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Transcribed by: John Peterson
A GUIDE to the Main and Small Cliffs at RAGGED MOUNTAIN
John Reppy and Sam Streibert
Yale Mountaineering Club
1964, New Haven, Conn.
Ragged Mountain is located three miles to the northeast of Southington, Connecticut. The Main Cliff faces west and is about six hundred feet long with a maximum height of one hundred feet. In addition there is a smaller cliff and numerous outcrops on the southern side of the mountain.
The cliffs and all access routes lie on private land. Since the availability of climbing at Ragged depends on the good will of the land owners, climbers are urged to behave discreetly, and, in particular, to refrain from picking the apples in the orchard.
Geologically, the cliffs at Ragged are part of a dolerite sill, intruded between layers of sandstone. Block faulting and erosion have exposed the highly resistant dolerite; this is a very common type of cliff in central Connecticut. The cliffs at Ragged display a strong system of vertical joints, spaced twenty to thirty feet apart.
The cracks and inside corners provided by these joints give the line for the majority of the climbing routes. Layback and jamming are the most common techniques. The rock is steep, and considerable strength as well as good technique is required for many of the climbs. The vertical cracks present problems for leader protection; one solution is the use of a nut sling, (a large Hex nut threaded on a loop of rope), as an artificial chockstone.
The development of Ragged Mountain as a climbing area has gone on since the 1930's. In recent years the tempo has increased, and many new routes have been added. Today, few if any obvious lines remain unclimbed. Even though Ragged Mountain offers little chance for the creation of new routes, it remains an excellent training ground for the mountaineering clubs of Yale, U-Conn., and Wesleyan, as well as climbers from the Appalachian Mountain Club.
The NCCS (National Climbing Classification system) has been used to indicate the difficulty of the climbs. In this system free climbs are graded from F 1 to F 10 according to difficulty, while climbs utilizing aid are classed from A 1 to A 5. It is hoped that the grades used at Ragged will correspond fairly closely to those used in the Shawangunks. With the exception of routes put in after the cliff drawings were made, the routes are numbered consecutively from left to right, starting with the north end of the Main Cliff.
CLIMBS ON THE MAIN CLIFF
l. END RUN F 4
This popular beginners' climb starts from the scree gully at the north end of the cliff. A traverse is made to the corner on a sloping ledge. From the corner follow a slightly rising traverse to a vertical crack. Climb this crack by jamming and layback.
2. NORTH END F 8 First ascent: May, 1963, J. Reppy, T. Streibert
A strenuous climb on good holds. Start 15 feet south on the main face. Climb a slightly overhanging inside corner to a stance. Move a few feet to the right and surmount a bulge to a small hemlock tree. Cross END RUN and climb the left edge of the face to reach a small groove, the crux of the climb. Above the difficulty eases. A variation of the first pitch starts just to the left of the main corner. Swing around the corner to the right on large loose holds, and then climb up, staying as close to the corner as possible.
3. JAM CORNER F 5
A short 15 foot climb on an inside corner.
4. SWEAT SLOT F 6
This climb is in a fissure, 20 feet to the south of JAM CORNER. To start the climb, scramble to the platform at the base of the crack or climb down JAM CORNER.
5. OWL PERCH F 7 First ascent: 1955; B. Arsego, J. Reppy
At the overhanging vaults scramble up into a small niche 15 feet up the wall. Climb out on the right and up the short vertical face to a good ledge. Continue up the line of the inside corner to the top.
6. CEMETERY VAULT F 7 First ascent: 1955, J. Reppy, B. Arsego
Start directly below the conspicuously overhanging wall to the right of OWL PERCH. Climb on difficult cracks, often wet, to a stance below the overhang. Continue up the end wall following the curve of the roof, emerging onto good holds.
7. MARLINESPIKE F 8 First ascent: Oct., 1963; T. Streibert, M. Scully
There are two prominent cracks leading up the face from the top of the Northern Cave Slab. MARLINESPIKE follows the left crack, mostly jamming.
8. DOUBLE CRUX F 8 First ascent: Oct., 1963; T. Streibert, P. Trafton
This route follows the crack to the right of MARLINESPIKE. The climb can be well protected with nut slings.
9. ANCIENT WAY F 5
The bottom of the climb is reached by scrambling to the top of the Northern Cave Slab. The route follows an inside corner by layback and jamming. Nut slings can be used for protection.
10. DECEPTION F 8 First ascent: April, 1963, T. Streibert, J. Reppy
"Harder than it looks" is the general comment on this climb, the first 15 feet being the most difficult. A nut sling gives good protection for this section, and a threaded runner is possible at the chockstone.
