Climbing in New England by Mike Morin

Mike Morin is the Northeast Regional Director of Access Fund. He works with local climbing organizations, advocates, and land managers to protect and expand climbing opportunities in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.

Here is Mike's list of climbing spots in New England:

New England offers the adventurous and dedicated climber a multitude of opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors. From the pink granite cliffs of Acadia National Park to the trap rock out crops of central Connecticut, opportunity abounds in every corner of the region. Here in no particular order, are some spots that should be on every New England climbers tick list.

Acadia National Park, ME – With seaside cragging and mulit-pitch trad climbing on impeccable pink granite cliffs, Acadia National Park, located on Mount Dessert Island is a true climbing paradise. Rappelling down to the churning seas at Otter Cliffs can be as exhilarating as the climbing itself and the views from the top of the South Wall of Champlain Mountain (aka-The Precipice) simply can’t be beat. While the island isn’t known for it’s sport climbing those looking to clip bolts can get their fix at Great Head where a few, steep, bolt protected routes that start at the waters edge have been established. Take note however, that the majority of routes still require gear.

Mount Washington Valley, NH – Home to the famous granite ledges of New Hampshire, the Mount Washington Valley offers traditional climbing, with easy access, and spectacular views. Cracks and slabs are the name of the game here, and the valley’s Conway granite can take some getting used to.  The massive White Horse Ledge with it’s broad east facing slab has routes at grades accessible to most climbers, however be prepared to run it out, as there is little to no fixed protection on most routes on the slabs. Those looking to jam and stem will find plenty to do next door at Cathedral Ledge, where beautiful cracks ascend steep immaculate faces. When topping out on Cathedral be prepared to be bombarded with questions from curious visitors that drove to the top to take in the view. 

Rumney, NH – Steep, technical climbing might be the best way to describe the style at Rumney, but the persistent and frequent visitor will find all styles of climbing on the flanks of Rattlesnake Mountain. Visiting climbers can show up with nothing but two fists full of quick-draws and a rope and have an amazing day on the mountain a rarity in the Northeast. Across the street, the idyllic Rattlesnake Mountain Campground is a true climbers campground, with camping in grassy fields and one of the best swimming holes in the region right down the road on the Baker River.  

Ragged Mountain, CT – This staunchly traditional area provides those in the southern part of the region with truly world class climbing on unique and interesting trap rock. Gear can be tricky on many routes here and climbers need to have solid anchor building skills as there are no fixed anchors on the cliff. A long static line is handy as many of the trees typically used as anchors are a considerable distance from the cliff edge.

Lincoln Woods, RI – Climbing in Rhode Island? You bet! Lincoln Woods is home to an amazing assortment of granite boulders, tucked on the outskirts of Providence and Pawtucket. While the climbing at Lincoln Woods definitely has an urban feel you can’t deny how good the rock is and for those living in or visiting Southeast New England, this spot should not be overlooked. Also, when the temps get into the 20’s and 30’s and you’re thinking about adding another layer, the bouldering here is just heating up as the friction on small crimps and slopers becomes impeccable. 

If you are visiting New England make sure you check out these beautiful spots.

Thanks Mike for sharing!
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