High Peaks Wilderness and Vanderwhacker Wild Forest Unit Management Plan Amendments Access Alert!

The DEC and the APA are taking concurrent public comments around the proposed amendments to the High Peaks Unit Management Plan and the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest Unit Management Plan. Downloadable PDF’s of both Unit Management Plans (UMP’s) can be found here:

High Peaks UMP

Vanderwhacker UMP

There are a lot of good things for climbing mentioned in both UMP proposals. However there are also several items in the UMP proposals that could negatively affect climbing.


  • Write a personal letter and email it to [email protected] by June 27, 2018. Please don’t copy and paste anything written below, but use these points to create something in your own words.
  •  Make sure to include these 3 general points:
    • Climbing is a legitimate use of New York State public land
    • Climbers are willing to work cooperatively with the DEC/APA
    • Don’t reduce parking. In fact only increases in parking should be considered
  • Items included in the current UMP drafts that the ACC thinks are good:
    • Stabilization of soils on cliff tops and bases
    • Provide fair and equitable access to rock and ice climbing resources
    • Kiosks with Climbing LNT and other relevant information on them
    • Continue to support and work with the DEC regarding peregrine cliff closures
    • Stabilize approach trails
    • Maximum group size 10
    • Create a fixed anchor focus group with all stakeholders, including the ACC
  • Items not included in the current UMP drafts that the ACC thinks would be good additions:
    • Speed reductions through Chapel Pond Pass (from Round Pond to St. Huberts) and Cascade Pass from 55mph to 45mph. Equip with “school zone” style flashing signs to get driver’s attention.
    • Specific climber approach trails adopted by the DEC (similar to what was proposed/done in Sentinel Range Wilderness UMP) as class III trails:
      • King Phillips
      • Spanky’s Wall
      • King Wall
      • Jewel’s & Gems Wall
      • Creature Wall/ Upper Washbowl
      • Chapel Pond Slab
      • Tilman’s & Shipton’s Arete area
      • Spider’s Web/Lower Washbowl
      • Beer Walls
  • Items included in the current UMP drafts that the ACC thinks should be changed or removed:
    • Parking removal: With increased usage throughout the  Chapel Pond area, removing any parking is a bad idea. Add more parking lots, reroute the Giant Ridge hiking trail and continue to maintain current parking.
    • Ice climber access: Removing the current lots along 73 will create a severe hazard for ice climbers who will walk the plowed road to and from the new proposed lots to the Chapel Pond area. In addition to the above bullet point, all new and current parking lots should be maintained for winter use.
    • Spiders Web & LWB access: Removing/posting/guard railing the “over the white line” parking will significantly reduce the available parking for these beloved cliffs. The Spider’s Web shoulder often has five or more cars on a busy day. These cars will use the parking at the outlet intended for camper & paddler use if the shoulder is closed. Additionally, climbers will need to cross the road to access the cliffs. We propose reopening the pull off at the start of the approach trail.

Please include any other points you feel are important to voice your opinion about. Thanks in advance for taking the time to help improve climbing access in the Adirondack Park!

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