Elevation: 1,167 ft
GPS: 43.805, -71.845 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: M Sprague on Aug 9, 2013 with improvements by Bobby Mustard
Admins: J Beta, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall


Note- This area was also known as the NW Passage for a time. Up hill from the Northwest Territories, just left of the Prudential Crag, there is a steep gully with routes on either side. Mostly known for its namesake Very Nice Crack in the past, or as an obscure way to get to the top of the hill, Very Nice Crag has been getting some recent new routing activity. As such, it is getting a heading of its own and a few routes formerly placed within the Northwest Territories or Prudential, like Very Nice Crack and Boar War are now organized here.

This is a nice place to get away from the crowds, with a mixture of grades and styles, with some quality routes hidden here. Also, since it is near the trail heading to Prudential and the higher crags, the long 5.9+, Cozened Stone, makes a good stop for a warm-up for harder routes.

Low on the right side of the gully, which is the left side of the Prudential formation, off a ledge above the lower Prudential wall, are three sport routes; two twelves, The Boar War and Double Ds 12b, which tackles the bulging roof and cool face above, and the above mentioned Cozened Stone.

A little higher up, to the left of the gully, is a short cave like area, which is great for escaping a passing shower or as a place to drop your extra stuff before heading higher. If you follow the stone steps to the right around the cave, above is a cluster of five routes centered around Very Nice Crack, that begin off the ledge, including Dave Quinn's great technical crimpy face route Forty Six and 2 and a couple of short bouldery 5.11s.

If you make the effort to continue up the gully a little more, near the top are two quality lines on the left side, 'Lectra Crack 5.9+ (worth bringing the handful of gear you need) and a new 12a bolted face climb Lateralus.

Note - If you are trying to hike around to above the Summit Crag, and not already up in the gully, rather than taking the passage, you would probably be better taking the trail hooking left under the cave and around right up an easy slab up onto the ridge. It brings you up above Flea Surgeon. From there you are on your own :)

Getting There

Follow the trail leading west through the Blackjack Boulders towards the Northwest Territories crag. Continue heading up like you were going to Prudential, but as you are coming up underneath it, hook a left up the stone steps. To get to the higher portions continue carefully, making you way up the steep gully, or, alternatively, if you are already at the Asylum, walk out to its far left side and drop into an exposed goat path (Careful! You are above the Prudential) that will swing you into it half way up.

Beyond the mouth of the gully is definitely not an area for small children or dogs.

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Very Nice Crag

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
I am moving a few routes that have been formerly placed in NW Territories and Prudential crag to correspond with the plan for the next edition of the Rumney Guide. edit- 2017, Recently we have been referring to this area as the NW Passage, but there was some confusion with the peregrine postings referring to the route NW Passage at the Summit Crag, so the name has been changed to Very Nice Crag and corresponds to the latest guidebook. Aug 9, 2013
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
There are now two brand new bolted routes just left of the Boar War, a Dave Quinn 12b? that takes on the roof and a long thoughtful 5.9 to the left of it put up by Chloe Quinn called the Cozened Stone. The bolted line just right of 'Lectra Crack is a new 12a of mine that is pretty nice (like a shorter Venus on a Halfshell) I need to tack a flake though before it is open for business so the big boys don't rip it off and ruin the climb, so hold off getting on it right away please. I'll post it up when it is ready. Aug 9, 2013
Jeffrey LeCours
New Hampshire
Jeffrey LeCours   New Hampshire  
The newish line immediately left (DQ project?) of Boar War looks f'n HARD! There was something else further up the hill that looked really cool. It was wet when I was on Swedish Girls so I didn't get a chance to feel either of them out. Aug 9, 2013
Cozened Stone,5.9 80+' (Chloe's route, probably one of the best 9's I've climbed @ Rumney, very tricky and deceptive, as the name implies)& Double D's, 5.12b (?, "I really have no idea") have been climbed and are both open. Still cleaning on them though, (if it ever stops F#%king raining). both really good! Double D's hasn't seen a 2nd ascent that I know of.

DQ Sep 6, 2013
Ward Smith
Wendell MA
Ward Smith   Wendell MA
Cozenstone definitely gets two stars; looks easy and not that great from the ground, but it is much harder and more interesting than it appears. Hoping to get on Double D next weekend.

Ward Sep 23, 2013
Congrats to Tim Deroehn for bagging the 2nd ascent of my new route "Double D's" in just 2 goes! Very impressive!
Also congrats Mark on a quick send of your new 12a at the top of the Passage. Sep 30, 2013