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Areas in Crow Hill

1. End Crags 4 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
2. Green Corner 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
3. Fisherman's Wall 8 / 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
4. The Buttress 5 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
5. Main Face 9 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
6. Practice Face (right end) 4 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
7. Crow Hill Ice & Mix 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 2
Elevation: 849 ft
GPS: 42.515, -71.858 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 114,646 total · 793/month
Shared By: jeremyadams on Jan 6, 2007 with updates from Robert Hall
Admins: Joe M., Old Timer, jim.dangle
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Description

Located 20 minutes north of Worcester and an hour west of Boston, this crag in Leominster State Forest offers a varied concentration of traditional rock climbing routes within a reasonable drive of many Eastern and Central Massachusetts climbers. Facing east-southeast and situated on a hillside, many of Crow Hill's cracks and faces often seep longer and wetter than other New England areas. The climbing season at Crow Hill begins in March, if it's a dry winter, or as late as June, if it's a wet spring.

The cliff's faces and features are comprised of gneiss, offering a grainy texture unique from the typical Northeast trad haunts (i.e. Cathedral, Gunks). A handful of easier routes at the north and south ends (called Practice Face and End Crags, respectively) are often busy. The crag's 5.8s are among the best in The Commonwealth, including Intertwine, Tarzan, and Diagonal, but the local classic is Cromagnon, a 5.10 crack that teaches toproping newbies how to jam, and how to swing.

The Midstate Trail runs along the clifftop, and locals residents of the Fitchburg area frequently hike and scramble around the crag, so brain buckets, vigilance, and common sense are wise complements to your rack, rope, and bug dope.

A climbing permit (free) [used to be] required of each climber by the state forest to legally climb at Crow. [A climber used to] obtain this at the park HQ prior to climbing, and renew annually, by showing harnesses and ropes to a ranger. Now it is climb at your own risk.

Getting There

From Route 2, take the Route 31 exit (west of Fitchburg) and travel south. A couple miles past the hotel and utility facility, the park headquarters appear on the right. Farther down the road, pass a pond with swimming area (comfort facilities, seasonal, $5 per car to park and swim). From the roadside pond parking area (not always open), a trail climbs perpendicular to the road, meeting the cliff base in 5 minutes.

A more reliable (typically prefered) parking situation is available about 1/4 mile further south on the right (dirt lot, aka "Climber's Lot"). From this lot, walk up the (closed to autos) gravel road about 10 minutes. From the road's terminus, a trail climbs through a break in an old stone wall to a fork, where signs offer guidance to the top of crag (via End Crags, left) or base of crag (right).

Map of Leominster Trails

41 Total Climbs

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Location: Crow Hill Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at Crow Hill

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 96
Boardwalk
Trad, TR
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 65
Green Route
Trad 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 35
The Chimney
Trad 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 40
Tom’s Dilemma
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 30
Layback
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 35
Post Road (aka Black Route)
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 68
Sidewinder
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 28
Franny's Folly
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 120
Intertwine
Trad, TR
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 43
Diagonal
Trad
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 51
Tarzan
Trad
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13
 33
Thin Line
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 28
Fool on a Hill
Trad, Sport
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 60
Cro-Magnon
Trad, TR
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
 28
Jane
Trad, TR
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Boardwalk 6. Practice Face (rig…
 96
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad, TR
Green Route 2. Green Corner
 65
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 2 pitches
The Chimney 4. The Buttress
 35
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
Tom’s Dilemma 1. End Crags
 40
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
Layback 1. End Crags
 30
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, TR
Post Road (aka Black Route) 5. Main Face
 35
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Sidewinder 6. Practice Face (rig…
 68
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Franny's Folly 5. Main Face
 28
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Intertwine 5. Main Face
 120
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Diagonal 3. Fisherman's Wall
 43
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Tarzan 3. Fisherman's Wall
 51
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Thin Line 5. Main Face
 33
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13 Trad
Fool on a Hill 4. The Buttress
 28
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Sport
Cro-Magnon 3. Fisherman's Wall
 60
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, TR
Jane 3. Fisherman's Wall
 28
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13 Trad, TR
More Classic Climbs in Crow Hill »

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Photos

Padraig  
The free climbing permit appears to no longer be necessary for climbing at Crow Hill. Park staff told us yesterday (August 31,2011) that it is now simply "climb at your own risk." Sep 1, 2011
Jcomeau
North Conway
Jcomeau   North Conway
Looks like I left some gear on Lizard head. I think a number 1 BD stopper with an oval wire gate on it, and a number 8 I believe, the orangeish one. Would be great to get it back. Nov 23, 2012
Found some gear at the anchor for Intertwine. Respond with description, and I'd be happy to get it back to you. May 20, 2013
Read Januskiewiecz
New England
Read Januskiewiecz   New England
Mike I messaged you about the gear, but if you didn't see that it was two DMM lockers, Mammut pear, some blue cord. Let me know if that's what you found. May 29, 2013
Gear happily retrieved from Mike. Three cheers for climbers being awesome people. Jun 12, 2013
Total shot in the dark. I left a yellow number 2 OP link cam in the crack by greens corner last night. If anyone finds it there is a six pack in it for you. Oct 12, 2013
JD1984
Leominster, MA
JD1984   Leominster, MA
I just noticed a video camera in the parking area fastened to a tree. Is this area actively under surveillance? I know the parking area has been the site of many car break-ins in the past. Does anyone know who put this up? Oct 13, 2014
losbill  
The rockfall reported by JD earlier involved the first bit of Birds Of Fire. Neither Watusi nor The Chimney were affected by the fall. The rock that fell was pretty large and made up the roof of the cave-like feature at the start of Birds Of Fire and the rock face that made up the left side of the crack above it. The essential nature of the climb is not greatly changed. In fact, the elimination of the awkward cave start makes, at least in my opinion, a more aesthetic start and can be nicely protected.


