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Bolton Area Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 44.3779, -72.8874 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 132,165
Administrators: Luc-514, Kris Fiore, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Chris Duca on Dec 28, 2007


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  • Description 

    Bolton Valley contains more than just what's available at Lower West Bolton. In fact, there are plenty of climbing areas in Bolton Valley, which is located just 25 minutes from downtown Burlington. Some of these areas are located on private property and thus contain sensitive access issues. If you are new to the area, it is HIGHLY advisable to check with the locals and with before embarking on your own. Also, check out the guidebook Tough Schist.

    Nevertheless, when you finally figure out how to get to where you want to go, (and where NOT to go) climbing in and around Bolton Valley can keep one busy for quite a while. The stone is green schist and runs the gamut of being extremely sound to being extremely scary. There are tremendous crack routes located here, as well as some amazing gear and mixed routes on the more remote buttresses scattered throughout the valley. There are also plenty of sport routes at Bolton Quarry and 82 crag and peppered throughout the hills of Bolton Valley.

    If you are amped to climb here, get in touch with some of the locals at one of the local climbing spots in Burlington (Outdoor Gear Exchange, EMS, Petra Cliffs, or MetroRock) to the local beta. I've overheard climbers at the local gym say there is no reason to travel outside of Bolton Valley (or Vermont) to climb. This may be a little bit of hyperbole, but there certainly is plenty of stone and adventure to at least entertain the idea for quite a while.

    Getting There 

    If coming from Interstate 89 (north or south), take the Richmond Exit (exit 11) and head east on Route 2. Bolton is roughly 6 miles from the exit. Lower and Upper West Bolton climbing areas are located on Bolton Access Rd while the Quarry, Carcass Crag, and 82 Crag are accessed from the top of Green Mountain Road. Bone Mountain is accessed via Bolton Valley Access Road.

    Climbing Season

    Weather station 7.8 miles from here

    213 Total Climbing Routes

    ['4 Stars',18],['3 Stars',80],['2 Stars',95],['1 Star',18],['Bomb',0]

    Classic Climbing Routes in Bolton Area

    Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Bolton Area:
    The Bookend   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Trad, 60'   Upper West : Lower Tier
    Family Picnic   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Sport, 2 pitches, 150'   The Main Cliff : B. Middle Cliff Routes
    Harvest Moon   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   Lower West Bolton
    Chockstone (aka:Captain's Crack)   5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Upper West : Upper Tier - Right End
    Hush, Mama Thrush   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Lower West Bolton
    Private Property   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Upper West : Upper Tier - Left End
    Plea Deal AKA Sling The Horn   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 300'   Upper Upper West Bolton : Main Face
    Stone Staircase    5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Upper West : Lower Tier
    The Rose   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Upper West : North End
    The Politics of Dancing   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 160'   82 Crag : 82 Main Wall
    Trespassing   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Upper West : Upper Tier - Left End
    A Minor   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Lower West Bolton
    Tea in the Sahara   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Lower West Bolton
    Fresh Meat   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Upper West : Lower Tier
    Sticks and Stones   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 130'   Lower West Bolton
    Paradox   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Upper West : Lower Tier
    The Thorn   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Upper West : North End
    The Cat's Ass   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   Bolton Quarry : Cat's Ass Wall
    The Doggfather   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   82 Crag : 82 Steep Wall
    Who's Your Daddy   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 50'   Carcass Crag
    Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Bolton Area

    Featured Route For Bolton Area
    Rock Climbing Photo: Base of Chockstone (Captains Crack)

    Chockstone (aka:Captain's Crack) 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13  Vermont : Bolton Area : ... : Upper Tier - Right End
    Great route with a variety of moves....[more]   Browse More Classics in Vermont

    Photos of Bolton Area Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Travis Peckham on the first ascent of Encryption 5...
    Travis Peckham on the first ascent of Encryption 5...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Jake List on the first ascent of Enter the Dweezel...
    Jake List on the first ascent of Enter the Dweezel...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Lindsay Peet on the first ascent of Rio Alegro, V0
    Lindsay Peet on the first ascent of Rio Alegro, V0
    Rock Climbing Photo: Getting ready for the send, Pat Tracy before Roof ...
    Getting ready for the send, Pat Tracy before Roof ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Courtney Giles sussing out the moves on Generation...
    Courtney Giles sussing out the moves on Generation...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown 2 pitch 5.6 slab climb at what I was told ...
    Unknown 2 pitch 5.6 slab climb at what I was told ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Bouldering on the Notch Road, V-hard
    Bouldering on the Notch Road, V-hard
    Rock Climbing Photo: Good Ol' VT, Bolton
    Good Ol' VT, Bolton
    Rock Climbing Photo: Dave Vuono playing on Bolton's best V2, The Sharkf...
    Dave Vuono playing on Bolton's best V2, The Sharkf...

