Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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N.B. 6/4/20– This whole state is being reorganized so the site will be a work in progress for a bit.
One of the original 13 colonies of the US, Massachusetts (still a Commonwealth) is blessed with a smattering of small climbing opportunities for the local climber. While it is unlikely that any of the 60+ areas is likely to be considered a destination area, this has been a training area for plenty of New England climbers and may provide unexpected pleasures for the incidental visitor. The tallest climb is likely less than 150 feet in the state. Nonetheless, for rock climbers seeking the vertical and able to relish in small pleasures, there is climbing to be done here. There are even tidbits of ice for the knucklebasher.
Due to the compact nature of the rock in Massachusetts, many areas are top-rope primarily. Many of these areas necessitate long lengths of sling material. Due to the fickle nature of New England weather, some of these areas can be difficult to climb for extended periods of time; however, global warming might actually improve this issue. Some rock, like that of Crow Hill will require extended time to dry out after significant precipitation.
Climbing in Eastern Massachusetts has been going on since at least the 1910s. Frank Mason, once AMC president, climbed on cliffs in West Roxbury now consumed for human construction. Robert Underhill, Miriam O'Brien, & fellow AMCers climbed at areas like Crow Hill and Joe English Hill. Climbing at Hammond Pond dates back to the 1920s. Once, Hitchcock Quarries (now filled in) provided multi-pitch climbing. There are photos from the 1930s from climbs at Rattlesnake Rocks. More recently, climbers like Kevin Bein, John Yates, Steve Arsenault, Henry Barber, Ajax Greene, George Meyers, Paul Niland, David Breashears, and Geoff Tabin cut their climbing teeth in the area. As climbers began searching for more challenges, some of the human constructions attracted attention and buildering began to gain attention for the urban-based climbers. Climbing has been going on in Western Massachusetts since at least the 1960s. The Western Massachusetts climbers have organized a grass-roots organization which is actively involved in preserving access to climbing areas. Their website is climbgneiss.org/
One of the great challenges to the climbing community here is the preservation of access to these climbing areas. Over time, a number of areas have been closed or even destroyed here. Many a situation is delicate, and thus, a centralized location for information could benefit all. Hence, please check out the local access issue prior to climbing in an effort to maximize the climbing for all. For Farley Ledge, please check climbgneiss.org/ first before climbing.
I've been to 14 of the 36 areas listed in Tim Toula's fine 1995 Rock 'n Road. Some of these areas are buildering areas. Twenty-one areas (of which I've been to 17) are listed in the 1987 MIT Outing Club's Boston Rocks which covers areas east of Worcester. Since, I understand Boston Rocks II has been updated to include more routes & areas. So, if you know the other areas, please fill in the details....
Special note: many of these route listings come from years ago when I once frequented these areas. Updates can obviously be made. This is a start for this website, since little else is obvious on the web.
AMC. Appalachian Mountain Club/Boston Office at 10 City Square Boston, MA 02129 (617.523.0636) may be a good resource for climbers.
Western Massachusetts Climber's Coalition is a grass roots organization of climbers in Western MA.
MIT Outing Club is an organization at MIT.
Harvard Mountaineering Club is an organization at Harvard.
Southeast New England Climbers' Coalition Southeast New England Climbers' Coalition works to preserve climbing areas in their region, which includes eastern Massachusetts.
Auburn Ice Canyon - South of Worcester, with cold temps, this canyon offers a variety of ice. NEI3-4. Access a bit touchy.
Black and White Rocks / Fells - with cold temps, there is a cascade and gully near Crag 6.
Castle Hill - with cold temps, a bit of ice forms at Breakheart Reservation.
Crow Hill - moisture and cold temps create some ice here occasionally.
Zoar road cuts (check the legality first).
Gravity Rock Gym Stow, MA.
Carabiner's Rock Gym New Bedford, MA.
MetroRock Everett & Newburyport, MA.
Gordon College Rock Gym Wenham, MA.
Latitude Sports Club Peabody, MA.
Sterling Gymnastics Sterling, MA.
Exxcel climbing & gymnastics Newton, MA.
MIT climbing wall Cambridge, MA.
Rock Spot Climbing : Sprague Street, Boston/Dedham & Old Colony Avenue, South Boston.
Central Rock Gym, 299 Barber St., Worcester, MA.
Rock On Adventure, Norwood, MA.
Central Rock has a bouldering gym in Cambridge and a full gym in Watertown
Ah, the ole days of climbing with Fires on the bricks lining the old theatre/former Boston Rock Gym....
Bats - conservation
See a bat on a route, give a shout. Climbers for Bat Conservation is working with climbers to understand bat ecology and why bats choose certain cracks and flakes. If you see bats, and want to tell them, here is their email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and their website ( climbersforbats.colostate.edu/).
Climbers for Bat Conservation is a collaboration between climbers, bat biologists, and land managers to understand where bats roost and where large populations may reside. They are interested in finding bats because a new disease, called white-nose syndrome ( whitenosesyndrome.org/), has killed millions of bats in North America. This collaboration has identified bat roosts throughout the U.S., and as far away as Norway and Bulgaria. CBC was developed by biologists who climb and they are advocates for climbing access and bat conservation. If you see bats while climbing, please let them know by emailing them at email@example.com, or visiting their website to learn more ( climbersforbats.colostate.edu/).
Zoologist, Colorado Natural Heritage Program ( sites.warnercnr.colostate.e…)
Director, Climbers for Bat Conservation
Classic Climbing Routes at Massachusetts
Days w Precip