Mountain Climber
We’re still open…for now

We made it past last year’s closing date but how much longer can we go for?

With colder, wetter weather patterns starting to creep in, keep an eye out for climbing area status updates. Remember, the Cave Wall is CLOSED until May 1st, 2021; all other areas are open for climbing.

Our days may be numbered but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some more climbing in before the end of the year. Remember all of those vacation days, sick time, and personal days that expire at the end of the year, now would be a good time to use them. If you don’t have any but work remotely you may still be in luck. The Visitors Center does have free WiFi if you sit outside, but how willing are you to do that in mid-30 degree weather? Enough to keep climbing for another week or two? Or are you already calling it quits and heading inside to the hangboards and climbing podcasts?

Either option is alright with us, climbing in 30-40 degree weather is only for the delirious few who enjoy it (myself included). Also, the wind does pick up this time of year because the trees have fully lost their leaves (except the few Buckthorn whose invasive beings don’t matter) so wind chill is a real factor when climbing. Fortunately, the Hailes Cave South Section does feel to maintain warmer, less windy conditions than Horseshoe North so climbing in ‘colder than I prefer’ conditions may still be feasible there.

To give you an idea of how finicky the weather patterns are and what we are dealing with in making decisions, here is a one day difference in forecasts for Albany. These were screenshotted on Dec. 1st & 2nd respectively.

Do you see the difference? This is why you need to get out and climb NOW! Who knows with this wacky weather what’s going to happen in the next 2 weeks or even next week. You could endure new experiences like climbing when it’s snowing on Sunday. How exciting!

To add to the complication, Thacher is also elevated about 1,000′ above Albany making it about 3 degrees colder on average. This means when Albany has rain at 35 degrees, it could be snowing at Thacher at 32 degrees!

A good way to see the actual conditions at Thacher besides asking on Facebook is by checking out the NYS Mesonet forecast camera set up in Voorheesville at Indian Ladder Farms (it also gives you a detailed weather forecast from NOAA) or viewing the Mohawk Tower Camera from UAlbany and looking for snow along the Helderbergs (less accurate but it gets the job done occasionally).

This update isn’t meant to scare you into hiding from outdoor climbing just yet. All you have to do is wear some gloves, a hat, and bring a nice puffy and you’ll be warm and toasty. Stuff a handwarmer in your chalk bag for added warmth while climbing and you’ll be set to send your project!

Just remember to check the weather forecast before heading out, our blog page for further updates, or our Facebook Page/Group for more immediate update releases.

For now, enjoy the remaining of the 2020 climbing season and get ready to train hard for Spring 2021!


Ryan Brown

Thacher Climbing Coalition