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Bolton Area

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82 Crag 
Bolton Quarry 
Bone Mountain 
Carcass Crag 
Chapel Crag 
Lower West Bolton 
Upper Upper West Bolton 
Upper West Bolton 
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Bolton Area  

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Administrators: Luc, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Chris Duca on Dec 28, 2007
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Travis Peckham on the first ascent of Encryption 5...

Seasonal Peregrine Falcon Closures MORE INFO >>>


Bolton Valley contains more than just what's available at Lower West Bolton. In fact, there are plenty of climbing areas in Bolton Valley, which is located just 25 minutes from downtown Burlington. Unfortunately, many of these areas are located on private property, thus contain sensitive access issues. If you are new to the area, it is HIGHLY advisable to check with the locals and with cragvt.org before embarking on your own.

Nevertheless, when you finally figure out how to get to where you want to go, (and where NOT to go!)climbing in and around Bolton Valley can keep one busy for quite a while. The stone is schist and runs the gamut of being extremely sound to being extremely scary. There are tremendous crack routes located here, as well as some amazing gear and mixed routes on the more remote buttresses scattered throughout the valley. There are also plenty of sport routes at Bolton Quarry and peppered throughout the hills of Bolton Valley.

If you are amped to climb here, get in touch with some of the locals at one of the local climbing shops in Burlington (Outdoor Gear Exchange, Climb High, EMS, or Petra Cliffs Climbing Center) to get a guided tour. I've overheard climbers at the local gym say there is no reason to travel outside of Bolton Valley (or Vermont) to climb--I may not agree completely with that claim, but there certainly is plenty of stone and adventure to at least entertain the idea for quite a while.

Getting There 

If coming from Interstate 89 (north or south), take the Richmond Exit (exit 11) and head east on Route 2. Bolton is roughly 6 miles from the exit. Lower and Upper West Bolton climbing areas are located on Bolton Access Rd.

Climbing Season

Weather station 7.8 miles from here

108 Total Routes

['4 Stars',10],['3 Stars',49],['2 Stars',35],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Bolton Area:
Chockstone (aka:Captain's Crack)   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Upper West Bolton : Upper Tier - Right End
Family Picnic   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Sport, 2 pitches, 150'   the Main Cliff : Middle Cliff Routes
Harvest Moon   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   Lower West Bolton
Hush, Mama Thrush   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Lower West Bolton
Plea Deal AKA Sling The Horn   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 300'   Upper Upper West Bolton : Main Face
Crimp Chimp   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 160'   82 Crag
Dr. Dias   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Upper West Bolton : Upper Tier - Right End
Trespassing   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Upper West Bolton : Upper Tier - Left End
A Minor   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Lower West Bolton
The Rose   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Upper West Bolton : North End
Block Party   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 150'   82 Crag
The Politics of Dancing   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 160'   82 Crag
Tea in the Sahara   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Lower West Bolton
Truffle Hog   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 160'   82 Crag
Paradox   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Upper West Bolton : Lower Tier
Year of the Dog   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   82 Crag
The Thorn   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Upper West Bolton : North End
The Cat's Ass   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   Bolton Quarry
The Doggfather   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   82 Crag
Who's Your Daddy   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 50'   Carcass Crag
Browse More Classics in Bolton Area

Featured Route For Bolton Area
Matt Bristol just below the high crux on Encryptio...

Encryption 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b  VT : Bolton Area : 82 Crag
82 Crag's version of "Venus on a Halfshell", only better. This is a long enduro crimp route. Lots similarly-hard moves throughout and very sustained. Crux is more of a pump crux than a boulder problem (from what I understand). The crimps just keep coming and coming. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in VT

Photos of Bolton Area Slideshow Add Photo
Kevin Ryan just barely sticking the crux of Who's ...
Kevin Ryan just barely sticking the crux of Who's ...
Jake List on the first ascent of Enter the Dweezel...
Jake List on the first ascent of Enter the Dweezel...
Lindsay Peet on the first ascent of Rio Alegro, V0
Lindsay Peet on the first ascent of Rio Alegro, V0
Courtney Giles sussing out the moves on Generation...
Courtney Giles sussing out the moves on Generation...
Getting ready for the send, Pat Tracy before Roof ...
Getting ready for the send, Pat Tracy before Roof ...
Bouldering on the Notch Road, V-hard
Bouldering on the Notch Road, V-hard
Dave Vuono playing on Bolton's best V2, The Sharkf...
Dave Vuono playing on Bolton's best V2, The Sharkf...
Good Ol' VT, Bolton
Good Ol' VT, Bolton
Unknown 2 pitch 5.6 slab climb at what I was told ...
Unknown 2 pitch 5.6 slab climb at what I was told ...

Comments on Bolton Area Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 4, 2010
By SarahKS
Sep 16, 2008
I was just up at Bolton this weekend and wanted to let everyone know that the road that Upper and Lower West Bolton climbs are off of is called Notch Rd NOT Bolton Access Rd or Bolton Mountain Rd. Happy climbing.
By Colin R
From: Ottawa, ON
Apr 8, 2010
It's about time we started adding some of our home grown Vermont routes/boulders into this web site. So many great routes and bouldering in the Bolton area as well as Marshfield ledge, The Notch, Groton and Mt. Wheeler - how come we don't have more Green Mountain rock climbing/bouldering listed here? Seriously, there are plenty of low quality crags and bouldering spots in other states that I hear about and see listed on Mountain Project and other climbing sites/media all the time (I'll keep my lips sealed on them for the moment). Arguably I am being a hypocrite since I could add them myself but I wouldn't want to steal the opportunity from another Vermont climber....
By Colin R
From: Ottawa, ON
Apr 8, 2010
Specifically I am thinking of the 82 Crag, Carcass Crag, Bolton Quarry (which has some great new lines), Marshfield Ledge, Owl's Head, Mt. Wheeler
By Chris Duca
From: Havertown, PA
Apr 11, 2010
I think, because of sensitive access issues, at least one of the areas you mentioned (Carcass) shouldn't be added to the database just yet. The 82 Crag, Bolton Quarry (eh-hem, choss pile!!), Wheeler Mt., etc., etc. should be added to MP so long as there are no limiting circumstances that would otherwise tarnish VT's street cred. And I think you're the perfect suitor for this job, Colin!!
By Colin R
From: Ottawa, ON
Apr 14, 2010

