Arial view of Hanging Mountain cliff.

Hanging Mountain

Now Open: October 2nd, 2021

Intro | Land Acknowledgement | MESA Review | Parking | Closure of Corps Wall | Guidebook | Map | Trails | Facilities | Falcon Closure | Grants | Route Development | Donate to Hanging Mountain

Hanging Mountain lays in the small, southwestern Massachusetts hamlet of Sandisfield, just three miles from the Connecticut border. The WMCC owns 14 acres of mountainside and jointly manages the area with Connecticut’s Ragged Mountain Foundation through a Joint Stewardship Committee. The RMF split the purchase of this parcel with the WMCC, creating the only climber owned area in Southern New England.

This approximately 1000-foot-long series of southeast facing cliffs, ranging from approximately 60 to 240 feet in height, contains granite, granitic gneiss, and large pockets of friable schist. As the name may suggest, portions of Hanging Mountain can be unstable, at times shedding significant amounts of stone: wear a helmet, especially when belaying, and expect to encounter at least some loose rock.

The WMCC wants this land to feel like a safe space for all visitors, including but not limited to BIPOC and LGBTIQ individuals, people with disabilities, people of all genders, all bodies, all abilities, and all neurotypes.

If you do not feel safe, please contact the WMCC JDEI Committee at JDEI@Climbgneiss.org, and we will work to change that.

Land Acknowledgement

It is with gratitude and humility that we acknowledge that we are learning, speaking and gathering on the ancestral homelands of the Muhheaconneok, the Indigenous peoples of this land.

Despite tremendous hardship in being forced from here, today their community resides in Wisconsin and is known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community.

We pay honor and respect to their ancestors, past and present, as we commit to building a more inclusive and equitable space for all.

MESA Review

Most of the 14-acre property at Hanging Mountain has been designated as Priority Habitat by MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP). As a result, Hanging Mountain and any work performed there is heavily regulated to ensure that the WMCC is in compliance with the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act and Wetlands Protection Act.

More information about NHESP can be found here.

Parking

The parking is located at 43 South Main Street, Sandisfield, MA. Google Map to Hanging Mountain Parking Lot.

The primary parking area and the trail head can be found at the edge of the talus; the shoulder of the access road offers additional spots. Please park considerately and make the $5.00 suggested donation to the “iron ranger.” There is a designated Accessible parking space for visitors with disabilities.

A smaller, spill-over lot can be found on Army Corps of Engineers (federal, public property) land just across both Route 8 and the Farmington River.  Exit our property, turn left (north) on route 8, cross the river and take a quick right, cross a steel bridge and take another quick right into a small, circular parking area.  Again, please park considerately.

Closure of Corps Wall

At this time the Corps Wall is closed. Climbing is currently an unauthorized activity on the US Army Corps of Engineers abutting property.  The WMCC and RMF are currently in negotiations to re-open access.  It is critical that we respect these rules.  Any climbing at the Corps Wall during this closure could compromise future access for climbing at the Corps Wall.

Guidebook

PDF of the guidebook is available to download for free: Hanging Mountain Guidebook. The Corps Wall descriptions have been removed as requested by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Updates will be made regularly. Please do not use any of this feedback for Mountain Project as this is being made available for free and can be regulated for Justice Diversity Equity Inclusion components by the WMCC. Please share input about routes at: tinyurl.com/RouteFeedbackHangingMountain .

We are open to feedback about implicit bias in route names. If you have input on how to help you or someone else feel more welcome and safe, please submit input at: https://tinyurl.com/SafeSpaceHangingMountain.

Map

Click here for a link to the interactive map above of all the Western Mass crags discussed on this site.

Trails

The main access trail is located beyond the kiosk at the end of the parking lot. A map of the area is posted on the kiosk and signs clearly indicate each crag. It is of utmost importance that visitors stay on established trails to protect endangered and protected species.

Facilities

The WMCC provides an ADA accessible Porta-Potty located in the main parking lot for most months of the year (not available in the off season). Please, always be prepared and bring a ‘wag bag.’

Falcon Closure

The WMCC, in accordance to the wishes of Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife, maintains a voluntary, seasonal closure of selected routes to enable nesting pairs of Peregrine Falcons to hatch and raise their offspring in peace.

The closure is in effect from February 15th – June 15th every year. Check for updates.

Grants

Hanging Mountain would not be possible without an astounding $93,500 in grants from partner organizations.

Access Fund: The Access Fund not only backed the purchase of Hanging Mountain with a Climbing Conservation loan in 2019, but has also funded the project with two Climbing Conservation grants in 2020: a $2,000 and a $5,000 grant for a total of $7,000. Thank you to Dolci Mascolo for writing these grants!

Appalachian Mountain Club: The AMC has been supportive of the Hanging Mountain project, generously awarding the WMCC with a total of $23,500 towards Hanging Mountain in 2021. The AMC is also providing an additional $7,500 in technical trail work from the AMC trail crew, which will be completed in 2022. Thank you to Dolci Mascolo and Bill Fogel for working on these grants!

Conservation Alliance: The Conservation Alliance awarded the WMCC and RMF a $30,000 grant in 2020. Thank you to Rob Sullivan for writing this grant!

MassTrails: The WMCC is a 2020 award recipient of a $25,500 MassTrails grant. The MassTrails grant is a reimbursement grant. The WMCC will also match 20% of the total project cost. Thank you to Jeff Squire and Dolci Mascolo for working on this grant!

We are so grateful to all of these generous organizations and to the volunteer grant writers. Many of these volunteers are still working hard to manage these grant funds.

The WMCC owns 14 acres of mountainside at Hanging Mountain and jointly manages the area with Connecticut’s Ragged Mountain Foundation through a Joint Stewardship Committee. Due to the presence of endangered plants on and around the cliff NO ROUTE DEVELOPMENT OR TRAIL WORK SHALL BE DONE WITHOUT THE EXPLICIT APPROVAL AND SUPERVISION OF THIS COMMITTEE. Violation of this can result in the closure of the entire cliff by the state. A route development protocol is in place and must be followed at all times.

In Nov. of 2019, the WMCC and Ragged Mountain Foundation accepted a $79,500.00 Climbing Conservation Loan from the Access Fund to purchase the Hanging Mountain property. Since then, the WMCC has invested $31,750 into the driveway and parking lot and more on materials for trail work and biological surveys. We need your help to pay off the Access Fund loan and fund future projects. There are still trails and other infrastructure to develop in 2022. Thank you for your support!

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