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Crow Hill

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Buttress, The 
Crow Hill Ice & Mix 
End Crags 
Fisherman's Wall 
Green Corner 
Main Face 
Practice Face (right end) 

Crow Hill  

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Location: 42.5145, -71.8578 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Old Timer, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: jeremyadams on Jan 6, 2007
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View from the top of Crow Hill in the summer.


Located 20 minutes north of Worcester and an hour west of Boston, this crag in Leominster State Forest offers a varied concentration of traditional rock climbing routes within a reasonable drive of many Eastern and Central Massachusetts climbers. Facing east-southeast and situated on a hillside, many of Crow Hill's cracks and faces often seep longer and wetter than other New England areas. The climbing season at Crow Hill begins in March, if it's a dry winter, or as late as June, if it's a wet spring.

The cliff's faces and features are comprised of gneiss, offering a grainy texture unique from the typical Northeast trad haunts (i.e. Cathedral, Gunks). A handful of easier routes at the north and south ends (called Practice Face and End Crags, respectively) are often busy. The crag's 5.8s are among the best in The Commonwealth, including Intertwine, Tarzan, and Diagonal, but the local classic is Cromagnon, a 5.10 crack that teaches toproping newbies how to jam, and how to swing.

The Midstate Trail runs along the clifftop, and locals residents of the Fitchburg area frequently hike and scramble around the crag, so brain buckets, vigilance, and common sense are wise complements to your rack, rope, and bug dope.

A climbing permit (free) [used to be] required of each climber by the state forest to legally climb at Crow. [A climber used to] obtain this at the park HQ prior to climbing, and renew annually, by showing harnesses and ropes to a ranger. Now it is climb at your own risk.

Getting There 

From Route 2, take the Route 31 exit (west of Fitchburg) and travel south. A couple miles past the hotel and utility facility, the park headquarters appear on the right. Farther down the road, pass a pond with swimming area (comfort facilities, seasonal, $5 per car to park and swim). From the roadside pond parking area (not always open), a trail climbs perpendicular to the road, meeting the cliff base in 5 minutes.

A more reliable (typically prefered) parking situation is available about 1/4 mile further south on the right (dirt lot, aka "Climber's Lot"). From this lot, walk up the (closed to autos) gravel road about 10 minutes. From the road's terminus, a trail climbs through a break in an old stone wall to a fork, where signs offer guidance to the top of crag (via End Crags, left) or base of crag (right).

L->R of the walls 

End Crags
Green Corner
Fisherman's Wall
The Buttress
Main Face
Practice Face


Leominster weather.

Map of Leominster Trails 

Leominster trail maps.

Climbing Season

Weather station 5.0 miles from here

35 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',10],['2 Stars',16],['1 Star',8],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Crow Hill:
Boardwalk   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   Practice Face (right end)
Green Route   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 2 pitches, 120'   Green Corner
Tomís Dilemma   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 1 pitch, 35'   End Crags
The Chimney   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 120'   The Buttress
Triple Overhangs (aka Sun Gypsy)   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Green Corner
Layback   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 32'   End Crags
Outersite   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 55'   Main Face
Sidewinder   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Practice Face (right end)
Franny's Folly   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Main Face
Karen's Folly   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Main Face
Intertwine   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   Main Face
Diagonal   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 35'   Fisherman's Wall
Thin Line   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Main Face
Tarzan   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Fisherman's Wall
Fool on a Hill   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   The Buttress
Buttress   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   The Buttress
The Nose   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 25'   The Buttress
Cro-Magnon   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Fisherman's Wall
Cheetah   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 75'   Fisherman's Wall
Jane   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 100'   Fisherman's Wall
Browse More Classics in Crow Hill

Featured Route For Crow Hill
Kneebarring to end the boulder problem start.  Her...