I agree with you about the access sensitive area. I also agree that i am probably the best candidate to add these new areas/route (I am lazy however, only good at quippy comments). I disagree that the Quarry is a choss pile. Well, technically yes, most of it is but the truly chossy parts don't have any routes on them anyways. The Cat's Ass Wall and the first left-hand wall in the main quarry are both bullet hard, non-quarried schist all with good, short-but-stout sport climbing. Even some of the quarried rock has good climbing (There is a great 11a in the back there). 82 Crag is sick and is good as any wall at Rumney (just not as much of it or as condensed). Believe me, I used to laugh at the idea of placing Bolton up there with Rumney but I have since come around mostly due to the lack of crowds and some of the great new lines that have gone up (I am not smoking anything I swear!). Rumney has turned into an outdoor gym (too many climbers, too few routes) and I am way too much of a climbing hermit these days. Marshfield and Wheeler are also stellar crags but I am not as familiar with them. And then there is the bouldering which is as good as anywhere you'll find in New England imo (if you know where you are going). Viva La Ver-Mont!
By Colin R
From: Ottawa, ON
Apr 15, 2010
Added most of the good Bolton Quarry routes, 82 crag is next...
By David Powers
Apr 17, 2010
Looks like you have everything in Vermont covered. Not much more to add.
By Colin R
From: Ottawa, ON
Apr 17, 2010
There's plenty more to add actually. Just can't do it all myself. I hope others contribute a bit too. Some areas that I would like to see routes/boulders added are:

Marshfield Ledge - Routes
Mt. Wheeler - Routes and Bouldering
Groton State Park - Bouldering and Routes at Owl's Head
Smuggler's Notch - Routes and Bouldering
Jamaica State Park (southern VT) - Bouldering

Climbing in Vermont is growing but I think we can manage it if we give folks a heads up on access issues and what not on here.

Sensitive access areas should not be posted.
By Chris Duca
From: Havertown, PA
Apr 19, 2010
"Looks like you have everything in Vermont covered. Not much more to add."--David Powers

Don't worry, David, Wheeler probably won't make it up here, anyway...it's way too chossy to warrant any attention anyway...(haha!)
By David Powers
Apr 20, 2010
Hi Chris, Part of me does not care but the other part loves the adventure climbing aspect. In a previous post you mentioned splitter cracks at this chossy place. Did you find Eagle Point crag? It sounded like you got around the place a bit.
If you or Colin have any bouldering FA info i would like to get it for record keeping.
By Chris Duca
From: Havertown, PA
Apr 20, 2010

I agree with you. When it boils down to it, I don't really care one way or the other. Wheeler and the outlaying areas are, however, one of the best kept secrets in NE, without a doubt. Last time I was up there was about 2 years ago, and. upon your earlier recommendation, I did make it up to Eagle Point Buttress. We climbed the Eagle Point Crack, as well as TRing Hot Seat. Both phenomenal lines up some of the best granite around. I did not, however, make it up to the buttress (?) above the Kingdom Crack area. Next time...
By Amy Butler
May 15, 2010
I live in Plainfield, right next to Marshfield, and I'm looking for someone who knows about bouldering near the ledges to let me know what's actually there. I am also interested in doing some more exploring in the groton/Lord's Hill area to find some more boulders. My daughter and I frequent a sweet little boulder in Marshfield,...there has to be more!
By Colin R
From: Ottawa, ON
Jul 12, 2010
Would be good to add new material here. Upper & Lower West as well have relatively few routes while Upper East has nothing. I noticed someone put up Carcass Crag (again). Hopefully it wont be taken down again unless there are access issues. Also, there is still more stuff up at 82 Crag plus. Chris, you know this area as well as anyone. I'll add more stuff soon as I can.
By Colin R
From: Ottawa, ON
Jul 12, 2010
One other thing I think would be good is for folks to suggest grades as well. There are some routes at Bolton that are pretty sandbagged in my opinion and I am curious what other folks think. Sandbagging is to be expected to a degree in Vermont but I think we should also try to keep it within reason. I can think of at least 5 routes that I feel should be upgraded (some by more than one letter grade) where as I only know of one route in the area that I would recommend being downgraded. I could name some obvious routes but would rather wait and hear feedback from others.
By baggins
From: Jerome, AZ
Sep 6, 2010
Can anyone point me in the right direction for bouldering at Bolton?
By Andrew Mertens
From: Bay Area, CA
Dec 4, 2010
If no one objects, I'd like to put up a page for Wheeler Mt. I want to make sure that there isn't a strong outcry to keep the cliff a secret, though. Also, if someone knows more about the area, they should post it; I climbed The Great Dihedral on minimum beta and don't know anything else about the area. I just thought it was an amazing route and cliff and would like to pass the experience on.