"Climbing in W. Mass and CT Sucks!"


Original Post
Nick Weinberg · Nov 15, 2015 · Essex, NY · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 5
Well, that's what a good friend and climbing partner who lived in the area told me.

I'm hoping that statement isn't true - maybe you can help de-bunk it. At least I have your attention now.

I am seriously considering leaving the Adirondacks and taking a two year fellowship at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. Can you please try to give me some objective, non-biased statements about the quality of climbing in this area? I have only climbed at Farley once, and it seemed fun! For comparison, I learned to climb in the 'gunks, and have climbed in the ADK's, NH, and Bolton/Smuggs areas of VT for many years. I am not expecting necessarily the same quality - and that is OK. I enjoy leading trad, sport and mixed routes in the 5.8-5.11 range. I suppose I can dog my way up 5.12 sport routes (looks like there are some quality routes in this category in CT now). Also I don't mind driving a couple hours to climb. Are there really a bunch of sport and mixed routes going up in CT, or are they still getting chopped by you know who! It seems like CT has a wealth of potential but there is still the issue of bolt chopping. So I guess my question is: Are there two years worth of interesting, stimulating and reasonably protected lead climbing in CT and W. Mass? I'm really not interested in TR'ing or really short routes, or bouldering.

By the way, many of my climbing partners and friends in the ADK's were responsible for slashing you know who's tires and informing you know who that he is never welcome back in the Adirondacks, after he repeatedly chopped their reasonably placed bolts. I'm honored to be acquainted with them!

Thanks for the info!

Oh - and please - let's not start some stupid online argument in which people deride others and then cowardly hide behind their computer screens/avatars - as happens all to often on these online forums!

Nick

jdejace · Nov 16, 2015 · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 0
What I enjoyed most about my time in Western Mass was the easy access to "pretty good" outdoor climbing. I worked at Baystate, lived in Northampton. Farley, Rose, Mormon Hollow were ~30min from my door. Traffic is pretty much unheard of. Negligible approach to all of them. I could be climbing on real rock on any sunny day and still have time to run errands before/after. I could even climb after work on weekdays during the summer when the sun sets at 8. That sort of access isn't so common, especially if you're limiting yourself to major medical centers.

I learned to lead trad at Rose, lots of fun moderates. I'd set up TR solos on the main wall (walk around bolted anchors) when I couldn't find partners on weekdays. Farley has some high quality climbs on both bolts and gear. And you're in the middle of all the really good stuff if you get bored - Gunks ~2h, Whites ~3h.

In sum, I wouldn't move to W. Mass for the climbing, but I wouldn't hold the local climbing scene against it if something else is drawing you there. It's not North Conway, but there aren't any fellowships in North Conway. You could do a LOT worse.



http://www.climbgneiss.org/

Nick Weinberg · Nov 16, 2015 · Essex, NY · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 5
Thanks! That's perfect.

Anyone have any comments on the scene in CT? I've read a lot about it on this site, but have never climbed there myself, and have heard conflicting reports from various people/sources.

Matt Shove · Nov 16, 2015 · Ragged Mountain · Joined May 2007 · Points: 95
CT climbing is really fun, unique, and very accessible. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The negative distractions seem to draw the most attention, but in reality, these distractions are exactly that. The MP summaries on CT give it a bad rap in my opinion, but most would agree that it's way better than the descriptions say. CT climbing isn't about a handful of missing bolts. It's about fun and challenging routes with your friends, in a beautiful place, with nice views, and historical climbing dating back to the 1930's. Too, if you choose your aspect and days, you can climb rock all winter long...

My well travelled climbing friends think CT climbing is pretty cool. You should come check it out.

T Roper · Nov 16, 2015 · DC,VA,NM,UT,CT,MA · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 730
Nick Weinberg wrote:Thanks! That's perfect. Anyone have any comments on the scene in CT? I've read a lot about it on this site, but have never climbed there myself, and have heard conflicting reports from various people/sources.
CT for 7 years, W Mass for one year here. Besides what has been said already you also have the whole Ragged Mtn area near Hartford as well which is pretty big and varied. Maybe not so much "adventure" climbing around here but plenty of nice little crags.

I'd say great gyms too but people might make fun of me.

Topo Gigio · Nov 16, 2015 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0
CT climbing grade-wise will be very reminiscent of the grading in both the Gunks and Dacks, so you should feel right at home. Traprock is a unique beast that takes time to decipher, both climbing and protecting. I think you can easily get two-years worth of challenges in CT alone. Couple that with W. Mass and you still relative closeness to the rest of all that New England has to offer and youll be fine.

wivanoff · Nov 16, 2015 · Northeast, USA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 337
Well, I'm a CT local and I like climbing on traprock.

