Outside magazine, June 1992
New York State's Adirondack Park offers most everything a rock fan could want: hundreds of routes, still-virgin faces, and 46 peaks over 4,000 feet. The only thing missing has been an indoor place for climbers to practice their sport.
Enter Ed and Ann Palen. While working to establish a climbing guide service in 1988, they stumbled onto a perfect headquarters: an 80-acre nineteenth-century farmstead in the Sentinel Range Wilderness. They've been bivouacked there--among shimmering birches, a brook, and a vista of the rumpled ridge of 3,477-foot Pitchoff Mountain-- ever since.
The restored farmhouse is home to their Adirondack Rock & River Guide Service. The barn, meanwhile, has been renovated into a post-and-beam lodge that hosts climbers, hikers, paddlers, and cross-country skiers. In the common area, Adirondack-style furniture surrounds a 40-foot, four-sided stone hearth that doubles as a climbing wall--you can roll out of bed and make your first climb before breakfast.
The Palens' licensed guides teach rock and ice climbing, and kayaking at all levels; they also hire out for private duty. All lessons come with the low-impact ethics of generations of Adirondack outdoorspeople.
From Albany, take Route 87 north to Route 73 and head west. The farmstead is between Keene and Lake Placid, off Route 73 at the end of Alstead Hill Road. Rooms and bunks cost $20- $45 per person, breakfast included; campsites cost $10. Two-day courses start at $120; all equipment is provided. Call 518-576-2041 for reservations.