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Climbing in the Mad River Valley (vt)
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By jamesldavis1
Jun 24, 2014
I'm in Warren and am looking for some sport or bouldering preferably. I heard there is some bouldering near mad river glen? Anyone have any info, pics, advice?

Thanks

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By Jim Corbett
Jun 25, 2014
Oh jeez. I lived in the MRV for six years. In the valley itself there are bolted sport climbs in Granville (home of the portable handhold) and Granville Crack. More bolted climbs in App Gap. On Hedgehog trail to Burnt Rock there is a big boulder about 15 min. in right next to the trail that I scrubbed a few years ago and has several nice problems on the obvious overhanging face with a crack. More potential up on and around Burnt Rock, but who wants to hike that far? (Although a bunch of times I took my shoes up there and soloed all the 5.5-5.6 slabs). Some limited easy bouldering five minutes north of Lincoln Gap on the LT. (People have also climbed on Sunset Rock 20 min. south on the LT.) Up in Moretown there are several decent climbs including a stellar 5.10 crack (Wine Bottle Crack) with much left to be done and probably bouldering potential. There is scruffy rock almost everywhere with the potential for good problems (full disclosure, I don't boulder much anymore, when you're 55 hitting the ground becomes less wise) with a little bit of cleaning and imagination, but if you go down to Brandon Gap there are more granite boulders and bouldering potential than you can do in a lifetime. I could probably think of more, but you need to contact my buddy Jeff and brother John who still live in Warren and are always looking for new victims, err, partners. PM and I'll send info.

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By Derek Doucet
Jun 26, 2014
Jim Corbett wrote:
Oh jeez. I lived in the MRV for six years. In the valley itself there are bolted sport climbs in Granville (home of the portable handhold) and Granville Crack. More bolted climbs in App Gap. On Hedgehog trail to Burnt Rock there is a big boulder about 15 min. in right next to the trail that I scrubbed a few years ago and has several nice problems on the obvious overhanging face with a crack. More potential up on and around Burnt Rock, but who wants to hike that far? (Although a bunch of times I took my shoes up there and soloed all the 5.5-5.6 slabs). Some limited easy bouldering five minutes north of Lincoln Gap on the LT. (People have also climbed on Sunset Rock 20 min. south on the LT.) Up in Moretown there are several decent climbs including a stellar 5.10 crack (Wine Bottle Crack) with much left to be done and probably bouldering potential. There is scruffy rock almost everywhere with the potential for good problems (full disclosure, I don't boulder much anymore, when you're 55 hitting the ground becomes less wise) with a little bit of cleaning and imagination, but if you go down to Brandon Gap there are more granite boulders and bouldering potential than you can do in a lifetime. I could probably think of more, but you need to contact my buddy Jeff and brother John who still live in Warren and are always looking for new victims, err, partners. PM and I'll send info.


With all due respect, the "climbing" in Granville Gulch and Moretown is not worth the effort, Wine Bottle Crack being the one exception, though only barely.

Sadly, there is no granite at Brandon Gap, though there is some decent schist/quartzite/gneiss bouldering there.

Poking around App Gap will yield a few routes, though the most obvious line of bolts is actually for a winter mixed route.

By far the best climbing close to the Mad River Valley is in the Bolton area. The guidebook Tough Schist covers most, though by no means all of the Bolton cragging, and at least a sampling of the bouldering. Bolton is very worthwhile.

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By Nick Votto
Jun 26, 2014
Bolton, VT
I would head to Bolton as well....upper west area and off Bolton notch road have the best most accessible climbing around there

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By Jim Corbett
Jun 26, 2014
Derek Doucet wrote:
With all due respect, the "climbing" in Granville Gulch and Moretown is not worth the effort.


