Rods & Guns Wall

West/Hadley Mountain

Hadley Mountain is a high point along a ridge called West Mountain, a name that is sure to cause confusion with a half-dozen or so other mountains of the same appellation. There are a lot of untouched cliffs and boulders along its southeast flank, south of Hadley Mountain Trail (see this post  and that post for examples). To date the only cliff actively developed is the Rods & Guns Wall.

Map compliments of Nat’l Geographic’s Topo! software.

We plan to place cairns on the path from the Hadley Mtn. trail to these cliffs some time this summer.

The path from Hadley Mtn Trail passes several other cliff bands, one of which tops out close to 100′ and has at least one extremely tempting line and a dozen other nice possibilities Steep, very steep. And dirty; but cleaned up, it would be a stellar crag. There are also several good boulders, though these are spread out rather than clustered in one tight group.

Rods & Guns Wall

This cliff lies on the southern terminus of the ridge of which Hadley Mountain is part; collectively known as West Mountain.

Note: the state land boundary lies close to the bottom of the cliff; especially the lower outcrops (like the Silver Bullet Band). The boundary is well-marked with yellow paint on trees and boulders.


Take the Northway (I-87) exit 21. Turn right at the end of the ramp onto Route 9N heading southwest to Lake Luzerne. Turn right after passing the Luzerne School, following signs for Hadley. The road makes a sharp bend left, then passes The Upriver Cafe (29 Main St. Lake Luzerne). Turn right shortly after the cafe, and cross the bridge over the Hudson River (Rockwell Falls lies just upstream). Turn right one tenth of a mile farther, onto Stony Creek Road. Drive ~4 miles and turn left onto Hadley Mountain Road. Turn right onto the Tower Road, a bumpy dirt road, and follow it ~3 miles to the Hadley Mountain Trailhead.

Take the Hadley Mountain Trail for approximately 2/3 mile, climbing moderate slopes until reaching the #3 marker, a sign that coincides with the brochures from the billboard at the parking lot, which is roughly at 1800′ elevation. Leave the trail here, contouring south (left) to a private inholding boundary. Skirt this, passing through the talus below a 50′ high cliffband, then drop down slightly and continue southward along a wide, sparsely wooded bench to the southern end of the mountain. Descend along the eastern edge and then turn westward. The Rods & Guns Wall lies just east of the southernmost end of the ridge, at about 1 hour 10 minutes approach time.

Main Cliff

Description: The main cliff is practically hidden by large hardwoods, but is about 300′ wide and 85′ tall. To either side, for several hundred yards, lie smaller outcrops, along two or three different tiers. The main cliff has an unmistakeable ceiling 20′ up blocking the central 70′. To date, no routes breach that roof.

 Blunderbus 5.5 G 55′

Start: Near the left end of the cliff, a foot-wide channel, beginning as a shallow right-facing corner, lies behind an oak tree. 25′ up, a large pine tree lies in this channel. Cleaned, this route would warrant a star.

P1: Climb the channel, passing the pine tree on the left, then climb the final steep wall by starting on top of a large block.

FA: Jay Harrison June 15, 2011

Scattershot 5.4 R 55′

While pro may be had almost anywhere, good rock cannot. This route ascends a shaky chosspile, originally surmised to be a quick way to the top.

Start: at a dirty right-facing corner just left of a fresh slab. A 10′ tall stone needle lies tilted against the corner 20′ up.

P1: Climb the slab just right of the corner until a tricky move to somewhat stable rock is possible, then clamber up the corner behind the needle onto a ledge. Climb the brushy face above this to the top.

FA: Jay Harrison June 15, 2011

ProjectNear the left end of the main cliff, a right-facing corner lies partially hidden by intervening trees. After scrambling up a broken pile of dirt and rocks, the corner begins with a wide fist/ow crack leading to a bulging tips lieback on a thick, square-edged rock fin. A small ledge offers some rest before launching up a tight dihedral with small gear (RPs, C3s) through another bulge to the top. It’s still quite dirty; cleaned, we can send it without aid (which I resorted to on the first attempt). This corner is 40′ left of the large left-facing corner of Chuting Lane.

Chuting Lane 5.6 G 55′

Start: at a very large, left-facing corner, partially hidden by brush, lying about 15′ above the trail. This is the most-noticeable feature of the cliff left of the roof.

P1: Climb the corner to a ledge on its top, then climb through the final headwall via a wide crack and corner system.

After reaching the top of this route, the first ascentionist accidentally trundled a rock, which whizzed past Tom Lane.

FA: Jay Harrison August 9, 2011

 Daisy’s BB 5.8 G 70′ **

Start: at a short vertical crack at ground level, 10′ left of the right-facing corner of Pump Action.

P1: Climb the crack to a sloping stance. Move left and up to a thin, vertical crack, then up this to a ledge by a slanted, left-facing corner. Climb an arching, left-rising crack left of center of the right face of this corner, to a slabby ledge beneath a 5″ wide vertical crack. Climb this past a birch tree to a ledge. Climb the crack and corner system above this, topping out left of an 8′ long block.

FA: Tom Lane and Jay Harrison, August 9, 2011

 Squeezing Miss Daisy 5.8- PG 70′ *

I thought there was room for another route between this and the project mentioned afterward. There is, but it steals a bit from both of its neighbors along the way.