11. SUNDAY BULGE F 6 First ascent: June, 1963; J. Reppy, H. May
Start from the top of Southern Cave Slab, about 15 feet north of May's Way. Climb up and retable above a bulging section of the wall. Finish by following a diagonal line up to the right.
12. MAY'S WAY F 4
The route goes up the middle of the Southern Cave Slab. The second pitch follows the inside corner and crack to the top.
13. UNCONQUERABLE CRACK F 9 First free ascent: April, 1964; J. Reppy, T. Streibert.
A steep diagonal fissure to the right of Southern Cave Slab provides the line for this challenging route. About 35 feet up a widening of the crack provides an uncomfortable stance. Above this, the crack narrows and the major difficulties are encountered.
14. SUBLINE A 2 First ascent: Sept., 1963; T. Streibert, J. Reppy
This climb is almost entirely artificial. Leave the ground on the overhanging flake a few feet to the right of UNCONQUERABLE CRACK. Nail to a small ceiling 40 feet above. Climb over the ceiling to the left and continue up to the top.
15. MAIN STREET F 4
This well-trodden route takes a line up the cracked face to a large birch tree. Start the climb either up the inside corner or by easier scrambling to the right.
16. WISHBONE F 6 First ascent: 1949, S. Bailey, J. Reppy
30 feet to the right of MAIN STREET a wide groove narrows to form a slot which ends just below an overhang. Climb the groove, using a threaded chockstone for protection, and swing out to the left to reach a stance. Continue up the groove to reach a ledge on the right. The route finishes up a small inside corner at the right end of the ledge.
17. BUSHY GROOVE F 7 First ascent: 1955, J. Reppy
Another inside corner that runs nearly the full height of the cliff. The top section provides a nice problem in hand jamming.
18. JUNIPER WALL F 7
Scramble up to a ledge on the outside corner of BUSHY GROOVE. Traverse to the right on small holds and retable onto a ledge. The route then follows a rising line up to the left past a juniper bush to a belay ledge below a difficult 14 foot wall. From a stance at the
top of the wall retable up to the left, and complete the climb up a short jam crack.
19. VECTOR F 9 First ascent: 1955; J. Reppy, 2nd didn't follow.
A most intimidating climb for the leader. Start at a 12 foot pedestal of rock which stands out from the face. Easy climbing leads to a stance below a small overhang. The face above is cut by a vertical crack with rounded edges. The difficult move into the crack can be protected by a threaded runner. Above the lead can be protected by a nut sling and a threaded runner around a small chockstone.
20. SIDE ENTRY F 6 First ascent: May, 1963; T. Streibert, J. Reppy
15 feet to the right of the rock pedestal climb up, following the easiest line, to a bush on the face between VECTOR and the Wiessner slab. Continue the climb from the right of the bush, finishing in a mall groove. A variation of the bottom pitch is possible by climbing near the left edge of the Wiessner Slab until it is possible to raverse out on the face to reach the ledge near the bush.
21. TOWER CRACK F 7
The crux pitch of Wiessner's route on Devil's Tower is reminiacent of this crack. It is a short but strenuous climb an the left inside corner of the recess made as the Wiessner Slab slipped down.
22. WIESSNER CRACK F 8
This popular climb, at the right inside corner at the top of the Wiessner Slab, is longer than TOWER CRACK and different in character. Instead of jamming, one laybacks on small but sharp holds. The shallow
cracks pose a problem for piton placement; there have been two serious leader falls from this climb, at least one due to piton failure.
23. WIESSNER SLAB ROUTES F 4
Although one may scramble anywhere on the bottom half of the slab, the upper section steepens, leaving only two fairly easy lines to the top. The routes at the top of the slab are more difficult, so one ust be prepared to downclimb, rappel, or join KNIGHT 'S MOVE.
24. KNIGHT'S MOVE F 5
Two vertical pitches separated by a traverse suggest the name. Ascend the Wiessner Slab, traverse using holds just below a large boulder down to a ledge on the right, and follow this ledge to its end. From here climb a difficult 8 foot section to a good stance. Continue up, finishing the climb in a beautiful double crack.
25. CAVE ROUTE F 4
Start the climb from the highest point on the floor of the cave behind the Wiessner Slab. Climb the back wall for 10 feet, and then diagonal up to the right, where it is possible to stem and chimney between the back wall and the slab. Work up through a hole on the right, emerging at the top of the slab, directly below the WIESSNER CRACK.
26. WET WALL F 6
3O feet to the right of the Wiessner Slab there is a small overhang which turns up to the right to form a small inside corner. Climb the water-stained wall to reach this corner. A strenuous retable is required to reach the easy line leading up to the left. Climb the
large f1ake by layback and jamming to a good stance. The next section is in common with KNIGHT'S MOVE. After about 15 feet the routes diverge; WET WALL follows a series of steps rising to the right.
