Top three reasons to rock climb in the Gunks
The steep nature of the climbs often allows for incredible exposure
Scaling real, vertical rock face is what every climber lives for
One of the best outdoor experiences available near NYC
The Shawangunk Ridge, located near New Paltz and only about 85 miles from New York, is a world-renowned climbing spot with a relatively long climbing history. This premier climbing area offers something for everyone, but the style of climbing here is most decidedly traditional, and newcomers should prepare for real exposure and adventure! Climbing at the Gunks is characterized by roofs, jugs, traverses, big air, and solid rock with horizontal rather than vertical cracks. Most of the area is also part of the Mohonk Preserve, a land trust dedicated to preserving and protecting the northern Shawangunk Ridge. Is there a better way to learn all about trad climbing than joining a summer camp in the Gunks and going out with a pro guide? Find out why the Gunks is one of 12 great places for rock climbing in the USA from Cody Bradford, AMGA Certified Rock Guide, and 57hours ambassador.
June through August
New York is just over 2 hours away
Beginner to intermediate
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Rock Climbing Summer Camp in the Gunks
The best way to take advantage of the climbing season is with a summer camp getaway! Enjoy the beauty of the Shawangunk Ridge and spend five days climbing and learning new techniques on the quartz cliffs as you enjoy the scenic panoramas. Get fully immersed into rock climbing with the perfect mix of instruction and climbing time on the rock every day, mixed in with some fun activities. Become a more confident climber and get a sense of independence and accomplishment by climbing on the beautiful cliffs surrounding us. The camp is most suitable for climbers with little or no previous trad climbing experience, and it is the only camp in the region run by a PCGI certified climbing guide. Learn all aspects of climbing, meet lifelong friends, and climb amazing rock in a wonderful setting!
Day 1 - Monday
After a hearty breakfast, grab your lunch-to-go and go to the climbing site. Meet with your guide at Rock and Snow for introductions, waivers, gear check and ice breakers. Drive to the cliff for ground school and climb the remainder of morning! Around noon, take a lunch break and continue climbing until 4pm. Go set up camp for the night and after dinner, relax by the fire with a snack and recap of the day.
Day 2 - Tuesday
Wake up around 8am and after your usual morning routine and breakfast, head to the cliff. Climb, have lunch, and climb some more! Return to the camp, do some chores, and have dinner. Help your fellow campers clean up before hiking to Bontique Crag before gathering around the campfire for a snack and recap.
Day 3 - Wednesday
Today you will learn everything about repelling, single rope rappel, double rope rappel, and multi-pitch rappel, and use your new skills with your teammates. After a long day of climbing, replenish with a tasty dinner and exchange stories with other campers around the campfire.
Day 4 - Thursday
On your fourth day in the Gunks, follow you usually morning routine and prepare for a day of multi-pitch climbing! After lunch, learn all about top rope set up and practice under the watchful eyes of the guide. After some camp chores, get ready for a night out and grab a pizza in town and enjoy a movie at Water Street Market!
Day 5 - Friday
After 4 days of fun and practice on the rocks, it is time to say goodbye to the Gunks and New Paltz! After breakfast, breakdown camp, have a quick lunch, exchange contacts with your new friends, and say farewell to this wonderful site. Leave the camp as a more confident climber and have a sense of independence and accomplishment that frequently compels campers to return year after year!
Senior Mountain Guide
Senior Mountain Guide
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, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Gunks, please refer to the New York State website.
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
- 5 days of rock climbing instruction
- All permits and fees
- Shuttle to and from the camping site
- All meals during the 5-day camp
What’s not included:
- Transportation to and from the pick-up point
- Personal equipment
- Beverages and snacks
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. To ensure you have a fun day, your guide will choose routes that best suit your skill and fitness level.
What if I’ve never climbed before?
The Gunks have plenty of options for beginner climbers. Whether you’ve never climbed before or are transitioning from the gym to outdoor climbing, your guide will customize the day to suit your skill level and objectives. With a guide by your side, you’ll learn something new, stay safe on the rocks, and most importantly, have fun!
For intermediate to advanced climbers, The Gunks have loads of routes to spend the day on. Your guide will discuss your objectives and customize the day to your goals. Let your guide plan the day so you can focus on developing your skills while climbing the classic routes or best hidden gems the area has to offer.
What about required equipment?
Rope and climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.) will be provided by your guiding service. You’ll need:
- Climbing harness
- Climbing shoes
- Climbing helmet
- Chalk bag
Climbing gear can be rented from the guide with prior notice. Contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
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)
- Bath towel & washcloth
- Beach towel
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping mat
- Sleeping bag
- Everyday clothes (including something with long sleeves)
- Flip flops for the shower
- Closed toed shoes & socks — Required
- Long pants/jeans — Required
- Sweater/Jacket (evening temps can get down in the 40s)
- Rain jacket and pants
- Water bottle
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- Toiletries (sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Laundry Bag
- Comb & brush
- Soap, shampoo & conditioner
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Store money (suggested $25-$80)
- 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.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- The max guest to guide ratio for the summer climbing camp is 5:1.
- It takes a minimum of 2 climbers for this camp to run.
- This is a group adventure, meaning you might get paired with other people.
- 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.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to climb on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
If your group has 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 2.5 hours to the Shawangunks Mountains.
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 or a predetermined location. From there, you’ll head to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and ability of the group.