The Gunks Climbers’ Coalition (GCC) and Access Fund are pleased to announce the purchase and opening of a new section of cliff line in the Shawangunk Mountains of New York!!!
The property, acquired in the fall of 2020, includes 1,000 feet of the Millbrook Mountain cliff line, including the historic Antlion Crag. The Antlion adds a new, backcountry climbing area to the Gunks, offering a uniquely remote experience that boasts traditional climbing, top roping, overhangs, vertical faces, and even a little crack climbing—ranging from 5.5 to 5.13.
As with many cliffs in the area, there is some historic evidence of climbing here, but the area has never been officially opened to climbing or route development because the land was privately owned, as well as surrounded by other private land, making it inaccessible to the public.
After some delays in the parking lot approval process, we now anticipate that the cliff will have a “soft” opening during the Summer of 2023 with temporary parking using an online reservation system. The trail has been blazed, but the parking area needs be finished before we can fully open it to the public. This acquisition took many years working with multiple property owners as well as the town and we cannot have any poaching or trespassing. This crag is the first property we’ve purchased and it’s important that we do things properly as respectful neighbors and good stewards. We know everyone is anxious to get on a new cliff. There’s a lot more work that needs to be done and we appreciate your patience and support!
The GCC began working with the Access Fund in the spring of 2018 to find a way to obtain the cliff when the owner of the parcel wanted to sell it. Partnering with neighboring residents who also were interested in parts of the parcel, we worked out a complicated three-way purchase that would let the GCC own the cliff with an easement for access, while the two other partners would own subdivisions of the land below the cliff to the road.
Access required an access easement across the partners’ land to get to the cliff line. A new trailhead and parking lot will be established on South Mountain Road, and a trail has been built to cover the mile and a half hike to the cliff.
To preserve the Antlion, the Access Fund Climbing Conservation Loan Program (CCLP), provided $109,000 to allow GCC to purchase this property. The CCLP is a revolving loan program, which means loan funds will be repaid so that those dollars can be used to open or save other threatened climbing areas.
We now need the community’s support to raise $200,000. Thanks to our community and generous grants, we raised enough to pay off the Access Fund loan. Continuing donations will be allocated to support long term stewardship efforts and site improvements. The parking lot still needs to be constructed. In 2022 we held volunteer days to inventory all of the hemlock trees impacted by the pest, the woolly hemlock adelgid. In 2023, we secured a $5000 grant from Athletic Brewing Company to start treating the hemlock trees.
Your donation is tremendously appreciated!!! Click the “Donate” button to make a one-time donation, or set up a recurring monthly donation to help maintain this amazing crag. Please share on social media either by using the buttons or reposting the link to this campaign: gunksclimbers.org/antlion
The Gunks Climbers Coalition is a 501(c)3 and all donations are tax deductible.
Interested in volunteering to help with trailbuilding and other Antlion projects? Use our Antlion Volunteer form to sign up.
We will be providing regular updates as site improvements are made. Thank you for your generous support!!!