Gareth Leah is a UK climber currently working in New York City with PCI (Pro Climbers International), The Cliffs L.I.C (Long Island City), among other climbing related projects and he recently finished a bouldering guidebook for New York City. I chatted with Leah about the development and was also able to get a sneak peak of the inside the book. I don’t visit the Big Apple much but if I did or if I lived there, this seems like a logical idea and I am wondering why nothing has been printed in the past. There are a few online resources like, climbnyc.com and beta-boy.com but both seem incomplete and don’t look like they’ve been updated in years. Here is a little background on the guide and thoughts from Leah. Tell me about the guidebook and why you developed it? I came to New York City 12 months ago and was waiting for my visa to come through so I needed something to take up my time and I ventured down to Central Park to find out about climbing there. I hadn’t been able to find anything online and after a short while of talking to some locals it seemed like everyone knew a few boulder problems, but no one knew all of them. Nobody had ever spoken to each other, no one had talked about it, you know? All the knowledge was kept within small groups of people, so I got together with one of the guys that’s been climbing here for twenty years and decided to write a guidebook with a little bit of help from him. That led me down the track of exploring the city and finding new boulders that people had never found because no one had really ever thought about climbing in NYC that much. The guy that helped me, Bill Piehl, is a massage therapist and martial arts teacher and he’s been climbing down at Rat Rock, one of the most popular areas since the late 90’s. He was really helpful in making it happen and once we started writing it, we started doing some exploring, tracking geological maps to see if there were any common fault lines, and I found one. If you follow Manhattan directly up the middle, there’s a fault line where you could find a lot of rocks. We then began our quest to locate these rocks and after about five months we finally found every rock in Manhattan by walking or driving up and down the city. We began to document and climb them with the locals that were around. We’d arrange to go out, take a topo with us, and shoot the routes and document them. It has taken about 12 months to put it all together, a lot longer than anyone had anticipated. It went from 40 routes to over 300. So yeah, that’s kind of the area, more or less. Have you gotten any apprehension from anybody like ‘Oh, we want to keep this a secret’ or has everybody been pretty much open to the idea? Yeah, everyone’s been encouraging, and desperate to have the guide. I never realized there would be so much support just from our Facebook page that we started. There’s hundreds and hundreds of people that I’ve met that are really psyched on the guide and I have friends from eastern Europe and South America contacting them asking when the guide will be coming out because they’re visiting and they heard about it and the area. All the locals are supporting it as well as the local climbing gyms . So yeah, it’s all really good energy from people. Have there been any access issues at all? No, none at all. Climbing is allowed for the most part in NYC. There aren’t any rules that say you cannot climb. There are climbing events in the parks year round, with outdoor companies using the areas as a way to get people outside. So, all the rocks lay within Central Park, or are there other areas as well? No they’re all in Manhattan, only 20% in Central Park. Most of it is further uptown towards Fort Tryon, High Bridge Park, Morningside Park, St. Nicholas Park, Inwood Park and that area.