With all due respect, (and I cannot believe I'm defending Granville), there are several pretty good sport climbs in Granville 3 min. from the road and 5 min. from town, which I think is what the guy was asking about. And I typically have little use for sport climbing in general, but the chossy nature of that rock means that is the only option and once cleaned, it's not bad. Definitely good for a pump, as you will be laybacking and gastoning like crazy on past vertical rock (don't forget the heel and toe hooks.) Better than some of the other crap I've seen in VT. And I always dismissed Moretown too as being muggy and buggy and not worth the effort, but I got dragged over for a couple of hours a week or so ago and saw a lot more including a killer arete that I hope and intend may be the first sport route (out of a couple of hundred FAs) that I will ever have put up. I'm a sucker for aretes. But it's cool if you don't want to deal with the 5 min. approach. Don't forget that Bolton is going on a 45 min. drive from Warren, and, while pretty darn good for VT(and yes, I've pretty much climbed on most of the crags there, both in and not in the book) it isn't exactly the Gunks. Outside of Wheeler and Marshfield there really isn't that great acragging in VT, and he was asking specifically about climbing in the MRV.

I'm not a geologist, so maybe not granite in Brandon but looks like it and definitely better than your typical VT shitz. And if you don't see the tons of potential for both bouldering and (short) new routes then you have not done enough wandering around there.

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By freezeus
From Pittsfield, VT
Jun 26, 2014
Brandon gap is schist with a few areas of granite...but of a very different and much higher quality variety than places like smuggs. It is a federally protected wilderness area...which means no cleaning or bolting. Climb gently and quietly :)

There are boulders at Brandon Gap that are as large as many of the crags in the rest of Vermont. It's a beautiful area.

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By Derek Doucet
Jun 26, 2014
freezeus wrote:
Brandon gap is schist with a few areas of granite...but of a very different and much higher quality variety than places like smuggs. It is a federally protected wilderness area...which means no cleaning or bolting. Climb gently and quietly :) There are boulders at Brandon Gap that are as large as many of the crags in the rest of Vermont. It's a beautiful area.


There are occasional bits of Gneiss, but not granite. Sorry to be pedantic, but the thought of granite gets me all worked up, and seeing claims that there's some at Brandon Gap is too much of a tease for me to bear...

In fairness, Augen Gneiss, which I believe to be the sort found around Brandon Gap, is metamorphosed from granite, and I've certainly heard plenty of Gneiss referred to erroneously as "granite", but I'm pretty certain there is no actual granite at the Gap.

Whatever you call it, there is some quality stone there.

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By Jim Corbett
Jun 26, 2014
freezeus wrote:
Brandon gap is schist with a few areas of granite...but of a very different and much higher quality variety than places like smuggs. It is a federally protected wilderness area...which means no cleaning or bolting. Climb gently and quietly :) There are boulders at Brandon Gap that are as large as many of the crags in the rest of Vermont. It's a beautiful area.


I'm now over in NH so this is pretty much an academic question for clarification, but I think that what is banned in wilderness areas is power drills, not bolts. Granted, I may be the only person left who bolts by hand, but I think that's true, and I'm one of those who thinks that bolts probably should be banned in true wilderness, which may or may not include faux wilderness areas that political bozos like Bernie Sanders (who wouldn't know wilderness if they fell into it) try to shoe horn in some warped concept that people shouldn't be allowed to do anything in the woods. There's also a sign down there asking climbers not to clean (or even climb), but I seriously doubt that the wilderness act actually prohibits brushing off dirt, lichen, or moss. But don't give the micro-managing bastards any ideas.

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By freezeus
From Pittsfield, VT
Jun 26, 2014
There are endangered plants that only grow on the rocks and in the scree field...that's the reason for the sign. I've asked multiple times for clarification on what plants so I can avoid them but have never been given an answer.

A bolt is considered littering on NFS lands unless there is a climbing plan in place...leaving behind junk...though I don't think anyone has ever been charged in Vermont.

Drilling by hand would probably be treated the same as collecting mineral samples which is allowed for personal use on Vermont NFS lands.

The stuff I thought was granite may be very rough large crystal gneiss...not sure. It wasn't in the main scree field area but was on some larger boulders I found to the southeast.

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By ml242
Jul 6, 2014
Also a little farther afield is Deer Leap on route 4. It doesn't get the top billing that Bolton or Smugglers Notch gets, but I think it's very fun.

The valley has yet to provide me with many great climbs but I plan to keep looking.

