The Bolton Quarry was originally used to mine rock for the construction of Route 89 and now serves as a small crag with some decent sport climbing and great ice climbing. It offers 18 rock climbs ranging from 5.5 to 5.12 with the majority of climbs in the 5.9 to 5.11 range. The upper level, made up of Dwarf Wall and the Upper Quarry, offers climbs of up to 100 feet that range in the 5.7 to 5.10d range (with one 5.2, which is great for beginners and kids). The climbs here are quirky and while they are fun, they make you think the whole way up. While the Upper Quarry is great for ice in the winter, it means it is pretty wet during the spring melt, so save the Upper Quarry for a little later in the season when things dry out more. The rock here is also very chossy, so be sure to wear a helmet and stay on already developed routes. The Lower Quarry has a lot of great short ice routes and is home to Cat’s Ass Wall, known for its short but stout routes offering one 5.8 and five other climbs at or above 5.10c. The Bolton Quarry, along with a 30-acre parcel of land surrounding it, was bought and conserved for climbing and recreational use in 2004 by Crag VT, a local climbing nonprofit.
What Makes It Great
This crag offers some interesting sport routes that are trickier than they appear. While they may look straightforward, they keep you on your toes the whole way up and provide a nice challenge. For the most part, they are bolted with bolted anchors making this a great spot for sport climbing in the area. Be sure to check out Junior’s First Bolt (5.9+) in the Upper Quarry and Cat’s Ass (5.11d) in the Lower Quarry.
The ice climbing here is great as well. The longer routes found in the Upper Quarry are usually pretty fat and can offer some steep, level ⅘, climbing depending on the year. The Lower Quarry has a lot of shorter ice routes that can be easily toproped, making it a great place to take beginners or to just play around.
Regardless of whether you are climbing rock or ice, this crag is easily accessible residing just minutes off of Route 2 making it great to pop in for an hour or two after work.
Who is Going to Love It
Climbers looking for fun, yet interesting sport climbs will enjoy this area. While it’s small, the climbs here will give both your body and your brain a good workout. And it’s especially great if you don’t have a lot of time, but want to get out for a climb or two. It’s easy-access and short approaches are perfect for just this scenario.
Ice climbers looking for something close to town that provides a nice variety of short, long and steep climbs will find something they like here.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Take a left onto Green Mountain Road off of Route 2 after passing Smilie Elementary School. Follow the road to the very end to the Quarry lot. This lot is closed in the wintertime, so if you are looking to ice climb at the Quarry, park at Smilie School and walk up Green Mountain Road. There is no parking on Green Mountain Road and it’s likely you will be towed if you do.