East side of the rock
|Location||Central Park, Manhattan, New York City, New York|
Rat Rock, also known as Umpire Rock, is an outcrop of Manhattan schist which protrudes from the bedrock in Central Park, Manhattan, New York City. It is named after the rats that used to swarm there at night. It is located near the southwest corner of the park, south of the Heckscher Ballfields near the alignments of 62nd Street and Seventh Avenue. It measures 55 feet (17 m) wide and 15 feet (4.6 m) tall with different east, west, and north faces, each of which present differing climbing challenges. The rock has striations caused by glaciation.
Boulderers congregate there, sometimes as many as fifty per day. Some are regulars such as Yukihiko Ikumori, a gardener from the West Village who is known as the spiritual godfather of the rock. Others are just passing through, such as tourists and visitors who learn about the climbing spot from the Internet and word of mouth. Experienced climbers such as Ikumori often show neophytes good routes and techniques. More experienced outsiders may be disappointed as the quality of the stone is poor, the setting is gloomy and the climbs present so little challenge that it has been called "one of America's most pathetic boulders".
The park police formerly ticketed climbers who climbed more than a few feet up the rock. The City Climbers Club approached the park authorities and, by working to provide safety features such as wood chips around the base, they were able to legalize climbing there.
- Bleyer, Jennifer (October 7, 2007). "The Zen of the Rock". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
- John Sherman (1994), Stone crusade: a historical guide to bouldering in America, The Mountaineers Books, pp. 226–228, ISBN 978-0-930410-62-9
- Carol Hand (2009), The Creation of Glaciers, Rosen, ISBN 9781435852983
- Joe Glickman (March 11, 1998), "The Thrill of Bouldering: It Doesn't Have to Be High to Be Hairy", New York Times
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