Catskills Ice Climbing: Stoney Clove and Deep Notch

Catskills Ice Climbing: Stoney Clove and Deep Notch

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My buddy Sameer and I headed up to New York over the long weekend in search of some Catskills ice climbing opportunities. We made a brief pit stop in New York City on the drive up from Washington D.C. so we could camp out in the living room of his friend’s apartment in the Bushwick neighborhood.

After a quick NYC breakfast we hopped back in the car and headed northbound, with ice on our minds

As we made it to the Catskills we drove around searching for ice… We drove past Hobo Wall, scoping it out from across the river. It looked pretty paltry and not worth a closer look.

Catskills Ice Climbing: Stoney Clove and Deep Notch

So we continued down the road to Herdman Wall, we could see some ice from below, so we parked the car and quickly ran up to the ice (sans gear) just to take a better look.

Catskills Ice Climbing: Stoney Clove and Deep Notch

We made a quick stop to check out conditions at Herdman Wall, but didn’t climb here. A thin mixed climb at one of the first sections we came to.

It was all pretty thin at the lower wall, but could have made for some interesting mixed climbing. The only one that looked decent was “The Gem” — so named because it’s usually the best at Herdman.

Catskills Ice Climbing: Stoney Clove and Deep Notch

The Gem at Herdman Wall. Supposed to be the best of the bunch in this area. And would have been worth climbing if it topped out…

The ice stopped about 3/4ths of the way up, and we probably would have set up a rope if it went to the top. Instead we hopped back in the car and drove to Stoney Clove. We could see some decent looking lines from the road, and thankfully so, since we were counting on Stoney Clove as our definite plan for ice climbing this weekend.

Stoney Clove Ice Climbing

We parked on the south end at Notch Lake and hiked up toward a pretty fat looking line on Stoney Clove East. There was another party on it, so we traversed further south (right).

Nothing looked too great this way, but we ended up setting up a top rope in the Playground. It was all pretty thin, with running water in areas. Another large group soon joined us. It was breaking apart all over, ice crashing down, and felt like a bowling alley.

We climbed there briefly and then decided to break it down and look for something better. Hiking along the top we ran into the guys on that first line who had just finished up, so we decided to set up a rope there.

Catskills Ice Climbing: Stoney Clove and Deep Notch

We spent Saturday at Stoney Clove East. Above is what I believe to be East Side Corner in pretty good shape. We climbed first at the Playground, which was thin and breaking apart everywhere.

I believe it was East Side Corner… It was pretty thick and made for good climbing, we spent the rest of our day there, along with practicing some other skills.

Catskills Ice Climbing: Stoney Clove and Deep Notch

Sameer rapping down East Side Corner.

On our way out we drove north and then down Highway 23A, where we saw some decent ice right along the road, which I think was Moore’s Bridge and two people were still climbing there as we passed.

Deep Notch Ice Climbing

Saturday night was the coldest it had been in awhile apparently, and we were hopeful that some more stuff would freeze up. Sunday we decided to check out Deep Notch, and even driving past Hobo Wall we could see it had built up considerably compared to yesterday… It was about 14 degrees F when we were driving through Deep Notch.

Catskills Ice Climbing: Stoney Clove and Deep Notch

Hobo Wall on Sunday

We drove through a couple times just to try and get a good sense of all the options. There were good looking climbs on both sides of the road, so we were just trying to find something that looked like we could scramble around for a top rope and that looked fat enough.

Catskills Ice Climbing: Stoney Clove and Deep Notch

Sunday at Deep Notch, conditions were a little better than Saturday owing to the cold snap over the weekend.

We opted for a line on the north end, west side of the road.

No idea what it was called, but it was pretty good climbing and had a couple options for one top rope setup. We stuck to this area for most of the day, before heading into Kingston, NY for a bite to eat, and then we headed out for the long drive back to Washington DC and dreaming about when we might be able to return.

The fact is that upstate New York has some beautiful places to when it comes to nature, from the Catskills to the massive Adirondacks — the region is ripe for exploration, especially in other seasons like summer and fall… 🙂 

Catskills Ice Climbing: Stoney Clove and Deep Notch

Catskills Ice Climbing

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Catskills Ice Climbing: Stoney Clove and Deep Notch


Author, Writer, and Head Honcho at Desk to Dirtbag
Ryan is an author, adventurer, perpetual wanderer, and self-proclaimed dirtbag (but that might not mean what you think). Originally from Seattle, he headed to Washington D.C. where he spent five years working for Congress before heeding the call of the wild. He set out truck camping to road trip across the American West. Since then he set out traveling to Colombia, drove across all of Central America, and also wrote a best selling book: Big Travel, Small Budget. He just finished driving his old truck across all of South America. Follow the adventures on social media or read more about me.

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