Elevation: 2,240 ft
GPS: 44.39, -72.85 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 49,185 total · 450/month
Shared By: Kris Fiore on Sep 26, 2011
Admins: Jason Hayden, Luc-514, Kris Fiore
Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures for access issues: please review cragvt.org Details
Access Issue: 2019 Falcon Closures: Details

Description

Perched high above the eastern side of interstate 89 is Bolton Valley's most remote cliff band, Bone Mountain.

With an approach time of roughly 1.5 hours it is no wonder this cliff sees very little traffic. Sadly, this enormous (widest/tallest in Bolton Valley) expanse of rock also has some of the very best routes AND rock Bolton Valley has to offer.

There are two cliffs on Bone Mountain. The Main Cliff and the Satellite Wall. Many of the routes require both face and crack-climbing skills, and rely on a mixture of natural gear and bolts, a common trait of most routes in Bolton Valley.

Visiting Bone Mountain is a climbing treat, and your experience will be very unique one (similar to the 82, but considerably more remote) for a day scaling rocks in Vermont. Hopefully with more lines going up and navigation getting easier the good lines will stay cleaner and this crag will gain the popularity it deserves. If you're looking for a day of adventure away from the crowds, you'll find it here. Expect to sweat on the approach and possibly get a little turned around in spots (but never dreadfully lost). However, once at the cliffs, you will understand why this is one of the best little-known crags in Vermont.

(Chris Duca on Sep 26, 2011)
Updated April 2016

Getting There

There are two distinct approaches. One takes a steeper, more direct route up past Satellite Wall, the other is a bit longer but much more mellow. Relatively easy to get lost either way so plan for that your first time.

  • From the UVM Sugar Shack: The steeper, more direct approach. Better if Satellite Wall is your objective. Roughly 75 minutes to the main cliff if you don't get lost.
- Park at the Sugar Shack 2 miles up Bolton Valley Access road on the left.
- Hike across/up the road a hundred yards or so to the gated logging road on the right.
- Follow this main road crossing a large bridge a few minutes in, and a second smaller bridge about 10/15 minutes in.
- Turn left after the bridge and head up steeper terrain to another split.
- Turn right at this split and continue up increasingly steep terrain.
- After 15 minutes, look for a very steep path on your left and slog up.
- When the ground plateaus, head through an interesting slot canyon once referred to as Moose Bog.
- Continue along this contour line for 10 or so minutes passing under and around various large boulders and small chossy faces to a clearing.
- Head NNE, finding Satellite wall on your left and the Main Cliff straight ahead.

  • Timberline Approach AKA "Bottle Cap Trail": Easier hiking which brings you to the back of the main wall. Roughly 90 minutes though less elevation than the Sugar Shack. I recommend this way, although more confusing, it is much less strenuous with a heavy pack.

Historically:

 "Alternatively, park at the Timberline parking lot for Bolton Valley Ski Resort, and follow the blazed (blazed with old bottle caps) "trail" all the way to the big gully/flush between the Satellite and Main Cliff."


Alas, the bottle caps of the '90s are all but forgotten. Only a handful remain and they are high up in the woods and useless for navigation. Nevertheless, this approach is gaining in popularity again and is the recommended route.

-Park at the south-most end of the large Timberline Ski Lift parking lot. Be friendly to the staff here, they seem totally amenable to climbers hiking from their lot which is awesome.
- Hike toward the logical direction of where Bone mountain would be (Southeast). There are 3 different initial paths but no matter which way you take you'll get to a hill on your right with a bridge at the bottom.
- Cross the sketchy bridge (patched up in 2018) and continue up a hill until evens out and starts veering left.
- When the uphill stops look for an obvious logging road on your left with a rock cairn. This turn is sooner than it appears on my map. It is 10 minutes from the parking lot. If after you make this turn you see ski trail signs for "C2-1 " as you are hiking up you're on the right trail although don't follow the arrows going to it. It's just noteworthy to confirm you picked the right logging road.
- Head uphill trending ENE for at least 30 minutes. Do not cut right early on the various trails that look like they head toward Bone. You will regret it. It feels weird to be hiking trending North but it's correct.
- Along this logging road there should be a number of rock cairns along the way and a very obvious large stream crossing about 20 minutes up. Keep going.
- When the trail really starts to trend North there will be a large boulder up ahead. Punch up into the woods on your right on a path that is now marked with orange flagging and a cairn. Head SSE while trending uphill. In about 1 minute you should run into another obvious logging road. At this point you are even with the cliff and your elevation gaining is more or less done.
- You simply have 40 more minutes of easy, relatively flat hiking straight south until the cliff. It's pretty obvious from here but I'll point our further landmarks. As a rule of thumb, simply stay about 250 feet below the ridge on your left as you hike south.
- Intermittent orange/yellow flagging and cairns will help you over the easiest stream crossings and avoid (most) deep muddy spots.
- You essentially wander along logging roads, clearings, and stream beds. When in doubt, stay left. On the way back, when in doubt, stay right through this section.
- After passing through a few narrows you are basically hiking along a stream for the last 10 minutes. If you hit this stream you're on the money and close to the cliff. You'll end up on the west ridge of the cliff nearest the historic routes of the '80s and '90s.

The Sugar Shack approach is from more faded memories but the Timberline Approach should be pretty much spot on.

Updated Oct 2019

Peregrine Falcon Cosure

With more climbers visiting Bone Mountain the state has taken a closer look at the Peregrine Falcon nesting. This is actually a benefit for climbers as the entire cliff used to close but we now have partial closures in effect.

The last few years nesting sites have been on the buttress to the right of Solstice Slab as well as atop the Moose Bones routes. Expect from Solstice Slab to Moose Bones to be closed. Anything left of Solstice Slab or right of Moose Bones seems to give the raptors enough room to be happy but as always use good judgement.


2017: Falcons appear to be nesting on the buttress above the Moose Bones Cave. We climbed on the Solstice Slab and never saw them so they seem to be happy with that amount of room. I climbed on the far right end of the cliff and never saw them there either. Just avoid between Solstice Slab and Tradisfaction Wall.

53 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Bone Mountain

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
 16
Family Picnic
Sport 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 4
Stinkadabuttsa
Trad 2 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 6
Lost In the Forest
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 3
Flippin the bird
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 6
Bone Appetite
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 5
Schistorectomy
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 3
Boaty's Birthday
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 4
Fuck Rumney
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Family Picnic Main Cliff > B. Middle Cliff Routes
 16
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Sport 2 pitches
Stinkadabuttsa Main Cliff > D. Solstice Slab
 4
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Lost In the Forest Main Cliff > D. Solstice Slab
 6
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
Flippin the bird Main Cliff > B. Middle Cliff Routes
 3
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Bone Appetite Main Cliff > G. Tradisfaction Wall
 6
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Schistorectomy Main Cliff > B. Middle Cliff Routes
 5
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Boaty's Birthday Main Cliff > B. Middle Cliff Routes
 3
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Fuck Rumney Main Cliff > B. Middle Cliff Routes
 4
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
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