I climbed up and cleaned up some broken rock but backed off due to a block above that looked to be a bit suspiciously perched in the crack formed by the fracture left by the fallen block. I went to the top and rapped down to check it. The suspicious block fell out of the crack with extremely little encouragement from me. I'm glad I decided not to climb up and check it. It is likely I would have gotten whacked in the head by 45 pounds of rock.







A #3 BD, a #2 BD and a yellow alien sized cam will get you through the bit where the block came off. The section of the pitch impacted by the rock fall did not included the crux sections so the grade of the climb should be considered the same.

BTW if you step left after the short traverse left and step up to the horizontal level with the top of the block separating the climb from Watusi to finish on Watusi you are not following the Birds Of Fire finish. It does not go left. Where it goes I will leave to the adventurous to determine. I did on two occasions attempt a finish other than bailing to Watusi and ended up backing off. I subsequently did follow a partner who unlocked the puzzle. I have yet to sac up and do it on lead. Jan 4, 2015
Arthur Torrey
North Billerica MA
Arthur Torrey   North Billerica MA
Nice climbing, but approach is far more of a challenge than the 'Getting there' directions suggest if you are handicapped. Once the road ends the trail to the base of the crag turns into a very rocky boulder scramble.... If mobility challenged, particularly if in a wheelchair, you will need significant assistance... Jul 26, 2015
losbill  
Hey Arthur,

Yeah, the approach would be a bitch in a wheelchair. Let me know when you would like to get out. We will get your ass up there and on to a couple of climbs.

Bill Jul 28, 2015
losbill  
You go away for the summer, Dave, and the place starts to go to heck in an hand basket. Sep 16, 2015
Maureen Petterson
Boston, MA
Maureen Petterson   Boston, MA
I might have left a Black Diamond 0.75 C4 (pink tape) at the base of Boardwalk or Intertwine. It's most likely buried under a foot of leaves but am hoping someone will rescue it in exchange for dinner/beer/a BD 0.75 C4 (kidding on that last one!). Nov 8, 2015
losbill  
JD, if it is the block I'm thinking of, I don't think it is going anywhere soon. I always try to get a small cam or a nut in behind the block when leading Watusi before making the move up right and over the it.

Haven't been up Watusi in a while, is the old, ratty, corroded pin still at the crux? I have clipped it in the past but never trusted it. Always backed it up with an medium-sized cam in the horizontal off to the left. Mar 8, 2016
JD1984
Leominster, MA
JD1984   Leominster, MA
Climbing shoes found near base of Intertwine.... PM me with description, and I will get them back to you. Apr 15, 2016
VanGo  
We talked with a man climbing with two women on the Main wall today (one with an Aloha on her helmet). He dropped his North Face ball cap. We hung it on the sign board in the parking lot, the back of it, high on a bolt. Hope you find it.

A big tree fell by Practice Wall at the bottom belay. Makes it a little tight for people passing behind a belayer, but otherwise not in the way. I'm sure it's not the only hazard tree in the area affected by the carpenter ant colony. Jul 1, 2016
I was climbing yesterday on Boardwalk with my sister and her daughter and met a woman from Holden climbing with her friend from Princeton. It escaped me at the time so didn't ask, but I would love to find another local person to climb with as I am also from Holden. PM me if you are interested. Thanks, Brian Jul 18, 2016
Jcomeau
North Conway
Jcomeau   North Conway
Looking at replacing some of the old bolts there. What is the size recommended? I'd like to do stainless power bolts. Thinking 3/8" for the lead bolts and possibly 1/2" for anchors. Just looking on opinions on length. Looks like I'm already set for 3.5" for the 3/8". What would be acceptable for the anchor bolts? Jul 21, 2016
Tim McGivern
Medford, ma
Tim McGivern   Medford, ma
Crow Hill has suffered from bolt wars in the past. Don't rush into things, and get the community involved, so there no surprises. Replacing bolts, I've heard, can require more skill than setting them. If you're not experienced, I recommend finding someone who is (the folks who set a lot of those are still around) and teaming up. Jul 22, 2016
JD1984
Leominster, MA
JD1984   Leominster, MA
The lone bolt on Ladybug has seen better days and could probably stand to be replaced. Also one of the anchor bolts above the practice face has a bit of movement in it. Jul 23, 2016
Tim McGivern
Medford, ma
Tim McGivern   Medford, ma
Hi I'm looking to talk with folks who have maintained Crow Hill in the past. This includes hardware replacement, trail maintenance, crag clean-ups, etc. An LCO is forming for eastern MA, and I'd like an update on where things stand at CH. Please PM me if you have any information.
Thanks,
Tim Apr 11, 2017
zwms  
Wondering if anyone has been out to Crow Hill this spring and could update on general conditions. Trying to squeeze some climbing in on Saturday morning before the whole NE region gets wet. Today is Thursday - forecast calling for little rain tonight, dry tomorrow, and dry Saturday until mid afternoon. Any local thoughts would be appreciated. Apr 12, 2018
A little crowded, but this area is truly a gem. I didn't realize we had such beautiful cracks in Massachusetts, and many climbs can be done on toprope. Wonderful area. While a touch crowded, there is space for everyone, and on the 2 visits I have made (bother this month), the other climbers tend to be respectful and reasonable (have not heard boom boxes, area kept clean, no trash or anything). Sep 16, 2018
JD1984
Leominster, MA
JD1984   Leominster, MA
There are some excellent beginner trad routes here than can be lead on a budget as well (nuts and hexes or nuts and tri-cams). I learned trad here, and the grades translate to just about anywhere. Sep 18, 2018

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