Top three reasons to rock climb in the Gunks
Reliable rock guarantees a safe climbing experience
Tons of off-the-rock activities, such as swimming and day hikes
Plenty of low-altitude, low-consequence routes for the youngest of climbers
A two hour’s drive from New York, the Shawangunk Ridge hosts some of the best beginner-to-intermediate climbing in the States. The routes here are mostly trad, characterized by roofs, jugs, traverses, big air, and some awesome cracks. The rock is solid and reliable, and thanks to the professionally set and maintained anchors, you can be sure that your young ones will be safe on the rocks. Since most of the area is also part of a nature preserve, it’s excellently cared for and ideal for hiking, swimming, navigation practice, and other off-the-rock activities. If you wish to awaken your child’s love for the outdoors, you can’t go wrong with the Gunks! Learn why The Gunks is one of the greatest places for rock climbing in the USA from Cody Bradford, AMGA Certified Rock Guide, and 57hours ambassador.
July through September
New York is just over 2 hours away
Beginner to intermediate
Choose how you spend your days
Youth Summer Climbing Camp in the Gunks
Awaken their love for the rocks—enroll your kids aged 9-17 into a youth climbing camp in the Gunks! Your kids will spend 5 days climbing, hiking, swimming, and exploring Shawangunk Ridge with an AMGA-certified guide keeping them safe and happy. They’ll learn all aspects of climbing, make lifelong friendships, and climb excellent rock in a wonderful setting!
Junior Summer Climbing Camp in the Gunks
Get them adventurin’ while they’re young—book a junior climbing camp for your kids aged 6-9! Your kids will enjoy two half-days and a full day of rock climbing adapted for younger children with a friendly and experienced AMGA climbing instructor. The blend of fun climbing and beautiful nature is sure to make them fall in love with the outdoors!
NOTE: A parent must be present at all times for the junior camp. They will also need to purchase their own day pass for access to the park.
Itinerary and learning outcomes
These programs were designed to get kids to feel enthusiastic about climbing and the outdoors. Participants will learn essential rock climbing skills, such as rappelling, belaying, optimal climbing movement, and tying a variety of knots and hitches, in a safe and engaging learning environment.
Off the rocks, participants can go hiking or swimming at a local beach. There’s also no shortage of rainy day activities, such as rappelling, hiking, indoor climbing, or navigation practice!
My two teen sons climbed with Alpine Endeavors for a week in August. They had a great time. All of the guides were responsible, friendly, encouraging and fun. They provided everything the climbers needed – harnesses, helmets, climbing shoes, even rain jackets. My sons felt such a sense of pride and accomplishment after each day, and the scenery they were climbing is breathtakingly gorgeous. Dealing with the administrative pieces was easy too. Overall, I highly recommend Alpine Endeavors! Special thanks to Marty, Emily, Simon, and Jennifer for making our experience so positive!
Climbing in the Gunks with Jaron from Alpine Endeavors was nothing short of stupendous! Jaron was knowledgeable, encouraging & taught us some new skills when we climbed up a chimney & over a roof!! It was one of the best days of my life. Wow,…. just WOW!
Third time out with Simon from Alpine Endeavors. Each time he creates a great plan for the day based on your skill level and ensures that it’s a great balance fun and skill development. He’s safe, efficient, knowledgeable, and patient. Can’t recommend him enough for climbers of all levels.
Jon from Alpine Endeavors was the first guide we ever had at the gunks. He was not available for our subsequent outing and we went with a guide from another outfit. It was fun but there was no comparison. My kids and I aim to climb every 1-2 months and now always ask for Jon. Yesterday was a blast and I look forward to our next trip in August when the kids are back from camp.
Things to know
Covid measures in the Gunks
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Gunks, please refer to the US government’s guidelines for international travelers and the official New York COVID-19 guidelines.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, local rock climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- Three or five days of climbing and instruction
- An optional day of hiking or swimming
- Day pass for camp participants
- Shuttle to and from the camping site
- All meals during the 5-day camp
What’s not included:
- Accommodation for parents
- Personal equipment
- Food and snacks
- Parents’ day passes for the Junior Climbing Camp
How fit do I need to be?
If your child can climb a ladder, they’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. To ensure you have a fun day, the guide will choose routes appropriate for the group’s age, strength, and fitness level.
What if I’ve never climbed before?
The Gunks have plenty of options for beginner climbers. Whether your child has never climbed before or they are transitioning from the gym to outdoor climbing, your guide will customize the day to suit their skill level and objectives. With a caring guide by their side, they’ll learn something new, stay safe on the rocks, and most importantly, have fun! For intermediate climbers, The Gunks have loads of routes to spend the day on. The guide will customize each day to meet the needs of the group.
What about required equipment?
All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if your child has their own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:
- 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)
- Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)
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
- Hiking sneakers or boots
- Light jacket
- Spare clothes for layering and 3-5 days of climbing
- Toiletries (sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Food and snacks
- Swimsuit and towels (optional)
- Camera — optional
Your child should dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes they can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t let them wear jeans.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- For these camps, the usual guest-to-guide ratio is 4:1.
- The camps are limited to a maximum of 8 participants. At least 3 participants are required for the camp to run.
- Costs are per person and they don’t decrease as the group grows.
Climbing in the Gunks can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.
Min. age requirements:
- The Youth Climbing Camp is meant for children aged 9.5-17, while the Junior Climbing Camp is meant for children aged 6-9.
- Participants in the Junior Climbing Camp must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
Since this tour is meant for climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to the Gunks, most people fly into one of the international airports in New York: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), or Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service for a 1,5-3 hour drive to New Paltz in the Shawagunks.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop in New Paltz or a predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on the conditions and ability of the group.