Two Ice Climbing areas south of the rochester area
photos by Stu Milligan

(click on images to enlarge them)

There are a few good ice climbing areas in the Rochester, NY area, mostly south of the city an hour or so.

Angel Falls in Hi Tor's Conklin Gully

Angel Falls in Conklin Gully (also known as Parish Glen) in the Hi Tor Wildlife Management area near Naples, NY is one such area. From the north end of Naples on route 21, drive northeast on route 245 for about two miles and turn right on Parish Hill Rd. Park in the DEC designated roadside parking area (park alongside the road and creek) just before the first bend in the road about 200 feet from route 245. Cross the creek and scramble up to a pronounced old lumber road and go left up the hill. Continue following along the ridgeline, which soon turns into a foot path. Go about a 1/2 mile, until you enter a major dip down into a stream bed. Go left and you can see that the stream falls straight away in about 100 feet. There are good trees to use for top-roping. Rappel to the base of the falls and begin climbing. This falls is 120 feet high and requires a serious undertaking, thus is not recommended for beginners.

conklin gully
Click on thumbnail image for map of the area

Waterfalls in Clark's Gully on South Hill

Another great ice climbing area is Clark's Gully at the southern end of Canandaigua Lake, also part of Hi Tor. Going north on route 245 from the Angel Falls Parish Hill road turnoff, continue a few miles and turn left onto Sunnyside Road. Cross West River and keep left on West Avenue. The approach to the falls from the bottom of the gully is just around the corner on dirt roads on the right hand side of the road. There is also a DEC parking area close to the Sunnyside Road and West Avenue junction. Hike up the stream bed for two-tenths of a mile and crampon up a 15 foot steep cascading waterfall. Just above this section is a 7 foot and then an 18 foot waterfall set in a narrow channel. Continue to the base of the upper waterfalls for an enjoyable day of ice climbing.

A better approach is from the top of South Hill. Proceed on West Avenue and veer right onto South Hill Road. Drive to the end of the plowed part of the road and park there.  Hike up the road about 1/4 mile until you see a chimney standing all by itself. about 200 feet off the road.

chimney at clark's gully

Karin Averbeck at
the chimney

At the chimney, turn left and follow along the rim of the obvious gully below the chimney. Stay on the ridge which will gradually arc to the right, then leftward and then straighten out.

arcing ridgeline

Arcing ridgeline

About a half mile down, there is a ramp-like ridge that leads sharply left down into the stream bed. At the stream, go right and in about 200 feet it will come to the uppermost falls, which is about 75 feet high.

uppermost falls clark's gully

Uppermost falls

You can leave a rope there and rappel down it, free-climb it or descend along the left edge of the stream. Continue to a 15 foot cascade and then down to the larger waterfall about 300 feet downstream. Set a sling around the exposed roots of a large tree on the left side (north) of the stream and use this as an anchor for top-roping.

anchor at clark's gully

Karin at tree anchor
suitable for toproping

Rappel to the base of the falls (100 feet or so) and begin exploring routes on the lower half of that waterfalls.

bruno rappelling clark's gully   karin belaying bruno   bruno belaying karin

Bruno & Karin working
Clark's Gully waterfall

Return by reversing you steps back to the top of South Hill or, if you have a second car, walk out to the bottom. For additional photos see the photo gallery page.

clark's gully
Click on thumbnail image for map of the area

For information on these and other waterfalls nearby, see Rich & Sue Freeman's guidebook 200 Waterfalls in Central & Western New York: A Finders' Guide and Derek Doeffinger's photo book Waterfalls and Gorges of the Finger Lakes.

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