The Gunks | New York

Rock Climbing in the Gunks

Skill level

All level of climbers are welcome!

Group size

1 – 4 people

Price range

from $350 per person


September and October are best, but you can climb spring through fall


1 day

57hours verified

We put a lot of time and energy into verifying our adventures. We have to! Our guides and clients are important to us.

We climb here several times a year with each of the recommended guides

Spend a day climbing the Gunks. Your way

The Shawangunk Mountains is a renowned climbing destination for beginners and pros alike, and is affectionately known as the Gunks. You’ll receive expert guided instruction and get focus on whatever objectives you want — whether you’re climbing for the first time, or you want to work on advanced technique, like climbing self-rescue. So, depending on your of climbing desires and needs, a world-class climbing venue awaits you in the Gunks —  only 85 miles from NYC, just outside New Paltz. The best part is that there is no experience necessary. At all.

There are plenty of one- to three-pitch climbs in the Gunks — making it a perfect destination for every climber.

There's really nothing like a good day of climbing outside — especially in the Gunks

If you’re new to climbing, or have some experience in the gym, or have even climbed a crag or two, there’s something for every level of climber at the Gunks — with grades from 5.4 to 5.14b. Seriously, though, the area is home to some of the best easy and moderate trad climbs in the country. High Exposure (5.6) has thrilled climbers and spectators for decades now. Even access is easy at the Gunks, with most approaches not eating into your climbing time.

When deciding how you want to spend your day with your guide, here are some techniques that you can consider:

  • The basics of safety in climbing, like how to use ropes, knots and harnesses
  • Developing efficient climbing techniques and focusing on body positions
  • Fundamentals like anchors, belaying and rappelling
  • Climbing self-rescue
  • Trad lead climbing
  • And more!

Popular videos

Most popular packages and classes in the Gunks

Learn to climb in the Gunks

Learn to climb in the Gunks with a guide who calls it “home.” AMGA certified with over 30 years of experience, your guide will teach you all you need to know to get a great foundation for rock climbing. And you’ll do lots of climbing, too!

The Gunks Rock Climbing

Regardless of age, fitness, or experience, your IFMGA/AMGA certified guide will cater to your every need on your day out. Think of it as a custom outing, where your itinerary is yours to design with your guide — while spending an amazing day in the Gunks.

Climbing Self Rescue Clinic

Get one full day of technical, hands-on rescue training for multi-pitch rock climbing. During your outing, you’ll learn about common rescue concerns in the rock climbing community. You’ll also get plenty of demonstrations showing proper rescue technique for use in the field. Most importantly, you’ll practice all of the rescue skills presented.

Sky Top

Sky top is home to over 300 documented, classic climbs, and there’s only one guiding service with a permit to climb there! So spend a day climbing with the certified, permitted pros, Alpine Endeavors.

Need to know

When is the best time to go?

September and October. If you climb in the fall, you’ll have a gorgeous view when you look down at all the trees turning color. You can climb spring and summer, too, but bugs and the heat make some people stay away.

What about bad weather?

Inclement weather can always get in the way of climbing, but your guide will know the best spots to move to if and when it rains. If in doubt, though, always ask your guiding service for more information.

What's a typical itinerary?

  • 9:00am: Meet your guide in New Paltz at Rock and Snow, check your gear
  • 9:30am: Gear up and carpool to the cliffs
  • 10:00am: Spend the day climbing
  • 12:30pm – 1:00pm: Lunch (bring snacks and plenty of water)
  • 1:00pm – 5:00pm: Keep climbing!
  • 5:00pm: Return to New Paltz

What about group sizes?

Group sizes are usually between 1 – 4 people with one instructor. Also, remember that the costs decrease as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.

Getting there

New Paltz, the closest town to the Gunks, is about 85 miles from the New York metropolitan area. You can drive, take a train or bus. Most guiding services like to meet up at Rock and Snow, a climbing and outdoors shop in New Paltz.

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