For a small place and small cliffs, there are some pretty historic routes in CT including the first girdle traverse ever done in this country and likely the first 5.8 and first 5.9

Here's something RGold wrote recently: "Ragged is a cool little crag with some interesting highly sandbagged climbs. This is typical for a small venue where the routes can be practiced on a top rope, so if you are going to be leading onsight, you might want to add a grade to the claimed ratings. The cliff faces West, but in June it will be in the sun all day from 9 AM on or so. Parking can be an issue"

True, there's a lot of toproping going on but most routes can be led. Oftentimes you have to be imaginative with gear. Top anchors can be a problem at some cliffs.

Main cliff at Ragged, Pinnacle, Cathole are traprock cliffs you might want to check out. There are bolted lines at Firewall and West Rock and some other cliffs.

The top photo here is Cary Corner at the Main Cliff
http://ascentclimbing.net/wiessners-connecticut-classics/

Chatfield Hollow, Whitestone, Diamond Ledge and St. John's Ledges are granite/gneiss. There are some bolted lines at Chatfield Hollow.

David Baddeley · Nov 16, 2015 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 0
Been in CT for almost 3 years. There's definitely some good climbing in the state, but, given enough time I'd usually prefer to head to the Gunks, Farley, or even Rumney. I think that the level of 'suckiness' depends on what grade you climb - leading at around 5.9ish sport and 5.6ish trad I don't feel that there are a lot of routes that I can safely lead and which aren't really short and/or chossy/dirty. Despite the top-roping ethic, setting topropes is often a bear, as you're either relying on marginal gear, or small trees which are well back from the top. Once you're solid leading 5.10ish trad I think things get a lot more interesting - there's a good number of very cool (and somewhat sandbagged) routes in the 5.8 to 5.10 range. That said, Ragged is probably the only 'destination' crag which I'd consider to be worth driving more than ~ 1 hr for.

Jon Frisby · Nov 16, 2015 · New York, NY · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 25
I climbed at Farley and the Hideaway for the first time this weekend. The rock quality in WMass seems awesome, if lacking in verticality for big multi pitch. I would put Farley in that "slightly below destination, but incredible for a home crag" grade. Some of the lines were as good as the best stuff in Rumney. Bandwagon is a better version of Peanut Man, for instance.

Ct has some good stuff but I haven't explored much. Chatfield, as mentioned, has excellent 5.12 face climbs.

ETA: WMCC is one of the best local organizations I have encountered and should absolutely be supported

Healyje · Nov 16, 2015 · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 100
Spent a couple of years in S. NH and managed to climb in a radius that ran the gamut all over the NE. I recall having a pretty good time at all the venues from Canon to Crow Hill to Ragged the Gunks and even Joe English which was right by our house. YMMV.

john strand · Nov 16, 2015 · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,575
Like others have said. it may not be awesome, but it's pretty good. Quite a variety of stuff.

Personally, I learned quite a bit climbing on TrapRock. it's very techy and has some complex protection stuff, but the climbing itself is good. You don't go there for sport climbing.

Farley and Rose ledge have nice climbing and a pretty good group of climbers around.

You also won't be far from The Gunks

The problem of course is the weather,,but your used to that from the Dacks

Blake Cash · Nov 16, 2015 · Chattanooga, TN · Joined May 2007 · Points: 125
Farley is awesome. Good sport and awesome gear climbing...bouldering is some of the best in New England (though limited).

Mormon is incredible rock though also small...the same goes for Rose. Really cool satellite areas around there too...the community is 2nd to none.

My only experiences in CT were bouldering at Bradley...which is awesome trap rock bouldering.

ChossKing · Nov 16, 2015 · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0
Nick Weinberg wrote: By the way, many of my climbing partners and friends in the ADK's were responsible for slashing you know who's tires and informing you know who that he is never welcome back in the Adirondacks, after he repeatedly chopped their reasonably placed bolts. I'm honored to be acquainted with them! Nick
Glad to know you have some really tough friends!

Morgan Patterson · Nov 16, 2015 · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,332
Nick Weinberg wrote: So I guess my question is: Are there two years worth of interesting, stimulating and reasonably protected lead climbing in CT and W. Mass?
Yes.. more than enough. The choppings are isolated incidents these days and I would also note there are undeveloped multipitch cliffs in the state.

Michael Schneider · Nov 16, 2015 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 85

Kevin Heckeler · Nov 16, 2015 · Upstate New York · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,361
Blake Cash wrote:Farley is awesome. Good sport and awesome gear climbing...
My first time at Farley this past summer and it's on my to-do list for a return visit. Tons of great sport with some trad thrown in. Really chill crowd from what I could tell. Climbing varies from easy 5.5 to 5.i, and everything in-between. I thought the verbal gradings were, for the most part, close to what you would expect at other NE crags. I could see being relatively happy with Farley if I was only getting out on weekends. If looking for more than a day or two a week when the weather was good, it can definitely be climbed out.

Scott McMahon · Nov 16, 2015 · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 105
Lots of great climbing out there although it may not be as "epic" as CO or CA etc.

You might have to drive a bit more, but NE is a great place to rope up.

