The Spider's Web represents one of the most unique rock climbing locations in both the Adirondacks and the eastern US. The Web is a large rock face, permeated by an extensive web-like structure of cracks in the rock. The two authors of Adirondack Rock, Jim Lawyer and Jeremy Haas, describe the location to be "extremely popular, as it is perhaps the only cliff of its type in the Northeast." The pure combination of steep rock, aesthetic lines and cracks of all sizes set the Spider's Web to be a classic rock climbing location.
The cliff also represents one of the most accessible climbing locations in the Adirondacks. The rock face is only a fifteen-minute hike from Route 73 at Chapel Pond, and is climbed almost year-round. Due to the exposure and southern orientation of the crag, it is mostly shielded from rain and elements and consistently stays rather dry. The overhanging nature of the cliff makes it a playground for the elite, with very few moderate climbs. Just a couple minutes down the road is the legendary Chapel Pond Slab, which features classic routes and great setting at accessible grades for beginners. This speaks to the great variety of climbing types in the Adirondacks, and sets it apart from other climbing locales in the east.
The cliff stood visible like beacon to climbers for decades, however it was not until the 1970s that climbers had the technical skills and equipment to attempt free-climbing this intimidating crag. One name often associated with climbing at the Spider’s Web is Henry Barber. One of the first professional climbers, Barber travelled all over the world seeking out the finest climbing routes. In the 1970s he spent a large amount of time climbing at the Web, which speaks to the quality of the climbing there. Barber put up the first ascents on “Slim Pickins,” “On the Loose,” and “Drop, Fly, or Die,” routes that are still thought of as strenuous and committing today.
Over the past two decades, there have still been exciting new developments at the Spider’s Web. In 1996, Dave Aldous made the first free ascent of “Zabba,” a strenuous finger-crack rated 5.13a. The harder direct variation was first climbed in 2010 by Nathaniel Popik. In 2009, Matt McCormick made the first ascent of “Wheelin’ N’ Dealin’,” which at 5.13c is the hardest all-gear protected route in the Adirondacks, and one the most difficult in the east. There are many climbs of this difficulty and harder at places like the Red River Gorge, the New River Gorge, and Rumney. However these other routes are protected by bolts, pre-placed into the rock face prior to the climb. The climbs at the Web require the climber to be proficient at placing his or her own gear, and are thus more strenuous and committing.