Connecticut Sport Climbing ©
Brian Phillips

Introduction

Connecticut and sport climbing is no longer an oxymoron. There are a few rather obscure cliffs in Connecticut that have been bolted. There are also some publicized new sport routes at Chatfield Hollow in Killingworth and Fire Wall in Southington. The routes are marked with red “Xs” at the bolt placements.  Many of the photos are foreshortened so the bolts appear much closer at the top than the bottom.  The grades were derived by consensus from people who climbed the routes.  In some cases the grades were obtained from the bolter.

Bear Rock Route Guide

Description

The cliff is 70 feet at its highest. It faces east and is slow to dry after rain. It is gneiss-quartz conglomerate (sharp) rock. The bolted routes are on one face and consist of mostly juggy overhanging routes. All of the routes are well bolted and have bolted top anchors. It is actually easier to lead these routes than top-rope them due to the overhangs and location of anchors.

Directions

Bear Rock is located off the Mattabesett Trail in the Cockaponsett State Forest in Durham.  From the west take RT 91 Exit 15 to RT 68 east, to RT 17 south (right) to RT 79 south (left split) and an immediate left on Higganum Road. At the junction of Bear Rock Road go right and take the first left on Harvey Road. From the east take RT 9 Exit 9 to RT 81 north and go west (left) on RT 154 and take the immediate left split on to Candlewood Hill Road which becomes Higganum Road.  After 6.5 miles take a right off Higganum on to Harvey Road.  At .4 of a mile from the intersection of Higganum and Harvey Roads at an indistinct pull-off on the left you will see blue trail markers on the for the Mattabesett Trail.  About 20 yards beyond that is a parking area for three cars on the right. Walk back (west) and follow the blue blaze trail on the north side of the road for ten minutes or so. When you see a rocky hill to your right look for a less traveled trail that goes right toward the rocks.  Take that to the bottom of the cliff.  Finding it is the crux.

  

Bear Rock Left to Right


Symbiotic Seven 5.7+


Memories 5.11


Recollections 5.12a


Rainbows and Unicorns 5.10b


Shit Ticket 5.11b


Chosstacular 5.10c


L to R - Garbagistan 11c, Morozyvo 5.10b

Chatfield Hollow Main Cliff Route Guide

See Mountain Project for a more complete guide to the main cliff.

Description

Chatfield Hollow is home to the hardest sport climbs in Connecticut. The route grades run from 5.11 to 5.13. You will also want to bring some gear as some of the routes are mixed trad and sport and require a couple of pieces of gear for adequate protection.

Directions

Chatfield Hollow State Forest is off of RT 80 in Killingworth, CT.  Parking for the climbing area is a small pull-out on the south side of RT 80. From here walk west for a hundered feet or so and cross the road. On the north side of the road at a break in the guard rail there will be a trail. Follow that a short two minute walk to the cliff.



Mountain Project links

The Bloody Beetroots (FA)

5.11a (7)

Sport

Blinded By The Puss

5.11b/c (2)

Trad, Sport, 50'

Hollow Head Crew/Forearm Direct

5.11+ (6)

Trad, Sport, 55'

Captain Moonlite (FA)

5.12a (4)

Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 50'

Psycho Jap (FA)

5.12b (3)

Sport, 50'

Shape Shifter (FA)

5.12c (7)

Sport, 55'

Silver Wings (FA)

5.12c (1)

Sport, 1 pitch, 60'

Zeitgeist (FA)

5.12d (2)

Trad, Sport, 50'

The Cold Vein (FA)

5.12d (4)

Sport

Its Own Spirit (FA)

5.12d (1)

Trad, Sport, 60'

Modern Collective (FA)

5.13a (2)

Trad, Sport, 60'

Magic Central

5.13a/b (2)

Sport, 75'

The Anarchist (FA)

5.13b (1)

Sport, 1 pitch, 50'

 


Bloody Beetroots 5.11a (stick clip)

Chatfield Hollow South (AKA Chestnut Hill) Route Guide

Description

The bolted routes are on two cliffs.  One is known as Feather Ledges and consists of a face 41 feet high and a slab 35 feet in height. There are four bolted routes here with glue-in  You may want to bring some gear for supplemental protection if you do not like long run-outs on easier terrain. The other cliff is located to the west on the blue/orange trail and is unnamed.  

Directions

Chestnut Hill is located in the Chatfield Hollow State Forest south of RT 80.  Parking for Chestnut Hill is the same as for the main climbing area at Chatfield Hollow.  It is just west of the park main entrance on the south side of RT 80. From the parking area, follow the blue blaze trail south.  You will come to the top of Feather Ledges. The other cliff is located on the blue-orange dot trail which splits off the blue trail before you reach Feather Ledges.