Start: at a concavity in the face, 4′ right of the short vertical crack (start of Daisy’s BB) and 3′ left of a right-facing corner (start of the project). 

P1: Climb to a sloping stance with a short vertical crack on the right. Climb up and left, passing a thin vertical crack via flakes to its right to the edge of a large ledge with a left-facing corner (same ledge mentioned in Daisy’s BB). Climb a short way up the vertical crack near the outside of the left-facing corner’s right side, then step right to a short, left-rising right-facing corner. Climb over this to a slab with a vertical hand/fist crack above, and climb this to a large ledge. Climb the crack above this, topping out on the right side of an 8′ long block.

FA: Jay Harrison and Tom Lane, August 9, 2011

 Project: Please Keep Off

To the left of the right-facing corner start of Pump Action is an 8′ high right-facing corner. This project climbs this, through a short vertical crack above, over right-facing flakes to another short, slightly-right-rising vertical crack to the left, steps right to another vertical crack which leads to a ledge; then climbs a flared chimney to the top.


Tom Lane on the FA of Pump Action

Pump Action 5.10a PG 70′ ***

Strenuous climbing with good, but equally-pumpy pro placement.

Start: on the left side of a 12′ wide level platform at the foot of the cliff 50′ right of the broken left end of the main cliff, at an 8′ high right-facing corner with a crack continuing above it.

P1: Climb the corner and crack to a large ledge, and continue up the shallow right-facing corner above to the top.

Gear: Small to medium cams, tricams.

FA: Tom Lane and Jay Harrison, July 1, 2011

The face between these two routes, dubbed Bolt Action, has been TR’d, though with many falls. Climbing it without resorting to major holds off both neighboring routes would be quite challenging. Pro would be difficult or impossible for most of the way, thus the name.

 Lever Action 5.8- G 70′ *

Easier than expected climbing, with several hidden pro placements.

Start: the right side of the level platform mentioned above.

P1: Climb the left-facing corner to a stance, then up the seam, swinging left along a right-pointing flake and back right to continue up the crack system to a large ledge. Climb the left-facing corner to the top.

FA: Jay Harrison and Tom Lane, May 26, 2011

Michael Farnsworth on the FA of Trigger Finger.

Trigger Finger 5.11a G 5.8 PG 75′ *** 

The crux is both height and finger-size dependent. Short people and sausage fingers will find it more difficult.

Start: 25′ right of and down from the platform of Lever Action, at a head-height overhang with a sloping horizontal above it.

P1: Climb past the overhang to the horizontal shelf and move left to a vertical crack and flake system running up and right to a sloping stance below a bulging face with seam running through it. Climb through the seam and cracks above to the top.

FA: Michael Farnsworth July 20, 2011

Tom Lane on the FA of Winchester Dihedral

Winchester Dihedral 5.9+ 80′ G ***

Stretchy stemming, a tricky traverse, and strenuous crack climbing. The direct finish awaits a free ascent.

Start: at a left-facing corner at the right end of the roof system, below an overhanging, flaring dihedral.

P1: Climb the corner to a stance. Climb up the dihedral until hidden holds allow an unexpected escape left, step up onto a sloping ledge. Traverse left 7′ to a right-facing corner, with a smaller right-facing corner starting at head-height to its right. Climb up and trend back right to the top.

FA: Tom Lane and Jay Harrison, July 1, 2011

Project – Please Keep Off

The face between Winchester Dihedral and Kalashnikov Corner is a working project. Please stay off.

Tom Lane on the FA of Kalashnikov Corner.

Kalashnikov Corner 5.8 PG 80′ *

The first route put up here, on-sight, with wire brush in hand.

Start: At a seam/crack leading to a right-facing corner 20′ right of the end of the roof system, about 30′ left of where the main cliff rapidly loses height.

P1: Climb blocky rock to the right-facing corner and continue up this to a stance at the top of the block forming the corner. Continue up lower-angle rock to the trees.

FA: April 9, 2011 Tom Lane and Jay Harrison

Leading the FA of Chute to Kill. Photo courtesy of Thomas Lane. 

Chute to Kill 5.9- PG 45′

The first ascent was made without cleaning first; subsequent choss removal threatened everyone below.

Start: 25′ right of Kalashnikov Corner, just right of a detached block forming a left-facing corner, at a wide crack leading to an overhang 8′ up.

P1: Climb up through overhang, follow thin crack to block-strewn ledge. Climb the face straight above, topping out on sloping holds and more loose rocks.

Cleaned up, this would be a decent route, and would probably go at 5.8.

FA: Jay Harrison and Michael Farnsworth July 20, 2011

The Silver Bullet Band (temporary label; permanent name awaits)This small outcrop lies over 100 yards east and below the main cliff, past several other small cliff bands. It is  composed entirely of a compact, gray rock. An attractive left-facing corner lies near the left end (Silveretta), about 12′ right of a steep gully leading around to the top.

The line of Silveretta.

Silveretta 5.5 G 35′ *
If only it were longer. Several very hard TRs lie to the right of this route.

Start: Follow the cliff line 100 yards east (climber’s right) and down from the main wall, passing several short cliff bands enroute. This climb lies on an appealing, light-gray outcrop, beginning in a left-facing corner.

P1: Climb the left-facing corner 7′, then follow a vertical crack up and onto the arête to its right. Ascend it to the top.

FA: Jay Harrison and Tom Lane, April 12, 2011

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