Introduction & Layout
There are currently (as of January 2018) a total of 42 routes in Panther Gorge; 33 new routes have been added on Marcy and Haystack during the last few years including 6 ice climbing routes. Rock climbing routes range from 5.3 to 10a YDS with most falling between 5.7 and 5.9. Ice routes range between NEI2 and NEI5- with the majority of climbed routes in the 3-4 range.
From north to south on the Haystack side: Marcy's walls hold the most technical and aesthetic routes, but Mt. Haystack also offers some unique climbing opportunities. There are currently 6 routes developed on this side. The first lies on a pillar about 525 feet south of the Phelps Trail, the first of its kind to be documented in the area. Next is the Ramp Wall, named for the obvious left rising ramp. This area has 3 routes ranging from 5.5 to 5.8. A "V" shaped wall south of the Ramp Wall (set between a basaltic dike and gully) forms another route while a set of adjoined technical slides lies approximately 1/4 mile to the south.
The terrain in the middle of the gorge hosts a series of beaver ponds, blowdown fields, talus fields along almost every cliff (including Mt. Marcy Cavern) and a variety of drainage streams that join with Marcy Brook (Champlain watershed).
From the Garden Trailhead in Keene Valley, follow the Phelps Trail past Johns Brook Lodge and Slant Rock to the State Range Trail junction (7.8 miles). Begin bushwhacking a few hundred feet beyond the junction at the top of the pass where the Phelps Trail veers right. Ski mountaineers may wish to approach from the Adirondack Loj via the Van Hoevenberg trail before descending the Phelps Trail to the col. In either case descend south from the Marcy/Haystack col and stay to the right and above the drainage to avoid extensive talus and ledges.
You’ll reach the Panther Den, the first wall on Marcy, after about 20 minutes of hard bushwhacking (.2 miles). A 300' long glade along the cliff’s base leads to a faint herdpath on the left. The path stays moderately close to the cliffs for about 250 feet until reaching the Feline Wall which is characterized by steep slab with a deep gully to its right. The now intermittent path curves to west over the next 300 feet to the Agharta Wall marked by an obvious cliff below a vast slab. From Agharta continue downhill roughly 125 feet then make a hard right around a buttress. Bushwhack 200 feet up a drainage stream to the Huge Scoop—the last of Marcy’s north-end climbing walls.This is characterized by an obvious rectangular scoop with a gully to its left.A series of smaller cliffs, gullies and slides sit between the Huge Scoop and Marcy’s East Face ¼ mile to the south-southwest.
Exit along the approach if you plan to rappel down a route. Bushwhack north to the Phelps Trail if you plan to exit from the top. Bushwhacking from the top is more complex for routes south of the Huge Scoop.
- "A Climbing Experience in Panther Gorge." Huther, Nolan
- "Panther Gorge: The Remote Adirondack Moderate Mecca You’ve Never Heard Of." Wechsler, Alan. Nov. 2017. Climbing.
- "Panther Gorge Rocks." Wechsler, Alan. Sept/Oct Adirondack Explorer. 58-61.
- "The Wild Side-Rock Climbing on Haystack and Flash Flood at Slant Rock". MacKenzie, Kevin. 2016. Adirondack Outdoors. 25-27.
- "New Highs: Backcountry Climbing in Panther Gorge." MacKenzie, Kevin. Adirondack Life 2016 Annual Guide to the Great Outdoors. 10-13. Print.
Route Line Photos
- Marcy-Overall of Panther Den, Feline, Agharta, Huge Scoop
- Marcy-Panther Den Close-up
- Marcy-East Face
- Haystack Overview
- Haystack - Pillar & Ramp Wall Area
- Haystack South End
- Haystack V Wall
- Chimney Wall
Route DescriptionsEach new route with mosaic photos (aerial with inset details) may be found at Mountain Project & Adirondack Rock.
Locations and brief descriptions of the cliffs and other notable climbing features.