The Extensions Area Rock Climbing
BETA PHOTO: The Extension Area at Cavalry Boulder Field. ZOO...
This area is referred to as the "Circuit Extension" in Boston Rocks II; however, it is not so much an "area" as it is a meandering path linking some nice, though secluded, granite boulders.
I'm assuming most of the lines have been done in the past, since someone has to be responsible for the various cairns that mark the overgrown path. However, when you climb out here it often feels like a new discovery due to the lack of information on problems as well as the preponderance of dirt and lichen that blanket the granite faces.
As with most of the other Massachusetts areas, this is a work in progress and I am happy to update any information on access or FA history if anyone has information to share.
Keep in mind that the true joy of climbing in an area like this is the adventure of bushwacking and discovering these sparse yet beautiful boulders. If you want to preserve your sense of adventure, then get out there without reading any further! But, if you're in the mood to limit your search with a bit of outside help, then hopefully this information will be useful and not make matters worse.
Disclaimer: I've added this area to promote better access to information regarding some of the obscure climbing in Cape Ann. I don't want to fool anyone into making the hike out here only to be disappointed by the limited number of climbs. Know ahead of time that you will be basically walking right THROUGH a much more established and cleaned up climbing area (Cavalry) to get to these blocks.
If you know how to get to The Alcove, skip to B. below:
A. Park as you would to access Red Rock or as is listed on the main page for the Cavalry Boulder Field.
The start to the trailhead is on the north side of Rt. 133 roughly half way between the Storage Units and the Cape Ann Veterinary Hospital.
Recently (April '11) there has been a new leg of trail added by the Essex County Greenbelt folks, who do a great job taking care of the land. Look for it on your RIGHT after about 100 feet of walking from the trailhead. It is marked by small white Greenbelt signs but is kind of easy to miss.
This new trail (or the original one that is still accessible) will bring you to the Cavalry Boulder, where you will be facing its looming, overhanging cracks and the army of insatiable mosquitos that guard its base.
From here, you will turn away from the big boulder to face roughly East and descend into "The Valley" area, then upwards to "The Alcove" on the other side of the trough.
Upon reaching the Alcove, continue to walk past it (east) and head towards the furthest east cluster of rocks, the Fishnet Boulders.
B. Now the fun begins:
Halfway between the Alcove and the Fishnet Boulders you should look for an offshoot trail on your LEFT (as you are walking EAST). This is the "trail" that you will now attempt to follow for the rest of the walk, so now is a good time to start leaving your breadcrumb trail.
If you take a gander at Google Earth (make sure you look at the historical imagery from winter to get rid of those damn leaves), then you really shouldn't have too much trouble. Fortunately the highway runs kind of parallel to where you are walking, so you can hear road noise to orient yourself.
Be on the lookout for small cairns (those little balanced piles of rocks) and the occasional spray-paint dot on a tree, but for the most part it's up to your ninja skills to follow this faint track as it winds through dense forest with fallen limbs often obscuring the way.
Use the topo picture I put together to see the order of the rocks you will be passing by and take note of the old stone walls that can often be seen in Google Earth to provide a point of reference to know when you've gone too far.
For the record, I came upon these boulders after bushwacking for countless hours and only after making 3 or 4 trips out here did I realize that there was even a trail. But once you know that it DOES exist and you pay attention, it really isn't as hard as I've just made it seem. Good luck and make sure you have yourself some fun.
Climbing Season For the Cavalry Boulder Field aka Gymnasium aka Playground area.
Weather station 6.5 miles from here
41 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',31],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',0]
Featured Route For The Extensions Area
Southeast Arete V1 5 MA
: Cape Ann
: ... : Extensions 3
For the intrepid few willing to bushwack and get lost to find this solitary boulder, I hope you will feel rewarded by this fun and secluded problem. The route ascends the prominent Southeast corner of the Extensions 3 block. It is the only genuine line on the boulder. Stand start matched on an obvious flake and pull onto the boulder. A few moves up and left will get you set up for the big reach out right towards the sloper. A bit of tension and balance will get you through the crux, then it's ju...[more] Browse More Classics in MA
Sep 6, 2013
Wandered around here recently. Still a lot of boulders and and problems not listed on MP.