Friday, April 20, 2012

"Astorian" April: The long climb in LIC

On Wednesday, I journeyed to Long Island City to do a little rock climbing on what is apparently the tallest rock wall in all of New York City. When I signed up to go, I knew the wall was near me and right by the train, but I couldn't quite picture where a giant rock wall would be that I would somehow be unaware of. As it turns out, the wall is down a dead end street on the back side of a building facing a giant construction site (I'm not entirely sure what they're doing there, but I do know this particular site has been under construction for as long as I've lived in New York). Well hidden, as 60-foot rock walls go.

Note that this rock wall extends up four stories. This is the reason I'm sore two days later.

I showed up a little early but the guy working let me start climbing anyway. He said you can always tell the "gym climbers" because they get tired after a (perfectly reasonable) 35 feet. I wondered what that meant for people who used to be gym climbers four years ago, but haven't climbed anything steeper than a staircase since. Turns out--pretty intense. I was only able to scale the wall in its entirety once (which each ensuing climb hitting lower and lower on the wall). It's hard to tell in the photo, but the biggest challenge of this wall is that about ten feet from the top it juts out significantly, so just when you have no strength left, you have to heave yourself up a substantial overhang.

Here's someone beginning the climb (you can't see the bottom, but she's only about ten feet up).

The wall and the people who run it are part of Outward Bound, and the adult climbs they do on weekday evenings are just a small part of their day. The main purpose of the wall is to teach inner city kids how to climb, while learning about team building and adventuring. It's a great organization, and all of the money from the nightly adult climbs goes toward the cause. For this reason alone, I'd like to go back sometime when my arms are cool with it.

The sunset over the N train. Is it just me or are my photography skills improving?

The best part about a 60 foot wall is that the view from the top is amazing. Naturally, you get a great view of the bottomless construction pit next door, but beyond that, the Empire State Building and Manhattan skyline are just across the river. Even better than that, of course, is the view looking back into Queens. Making this another successful Astorian April outing.


  1. Your photagraphy skills are definitely improving! The last food picture looked very tasty and the sunset is a lovely pastel. Where is the picture from the top of the climb? When you go back to climb, tuck your camera in your pocket, please.

  2. I think climbing with a camera would be difficult, but even more problematic would be trying to lift it to take a picture with shaking arms at the top. So I think the view is best left as a reward only to those people who make the climb themselves.

  3. It is fun sharing your NY adventures.