Mountain Project Logo

Routes in mills reservation

Crack, The T,TR 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
El Bambi V0 4 PG13
Mills Right Face TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
V0 Hero V-easy 3 PG13
Unsorted Routes:
Elevation: 423 ft
GPS: 40.851, -74.208 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 4,532 total, 46/month
Shared By: al piner on Oct 24, 2009


Mills reservation is a 45' vertical traprock cliff .Only a few routes but worth a look if your in the area.Top rope setup with gear or very long slings.Short moderate climbs between 5.5 and 5.10 .Nice small area for locals.The climbs are easily identified by name : Left Ceiling(5.9)Left Corner(5.8)Left Face(5.7)Center Crack(5.5)Right Face(5.10)

There is some bouldering in the north end of the park.Some of the taller problems could be top roped .

The area is in in view of houses so be courtious to neighbors and respect private property.

Getting There

Located just south of Montclair State College .

4 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: mills reservation Change
Type:  to 
Quality: Pitches:
Sort by:   then:

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Protected the top rope with a 30' sling and a 50' sling that more or less equalized from two trees to the top of the main crack. Would be better to use more shorter slings for more accurate equalization. Unless you're using mechanical protection, I think you're going to need many long slings to safely protect the top rope. On our first trip only my son climbed and he made it only about half way up the main crack. He found it difficult for 5.5. The rock is reportedly gabbro. Sep 23, 2014
My feeling is that while the Mills rock does have some worthwhile moves for experienced outdoor climbers, it is not a fun introduction to outdoor rock for indoor gym climbers. Because the holds near the ground are sort of strange and slopy, often hard to find from below, lots of feeling around. Especially the obvious "main crack".

There's so few NJ gym climbers nowadays who get outdoors at all, so if one of them wants to try, better not to humiliate them in their first moves just getting off the ground their first time. Much better bet is to take them to the Gunks.

Also my opinion is that the numerical difficulty ratings in the NJ Climbing guidebook (and so far shown here on MountainProject) are "local sandbags" typical of little crags everywhere -- expect at least one grade tougher than the Gunks (which are themselves tougher than mainstream USA Yosemite grades).

Top-roping? Be aware that although the top of the rock is not on one of the marked hiking trails, it's still fairly obvious, and popular becausee it has a nice view over the valley to New York City. So it's not unusual for people to walk along the top, and some of them could fiddle with your anchor gear, or toss something down. Dec 26, 2012
Does anyone know if climbing is really permitted there?
I'm not any sort of lawyer or attorney, but I've never heard that it's legal to do roped climbing there. Nor have I heard that it's illegal.

The NJ Rock Climbing printed guidebook said they didn't know either. Their advice was to back off and go away if anyone questioned whether you should be climbing there -- not get into a confrontation, not try to assert that you have a "right" to climb.
(There was another rock along the same ridge in northern NJ that got explicitly closed)

From a safety perspective, I'd say the Mills rock is one of the better candidates in northern NJ for trying to get explicit permitted status for roped climbing -- if somebody wanted to work toward that, like with advice from the Access Fund.

But meanwhile seems to me it makes sense to keep it low-key, not offend the neighbors with noise or litter, not offend other park users (mainly local folks who want to stop in for a quick walk with their dog) by holding prime Parking spaces for hours (which shouldn't be a problem if use the Google Maps location given here above, and hike up the hill from the east, which is also the shortest). Dec 26, 2012
Anyone know who installed the pitons into the cracks at the top here? Feb 11, 2012
Andrew Martin
North Jersey
Andrew Martin   North Jersey
I checked this place out for the first time today, great little local crag. Easy to set up a a top rope anchor with a decent rack, or if you have a lot of static line. It seems as though there used to be a better trail that went from the main trail that runs below the cliff up to the belay spot, but it has now become very overgrown and could use some maintenance. Spring project??? Nov 26, 2011
David S  
This can be protected a number of ways. First off, this is leadable, especially the center crack.

For toproping, this is where I started my first setups when I began climbing. I bought a 50 foot static line, which was sufficient to connect to two trees. A tad longer might be appropriate but you can certainly make it work. The trees are hardy even if they weren't the thickest. You can also protect it WC 4 Friend or 3 BD Camalot at the top. You can get creative with some nuts and tricams as well as well as some smaller cams above the ledge overlooking the climb (top ledge near walking path). If you have a decent rack and are comfortable with anchors you can make plenty work here. Mar 1, 2011
Kurt Swanson
Philadelphia, PA
Kurt Swanson   Philadelphia, PA
I have confirmed the location in person, it is in indeed here:

426 Highland Avenue, Montclair, NJ

Protecting the wall looks like it would be difficult. Closest suitable trees seem to be about 25 feet from the top. How are the Montclair students protecting this wall? Jan 4, 2011
Kurt Swanson
Philadelphia, PA
Kurt Swanson   Philadelphia, PA
Never been there. Is this the place?

426 Highland Avenue, Montclair, NJ… Nov 9, 2010

More About mills reservation

Printer-Friendly Guide
What's New

All Photos Within mills reservation (7)

Most Popular · Newest