climbing in college: Farley Ledges


Original Post
Adam Gellman · · Jersey City · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 130

Hi,
While looking for colleges, a bunch pop up in Massachusetts. I love all rock climbing (bouldering, sport, trad, etc.) and climbing access is one feature I am looking for in a school.
I was wondering about Farley Ledges as a local-ish climbing area. How much is there to climb at Farley and how long could one stay busy there?(compared to Gunks, Powerlinez, etc.) I understand that there is no guidebook and online info is intentionally scarce to keep down the crowds. I would love to check it out but unsure of a visit due to being in High School and living in NJ.

Any info would be appreciated on the climbing there, or other gems near Worcester or Amherst(feel free to PM if you don't want to leave that info on the public forum).

Thanks,
Adam

Zach Swanson · · Newton, MA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 38

Depending on how hard you climb now Farley could keep you pretty entertained for years of growth through the grades. Loads of quality sport, trad and hard boulders. And Rumney isn't terribly far from the Boston area either.

JD1984 · · Worcester, MA · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 545

If you are looking at Worcester you will have Crow Hill 25 min away (good trad) as well as a more obscure but excellent crag 25 min south (High Rocks). Farley is just under an hour away and can more than keep you busy for years. New routes going up all the time. There is also a decent climbing gym in Worcester and bouldering in some of the surrounding towns (Berlin, Clinton, Brookfields). There is good ice in Auburn and a bunch of other places too that people don't know about.

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

Lots of stuff..Rose Ledge, Barrington, southern NH is loaded.RI isn't far away and is loaded with bouldering.

You looking at UMass ?

ward smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 295

Lots of climbing at Farley, but not anywhere near as extensive as the Gunks. Don't get me wrong, I love Farley and live 10 minutes away (was climbing there today actually).

Adam Gellman · · Jersey City · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 130

So glad to hear Farley is a decent size place. looking forward to climbing there at some point.

Adam Gellman · · Jersey City · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 130
john strand wrote:Lots of stuff..Rose Ledge, Barrington, southern NH is loaded.RI isn't far away and is loaded with bouldering. You looking at UMass ?
Yeah, UMass seems like a cool place
Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

Go West, young man!

I live in Boston, but am from Washington State and used to live in Montana. Farley is fun (wish I knew my way around better) and the climbing I've done in New Hampshire is straight-up excellent. But unless you're an ice climber, winter climbing is very limited, and the spring and summer are humid and rainy. Rumney, the Gunks, and Cathedral get so crowded it drives me crazy (although that's coming from someone who's lived in small cities out West for most of my adult life).

If you have strong connections to the Northeast, I think you'll be entertained by the climbing up here and there's certainly more than enough wonderful rock for progressing through the grades. But excellent as it is, it just doesn't compare to the options you have living somewhere out West.

Kevin Heckeler · · Upstate New York · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,411
James Sledd wrote:Go West, young man! I live in Boston, but am from Washington State and used to live in Montana. Farley is fun (wish I knew my way around better) and the climbing I've done in New Hampshire is straight-up excellent. But unless you're an ice climber, winter climbing is very limited, and the spring and summer are humid and rainy. Rumney, the Gunks, and Cathedral get so crowded it drives me crazy (although that's coming from someone who's lived in small cities out West for most of my adult life). If you have strong connections to the Northeast, I think you'll be entertained by the climbing up here and there's certainly more than enough wonderful rock for progressing through the grades. But excellent as it is, it just doesn't compare to the options you have living somewhere out West.
Well said.
jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 10

I spent a few years in western Mass as a post grad and it's an underrated spot. There's quite a bit of good/very good single pitch climbing at Farley, Rose ledge and Mormon Hollow. From my place in Northampton it was ~30 min to the trailhead, can't really ask for much better access. It's not quite like living in New Paltz, but certainly for a local crag you could do much worse. 3h radius gets you Gunks and NH. There's an excellent gym in Hadley and an active climbing community. Lots of cool little college towns in the area, surprisingly good food.

https://vimeo.com/74890946

Re: winters, it's an acquired taste :-) If you start ice climbing you might not want to leave. Not that there isn't great ice climbing out West, it just tends to be further from civilization, which may be good or bad for you. In my career it's a lot easier to find a decent job in the NE with reasonably easy access to 4-star waterfall ice than it would be to find a job on the western slope of CO, WY or MT.

Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 140

Western Mass is great, in so many ways! Farley and the surrounding climbing areas are top-notch. The Pioneer Valley would be a perfect place to go to college, and develop your climbing skills.