This book will open your mind on the topic.

http://www.amazon.com/Yankee-Rock-Ice-Climbing-Northeastern/dp/0811731030/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447694813&sr=1-1&keywords=yankee+rock+and+ice

GabeO · Nov 16, 2015 · New Haven, CT · Joined May 2006 · Points: 286
So first of all, why are you thinking that you can't climb at the Gunks and other places in NY state? Many people in Boston climb at the Gunks often (I did when I lived there) and, while you didn't say where you will be based, anywhere in CT and Western MA are much closer to the Gunks and the ADKs than Boston.

Okay, on to your question.

1 - Western MA: Very limited, but what there is is good. I don't know how much you climb, but if you are a typical weekend warrior, you could definitely keep yourself busy in those grades for a good while at Farley. Lots of other good but small areas in central and western MA.

2 - CT: Surprisingly good! I just moved here a year and a half ago, and I have found quite a bit of good stuff to lead. Of course most of it is trad, but there are a few decent sport routes. However I think you'll find that:

- There is very little easy to moderate (by which I mean under 5.12) sport climbing in CT. Some stuff is starting to get bolted here, but it's nearly all pretty hard.

- Seems like more than 50% of the routes here are either R rated (at least) or toprope only.

Basically, CT traprock is a sort of columnar basalt (though less columnar than in many places). So this means that you get a few lines that follow more-or-less consistent cracks, and are more-or-less well protected. And then lots of routes in between them that follow unconnected weaknesses, and may have enough horizontals to get okay gear here and there, but... are often fun climbing but poorly protected.

Hope that helps,

GO

chris_vultaggio · Nov 16, 2015 · The Gunks · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 350
Second what Gabe said. I'm in BOS/NY and split my time between gunks, farley, lincoln, and conway.

Farley will surprise you, the place is much bigger than most folks think, with everything from crack to face, bolts and gear. Definitely a few 3-start single pitch routes in the 10 grade. My honest opinion, I'd be happy calling it a local crag if the opportunity to get out and climb farther afield.

Honestly not all that impressed with the CT climbing, some people dig it but traprock really wasn't my thing - but I've limited experience admittedly.

If you want your long-route fix conway is your answer, or a return trip to the daks. That's one thing you will probably miss - but Conway is pretty rad, as is cannon.

Alan Rubin · Nov 16, 2015 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0
As a long-time active Western Mass weekend warrior, I figure that I should chime in.

First off, I think that the OP's source quoted in the thread title was a local trying to keep outsiders away from our 'gems', but then, tastes vary.

Having climbed quite widely in my long climbing career,I think our local crags are very worthy, as clearly do most of the other posters on this thread. Yes, they may be short--though there are some 2-pitchers at Farley if you know where to look, but the quality of the rock and climbing are usually excellent. Despite their short length many of the routes are very technical and sustained, similar to the gritstone in England they offer 'good value for money'. While top-roping is common on some of the crags (not Farley), most routes can be lead. There is a good mix of sport, trad, bouldering, and, yes, top-roping on a variety of rock types just on the crags in the Pioneer Valley (upper Connecticut River Valley in Mass). We also have a good climbing gym (CRG Hadley).

I also enjoy the climbing in Connecticut as well. While climbing on the traprock (there are other rock types in the state as well)may be a bit of an acquired taste, I find it to be both technical and demanding--often very cerebral while the forearms are bursting--shame about the protection away from the cracklines, though.

And, as others have mentioned, if you are based in the WMass or northern CT area--as I assume you will be if working at Baystate, you are in easy weekend range of most of the areas in the northeast. From my home (Amherst,MA), the Gunks (2 1/2 hours), Rumney (about the same), Cannon (3 hours), and even some of the southern Adirondack and Vermont areas are very feasible (and common) day trips, while North Conway and most of the Adirondacks are very reasonable weekend destinations. Folks even sometimes head down to the Red for long weekends!!!

Beyond climbing, this is also a very pleasant area in which to live with easy access to plenty of other outdoor activities, lots of 'culture' (high and low-brow), and very good restaurants. Well, there is the weather--but you already live in the northeast, so you know what to expect.

If you do chose to come down here, give me a 'shout' and I'll gladly show you around.

Alan

T Roper · Nov 16, 2015 · DC,VA,NM,UT,CT,MA · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 730
Alan Rubin wrote: I also enjoy the climbing in Connecticut as well. While climbing on the traprock (there are other rock types in the state as well)may be a bit of an acquired taste, I find it to be both technical and demanding--often very cerebral while the forearms are bursting--shame about the protection away from the cracklines, though.
It is an acquired taste, great description. Of my 7 years in the area the first 2 were spent leading every safe, well rated crack I possibly could. After that I got bored with traprock/craprock and branched out to everything else everywhere else. These days I appreciate the rock a bit more, you truly can get really strong from climbing it, you have a bit of everything from jamming to face to big ass roofs. New CT book too from what I hear.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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