A Letter from the President

Dear Western Mass climbers,

I am honored to accept the role of WMCC President. Thank you for your support and thank you to my fellow board members for their confidence in me.

I am still fairly new to the Western Mass community, and I continue to meet new people and learn more about the history of climbing access in this region. The more than 20 years of hard work and dedication from past volunteers is humbling and I hope to continue this work as best I can.

My commitment to you is to lead with thoughtfulness and transparency. My goals for this year are to continue to grow our membership base, create systems for volunteers who want to get more involved in the organization, and stay focused on our mission of securing access to climbing in Western Mass. It’s important to me that as our community expands and our number of crags grows, we are thoughtful about creating equitable access for everyone.

Thank you for this opportunity.

Gratefully,

Stephanie Giguere

President of the Western Mass Climber’s Coalition

 

Published July 7th, 2021

New Leadership

New Leadership

As planned, Wayne Burleson stepped down from his position as President of the WMCC last week. He will remain on the board through September of this year. The board elected former Vice President, Stephanie Giguere, as the new president, and Dolci Mascolo and Sara McFadden to be Co-Vice Presidents, effective July 1st.

Wayne stands in front of table with WMCC banner with microphone in hand. He is wearing a black sweater and jeans.

A message from Wayne:

“Hey WMCC and friends! I am very excited to welcome Stephanie Giguere as the new president of the WMCC, and also Sara McFadden and Dolci Mascolo as Co-Vice Presidents. It has been an exciting year of challenges and transitions. Our acquisition of Hanging Mountain, ongoing negotiations about Farley and new JDEI initiatives have kept the board busy. Oh yeah, and the pandemic. I have been very proud to lead and serve our local climbing community, especially amidst larger issues in climbing and society.

I ask you all to support WMCC even if the magic of climbing is just a small and local contribution to the greater good. Happy climbing and stay safe!”

 

Published July 7th, 2021

Tekoa Remains Closed to Climbing

This is a reminder that Tekoa remains closed to climbing. Tekoa Mountain is managed by the state Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and climbing is prohibited due to concerns for endangered and protected species. The area is under camera surveillance and any activity there will be reported to the Environmental Police.

Please respect this closure. Only by respecting closures can we work to build positive relationships with land managers.

Published April 8th, 2021

Letter of Solidarity with the AAPI Community

The Western MA Climbers’ Coalition stands in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander community in the wake of last week’s tragedy in Atlanta. The loss of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, and Paul Andre Michels is another example of the ways in which dangerously oppressive systems continue to harm communities of color. We know that the climbing community is impacted by the continued acts of violence toward marginalized communities and reaffirm our commitment as a Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee to continually stand against, and work toward ending the ways in which certain communities experience violence and oppression.

Published 3/23/2021

Hanging Mountain Update, March 19th, 2021

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.

The WMCC recently submitted and received approval of a Land Management Plan, the first step in the important process to develop Hanging Mountain in compliance with state regulations. Currently the WMCC is working with NHESP to file a Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA) Review. Once successful, the WMCC will be able to apply for a permit to complete trails and infrastructure on the designated section of Hanging Mountain. Upon approval of a permit, the state will allow a portion of the property to be opened to the public for recreational use. We cannot give a specific date for opening at this time since the timeline is dependent on the state regulatory and approval process. However, we are working with advisors to meet the state requirements and deadlines.

For more information about the MESA review, visit the Hanging Mountain Crag page and listen to the Off Belay Podcast, which features the board member and HM committee member, Dolci Mascolo. In the latter half of the podcast, she discusses what the MESA review is and what it means for Hanging Mountain.

Thank you all for your support throughout this process!

 

Published 3/19/2021.

New Farley Parking Beta

The WMCC is excited to announce a new partnership with the Franklin Regional Transit System (FRTA). The Town of Erving and the FRTA have arranged the inclusion of a park & ride transit system between Erving Center and Farley Ledges. The ride system allows both advance and immediate reservation of a bus that will take visitors to and from the main Farley parking lot for a very low fare. Weekend services run from 9:30am-5:30pm, weekdays from 6:30am-7:30pm.

 

How to use the FRTA service to get to Farley:

  1. Pre-book a ride through the FRTA Access app (Download through Google Play, Apple).
  2. To make booking trips easier, users can type in “Farley Ledges” and “Erving Municipal Parking Lot” as their drop off/pick up point.
  3. Make sure to bring cash for the fare.
  4. Drop off any bulky gear and extra climbers at the Farley lot.
  5. Park in Erving and wait for your ride to arrive!

Where to park:

Park at the Erving Municipal lot, 8 West Main St., Erving.

The municipal lot is located at the junction with Arch St., just past the Freight House and  Erving Station Chocolates, across from the former Crooked Tap. Stop at the Freight House for coffee or lunch (they have great vegan options), or the Erving Station to get a sweet treat for the ride home!

Additional parking available at Arch Street in the Pearl B Care Historical Building parking lot.

Although Erving is the pickup point for riders coming from the east, the “Zone 1” service extends from Erving to Greenfield therefore riders can book from any location along the route for the same fare.

Cost:

Fares MUST BE PAID IN CASH. No change will be given– those overpaying will receive a credit towards future rides. We suggest bringing $1 bills.

The fare is $3 per ride for the person making the reservation and each additional person on the same booking is half price. Therefore, six people will pay $1.75 each for the shared trip.

Covid-19 Precautions:

FRTA vans are currently limited to six passengers at a time. Masks are required.