As said- The ice season is incredible. Plus, at Farley, due to south facing, you can climb sometimes on a sunny cold day. I have had days there getting in both rock and ice pitches on the same day. This is beyond fun!!

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

The dude's from Jersey ! A bit of rain and humidity won't be an issue.

As far as crowds, there are a ton of places in NE that no one goes to..no one..high quality stuff all over.

Crowds out west ? go by Rifle or Shelf sometime..damn

Kevin Heckeler · · Upstate New York · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,411
john strand wrote:The dude's from Jersey ! A bit of rain and humidity won't be an issue. As far as crowds, there are a ton of places in NE that no one goes to..no one..high quality stuff all over. Crowds out west ? go by Rifle or Shelf sometime..damn
I think the spirit of the "head West young man" post was that, if they have no immediate need to remain in the Northeast, and are truly dedicated to a life as a climber, then the opportunities out West are just more numerous. That's just raw numbers. Just on MP alone count the number of areas, number of multipitch climbs, etc West v East. It's staggering. Just in Yosemite alone there's more vertical rock than in the entire Northeast combined.

This isn't NE hate talk, this is just the reality of what they have that we don't. And we haven't even started truly comparing weather. lol We make the most of what we have, but anyone whose been out West for any amount of climbing cannot deny the lure and advantages.

Having been out West numerous times now, I agree that there are crowded areas. But as you indicated with the climbing here in the East, there's still plenty of places off the beaten path where few go. That's true of any place.
john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

I agree but I think college is a big factor as well.

Kevin Heckeler · · Upstate New York · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,411
john strand wrote:I agree but I think college is a big factor as well.
There are good schools out West, but yes there are MANY good schools here in the East. He hasn't shared every factor with us, so we really don't even know if heading West is an option [thinking day's drive to see Family, etc].
Kevin Heckeler · · Upstate New York · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,411
Adam Gellman wrote:I understand that there is no guidebook and online info is intentionally scarce to keep down the crowds.
It's not just that, it's part of an agreement to retain access to the crag.

It may or may not change someday, but for now the locals are VERY willing to help you find your way. And after just two trips I feel like I have a good handle on the main sets of cliffs there, so it's easy to learn despite there being many routes.
Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10
john strand wrote:The dude's from Jersey ! A bit of rain and humidity won't be an issue. As far as crowds, there are a ton of places in NE that no one goes to..no one..high quality stuff all over. Crowds out west ? go by Rifle or Shelf sometime..damn
I've been out here for a year and am actually pretty thrilled with the quality of climbing out in New England. Just as good as in Montana or Washington (although I do miss Index). My point was exactly what Kevin said: saddle up for a long day's drive, and from the Northwest I could be at the Bugaboos, City of Rocks, Squamish, Trout Creek, Smith Rock, Lake Tahoe, Bishop, etc. In 2 days I could be at Devil's Tower, Wild Iris, the Winds, Yosemite, the Needles, Tahquiz, Joshua Tree, Red Rock, or Moab.

And yeah, there are crowds out West. But there are simply waaaay more people in the Northeast. There are more people in Mass than in Montana and all its neighboring states combined. Of course, that's also why there are more good colleges out here and more people with family ties. Just another thought to consider!
john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

Not arguing the quantity of rock in the west. You can also be in Co or Wy in a casual 2 day drive from MA. I did it many times..

A ton of threads have been started about climbing/college towns..Amherst happens to be one of them...It can be tough to balance the climbing/school situation, climbing won out for me

Adam Gellman · · Jersey City · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 130

Thank you all for all the input on both on Farley and general climb in the NE. As a climber, of course I want to go to school out west but the reality comes down to the schools. Though the west has its good schools (and of course im applying to them), it seems more than likely I will end up in New England.Just so many good schools with good(by east coast standards) outdoor access. Will be going out west ASAP after college (after a thru-hike) regardless of where I go to school.
Until I can convince my parents to let me go to college in boulder, I'm looking forward to farley and other east coast gems.

Adam Gellman · · Jersey City · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 130
jdejace wrote: Re: winters, it's an acquired taste :-) If you start ice climbing you might not want to leave. Not that there isn't great ice climbing out West, it just tends to be further from civilization, which may be good or bad for you. In my career it's a lot easier to find a decent job in the NE with reasonably easy access to 4-star waterfall ice than it would be to find a job on the western slope of CO, WY or MT.
I fully plan to take up ice climbing in college, if not this winter!
Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10
Adam Gellman wrote: Until I can convince my parents to let me go to college in boulder, I'm looking forward to farley and other east coast gems.
Don't go to Boulder. Best of luck!
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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