Cro-Magnon 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b  MA : Leominster Area : ... : Fisherman's Wall
Awesome and pumpy, this is the inviting, vertical hand crack that starts up the tallest portion of the wall but arches left to end the journey early. The start is guarded by a steep boulder problem without pro leading to a pod with a shiny silver bolt on what looks like a chockstone about 15 feet up. There are three variations to this start, but most people opt to enter from the right on big, chalked holds. After clipping the bolt (gear can easily substitute), move up on a few slopey holds be...[more]   Browse More Classics in MA

Comments on Crow Hill Add Comment
Show which comments
By tetrault
From: CT
Nov 2, 2014
Found: pair of base layer bottoms near the base of Diagonal/Cro-Magnon. Contact me if they are yours!
By JD1984
From: Worcester, MA
Dec 28, 2014
There was a fairly significant rock fall here in the past week. Between the start of Watusi and Chimney there are several large blocks obstructing the path. It appears as the first 10-15 feet of Birds Of Fire have stripped right off the cliff.
By Padraig
Sep 1, 2011
The free climbing permit appears to no longer be necessary for climbing at Crow Hill. Park staff told us yesterday (August 31,2011) that it is now simply "climb at your own risk."
By Jcomeau
From: North Conway
Nov 23, 2012
Looks like I left some gear on Lizard head. I think a number 1 BD stopper with an oval wire gate on it, and a number 8 I believe, the orangeish one. Would be great to get it back.
By mikeinvt
May 20, 2013
Found some gear at the anchor for Intertwine. Respond with description, and I'd be happy to get it back to you.
By Read
From: Cloudcroft NM
May 29, 2013
Mike I messaged you about the gear, but if you didn't see that it was two DMM lockers, Mammut pear, some blue cord. Let me know if that's what you found.
By Brett Maguire
Jun 12, 2013
Gear happily retrieved from Mike. Three cheers for climbers being awesome people.
By Andrew Bennett
Oct 12, 2013
Total shot in the dark. I left a yellow number 2 OP link cam in the crack by greens corner last night. If anyone finds it there is a six pack in it for you.
By JD1984
From: Worcester, MA
Oct 13, 2014
I just noticed a video camera in the parking area fastened to a tree. Is this area actively under surveillance? I know the parking area has been the site of many car break-ins in the past. Does anyone know who put this up?
By losbill
Jan 4, 2015
The rockfall reported by JD earlier involved the first bit of Birds Of Fire. Neither Watusi nor The Chimney were affected by the fall. The rock that fell was pretty large and made up the roof of the cave-like feature at the start of Birds Of Fire and the rock face that made up the left side of the crack above it. The essential nature of the climb is not greatly changed. In fact, the elimination of the awkward cave start makes, at least in my opinion, a more aesthetic start and can be nicely protected.
Birds of Fire rockfall. Fallen block on trail.
Birds of Fire rockfall.
Fallen block on trail.

I climbed up and cleaned up some broken rock but backed off due to a block above that looked to be a bit suspiciously perched in the crack formed by the fracture left by the fallen block. I went to the top and rapped down to check it. The suspicious block fell out of the crack with extremely little encouragement from me. I'm glad I decided not to climb up and check it. It is likely I would have gotten whacked in the head by 45 pounds of rock.

Birds Of Fire rockfall. Climb with block.
Birds Of Fire rockfall.
Climb with block.

Birds of Fire rockfall. Climb without block.
Birds of Fire rockfall.
Climb without block.

Birds of Fire rockfall. Loose block now on ground.
Birds of Fire rockfall.
Loose block now on ground.

A #3 BD, a #2 BD and a yellow alien sized cam will get you through the bit where the block came off. The section of the pitch impacted by the rock fall did not included the crux sections so the grade of the climb should be considered the same.

BTW if you step left after the short traverse left and step up to the horizontal level with the top of the block separating the climb from Watusi to finish on Watusi you are not following the Birds Of Fire finish. It does not go left. Where it goes I will leave to the adventurous to determine. I did on two occasions attempt a finish other than bailing to Watusi and ended up backing off. I subsequently did follow a partner who unlocked the puzzle. I have yet to sac up and do it on lead.