Best Natural Rock Climb (2008)

Central Park

Rock climbing is like any other sport: You can dispense tons of money on equipment in the hopes of looking cool, but in the end it's what you do with the stuff that counts. So forget about the ropes and the fancy-pants crampons. With some chalk and a pair of shoes you can turn Central Park into your personal (and free) climbing wall. Enter the park through the pedestrian access on Central Park West between 63rd and 64th streets. In the distance you'll see softball fields, and to the right of those you'll find what's known to city-dwelling climbers as Rat Rock (easily identifiable by its traces of white chalk). The north face of the rock is eight to 10 feet high and offers vertical and horizontal free-climbing (a/k/a bouldering). The routes on this side fall anywhere between beginner-friendly and advanced, with plenty of obvious holds for those just getting started. Check out the east side of the rock for a slightly more challenging overhang route.


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