Deep Water Solo at The Palisades on Lake Champlain

Rate this Adventure Palisades Crag, Essex, New York, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Rock Climbing

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer

Lake
Scenic
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

THE crag to deep water solo on the east coast. Routes extending 100+ ft. with lake depth 140+ ft. right below!

Free soloing gets a lot of hype in the climbing world. No surprise, you're putting your life at risk basically. But, as climbers haven't you wanted to experience free soloing? You can, and you can take away some of the risk/death aspects of it by deep water soloing. This rare form of climbing can't be done just anywhere either. 

The Palisades on Lake Champlain (between Essex, NY and Westport, NY) rocket out of the water about 200 feet with a little overhang in some parts. The whole setting is beautiful. Forget paddling out here though, trust me you'll be gassed even before you start climbing. Get a motorboat. You will, however, want to have a canoe as your "first responder" and to dock against the wall to help you start. Once there you've got a ton of options for routes all varying from 5.7 to 5.13 I'd say. One thing to note, be aware of how high up you are getting when you climb, you may reach a point of no return. A fall from 100+ feet can seriously injure you if you do not enter the water properly. Read up on proper ways to enter the water from extreme heights if you plan on climbing above 80 feet.

For those unaware of what deep water soloing is, it's essentially rock climbing without a rope, or any kind of protection, over a body of water whose depth is very deep. This way when you top out or if you fall, you're splashing down into deep water and not earth. Pretty simple right?

Finding good, dry rock with water deep enough to safely splash down into does not present itself often. You see it in foreign countries like Thailand or Mallorca but on the east coast of the U.S.? You betcha! The Palisades are absolutely perfect for deep water soloing. Yet, they are still a pretty hidden secret...until now maybe.  

Pack List

  • Climbing Shoes
  • Climbing Chalk (dab it on your forearms before climbing)
  • Canoe (to bring you to the base of the wall)
  • Camera
  • Lifevests
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