Moore’s Bridge Left
Moore’s Bridge Center
Moore’s Bridge Right
Moore’s West End
Hillyer Ravine 3+
Viola Ravine 3+
Wildcat Falls 4
Buttermilk Falls 4 -
First known attempt (circa 1977-1978) resulted in the Catskills first accident. A short fall to the ground resulted in a broken ankle and a long crawl out. "R.Cronk"
Asbestos Wall 3 to 4+ and Mixed
Covert Actions 4; F.A. Rick Cronk, Felix Modugno, and others, Feb. 1981 . After viewing it from the NYS Thruway we did a U-turn and headed up to the escarpment, with a few stops along Rt32 to scope the approach. No map or GPS, we drove around a while till we found what we believed to be the drainage coming down from the ravine. Nowhere to park, so we ditched the car off the road into the snow bank. Leaving the car “abandoned”, we began our hike in and up the drainage. At the time, this proved to be the most arduous approach for any ice climb in the Catskills. After 3 or 4 pitches of ice, we retraced our path to the car. We always carried shovels for digging out parking lots etc. and after some shoveling, groveling, pushing etc. we were back on the road. "R. Cronk"
Platte Clove Ravine
The Devil’s Kitchen - Upper
The Devil’s Kitchen - Lower
The Dark Side - Upper Tier
The Dark Side - Lower Tier
The Black Chasm
Plattekill Mountain Gully 3+; Marty Molitoris & Shawn Crowley, March 2013
Platte Clove High Cliff
East Side - South End
Mixed Up Amphitheater
East Side Corner 3+/4
Middle East Slabs 2+/3
Al Dente Area 3+/4+
Central Area - Upper Tier
White Wall 2+/3
Stony Clove East Side - North End
Stony Clove - West Side
Stony Clove Notch Lake Area
Stony Wall Area
Notch Lake Wall
Deep Notch West Side - A long history of AMC beginner ice climbing forays. They chopped alot of steps up there back in the day. "R.Cronk"
Deep Notch East Side
Mount Pleasant (Hobo Wall) - A number of routes climbed by Rick Cronk and Doug Strickholm, winter 1981-1982.
Herdman Wall - A number of routes climbed by Rick Cronk and Doug Strickholm, winter 1981-1982.
Keep in mind between the '82 and '99 editions of my guide, there were nearly 1200 copies sold through over 10 different stores in three metro area states. It would be naive to suggest that only our few groups of locals were the only ones out there roping up.
Of note, prior to 1982 give or take a year, climbing in Platteclove and the Devil's Kitchen was off limits. Both our crew of Sawicky, Sacks, Cronk etc.. and Behm, Kellermueller and others were turned away from climbing there by the owners of the time but not before climbs were made of the major moderate ice flows and the water falls. The same thing occurred at Santa Cruz falls. Strickholm and I did two routes in Santa Cruz and if I recall correctly Russ Raffa and John Bragg made a visit there as well. Subsequently climbers were turned away by the property's caretaker.