Elevation: 5 ft
GPS: 42.399, -71.826 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 4,095,310 total · 23,495/month
Shared By: Leo Paik on Jan 13, 2007 · Updates
Admins: Joe M., Old Timer, jim.dangle

Description

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 WesternMACC.com.

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 WesternMACC.com 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.

Organizations

AMC. Appalachian Mountain Club/Boston Office at 5 Joy Street, Boston, MA (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.

Rock areas

Rock areas in Massachusetts include: Atomics, Bates Boulder, Berlin Boulder, Black and White Rocks, Black Rock**, Borderland SP (Easton), Boylston Quarry, Bow Ridge Reservation (Kallenberg Quarry, Pizza & Beer Quarry), Bunyan Mountain, Cape Ann, Castle Hill (Breakheart Reservation), Castle Rock (Marblehead), Chapel Ledges, College Rock, Concord Street (Gloucester)**, Crow Hill, Denrock, Dell Ave. (Boston), Douglas State Forest, Echo Bridge**, Esoteric Boston Areas** (MIT Domes, John Hancock Tower**, Delle Ave, Northboro), Farley Ledge**, Ft. Ruckman** (Nahant), Forty Caves (Berlin), Freetown State Forest, Gilbert Hills State Park, Gloucester (Annisquam**, Arrowhead**, Bray St**, Canton**, Cavalry/Gymnasium, Dogtown, Driven Boulder**, Dykes Pond, Farm Creek Boulder, Good Harbor Beach**, Green Tavern Boulder**, Hardy Mountain, Junkey Boulder**, Klondike Reservoir**, Lost Ledges**, Meeting House Rock, Menotomy Rocks (Arlington), Mod Gripping Quarry/Atlantic Ave, Mt Ann, Mt Jacob Swamp**, Nelson Quarry**, Ravenswood, Wheeler St**), Great Barrington Area (Bung Hill**, East Mountain**, Greenwood Cliffs, Monument Mountain, & Reservoir Rocks**), Hammond Pond, Happy Valley, Hideaway, Hills State Forest, Hopkinton SP, House Rock (Weymouth), Jenkins' Boulder**, Joe's Rock (Wrentham), Kenmore Walls aka Back Bay Fens, Langsford Pond** (Gloucester), Lookout Rock (Northbridge), Lynn Woods (Lantern Rock), Magnolia (Gloucester area), Doliver Point, Hesperus, Mussel Point, Rafe's Chasm), Manchester (various), Marblehead (various), Melrose (various), Milford Bouldering (Vietnam**), Mission Hill** (Boston), Mohawk Rock (Savoy), Monroe State Forest, Mormon Hollow, Mt. Madison, Nelson, Quarry** (Gloucester), Northboro Arches**, Peabody Boulders, Peter's Hill (Sherborn), Pine Cobble, Purgatory Chasm SP**, Quincy Quarries, Rattlesnake Gutter**, Rattlesnake Rocks, Redrock, Redrock North, Rockport (boulders & quarries, Pigeon & Folly Cove, Halibut Point), Rocky Woods Reservation, Rocky Woods Rd (Taunton), Rose Ledges**, Route 9 boulder, The Sanctuary, Savin Hill (Dorcester), Stage Fort Park, Stickney's Boulder , Tippling Rock, Upton State Forest, Waban Arches**, Waitts Mt (Malden), ?? (Montague), West Roxbury Ledges, Westford Quarry, Westport River, World's End (Hingham), Wrentham State Forest. (**known or possible access issues).

Ice Climbing

Boston Rocks II describes ice in the Boston area. New England Ice and NEClimbs describe ice in the New England area.

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.
Rockport Quarries.
Zoar road cuts (check the legality first).

Guidebooks

Boston Rocks II covers 50+ crags and 800+ routes in Eastern Massachusetts. Get it! Boston Rocks 1987 or 1995 editions are likely difficult to find. Boston Rolls, East, and assorted guides exist for the state. Rock Climbing New England may be useful.

Weather

You can potentially use the NOAA website for information. Humidity can be high, especially in eastern Massachusetts. Crisp, sunny, fall days in Massachusetts can be amazing.

Gyms

Boston Rock Gym Woburn, MA.
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
brooklynboulders.com/somerv…

Ah, the ole days of climbing with Fires on the bricks lining the old theatre/former Boston Rock Gym....

Getting There

Look way, way, way east.

Boston Map

Boston map. One of the weirdest things in Boston proper is that there are fewer legal parking spots than cars in this city. Go figure.

Pictures

Photo samples from Boston Rocks II in the area Set 1, Set 2, Set 3.

Bouldering

There is even a bouldering website for bouldering in New England and specifically Massachusetts.

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 (climbersforbats@colostate.edu) 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 climbersforbats@colostate.edu, or visiting their website to learn more (climbersforbats.colostate.edu/).

Rob Schorr

Zoologist, Colorado Natural Heritage Program (sites.warnercnr.colostate.e…)

Director, Climbers for Bat Conservation

Robert.schorr@colostate.edu 

4,859 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Massachusetts Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at Massachusetts

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 123
Boardwalk
Trad, TR
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 85
Green Route
Trad 2 pitches
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 73
Toe Jams
Trad, TR
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 162
Zipper
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 84
Layback
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 82
Sidewinder
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 93
Guillotine (aka Double Overhead…
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 148
Intertwine
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 98
Outside Corner
Trad, TR
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 67
Tarzan
Trad
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13
 50
Thin Line
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 86
Double Helix (aka Rikert's Corner)
Trad, TR
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 75
Tennessee
Trad, TR
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 70
Cro-Magnon
Trad, TR
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 71
Priapism
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Boardwalk Central, MA > … > Crow Hill > 6. Practice Face (rig…
 123
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad, TR
Green Route Central, MA > … > Crow Hill > 2. Green Corner
 85
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 2 pitches
Toe Jams N Shore > … > Redrocks & Vici… > Red Rock Main Area
 73
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad, TR
Zipper N Shore > … > Redrocks & Vici… > Red Rock Main Area
 162
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, TR
Layback Eastern, MA > Quincy Quarries > J Wall (aka L Face)
 84
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Sidewinder Central, MA > … > Crow Hill > 6. Practice Face (rig…
 82
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Guillotine (aka Double Over… Western MA > Rose Ledge
 93
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Intertwine Central, MA > … > Crow Hill > 5. Main Face
 148
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Outside Corner Eastern, MA > Quincy Quarries > K Wall (aka M Face)
 98
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Tarzan Central, MA > … > Crow Hill > 3. Fisherman's Wall
 67
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Thin Line Central, MA > … > Crow Hill > 5. Main Face
 50
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13 Trad
Double Helix (aka Rikert's… Western MA > Rose Ledge
 86
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, TR
Tennessee Western MA > Rose Ledge
 75
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, TR
Cro-Magnon Central, MA > … > Crow Hill > 3. Fisherman's Wall
 70
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, TR
Priapism Western MA > Mormon Hollow
 71
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
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