Hiking Tip: 3 Points of Contact


I frequently hike in Hudson Highlands State Park. It’s a short Metro-North ride away from me in the city and offers a lot of beautiful vistas up and down the Hudson River.

The Breakneck Ridge trail is a particularly popular route and at it’s most difficult point it offers two path ways. One adapted a bit (though still very hard), the other living up to the trail’s name. It’s a rock scramble with a pretty terrifying drop to your immediate left.

The first time I tackled it, I was trying to find the best way up when an older hiker moseying by told me, “It’s fun, you outta do it, just make sure you have your three points of contact. Two arms, one foot, all the time! Or two feet, one arm!” Then he continued up the alternate path.

After the climb (which was, in fact, fun) I thanked him. I realized that, even if I had been doing it, I had never consciously thought about this approach before. Now, whenever I come across an intimidating scramble I keep that piece of advice in mind.

Below is a video of me demonstrating this three point technique on a practice rock in Inwood Hill Park. I exaggerate the motions a bit to make clear where I’m making contact.


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