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A large boulder covered in snow.

Flag Rock

Intro | Parking | Map| Trails | Access Status

Access Status: YELLOW

Flag Rock is a satellite climbing area in Great Barrington with about a dozen established boulder problems and good potential for further development. The climbs here range from tall moderates to classic harder lines featuring small holds and powerful movement. The approach is shared by a popular hiking trail on the back side of Monument Mountain that leads to a scenic overlook. While not as developed or concentrated as other areas in Great Barrington, and protected by an approximately 1.5 mile mostly flat approach, the high quality of the climbing the area merit a visit.

Parking

Parking for Flag Rock is the roadside pull-off on the side of Route 183 in Great Barrington. Coming from the south (from the town Great Barrington) the trailhead is on the right 0.2 miles after Taft Farms. If traveling from the north from the town of Housatonic, the trailhead is 0.3 miles on the left after the Paper Mill. The parking lot is open year round and many hikers also enjoy the area.

Map

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

Trails

After parking in the lot on Route 183, begin hiking on the Willow’s Trail. There is an uphill section at the beginning of the trail but after a bit it levels off. There are multiple forks in the well maintained hiking trail, keep left at all of them. After about a mile and a half the trail opens up and you will start seeing boulders on both sides. Some of the initial climbs are moderate, including a highball V1 crack on the right side of the trail, with a shorter V4 problem on the left side of the same boulder. Keep following the trail north and you will come to the Jason Goes Rafting boulder, the prize of Flag Rock that has been decorated by some local ‘artists’. Paul Robinson got the first ascent of the overhanging crimp line in 2004, which gets between V8-V10 depending on who you ask. There are more moderate highballs on either side of the boulder. Bring all the pads you can muster, preferably by way of good friends!

Access Status: Yellow

Flag Rock is located on Trustees property and currently open to climbing without access issues, but is considered YELLOW because there is currently no formal agreement protecting climbing in this area. Please help to keep it this way by parking responsibly, keeping noise down, brushing ticks/chalk, respecting other land users, and leaving no trace.

Western Mass Bouldering History: A film presentation on the past, present, and future of New England’s best bouldering

Western Mass Bouldering History: A film presentation on the past, present, and future of New England’s best bouldering

A presentation by Jonah Meyer and Kai Webler.

Watch archival footage of historic first ascents, learn more about the development of bouldering in Western Mass, and watch high-end video of modern first ascents.

Tuesday, February 26th
7:00-9:00 Central Rock Gym Hadley, Party Room

 

” Western Mass Bouldering History” is one of two Winter Seminars hosted by the Western Mass Climber’s Coalition this year. Seminars are free and everyone is invited to participate.

climber lunges on boulder

Happy Valley & The Hideaway

Intro | Parking | Map | Trails | Access Status

Access Status: YELLOW

These two areas represent some of the finer bouldering in the Pioneer Valley. While these are technically two distinct areas, they are located from the same access point and are within a 10 minute hike of one another if you know where you are going. Like the majority of the rock around these parts, the boulders and mini-cliffs are gneiss with some outstanding features and quality. There are roughly 50 problems of all grades though these areas are noted for the more difficult problems in the V7 and up range.

Parking

The parking for the Happy Valley/Hideaway is at a small dirt lot located at the end of Dry Hill Road in Montague. This lot is privately owned so please be considerate so as not to lose our privileges.

Map

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

Trails

The easiest thing to say here is follow someone who knows. A fair share of folks have gotten lost. A trail heads down and right from the parking lot then crosses two small streams before turning left onto a forest service road. Continue along this road until a faint trail heads off to the right through some tall scrub brush. This trail will eventually take you to a small boulder field and cliff band. Just before the boulders, turn left and follow the drainage wash uphill until the trail becomes more defined. This will eventually take you to the Hideaway area. For the Happy Valley, you’re on your own, ask a local or pick up the New England Bouldering Guidebook by Tim Kemple and Pete Ward for more detailed information.

Access Status: Yellow

Access to these areas is YELLOW. Climbing is allowed but no formal agreement exists.

climber lunges on boulder

Reservoir Rocks

Intro | Parking | Map | Trails | Access Status

Access Status: YELLOW

The boulders at Reservoir Rocks in Great Barrington is comprised of compact and finely textured Gneiss which lends itself to technical and aesthetic climbing. Although there does exist a large main face home to some great traditional and top roping routes, the spotlight belongs on the fantastic bouldering at “the Res.” From easy warm-ups to cutting edge projects, the Res has a little of everything in a beautiful quiet setting…close by to a wonderful small New England town. Currently there are approximately 250 boulder problems on the existing boulders and new ones being discovered in the surrounding areas.

Parking

Parking is along the shoulder of the road at Pine and Quarry Street . DO NOT park at the hairpin itself as this is private property and the homeowners do not need us parking on their property. Please do not park in front of the fire hydrant. If there are no parking spots available, there is plenty of parking at the Searles School parking lot (adds about 5 minutes of extra walking) just down the street from the trail proper. Please respect the homeowners and abutters as they have embraced the climbers and we need to maintain a good relationship with the people who are directly next to Reservoir Rocks.

Map

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

Trails

From the parking area on Pine and Quarry continue walking up the street to the end of the paved road onto to the dirt road (which has a chain across it) and onto the old dirt/grass road which heads straight past the Reservoir (“the Res”…get it!). Continue on for 5-10 minutes to where the trail breaks left and begins a gradual uphill climb. The trail forks again (bear right) and keep heading uphill until it begins to level out. Look to your left and you will begin to see the boulders. The first big boulder you encounter is the Erkanan boulder with the classic “Crystal Problem” (V3) on the front side. The boulders in the main area are scattered all over the hillside with landings varying from dead flat to ankle breakers…climb wisely.

Access Status: Yellow

No formal agreements exist between the climbers (and other user groups) and the Town of Great Barrington. Access status is YELLOW, or more accurately, ORANGE, as there have been significant issues in the past and lack of parking places a constraint on the number of visitors at any time. Members of the WMCC and the Friends of East Mountain have been working on preserving access to the area. The long term goal is to preserve the open space in perpetuity for all user groups to enjoy this beautiful and unique parcel of land and to allow climbers and non-climbers access.

Reservoir Rocks and East Mountain was the site of the 2005 Access Fund’s Adopt-A-Crag initiative which was hosted by the WMCC and the Friends of East Mountain. Approximately 20 volunteers spent a beautiful Fall day helping to build water channels on the existing trail and installed a beautifully made Kiosk (built by Jon LaValley). In addition, the volunteers hauled out two huge truckloads of trash out of the woods.

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