New bolts at Crow Hill


Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0

Zeb did TR Dune before he lead it.  The rehearsal involved practicing with the gear too.  The actual lead was done with 2 ropes and 2 belayers - classic Grit style.  Personally I think that accomplishment is more admirable then an onsight would be with the bolts that are in place now and its  a style that people should be trying to rise their games to emulate.  Of course that could lead down the slippery slope of what Nichols did in CT on a number of his wacko FA's.  As Al sort of aluded to a lot of it boils down to WHO exactly did the deed.  Such is life and human nature.


Aaron Livingston · · Moab, UT · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 90

Thanks for the info guys! Seems to be a crag with a colorful history to say the least. If somebody does chop the bolts again, (seems likely) hopefully they at least attempt pulling the bolts instead of just grinding them off. There were a few cut studs protruding yesterday which isn't really the greatest to look at. What's up with the old rusty rivet ladder to the left? I couldn't really figure out if that was one of the routes kemple free'd or just an old forgotten aid ladder.


Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 100

It's thankfully a lot less colorful without the army there rappelling, barking orders and throwing stun grenades off the top. It would be a grand understatement to say we did not see eye-to-eye on such occasions.


Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

Joe. several times when the army was  doing their rapelling thing with about 70 cadets @ deer leap I happened to swing by for my solo laps. these guys are screaming  at the top of their lungs, "PERMISSION TO RAPELL LINE ONE SIR"  while I quietly solo 10 laps on center crack...   several  ocasions one of the young killers asked me why I did not respect my family enough to use a rope.  I then had to explain to them that I was far less likly to get killed than they were. I am not at all impressed with their rapelling methods...... 


Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

PS, its weak as shit to top rope the piss out of a climb so you can lead it without bolts with the intent of then lobying for the removal of said bolts...  just annother form of cheating and chest thumping.


Aaron Livingston · · Moab, UT · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 90

^ agreed. Almost as weak as leading a bolted route WITH the bolts repetitively, and then giving it a gear lead and claiming the bolts to be unnecessary.


june m · · elmore ,vt · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 13

 Personally  I believe  that  bolted anchors  protect trees and prevent  erosion. I have had a couple of my routes retro bolted  with out my permission and I have no problem with it, it's someone else's money not mine.  Ground falls suck. No all climbers have big balls  and that is ok,  most people  climb for  fun , and that means  being able to climb again  another day.


Jonathan Haggerty · · Arlington, Massachusetts · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 15

I'm glad this discussion has gone from if the bolts on Dune should stay there (yes, of course they should) and turned towards anchor/fixed gear maintenance.  Nobody is maintaining the "acceptable" fixed protection, despite earlier claims in this forum (almost 3 years ago!!!).  I'm not advocating grid bolting anything, especially because there are no other clear lines that would open up, but I do think we should remove and replace gear that is essential on classics.  

Come on... am I the only one that cringed every time people whipped onto the (now ripped) tat on Tarzan?  How long until the rivet breaks on Cromag?  Lowering off a birch tree for Tarzan & Jane....brilliant!  

The community shouldn't allow ourselves, and the access to our most-local crag to be in danger just to humor an antiquated ideals of aid climbers and vandals.  Rock climbing has evolved, and it's time this community does as well.


Joe M. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 9,370

Well said Jon!


Dana Seaton · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 2,075

Any locals interested should take this discussion out of this forum and have a meeting to come up with a comprehensive anchor plan for Crow Hill. Just tell me where and when. 


Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 100

Would be a good idea - the place isn't that big. I replaced 74 fixed anchors at our local crag out here and in 54 of the both bolts were spinners (yeah, they're big on fixed anchors, I would have removed 60% or more of them if it were up to me). I also surveyed and replaced all the fixed pins and either declared them good, removed them, reset them or replaced them with pins of the spare pin rack Middendorf ebayed a few years back. By and large the small pins of all types were pretty much worthless, the angles were all fairly loose and mostly unnecessary now that we have cams, and a lot knifeblades corroded through whereas all the bugaboos were in great shape. But overall, the pins out performed the bolts of the same age by a wide margin.


Seamus Morgan · · Alaska and New England · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 15

I'm a Crow Hill local, grew up in Leominster/Lunenburg/Fitchburg. I am definitely a trad climber and still agree mostly with what Aaron mentioned above. I think Dune's bolted route is reasonable. I don't think any other bolted route should/could go up anywhere elses at CH. 

As for top anchors and unsightlyness argument I second Jane's midway piton/aid anchor as at least being a point of discussion. 

In my opinion I don't think Jane/Tarzan need top bolt anchors as there is a sufficient .75/1" crack behind that 12" diameter red pine for a gear anchor and a subsequent walk off. If you're top roping just leave the gear anchor and have the last climber clean and walk off.

I would argue for a bolted anchor atop cro-mag as there is not a walk off when you lead it.  You have to climb a second pitch to keep your gear and not be killing trees (I know, life's tough). This follows the same logic as the bolted anchor atop intertwine. Of course make them out of view of non climbers as reasonably possible.

Fisherman's wall should lend itself to the harder climbers, if you're top roping those routes you should know how to set gear anchors (but really you should be leading those routes). The bolted anchors on practice wall are good as those facilitate relatively newer climbers to easy and safe top roping.

I moved to Alaska essentially to not have to worry about these kind of discussions but figured I might as well chime in on the only climbing area I would consider myself a true local to.

Crow Hill is an obvious old school trad area. The least amount of bolts the better.


Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

It is important to remember what I wrote the other day. While repairing and replacing aging fixed anchors is a good idea, and possibly adding some selected new ones is as well, we must remember that Crow Hill is state land, so any efforts in this direction must proceed with appropriate caution and consultation. While like-for-like or equivalent replacement of an obviously questionable anchor--done with no fanfare, would likely not result in any problems, a larger scale effort would likely attract unwanted attention. Recently, after many years of effort and negotiation, the WMCC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (which controls Crow) to help 'manage' the climbing resources in Wendell State Forest (Mormon Hollow). As part of this effort we are working to develop a reasonable and mutually agreeable fixed anchor policy with DCR, which hopefully will be a template for Crow and other state-run climbing areas in Mass. It would be a shame to have these efforts  undercut by individual actions--however well-intended.


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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