Bone Mountain is the largest cliff band in the area with climbs up to and exceeding 200 feet high. The crag can be seen from 89, looming high above many of Bolton’s other great climbing areas, including 82 Crag, Carcass Crag and the Quarry. The approach to Bone is tough and takes at least an hour, and that’s if you don’t get lost along the way. Once there, there are about 40 great climbs and this number is growing rapidly as much of the unexplored rock is being developed. The rock is schist, which is typical for this area, and the climbs range from 5.6 to 5.11 and offer a mix of sport and trad. Highly recommended that you go with someone who knows where they are going the first time you head out there.
What Makes It Great
Bone has a lot of potential and is gaining popularity despite its difficult approach. Because of the area’s remoteness, there is still a lot of unexplored rock to be climbed and claimed. New routes are going up all the time with more than 15 new climbs being set in the past two years alone. Check out www.vermontrock.com for the latest and greatest at Bone.
Be sure to check out the two pitch, 5.7, Family Picnic on the Main Cliff as it is one of Bone’s most popular climbs. It’s balancey with some delicate face climbing and has bolted anchors at the end of each pitch for easy belay/anchor set up.
Who is Going to Love It
Climbers looking for an adventure will find it here. The long approach in will start the trip with an adventurous spirit (be sure to watch out for moose as the trails to Bone are right along Bolton’s moose highway). Once at the crag enjoy a full day of trad and sport, single and multi-pitch climbing or explore some of the undeveloped rock in the area, of which there is quite a bit. Be sure to bring a headlamp in case the sun goes down on the hike out and you’re stuck on the moose highway in the dark.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The approach is challenging and the cliff can be hard to find. It is recommended that you go with someone who knows the area. According to Tough Schist: Rock Climbing in Northern Vermont, park at the sugar shack half-way up Bolton Valley Access Road and walk up the Access Road about 100 yards. Cross the road onto a dirt road that is the trail access for the Catamount Ski Trail. Follow this over Joiner Brook, then follow the Catamount’s blue trail markers for a little over a mile. Just after crossing a big plank bridge, turn left onto an overgrown logging road just before the Catamount Ski Trail crosses over a culvert.
Follow this steeply uphill the logging road and occasional yellow and orange flagging. Continue hiking up steeply for the greater part of a mile, then locate a unique mini-slot canyon that passes over the top of the hill. Hike downhill, contouring to the left, following a band of ledges to your left. A few minutes further delivers you to the base of the North Cliff. The Main Cliff is a few hundred yards to the north east. Be aware of Peregrine falcon closures.