What to Wear
During the warm rock climbing months we recommend wearing comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely. Functionality and flexibility are paramount to your comfort throughout the day. Comfortable shoes that allow you to scramble over rocky terrain; sneakers or trail shoes are ideal, and heavy hiking boots are not necessary. Avoid open-toed shoes and sandals. Please keep in mind that sunny winter days can become surprisingly warm, and hot summer days can become cool, so be prepared for any type of weather. Depending on the time of year, wear shorts or long pants, and bring a wind breaker and a hat for cooler days. Layering is always a good idea.
Use a small to medium-sized backpack. Bring a lunch and at least two liters of water or sports drinks per person, per day. We also recommend sunscreen, insect repellent, camera phone and a hat.
We typically meet at Rock and Snow in New Paltz at 9 AM mid-week and 8:30am weekends* to go over your waivers and outfit you with your gear for the day. We then have a short drive out to the cliffs. There is usually a short approach hike to the climbing area, and we generally climb until about 4 or 4:30 PM.
* Please meet promptly with your guide(s) at your agreed-upon time. On busy weekends this is very important as parking in the area fills up quickly. There are a limited number of parking spots available and late arrival may jeopardize timely access to your destination.
Winter Time Rock Climbing
During the colder months it is still very possible and enjoyable to rock climb in the Gunks. The Trapps faces southeast so if it’s sunny out the rock is warm. We usually work on half day times starting at 10:00am and ending when the sun starts to come off the cliff. Following the suggested clothing list for ice climbing works well for winter rock climbing.
We supply all the technical ice climbing equipment (boots, crampons, helmets, vertical ice axes, etc.) necessary for a successful day of climbing, but we can’t stress enough the importance of being prepared for the weather. Layering is key to regulating your body temperature as you go through the day’s cycles of physical exertion when hiking in, climbing, belaying, lunching and resting. Your comfort is important to us, and wearing the correct clothing can truly make or break your day in the mountains. We suggest the following gear:
- Alpine day backpack, 2,500 to 3,500 cu. in., for carrying all your gear.
- Two liters of water/Lunch or a warm drink in a thermos.
- Camera phone, sunglasses, hand-warmers, and a headlamp.
- Synthetic or wool socks, or synthetic sock liners under heavyweight wool socks.
- First layer of underwear: lightweight wicking layer, e.g. silkweight capilene
- Second layer of underwear: a heavier, insulating layer, like micro fleece or mid-weight fleece.
- Over your underwear: a heavy insulating layer, e.g. heavyweight fleece.
- Jacket: a down or synthetic down jacket is handy to keep warm while belaying.
- Outermost shell: a coat and pants that are Gortex or a similar waterproof, breathable material. Recently designed soft shells work well for this.
- Fleece/wool hat.
- Neck gaiters or a balaclava work well in extremely cold conditions.
- Two pairs of gloves with good dexterity. Gloves for ice climbing should have good dexterity so that you can handle carabiners, belay devices, and rope with ease. Gloves get wet during the day, so bringing an extra pair is highly recommended.
- Gaiters are useful for protecting your pants from your crampons and for keeping snow out of your boots.
- Micro Spikes
- Trekking Poles or single pole
If you are concerned that the weather will not be suitable for your trip, please call us. Weather forecasts are rarely 100% accurate and given our proximity to the Gunks and ability to assess conditions here immediately, all cancellations due to inclement weather will be determined by Mountain Skills Climbing Guides.
• If you must cancel your trip, please note that cancellations are accepted up to eight days in advance for a full credit or refund.
• Cancellations between seven to four days prior to your trip will be charged $100 and a reschedule date will be arranged as per your availability.
• Cancellations three days or less prior to your scheduled trip and no-shows will be charged the full 100% day fee.
• Groups of 5 or more require a 50% deposit which will NOT be refunded in the event of a cancellation eight days or less prior to the scheduled trip. The deposit and final payment is contingent on the INITIAL head count of the group regardless of whether persons in your party ultimately decide not to participate.
While we understand that unforeseeable situations do arise, Mountain Skills guides are reserved based on your availability. Last-minute cancellations and no-shows severely limit our ability to schedule other climbers in your place, and this policy provides our guides with a measure of job security. We appreciate your understanding.