 

Visit the FRTA website and FRTA brochure for more information.

 

Published 3/17/2021, updated 3/19/2021.

Mass Fish and Wildlife staff tagging peregrine falcon chick in Western MA.

Farley Ledges Peregrine Falcon Closure, 2021

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

Please stay off all routes on the right side of Pot Ledge Buttress (starting from “All Your Base”) to the K2 Buttress.  If you are uncertain about where these formations lay, obey any posted signs as these areas are clearly marked.

The closure ends June 15th 2021.

Email us at wmcc@climbgneiss.org if you have any questions about this closure. Thank you!

 

Photo of local climber and Mass Fish and Wildlife employee, Jessie Brad, tagging a peregrine falcon chick. Photographer: Shayne Burke.

Hanging Mountain Update

We hope to announce a date for the soft opening of Phase One in the next two to three weeks! We are currently awaiting permitting before opening, and Hanging Mountain remains closed to the public at this time.

 

The 2020 Phase One opening of Hanging Mountain will include six crags on the right side of the cliff, featuring about 60 established pitches of diverse grades and styles. The left side of the cliff is still largely undeveloped and will not be open until Phase Two in 2021.

 

We want to thank everyone for their continued support of such an epic project!

 

Volunteers stand near the new Hanging Mountain kiosks in the Hanging Mountain parking lot.

Photo by Dan Jazwinski

Farley Lot Reopens July 6th, 2020

Good news; the Farley lot is reopening Monday, July 6th!

WMCC volunteers will be present the first weekend after opening, and updated maps of Farley crags and trails will be available at the main lot.

Parking is always a concern when climbing at Farley Ledges. In order to secure a spot in the main lot, plan to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon for the ‘second shift.’ There is parking across Route 2 on along Bridge street, but this area can quickly become overwhelmed as well. Please have a backup plan prepared and visit another climbing area, such as Mormon Hollow, Rose Ledge, or Hideaway if there is no parking available for Farley.

Please consider the following social distancing guidelines:

  • Climb with just one partner when possible. Keep groups small.
  • Wear a mask in the parking lot, on crowded belay ledges and near other parties.
  • Keep gear organized and in your pack- “no junk shows at the base.”
  • Spread out and explore new crags. There are over 450 routes and 500 boulder problems at Farley. If you don’t know where to go, ask whoever’s around for suggestions and directions.
  • More guidance is listed in the letter signed by Northeast LCO’s

-Posted July 3rd, 2020-

North East Local Climbing Organization Letter to Climbers

Dear Fellow Climber:

Local Climbing Organizations, Access Fund, partner organizations and land managers throughout the Northeast have been in discussions regarding what it means for us as society begins to reopen. Between being cooped up inside, gyms being closed, and nicer weather upon us, we sympathize with your desire to get out and climb. However, we are also concerned about how our behavior may impact the current situation as we head back out to the crag. When that time comes or if you do plan on climbing, please keep these notes in mind.

 

WHY WE ARE CONCERNED:

  • Distance: With high levels of COVID-19 cases in Eastern Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, traveling outside your local area may adversely affect mitigation efforts in our region, and contribute to the spread of the virus.
  • Density: We have a lot of climbers and only so many climbing areas. Too many people at a crag will make it difficult to practice social distancing; not only for fellow climbers but also for park employees, rangers, and trailhead volunteers. It may also overwhelm infrastructures such as parking areas, public resources, and trails and belay areas.

WHAT ARE WE ASKING:

  • Know and follow government regulations and health guidelines for your area.
  • Do not climb at areas that are not currently open, or on private or restricted property – this could impact longer-term access. Check with your Local Climbing Organization, or refer to the list of closures maintained by the Access Fund at https://bit.ly/CragClosures.
  • If you do go climbing, Stay Local – the closer you stay to your home the less chance for you and others to be affected by the virus.  Less than a 30-minute distance is ideal.
  • Respect rural communities that are still urging climbers not to visit.
  • Don’t go to the crag if you’re having any COVID-19 symptoms or think you may have been exposed.
  • You could be an asymptomatic carrier, so try to climb with those in your household or those you have been in routine close contact with.
  • Try to limit your group size to only you and your partner.
  • Don’t add to the burden on our first responders – select objectives that are well within your limit and climb cautiously. If an accident were to occur, it could put more people, besides the climbers, at risk of infection.
  • Avoid busy climbing areas and crowded trailheads. If you encounter a busy trailhead or crag, go to a second option, and maybe even a third or go home.
  • Don’t put the rope or gear in your mouth.
  • Don’t climb directly next to someone. Apply the six to ten-foot social distance guideline to your route selection.
  • Use hand sanitizer before and after climbing a route, belaying, and snacking.
  • Bring your mask and wear it when passing other parties on the trail or at the base. Consider belaying in your mask as well.
  • Be self-sufficient with food and water, and try to limit your use of public resources.
  • Be prepared to dig a cat hole or use a wag bag if public restrooms are unavailable.
  • Avoid sprawling your belongings at the base of a route.  Minimize the need for other people to touch your gear.

Our personal decisions on if, when, and how we climb will impact our communities on a level we could never have imagined before. We are asking for your help to keep our crags and communities safe in an effort to keep them open. Do what you can now so we can all climb in the future.

*The WMCC is still encouraging climbers to stay home and not climb at any of the Western Mass climbing areas. We appreciate all the people who have been respectful our decision.*
Published May 23rd, 2020