How To Go Bouldering In NYC: Step-By-Step Guide

If you are one of the many who want to enjoy bouldering in the outdoors but don’t feel like you can because you live in the Big Apple, then think again.

New York City has Central Park which includes great places to try out bouldering.

How To Go Bouldering In NYC: Step-By-Step Guide

However, as a newbie, you may want to do your research first – and have at least experienced rock climbing indoors. 

Bouldering is climbing up big rocks, otherwise known as boulders, which can be quite a challenge.

Because of this, you will want to be confident doing indoor rock climbing before venturing outdoors to climb with no support.

If you are looking to go bouldering in NYC, then check out this step-by-step guide to help you along the way.

Why Go Bouldering In New York City?

Despite NYC being densely populated, the city has a lot of hidden features among all of the manicured parks and paths.

In fact, if you venture out to somewhere like Central Park, you will find many different boulders that can be climbed for enjoyment and fitness.

The boulders in Central Park are popular with climbers due to not being too high. Some of them reach around 10 feet in total.

The size of the boulders does not make them easier to climb, however. The difficulty comes from where you can grip the boulders with your hands and place your feet.

It isn’t just Central Park that has places to climb either. If you explore the big city you will find boulders that will most certainly whet your appetite. 

While bouldering in New York City will not give you a sense of escapism, it will bring a unique experience and enjoyment instead (see also “Spectacular Shows To Watch On Broadway“). So, if you are ready to boulder in NYC, then carry on reading to find out more. 

Step-By-Step Guide: Bouldering In NYC

While you may have tried indoor rock climbing, bouldering is different. Not only is it outdoors, but any falls can be dangerous if you do not have the correct equipment.

Read on to find out how you can prepare yourself ready for bouldering in New York City.

Pack The Right Gear

Before you can go bouldering you will want to make sure that you have the correct gear. If you do not, then you risk injury which can be a lot more dangerous than indoor rock climbing.

When you go bouldering always bring these items with you:

  • Chalk and bag to hold the chalk – this means you have a better grip on the boulder.
  • Crash pad – you will need to place this below you in case you accidentally fall.
  • Boulder brush – is essential for climbing. It helps you to keep the friction during holds but it can also remove excess chalk off your hands post-climb. 
  • Climbing footwear – the shoes need to be good for climbing. This means forgoing any fashion sneakers or smart wear. 
  • Water and food – water is always essential to any activity where you sweat. Loss of fluids is bound to happen which will make you dehydrated. Food may be helpful if you need energy.

Climb Boulders In Central Park

Central Park has 843 acres of urban land, despite being located within Manhatten. Inside Central Park are nearly 200 boulder routes situated in three different locations.

This means that there are plenty of boulders for people to climb.

Central Park is also a great location for first-timers to try out bouldering in a safe place. However, what you might find is that some of the boulders are slippy.

How To Go Bouldering In NYC: Step-By-Step Guide

Over time they have become polished by other people climbing them.

For this reason, do not forget to take the chalk!

Central Park does close between the hours of 1 am up until 6 am. However, generally, you will want to stop bouldering as soon as it starts to become dark. 

Do Not Overdo Your First Boulder Climb

You might be tempted to try and climb a tall boulder, but because it will be your first time, don’t overdo it.

You will want to test the waters with a smaller boulder, and then move on to bigger boulders once you feel comfortable to do so.

If you have experienced bouldering before, then you will find that the boulders in Central Park tend to reach around 10 feet in height. It is tall enough to provide an impact, but they also are not the tallest in America.

What Are The Boulders You Can Climb In Central Park?

There are a number of boulders available to climb in Central Park. Here are three of the best:

Cat Rock

The tallest boulder in Central Park is Cat Rock situated in the southeast area. It has three parts to its structure: Scratching Post, Cat Arete, and Cat Crack.

It is often tricky to climb, so make sure you have your crash pad with you. The top of the boulder has views of Manhatten that are breathtaking.

Rat Rock

Rat Rock is based in the southwest area of Central Park. It has 47 routes to climb, with the majority of them being on the east and north sides of the ‘boulder’.

This rock is actually said to be the most popular in Central Park, so for that reason, you might find that it is busy when you arrive. 

Beginners can experience V2 and V3 climbs while experienced climbers can take the V10 and V11 routes.

Oh, and just a note: it is called rat rock because during the night it tends to be infested with rats!

Worthless Boulder

Despite its name, Worthless Boulder can be found on the northern side of Central Park. It has 37 routes and is said to be one of the quieter boulders – though that doesn’t mean much in NYC!

It is fun to climb the boulder as the loud traffic goes by near you. 

Final Thoughts

New York City boasts some of the best boulders to climb within Central Park. So long as you are prepared, you will be ready to climb them with confidence. 

Julia Wright
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