New York’s Thacher State Park Opened to Climbing!

We’re thrilled to report that after five years of work, John Boyd Thacher State Park (aka, Thacher State Park) in New York has officially opened to climbing. Located just 20 minutes west of Albany, this new limestone sport climbing area is a great new destination for northeast climbers.

Photo courtesy of Brad Wenskoski

In early 2012, local climbing advocate Mike Whelan recognized the potential of the park’s limestone cliffs for climbing. Mike joined forces with other local climbers to form the Thacher Climbing Coalition (TCC), and then reached out to the Access Fund for support.

In a coordinated effort, TCC approached park officials about opening the cliffs to climbing, and Access Fund launched an action alert to rally local climbers to submit pro-climbing comments on the park’s Master Plan. The park staff was open-minded about the possibility of allowing climbing, and TCC and Access Fund worked together to address the park’s concerns about safety, trail access, fixed anchors, and natural resource protection. The groups worked together to develop a climbing management plan and fixed anchor guidelines that would allow for responsible route development of the new area.

In 2014, the park gave TCC permission to install fixed anchors for sport climbs and begin developing trails to access the cliffs. The park was officially opened to climbing on July 1 of this year.

To access the routes, visiting climbers must first stop at the park’s visitor center and fill out a waiver and pay a $6 parking fee. The cliff is accessed via a narrow slot that must be squeezed through and down climbed. Climbers should anticipate loose rock and broken holds as these new routes begin to see traffic.

A huge congratulations to TCC for their dogged advocacy, diligent planning, and relationship-building with park officials. As a result of their hard work, northeast climbers can enjoy approximately 50 new limestone sport routes, ranging from 5.5 to 5.12. Learn more by visiting TCC’s website and Facebook page.