27. HEMLOCK GROOVE F 5
A large hemlock tree at the foot of a pronounced groove marks the climb. Climb the groove past two trees to a ledge on the left. Bees sometimes nest at the base of the lower tree. The final pitch follows a narrow chimney which is usually done as a layback and is protected by a bolt.
28. THE YMC ROUTE F 7 A 2 First ascent: Oct., 1963; J. Reppy, W. McMahon
F 8 First free ascent: April, 1964; R. Williams, J. Reppy
This climb makes a direct line up to the left side of the great overhanging block. A piton may be placed for protection above a small overhang at the base of the block. Move several feet to the left, and using delicate holds climb the face to reach a large flake. Good holds take one to the top of the block.
29. BROADWAY F 7 First aacent: 1958; J. Reppy, G. Young, F. Carey
The route follows a direct line up to the right side of the hanging block. Layback is used to reach the top of the block. The climb is completed by continuing straight up a vertical crack to the top. This is an enjoyable climb of sustained difficulty.
30. CAREY CORNER F 7 First ascent: 1958, J. Reppy, F. Carey
The route follows an inside corner 20 ft. to the right of the hanging block. The first 15 ft. of the corner are missing, and it is necessary to climb a jam crack to the base of the groove. Continue up the groove to a ledge and belay stance. The final pitch is a strenuous 20 ft. layback.
31. GREEN GUTTER F 5
A practice climb at an inside corner at the southern end of the cliff. Layback until it is possible to move onto the face on the left. Continue on easy rock to the top.
CLIMBS ON THE SMALL CLIFF
32. EGO BUSTER F 8
This climb is located on the west face of the Small Cliff. The top half of the cliff is cut by a crack about 20 ft. from the corner. Climb the face directly below on small holds to reach this crack. Continue to the top by jamming.
33. ROUNDABOUT F 4
Start a little to the right of EGO BUSTER and follow a traversing line to the corner. Round the corner and climb up the south face.
34. LAYBACK F 4
The southwest corner of the Small Cliff is undercut. Climb up a few feet just to the right of this overhang, and traverse awkwardly to the left. Follow the obvious line which diagonals up to the right; a layback is required in places.
35. DIAGONAL F 6 First ascent: J. B. Gardener
DIAGONAL is one of the most satisfying climbs at Ragged. The climb starts at the same point as LAYBACK and follows a diagonal line up the south face of the Small Cliff. The climb emphasizes balance and technique rather than brawn.
36. CRISSCROSS F 7 First ascent: April, 1964; T. Streibert, D. Doody
Begin the climb at the same point as for SHADOW WALL. Traverse left at a height of about 6 ft. until it is possible to climb up to a small overhang. Surmount the overhang on good holds and move up to the left, crossing DIAGONAL to finish the climb near the left corner of the face.
37. SHADOW WALL F 9 First ascent: March, 1964; J. Reppy, T. Streibert
SHADOW WALL is a serious climb of sustained difficulty. Start about 15 ft. to the left of SPREAD EAGLE. Climb directly up to the overhang, using a good hold 10 ft. off the ground. Follow the line of the overhang to the right to reach an inside corner. Climb the inside corner until it is possible to swing out onto the face. Continue straight up to the top.
38. SPREAD EAGLE F 5
Start this climb from a small block of rock standing at the cliff bottom. Climb to the base of a wide shallow chimney. Climb the chimney until it is possible to step around to the left onto the face. The climb finishes on good holds.
39. CHIMNEY F 4
This is an easy climb with ample holds.
40. TROLL F 5
Climb the inside corner 10 ft. to the right of CHIMNEY using layback, stem and jam techniques.
41. BLACK SNAKE SLAB F 4
The standard route starts near the right side of the slab and follows the easiest combination of moves to the top.
42. MAY CRACK F 8
This climb is a 20 ft. overhanging jam crack located 200 ft. to the east from the bottom of the Small Cliff; it is usually toproped. Start by layback and jam to the top.
43. KNIGHT'S GAMBIT F 6 First ascent: April, 1964; T. Streibert, E. Arens
This recently discovered route at the Main Cliff follows a line just to the right of the Wiessner Slab. The climb starts on the corner by the cave entrance. Reach a small stance on the face to the right. Then climb up and slightly to the left to a belay stance on the traversing ledge for KNIGHT'S MOVE. The route continues up the face, generally about 15 ft. to the right of the corner to reach the top. This climb should become a classic.
Climbs in Order of Increasing Difficulty
NCCS Class Route Number