The Top 5 East Coast Climbing Destinations to Explore this Fall
Rock climbing on the east coast is often overlooked. Many of the top climbing destinations are found in the western portion of the United States like Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, etc. However, there is an abundance of climbing of all disciplines in the east.
New River Gorge, West Virginia
Located near Fayetteville, West Virginia, the New River Gorge, often referred to as the “New” is an area with a lot to offer for rock climbers and adventurers alike. From sport climbing to bouldering, the New is perfect for all types of climbers. Although known for its technical climbing but with plenty of guides in the area, the New River Gorge is an excellent destination for climbers just getting into the sport.
There are thousands of boulder problems and sport climbing routes at the New but perhaps the most popular destination is Endless Wall. With classics ranging from 5.8 to 5.14, Endless Wall should top your to-do list when visiting the New River Gorge.
(Climber on Endless Wall in the New River Gorge. Courtesy of nymphcallisto on Imgur)
Thacher State Park, New York
Climbers in New York City have a (new) world-class sport climbing destination practically in their backyard. Located just 20 minutes west of Albany, climbing at Thacher State Park was established in 2017 after the Thacher Climbers Coalition (TCC) was created. Now, the coalition established sport climbing routes on a 0.75-mile section of limestone cliff. With more than 60 routes listed on Mountain Project, Thacher is the perfect weekend getaway and will appeal to gym climbers because most routes are within the 50 feet range. Before planning a visit to Thacher State Park, be sure to complete the free application online.
(Climber at Thacher State Park, New York. Courtesy of the Thacher Climbers Coalition)
Lynn Woods, Massachusetts
Tucked away just 20 miles north of Boston, Lynn Woods is a spot popular with local Bostonians and boasts 2,200 acres to explore. Compared to other destinations on this list, it is kind of a hidden gem; however, the concentration of boulder problems is incredible.
The rock in Lynn Woods is predominantly Peabody granite. This type of granite is described as generally coarse with sharp, crystal-like features. Of the nearly 600 boulder problems, there are plenty of classics to keep you busy. From easier classics like ‘Bacon and Eggs,’ and ‘Bear Grease,’ to highly-rated intermediate difficulty climbs like ‘Dog Leg Crack,’ ‘Stone Warrior,’ and ‘Green Haze.’ If you are searching for a low-key destination with tons of problems, Lynn Woods has a little for everyone.
(Climber at Lynn Woods, Massachusetts. Courtesy of RootsRated.)
Red River Gorge, Kentucky
An east coast climbing destination list would not be complete without including the Red River Gorge in Slade, Kentucky. The Red is best described as the Climbing Mecca of the East, complete with numerous sandstone walls, enchanting locations, and some of the best climbing culture this side of the Mississippi.
It is possible to spend weeks exploring the Red but when visiting, it is imperative to stop at Miguel’s Pizza, a cornerstone of the Red River Gorge and institution for climber culture since the early 80s. Many climbers camp and seek refuge at Miguel’s and pick up gear at the climb shop behind the restaurant and campground.
(Dru Mack and Dario Ventura at the Red River Gorge near Slade, Kentucky. Courtesy of Stone Road Media.)
Coopers Rock State Forest, West Virginia
Like the aforementioned Lynn Woods, Coopers is a boulderer’s dream come true. With 374 boulder problems identified on Mountain Project, a weekend at Coopers Rock would keep you extremely busy. With its close proximity to Morgantown and West Virginia University, Coopers Rock is often crowded with local climbers. However, there is certainly enough climbing to go around and the top-quality gritstone is worth experiencing for yourself.
The rock at Coopers tends to stay wet for a very long time, so be sure to check the forecast before planning a trip. If you do get rained out, be sure to check out Morgantown’s newest climbing gym, Gritstone Climbing + Fitness, located just 10 minutes from Coopers Rock State Park.
(Climber at Coopers Rock, West Virginia. Courtesy of West Virginia University.)