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College Rock



College Rock is a pleasant, 200-foot-long west-facing crag that rises up out of the ground at the north end, reaches a bit over 35 feet at its highest, and then it sinks back down into the ground at the south end, with top access easily achieved from either end. Most of the crag is between 25 and 30 feet high, broken up by by several right-facing corners/buttresses, and includes face climbing, crack work, and overhangs/roofs, with grades ranging from 5.0 to 5.11.

The grades are somewhat stiff (sandbagged by the oldtime FA artists perhaps? ;-) ), and many a first-time CR visitor has been shut down on climbs that grade-wise, they had expected to cruise. Climbing at College Rock can be characterised as being technical and sequency, with a lot of satisfaction to be had overcoming the many tricky moves.

The College Rock girdle traverse follows the entire 200 feet of the crag, without a break, the difficulty ranging from easy, juggy hauling, to difficult crimpy desperation. Some nice, easy, warmup semi-highballing (10-15 feet, 5.4-5.6) is avaialble at the south end. Several of the routes are leadable, though the crag is pretty much a top-roping haven.

Anchors are either slung from trees, mostly rather far back from the cliff face, or built from gear. If you've got a choice, choose gear, as many of the pines are noticably worn and polished around the bark at the base from decades of slinging.

There is bouldering here, in various spots around the crag are at least 6 or 7 boulders with routes to V7.

College tends to stay a bit damp after rain, and after a heavy day or two of rain, will show noticable seepage and runoff from the various cracks. Also, on humid days the rock can become slick from condensation, since the rock tends to stay cool in it's woodsy locale.

It lies about 45 minutes WSW of Boston. The Boston Marathon start nearby in Hopkinton center, about 3.5 miles away on rte 135.

College Rock is located at the head of a popular mountain biking trail system, and the parking lot can easily fill right up on nice weekend days.

Getting There

College Rock is easily accessble, and only about 2.5 miles from exit 20 off of Rte 495. from exit 20, take Rte 85 north towards Hopkinton (~45 minutes west of Boston). After crossing the Hopkinton town line, you'll crest a hill, and College Street will be immediately on your right, across the street from a red barn. Follow College Street about 0.2 miles until you come to the dirt parking area on the right. There's room for about 6-8 cars, with other dirt pull-offs on College Street nearby for when the lot is full.

From Route 135, come to Hopkinton center, and take Route 85 south at the lights, going uphill. Follow Route 85 through the lights past Hopkinton Middle School and High School, straight through the next flashing yellow, and after Cornell's Pub (ain't never been there, they tell me it's nice), look for College Street on the left across from the red barn. Follow College St. as above.

Aerial View

From Robb, when you open the view or view, you'll see College Street with a big with house above the street. Almost directly across the street (below in the view) there's a big grove of pine trees in the woods (the picture was taken when the deciduous trees were leafless). College Rock is in that grove. You can just barely make out the MTB/hiking trail.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Panorama of College Rock's main crag.
[Hide Photo] Panorama of College Rock's main crag.
Getting stuck on "My Mind Is A Blank".
[Hide Photo] Getting stuck on "My Mind Is A Blank".
Hard start.
[Hide Photo] Hard start.
The Militant Right, 5.9.
[Hide Photo] The Militant Right, 5.9.
College Rock.
[Hide Photo] College Rock.
At College Rock.
[Hide Photo] At College Rock.
This is the topo for Hard Knocks.  The boulder opposite of the cliff.  Lots of variations and cool little problems.
[Hide Photo] This is the topo for Hard Knocks. The boulder opposite of the cliff. Lots of variations and cool little problems.
Topo 2 from Boston Rocks.  Right end of the cliff.
[Hide Photo] Topo 2 from Boston Rocks. Right end of the cliff.
First topo from Boston Rocks.  This is the left end of College Rock.
[Hide Photo] First topo from Boston Rocks. This is the left end of College Rock.
Brendan on the traverse (200ft, V3).
[Hide Photo] Brendan on the traverse (200ft, V3).

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

North Conway
[Hide Comment] I posted up scans of the Boston Rocks guidebook which shows the topos for College Rock. Aug 7, 2011
[Hide Comment] My first trip out to this rock. How could anyone not love it? Great rock, routes, shortest hike-in ever. And empty mid day in August mid week. Bet it's a zoo on weekends here. Added some pics. Aug 30, 2011
[Hide Comment] Glad you had a good time. What did you climb and what were your faves?
It is an after-work crag mid week.
It does get old after one's 15th or 20th visit. :) Aug 30, 2011
North Conway
[Hide Comment] Good to see some recent pictures from here. That means people are climbing here again. A few years ago this place was packed on weeknight. Was not uncommon to see 4 or 5 ropes strung up and offered a run of any one of them before they were pulled. Not much people here nowadays. Sep 4, 2011
[Hide Comment] I live in Hopkinton and come here on a regular basis and was wondering if anyone has looked into putting up some chains and maybe a couple sport routes. Let me know what people think. Jan 25, 2012
Cape Ann
[Hide Comment] Even though chains for some of the routes may be a nice convenient addition, I think it will be met with great controversy from the people that have been climbing there for years. Top-rope anchors with either big trees or good gear can be had for every climb.

Sport routes at College Rock, in my opinion, are out of the question. It is only 30 feet tall, and there is no room for new additions without retro-bolting an established climb. Don't even think about bolting My Mind is a Blank.

Sorry to be a downer. Jan 25, 2012
[Hide Comment] My Mind is a Blank has been led on gear.... Jan 26, 2012
North Conway
[Hide Comment] I agree with DFrench. No need for bolts here. and no room for sport routes. Mar 11, 2012
[Hide Comment] Howdy! Just moved to Hopkinton this fall, and I'm only a few miles away from College Rock now. I know it's a little late in the season now, but we might still have a few good climbing days left, so if anybody's looking for a climbing buddy, let me know! Nov 11, 2014