EMS Discover Climbing

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Beginner Rock Climbing in the Gunks

Every climber must start somewhere. We offer a variety of introductory programs that will help you take those first steps. These programs are designed for those who have little to no climbing experience. All equipment is provided including helmet, harness, shoes and all technical climbing gear. Just bring a backpack, lunch, snacks and clothing appropriate for the day. We make it fun and easy to get you started!

New Paltz & the Gunks

New Paltz is an hour-and-a-half north of New York City and is one of the nation’s premier rock climbing epicenters. The Shawangunks (the “Gunks”) are nestled in the quiet little village of New Paltz, New York, in the beautiful Hudson Valley. The cliffs are located within the Historic Mohonk Preserve. The Gunks is a world-class climbing mecca with literally thousands of established routes and variations. The rock is a solid, dense quartzite (harder than granite!), averaging some 200-plus feet high and extending for miles above rolling pastoral farmland.

The nature of the rock is such that there are long, clean, classic steep routes at every level of difficulty even at the 5.2 level. The horizontal layering of the rock sometimes creates veritable ladders of bucket-sized holds, so that even the climber of modest ability can fairly confidently ascend many fabulous and exposed pieces of rock. For decades, the climbing scene here has been intense and concentrated, with large numbers of talented climbers pushing the standards, so there are innumerable desperates for the hard-core rock-athlete as well. Leads of 5.11+ and harder are often poorly protected, due to the Gunks’ ban on bolts. Here, top-roping has become essentially the equivalent of sport-climbing elsewhere.

The density of superb routes at the Gunks is matched by few other areas anywhere. It’s also a very picturesque place, with laurels and rhododendrons blooming in the spring. The entire ambiance of the place is a sort of Arcadian climbers’ heaven. You must go there. It’s a must-see.

Numerous clifflines make up the totality of the Gunks; the popular Trapps offers great opportunities for beginner climbers.

The Trapps

This mile-long cliff has a quality climb seemingly every fifteen to twenty feet along its entire length, and virtually all of them are on excellent, clean, steep rock—even the lowly 5.2’s and 5.3’s are gorgeous and challenging. The Uberfall—a kind of “cathedral of rock” near the cliff’s south end—is the standard meeting spot and is good for end-of-day top-roping and bouldering. A carless dirt carriage road runs the length of the cliff and provides perfectly flat landings for the many outstanding boulders along its length; in recent years the Gunks has seen a renaissance of new bouldering and much of the activity is centered here or over at the Peterskill area, several miles west of the Trapps.

When you visit the Trapps, a super-fun activity is to spend hours up on the airy Grand Traverse Ledge, doing classic top pitches on the gorgeous white rock between Arrow Wall and High Exposure. Rap back to GT Ledge each time and walk along this comfortably wide ledge to locate your next wonderful climb. The exposure up there is exhilarating and the views are fantastic.

Logistics | Pickups & Departures

We will meet at 6:30am at our Union Square pick-up, 6:45am at our Times Square location, and 7:30am at the Paramus store. We will find ourselves back in the city by 7:30pm.

Your package includes transportation, instruction, and all technical equipment.

Pickup/Dropoff Locations

Permissions Slip for Minors

A parent or legal guardian must complete and bring along a Minor Permissions Slip for each child age sixteen (16) and under.