When U.K. climber Gareth Leah first arrived in New York City, he ventured out to Central Park to find some good bouldering problems.
“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,” he said in a recent interview with Climberism.
Working with the local climbing community, Leah began to create a list of popular areas. He documented these places, and also worked with New York City veteran climber Bill Piehl to find new spots.
“If you follow Manhattan directly up the middle, there’s a fault line where you could find a lot of rocks,” Leah said in the interview. “We 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.”
Along with local climbers, Leah tried and documented new routes on these boulders. When they were done, the number of local climbs had skyrocketed from 40 to more than 300. The routes were not all easy: Two very hard problems (Leah estimates they’re rated at V13 or V14) have yet to be completed.
In total, the book took about 12 months to complete and should be released this summer. To learn more about the process, check out Leah’s full Q&A with Climberism. Leah currently works with Pro Climbers International, The Cliffs L.I.C and on other climbing-related projects in New York City.