The Jenkins Boulder is just that, a single enormous, glacial erratic in a largely rock-free forest. However, the boulder is so large and featured that it is worth checking out if you are anywhere in the North Shore area. Combined with a visit to nearby Den Rock, one could have a fine day of low-key eastern Massachusetts climbing. The rock is about 25 feet high, and features problems and routes up all of its faces, as well as several traverse variations. There is potential for hard problems here, although as locals have been climbing here for over 35 years, most lines have likely been done. There is a pin on top, and gear placements are abundant if you wish to toprope the overhanging section.
Note: The boulder is on private property. The Andover Village Improvement Society allows public access from sunrise to sunset. There is no camping or biking. Dogs are allowed.
From Boston: Take I-93 north to Route 125. Take this north 4.5 miles to Salem St. Take a right, and proceed 1.5 miles to Jenkins Road. Take another right, and in 300 yards park on the right next to a stone wall beneath some pine trees. Walk 150 yards down an obvious trail towards the enormous boulder. You an't miss it.
From the north: Take I-93 south to I-495 east. Get off at the first exit (Route 28 south). Take Route 28 south for just over 3 miles through Andover center to Salem St. Take a left, and follow above directions.
Also, refer to this Andover Village Improvement Society map of the area. Note the Jenkins Boulder on the right hand side of the map.
While the boulder can be traversed high or low, clockwise or counterclockwise, with countless variations thrown in, the most classic traverse involves staying as low as possible and moving counterclockwise. This creates an endlessly varied, pumpy problem with several excellent rests. Start anywhere and end anywhere, and enjoy using slopers, hand jams, crimps, underclings, and pinches while cruising across an easy slab, a difficult overhang, a technical ramp, and a thin face. Figuring out the bet...[more]Browse More Classics in MA
I grew up about 5 miles from this place and used to bike out there all the time. Back then we called it Soap Rock. If you stay around long enough to ferret them all out, I think there are perhaps 15 problems to be had here. The hardest I ever got on was maybe V5, although perhaps something harder exists. I agree that the traverse is the best thing here.
Also, there used to be 2 old pins in the cracks at the top, evidence that folks have been climbing here for a long time. At the time, when I had minimal climbing experience, I wanted a top rope for a few lines; don't know how bold I'd be now. The TR is easy to set up.
Contrary to what is posted above, I think this boulder is worth a visit only if you happen to be nearby. The rock quality is good, but it's small. Come if you live in the area or happen to be at the neighboring Harold Parker State Forest; otherwise, it's probably not worth the bother. (That being said, I have many fond memories of the place!)