Feather Ledges “Nines” Cliff

L to R - Rusty Oldtimer 5.9+, Just Say Yes 5.9+

Feather Ledges Slabs

L to R - One Step Forward 5.9-, Pipe Dreams 5.9

Cliff on Blue-Orange Dot Trail

Gray Matter, 5.11+

Firewall Route Guide

(See also Mountain Project.)

Description

Firewall is located at Bradley Mountain in the town of Southington . The west facing cliff is about 60 feet high and sports some large roofs. In 8/2008 a group of climbers (C3 Connecticut Climbers Coalition) obtained permission from the town of Southington to place bolts at the Fire Wall. The route topos below show the bolted routes in solid lines. Some are mixed trad/sport requiring supplemental gear. The route topos below show the bolted routes in solid lines. Some are mixed trad/sport requiring supplemental gear. I have started to mark some of the bolt placements but it is approximate and incomplete at this time.

Directions

Park at Crescent Lake Park (on Shuttle Meadow Road). The parking lot is small (about 30 spaces), is shared by resident park users. It is gated between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. and these hours may vary by season. Hike east along the shore of the reservoir, then up to the crag.



Pine Ledge Route Guide

Description

The cliff is 75 feet at its highest point and consists mostly of a series of juggy, overhanging roofs. All of the routes are well bolted with bolted top anchors.

Directions

Pine Ledge is located in the Cockaponset State Forest in Deep River.  From RT 9 take exit 5 at Deep River.  If coming from the south, at end of exit take a left on RT 80.  If coming from the north take a right on RT 80. Go up a half-mile or so and on the left is a distinct pull-out at a pond and park there.  Walk back toward RT 9.  On the left (north) side of the RT 80 at the junctions of RT 80 and West Bridge Street is a path that goes into the woods.  West Bridge Street is the first road on the left.  Follow the path for 15 minutes.  Keep left when the path forks.  You will come to the cliffs.  It is also possible to drive in depending on the condition of the road. Driving in takes about the same amount of time as hiking in from RT 80. To drive in continue west on RT 80 to a light. Take a right at the light (still RT 80). Go a few miles to the next light and take a another right on Cedar Swamp Road. This will turn to a dirt road continue on this for 2.7 miles bearing right when the road forks.

 



Pine Ledge Cliff Left

L to R – Sideways Glances 5.6, Park and Play, 5.11a, Triple Lindy 5.11b

Pine Ledge Cliff Center

L to R -  Kinky Women 5.7+, Jamie 5.10b

Pine Ledge Cliff Center

L to R - Champ's Channel 5.10a, Syndication 5.9, TV Party 5.10b, Change of Heart 5.10a

Pine Ledge Cliff Right

L to R - Kickapoo Joy Juice 5.11a, Shabbat Elevator 5.10-5.11 (height dependent dyno)

Dark Arts Boulder

L to R Kill Your Television 5.9-, Audible 5.9+

Pine Ledge Roadside Crag

unknown 5.10a

Ross Pond Route Guide

Routes

There are currently two sport climbs at Ross Pond. One is 60 feet high located on Table Rock and the other 45 feet high located on the left side of the Party Wall.

Directions

From Providence and points east take Rt 6 west. After crossing the Connecticut border go four miles and at the top of a hill at a flashing yellow light you will see a sign on the left for Old Furnace State Park. Take this left (South Frontage Rd). After five tenths of a mile take a right on Ross Road. Go four tenths of a mile and take another right down a poorly paved road. You will see a Ross Pond State Park sign. Go about a half mile to the parking lot at the pond. The cliffs are up the hill in front of you. Table Rock is located about 500 yards to the right (north) of the parking lot wall.


La Mesa 5.9 (chopped in 2013)


La Losa 5.8 (chopped in 2013)


Don't Bleed on Me,5.11a (stick-clip), Disneyworld, 5.7 (trad-gear)


Something Dirty 5.8+

Selden Neck Route Guide

Routes

There are multiple cliffs on Selden Neck island. The one described here is the only one of sufficient height and steepness to make climbing worthwhile. It is 50 feet height and the bolts are glue-ins.. The bolted routes both require one or two pieces of supplemental gear to lead them safely. So you have to drag your rack in here to place one piece of gear.

Directions

Selden Neck is an island in the Connecticut River directly across from Deep River. The entire island is a state park. The easiest access by boat/canoe/kayak is from the Deep River town dock. It is diagonally across the river from there. See map below. Look for the Quarry Knob camp area which is marked with a sign and a picnic table. You can land here and follow the blue dot trail down river for awhile. The trail will bear left into the woods and bring you to where you can see the cliffs on your left.


