Elevation: 5 ft
GPS: 42.399, -71.826 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Leo Paik on Jan 13, 2007 with improvements by Richard Hunter and 4 others
Admins: Joe M., Old Timer, jim.dangle

Description

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
http://brooklynboulders.com/somerville/

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.

4,166 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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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
 110
Boardwalk
Trad, TR
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 76
Green Route
Trad 2 pitches
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 64
Toe Jams
Trad, TR
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 142
Zipper
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 72
Layback
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 76
Sidewinder
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 86
Guillotine (aka Double Overhead…
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 133
Intertwine
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 86
Outside Corner
Trad, TR
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 57
Tarzan
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 74
Double Helix (aka Rikert's Corner)
Trad, TR
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 69
Tennessee
Trad, TR
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 48
Lunge Roof (aka Rhino Dyno, or G…
Trad, TR
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 67
Cro-Magnon
Trad, TR
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 56
Priapism
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Boardwalk Leominster Area > Crow Hill > 6. Practice Face (rig…
 110
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad, TR
Green Route Leominster Area > Crow Hill > 2. Green Corner
 76
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 2 pitches
Toe Jams Cape Ann > Redrock & vicinity
 64
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad, TR
Zipper Cape Ann > Redrock & vicinity
 142
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, TR
Layback Quincy Quarries > J Wall (aka L Face)
 72
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Sidewinder Leominster Area > Crow Hill > 6. Practice Face (rig…
 76
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Guillotine (aka Double Over… Rose Ledge
 86
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Intertwine Leominster Area > Crow Hill > 5. Main Face
 133
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Outside Corner Quincy Quarries > K Wall (aka M Face)
 86
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Tarzan Leominster Area > Crow Hill > 3. Fisherman's Wall
 57
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Double Helix (aka Rikert's… Rose Ledge
 74
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, TR
Tennessee Rose Ledge
 69
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, TR
Lunge Roof (aka Rhino Dyno,… Rose Ledge
 48
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, TR
Cro-Magnon Leominster Area > Crow Hill > 3. Fisherman's Wall
 67
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, TR
Priapism Mormon Hollow
 56
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
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