The Shawangunks | New York

Rock Climbing in The Gunks, NY


Spring through fall, but September and October are best

Nearest city

New Paltz, NY, is a ten-minute drive; NYC is less than two hours


1 day

Skill level

Beginner to advanced

World-class guided rock climbing just outside of the Big Apple

Home to some of the best easy to moderate trad climbs in the country — with grades from 5.4 to 5.13b — the Gunks are the perfect place to put your indoor climbing gym skills to the test. Whether you’re a first-time climber or well-experienced on the crags, there’s something for everyone in this iconic NY destination, and a private guide will help you make the most out of your day on the rock. Did we mention it’s just a short two-hour drive from New York City. What more can you ask for?

Most Popular Itineraries

A Customized Day of Private Climbing With a Guide

From $165 per person · 1 day

Spend an amazing day climbing in the Gunks with your own private, certified guide. Your day will be customized to focus on the objectives of your choice, with your guide introducing you to climbing routes that will test your skills and leave you hungry for more. Go along for the ride or learn the skills required for top-roping, lead climbing or tackling multi-pitch routes.

Learn to Lead Course

From $165 per person · 1 day

Trad climbing is the original form of climbing, where climbers place and secure their anchors as they move up the rock. This course will teach you everything you need to know about the gear and techniques, as well as provide some quality practice time on a top-rope. It takes time to master, but there is no better feeling than showing off when lead climbing in the iconic Gunks.

Safety Skills and Self Rescue Clinic

From $165 per person · 1 day

Build the rescue skills needed to become a safer climber. This is a technical, hands-on rescue training clinic for multi-pitch climbing. Learn how to ascend ropes, haul systems, lowers, weighted transitions, tandem rappels and all sorts of other fun stuff you might need in more serious multi-pitch climbs. Previous climbing experience is necessary for this itinerary.

Things you need to know

Why should I book with 57hours?

With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.

Why should I go rock climbing?

Rock climbing is more than just a sport; it’s problem solving on-the-go. It’s a balance of intuition and fluidity of movement. The fun comes from the possibilities — each route with a variety of options and only a fraction of them leading to success. When you finally master a climb, after hours of practice, it transcends mere sport and is akin to art.

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

  • An experienced, local rock climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
  • An 8-hour rock climbing lesson
  • All technical climbing gear

What’s not included:

  • Mohonk Preserve entry fee for climbers ($20)

Technical gear list

All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:

  • Helmet
  • Harness with a locking carabiner, belay device, and chalk bag
  • Rock shoes* (included in the price, but we recommend bringing your own if you have them)
  • Ropes
  • Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:

  • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40L bag)
  • Water bottle
  • Food you can eat on-the-go
  • Toiletries (sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera — optional

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

What if I’ve never climbed before?

No prior experience is necessary. Whether you’ve never donned a harness or you’re a seasoned climber, a guide will help you meet your individual objectives. Above all, your instructor’s number one priority is your safety.

What does a typical day look like?

  • 9:00 am: Meeting with the guide and checking over your gear
  • 9:30 am: Gear up and carpool to the cliffs
  • 10:00 am: Spend the day climbing or learning techniques (based on your chosen itinerary)
  • 12:30 pm – 01:00 pm: Lunch (bring snacks and plenty of water)
  • 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Keep climbing!
  • 5:00 pm: Return to New Paltz

How fit do I need to be?

If you can climb a ladder, you’re good to go. Being in good shape is always a plus, but far from necessary. Rock climbing is all about using good movement technique rather than muscling up a cliff using brute strength. So don’t let your perceived lack of strength keep you away from rock climbing — you’ve got what it takes.

What is the minimum age requirement?

  • If you are older than 18y, you’re good to go.
  • Teens aged 12-17 can go on their own, but a guardian will need to provide a signed waiver before an outing with the guide.
  • Kids younger than 11 can easily go out and try climbing, but only in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

What about group sizes and pricing?

Group sizes are usually between 1–4 people with one instructor. Also, costs per person decrease as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.
Climbing days can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.

If you’re booking alone but want to join a group climbing class, please check the dates available in our group rock climbing class in the Gunks.

What about bad weather?

As the saying goes, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad preparation,” and you can expect your guides to be fully prepared for anything. Inclement weather can always get in the way of climbing, but your guide will know the best spots to move to if the weather takes a turn.

On the rare occasion of truly bad weather, your instructor will present you with suitable alternatives. The most common practice is to reschedule your climbing to a more favorable day or suitable location nearby, if it exists.

If no options presented were viable to you, you will be issued a full refund.

Cancelation policy

All policies regarding cancellation, rescheduling and trip insurance will be clearly laid out by your guide prior to booking your adventure. Contact us if you’d like more information on a specific adventure.

Getting there and meeting location

You will meet your guide in New Paltz, the closest town to the Gunks, usually at the famous Rock and Snow gear shop. It’s about 85 miles from New York. The exact climbing spot in The Gunks will be discussed after the booking as guides make that decision after considering the skill level of the group and factors such as crag traffic and weather.

  • If traveling by train, the closest transit stop is Poughkeepsie via Metro North. Take the county bus to New Paltz.
  • If traveling by car, you can get to The Gunks by heading north from the city on I-87, which will take you to New Paltz at Exit 18. Take a right on NY HWY 44/55 toward Mohonk Visitors Center.

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