West Rock Route Guide

Routes

West Rock has some potential for long multi-pitch routes. The cliff is up to 300 feet tall in places.. The cliff has a reputation for some very loose rock but that will be remedied by established routes. It also has a reputation for people throwing things off the top of the cliff and car break-ins. All bolts are glue-ins.. Many of the bolted routes require supplemental trad gear to lead them safely.

Directions

West Rock Ridge runs north-northwest out of New Haven and is part of the West Rock Ridge State Park. To get there off RT 15 take Exit 59 to RT 63 south (Whalley Ave). Go on Whalley for 1.2 miles and take a left onto Blake St. To reach the main wall take a left on Springside Ave and after a mile a left on Wintergreen Ave and a left on Baldwin Dr. into the park. Then take your first left and follow this to the end. If the park gate is closed park at the West Rock Nature Preserve. Otherwise drive into the park.


From L to R: Nickle and Dime 5.7+, Big Al's Supercrack of the Slum 5.8, Kinesthesis 5.11, 30 Seconds to All Night 5.10+, That 70s Show 5.9, West Rock Crack, 5.10+, Drill Wavin New Haven 5.11+, Sheetz of Wrath 5.9R

Known Route History

Pine Ledge

Audible, 5.9+, FA Christopher Beauchamp, 3 bolts to anchor
Champ's Channel 5.10a, FA Christopher Beauchamp 7 bolts and anchor 
Change of Heart 5.10a, FA Christopher Beauchamp 6 bolts to shared anchor with TV Party
Jamie, 5.10b, FA Christopher Beauchamp 6 bolts and anchor
Kickapoo Joy Juice, 5.11a, FA Christopher Beauchamp 6 bolts and anchor
Kill Your Television, 5.9-, FA Christopher Beauchamp 5 bolts and anchor
Kinky Women, 5.7, FA Brian Phillips June 2010, 9 bolts and anchor
Park and Play, 5.11a, FA Dave Fasulo November 2014, 9 bolts and shared anchor
Road Warrior, 5.10, FA Christopher Beauchamp 3 bolts to slung tree
Shabbat Elevator, 5.11b (height dependent), FA Christopher Beauchamp 3 bolts then joins Kickapoo Joy Juice
Syndication, 5.9, FA Christopher Beauchamp 8 bolts and anchor
Sideways Glances, 5.6, FA Dave Fasulo November 2014, 11 bolts and shared anchor
Triple Lindy, 5.11b, FA Christopher Beauchamp 5 bolts and shared anchor
TV Party, 5.10b, FA Christopher Beauchamp 5 bolts to shared anchor with Change of Heart

Chestnut Hill
   

Gray Matter, 5.11+, FA Nate and Ryan 3 bolts to walk off
Just Say Yes, 5.9+, FA unknown 2 bolts to anchor
One Step Forward, 5.9-, FA unknown 1 bolt to anchor
Pipe Dreams 5.9, FA unknown 2 bolts to anchor
Rusty Oldtimer 5.9+, FA unknown 3 bolts to anchor

Bear Rock

Chosstacular, 5.10c, FA Christopher Beauchamp 6 bolts to anchor
Garbagistan, 5.11c, FA Christopher Beauchamp 4 bolts to anchor
Memories, 5.11, FA Christopher Beauchamp 3 bolts to anchor
Morozyvo, 5.10b, FA Christopher Beauchamp 5 bolts to anchor
Rainbows and Unicorns 5.10b, FA Christopher Beauchamp 4 bolts to anchor
Recollections, 5.12a, FA Christopher Beauchamp 4 bolts to anchor
Shit Ticket, 5.11b, FA unknown, originally done in early 90s and chopped 4 bolts to anchor
Symbiotic Seven, 5.7+, FA Christopher Beauchamp 4 bolts to anchor

 Seldon Neck

Unknown, 5.9, FA unknown
Unknown, 5.?, FA unknown

Ross Pond

Don't Bleed on Me, 5.11a, FA Dave Curry, October 2014, 7 bolts to anchor
La Losa, 5.8, FA (lead) Brian Phillips May 2012, 5 bolts to anchor
La Mesa, 5.9, FA (lead) Brian Phillips October 2011, 7 bolts to anchor
Something Dirty, 5.9, FA Brian Phillips September 2012, 6 bolts to anchor

West Rock

Nickle and Dime, 5.9, FA ?, 10 bolts to anchor
Kinethesis, 5.11+, FA Morgan Patterson, 7 bolts to anchor
30 Seconds to All Night, 5.10, FA Mike Mobley, 8 bolts to shared anchor with Kinethesis
Drill Wavin New Haven, 5.11+, FA D.Griffin, 4 bolts to anchor