    Comments on Bolton Area Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Colin R
    From: Ottawa, ON
    Apr 8, 2010
    It's about time we started adding some of our home grown Vermont routes/boulders into this web site. So many great routes and bouldering in the Bolton area as well as Marshfield ledge, The Notch, Groton and Mt. Wheeler - how come we don't have more Green Mountain rock climbing/bouldering listed here? Seriously, there are plenty of low quality crags and bouldering spots in other states that I hear about and see listed on Mountain Project and other climbing sites/media all the time (I'll keep my lips sealed on them for the moment). Arguably I am being a hypocrite since I could add them myself but I wouldn't want to steal the opportunity from another Vermont climber....
    By Chris Duca
    From: Havertown, PA
    Apr 11, 2010
    I think, because of sensitive access issues, at least one of the areas you mentioned (Carcass) shouldn't be added to the database just yet. The 82 Crag, Bolton Quarry (eh-hem, choss pile!!), Wheeler Mt., etc., etc. should be added to MP so long as there are no limiting circumstances that would otherwise tarnish VT's street cred. And I think you're the perfect suitor for this job, Colin!!
    By Colin R
    From: Ottawa, ON
    Apr 14, 2010

    I agree with you about the access sensitive area. I also agree that i am probably the best candidate to add these new areas/route (I am lazy however, only good at quippy comments). I disagree that the Quarry is a choss pile. Well, technically yes, most of it is but the truly chossy parts don't have any routes on them anyways. The Cat's Ass Wall and the first left-hand wall in the main quarry are both bullet hard, non-quarried schist all with good, short-but-stout sport climbing. Even some of the quarried rock has good climbing (There is a great 11a in the back there). 82 Crag is sick and is good as any wall at Rumney (just not as much of it or as condensed). Believe me, I used to laugh at the idea of placing Bolton up there with Rumney but I have since come around mostly due to the lack of crowds and some of the great new lines that have gone up (I am not smoking anything I swear!). Rumney has turned into an outdoor gym (too many climbers, too few routes) and I am way too much of a climbing hermit these days. Marshfield and Wheeler are also stellar crags but I am not as familiar with them. And then there is the bouldering which is as good as anywhere you'll find in New England imo (if you know where you are going). Viva La Ver-Mont!
    By David Powers
    Apr 17, 2010
    Looks like you have everything in Vermont covered. Not much more to add.
    By Colin R
    From: Ottawa, ON
    Apr 17, 2010
    There's plenty more to add actually. Just can't do it all myself. I hope others contribute a bit too. Some areas that I would like to see routes/boulders added are:

    Marshfield Ledge - Routes
    Mt. Wheeler - Routes and Bouldering
    Groton State Park - Bouldering and Routes at Owl's Head
    Smuggler's Notch - Routes and Bouldering
    Jamaica State Park (southern VT) - Bouldering

    Climbing in Vermont is growing but I think we can manage it if we give folks a heads up on access issues and what not on here.

    Sensitive access areas should not be posted.
    By Chris Duca
    From: Havertown, PA
    Apr 19, 2010
    "Looks like you have everything in Vermont covered. Not much more to add."--David Powers

    Don't worry, David, Wheeler probably won't make it up here,'s way too chossy to warrant any attention anyway...(haha!)
    By David Powers
    Apr 20, 2010
    Hi Chris, Part of me does not care but the other part loves the adventure climbing aspect. In a previous post you mentioned splitter cracks at this chossy place. Did you find Eagle Point crag? It sounded like you got around the place a bit.
    If you or Colin have any bouldering FA info i would like to get it for record keeping.
    By Chris Duca
    From: Havertown, PA
    Apr 20, 2010

    I agree with you. When it boils down to it, I don't really care one way or the other. Wheeler and the outlaying areas are, however, one of the best kept secrets in NE, without a doubt. Last time I was up there was about 2 years ago, and. upon your earlier recommendation, I did make it up to Eagle Point Buttress. We climbed the Eagle Point Crack, as well as TRing Hot Seat. Both phenomenal lines up some of the best granite around. I did not, however, make it up to the buttress (?) above the Kingdom Crack area. Next time...
    By Colin R
    From: Ottawa, ON
    Jul 12, 2010
    Would be good to add new material here. Upper & Lower West as well have relatively few routes while Upper East has nothing. I noticed someone put up Carcass Crag (again). Hopefully it wont be taken down again unless there are access issues. Also, there is still more stuff up at 82 Crag plus. Chris, you know this area as well as anyone. I'll add more stuff soon as I can.
    By Colin R
    From: Ottawa, ON
    Jul 12, 2010
    One other thing I think would be good is for folks to suggest grades as well. There are some routes at Bolton that are pretty sandbagged in my opinion and I am curious what other folks think. Sandbagging is to be expected to a degree in Vermont but I think we should also try to keep it within reason. I can think of at least 5 routes that I feel should be upgraded (some by more than one letter grade) where as I only know of one route in the area that I would recommend being downgraded. I could name some obvious routes but would rather wait and hear feedback from others.

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