Nearing the top of a route on one of the more remo...
Perched high above the eastern side of interstate 89 is Bolton Valley's most remote cliff band, Bone Mountain.
With an approach time of roughly 1.5 hours, and mandatory bush-whacking (though, not heinous), it is no wonder this cliffline sees very little traffic. Sadly, this enormous (widest/tallest in Bolton Valley) expanse of rock also has some of the very best routes AND rock Bolton Valley has to offer.
There are two sectors here: The Main Cliff (routes up to 2 pitches), and the Satellite Wall (single pitch routes). Many of the routes require both face and crack-climbing skills, and rely on a mixture of natural gear and bolts, a common trait of most routes in Bolton Valley. The two areas are split by a massive gully/flush that is also used as one of the approaches to the cliff (the other being through the Moose Bog left of the Satellite Cliff).
Routes on the Main Cliff are guarded by a somewhat complex maze of talus. Most of the routes on this section of cliff follow obvious weaknesses up the available corners/cracks littering the wall. But that is it. As a result, there is still a TON of untapped rock up on the Main Cliff, though dedication, perseverance, and patience are obligatory for route development. Classic lines include "Family Picnic" (5.7; 2 pitches), and "Eye in the Sky" (5.10; 2 pitches).
The Satellite Wall is more developed, and it is very small compared to it's bigger brother. The base area and clifftop are more manageable, thus descending routes/setting up TRs is possible without breaking too much of a sweat. Classic routes are "Dawson's Corner" (5.7), and "Gemini Dream" (5.8).
Visiting Bone Mountain is a climbing treat, and your experience will be very unique one (similar to the 82, but considerable more remote) for a day scaling rocks in Vermont. Expect to sweat on the approach and possibly get a little turned around in spots (but never dreadfully lost). However, once at the cliffs, you will understand why this is one of the best little-known crags in Vermont.
Take the Bolton Valley Access Road to the UVM sugar shack. Park here, head across/up the road a hundred yards or so to the gated logging road. Follow this until it seems logical to head south into the woods following a semi-blazed (sun-bleached flagging tape) "trail" straight up hill for about 35 minutes. Once at the top, follow a dried-up wash until you come to a narrow passage through a boggy area (Moose Bog). Continue through this until it drops you onto a flat area above and climber's left of the Satellite cliff. Follow the faint trail down until you are the base of the Satellite.
Alternatively, park at the Timberline parking lot for Bolton Valley Ski Resort, and follow the blazed (blazed with old bottle caps) "trail" all the way to the big gully/flush between the Satellite and Main Cliff.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Bone Mountain:
On par with any of the multi-pitch routes at the 82. Long, steep and thoughtful characterize this fun romp up a nice exposed buttress. start on the left side of a 70/80 foot buttress/pillar of rock in the center of the Main Cliff. The route is unmistakeable, as bolts mark the way. Pitch one is tricky little number with some balance and faith required at the crux. Finish on a nice ledge with a 2-bolt anchor.The 2nd pitch climbs steep rock up past an insecure block (step around it gingerly!!)...[more]Browse More Classics in VT
Paul Hansen, Dave Furman, Travis Peckham and I did a few fun routes at the Satellite Crag years ago (maybe 02' or so?). At the left end of the crag is a nice blunt arete with a few bolts which is reached by starting up a short, easy handcrack (this crack is also the start of a Mark Poulin route called "North Corner"). This is "Capybara Love", 5.9+. Just right of and below this is a steep face that shares the "Capybara Love" anchors. This is "Capybara Lust", 5.11.
At the far right end of the cliff is an obvious, very steep blade-like arete. This is "Chainsaw Reaction", 5.12, mentioned in Chris's description of the cliff. He's correct that it awaits a lead ascent. The reason is that it really needs another bolt and double ropes to make it a reasonable lead. At present, the rope runs directly over the very sharp, rope slicing edge of the arete at the crux, which is disconcerting to say the least. An additional bolt on the other side of the arete, which could be clipped with a second rope, would be a huge improvement. If I recall correctly, Dave intended to add this bolt, but life intruded, and he never got back up there to do so. In any case, it's an incredible feature, and climbs well.