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By Marc801
From Sandy, Utah
Jul 7, 2014
Jim Corbett wrote:
I'm now over in NH so this is pretty much an academic question for clarification, but I think that what is banned in wilderness areas is power drills, not bolts. Granted, I may be the only person left who bolts by hand, but I think that's true, and I'm one of those who thinks that bolts probably should be banned in true wilderness, which may or may not include faux wilderness areas that political bozos like Bernie Sanders (who wouldn't know wilderness if they fell into it) try to shoe horn in some warped concept that people shouldn't be allowed to do anything in the woods.


All of the big walls in Yosemite are designated as wilderness, so no power drills on El Cap, Half Dome, et al.

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By rogerk
Jul 7, 2014
There's also this:
rockclimbing.com/routes/North_...

About ten years ago, I stopped to look, but never pulled out my pads.

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By John Husky
Jul 13, 2014
Jim, not for nothing, but Bernie moved to VT in the sixties, and built an off the grid cabin in the woods (walk in only) where he lived for years. This was before he moved to Burlington and eventually became mayor. There is not much wilderness in VT because of its size, so I'm not claiming he is a grizzled mountain man. But he has done what he has done, some of which you and I are both unaware of.

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By Jim Corbett
Jul 14, 2014
John Husky wrote:
Jim, not for nothing, but Bernie moved to VT in the sixties, and built an off the grid cabin in the woods (walk in only) where he lived for years. This was before he moved to Burlington and eventually became mayor. There is not much wilderness in VT because of its size, so I'm not claiming he is a grizzled mountain man. But he has done what he has done, some of which you and I are both unaware of.


There are specific criteria for what can be declared Wilderness under the law, and it ain't just off the grid, nor is it just that 'this is pretty and I don't see anyone around'. I was involved in RARE II, in VT in the late '70s, so I am somewhat familiar with what those were. Go to Austin Creek in Granville Gulf, you can walk up what was an improved all weather road graded with culverts for a half mile to the boundary of the 'Wilderness Area'. The road keeps going for another mile+ to what was a popular car camping area. It's closed now, you can't drive on it, but just the fact that it is there means it is NOT Wilderness.
A number of years ago Bernie held hearings around the state on several alternatives for adding land to the Wilderness system around the state. By far the most popular was the least intrusive for about 8k acres; nevertheless, Bernie pushed through the most intrusive for ~80k acres, including trying to declare Wilderness right down to the edge of the village of Granville, with the USFS getting into a pissing match with the town of Granville because they would have to close a functioning, maintained, town road in the new 'Wilderness'. Ultimately, several businesses in Granville went under because their logging areas were shut off. We're not talking clear cutters here, but small businesses. The wooden bowl company you drive by in Granville is one of those casualties, because they could no longer get suitable local wood.
So that's the kind of thing I'm referring to. I'm all for protecting actual wilderness, having hiked both the AT and PCT, but just pell mell declaring anything pretty off limits to satisfy latte liberals at the expense of your many other constituents (or even rock climbers) is simply wrong. Bernie says he 'wants to protect it for future generations', but guess what, the land takes care of and rehabilitates itself (in the mid to late 19th century VT was the breadbasket of the US and 80% cleared--most of all this pretty forested state was cleared farm land) and just maybe future generations can decide what and how they want to protect it for themselves.

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By Nick Goldsmith
Jul 14, 2014
I agree 100% Jim. go hikeing in any vermont wilderness and you will eventually find stone walls, old sheep fence and cellar holes...

The politicos should stick to giveing us real health care and lowering property taxes.

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By freezeus
From Pittsfield, VT
Jul 14, 2014
Jim - I'm with you 100%! Most of the areas are "declared wilderness" but from my definition are truly not...they have old roads, foundations, improved roads, and have been logged numerous times since the 1700's. Some of these areas had enough population in the 1800's to be considered villages and now are "wilderness"

Unfortunately...my definition doesn't hold much sway with the NFS. :)

The other great area closer to the valley that holds quality climbing is Middlebury gap. Opportunities there for all types of climbing...we've rapped and scoped out a couple of the cliff bands and done a bunch of bouldering up there.

FLAG
 
By june m
From elmore ,vt
Jul 31, 2014
there are also some bolted climbs beyond the granville crack , and a bunch of bolted lines in the app gap , follow the lt south about 2 minuts , two crags up there ,plus the one by the road, I thought it was worthwhile ,

FLAG


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