Go Rock Climbing in Vermont!
Discover the beauty of rock climbing in Vermont!
Curious about rock climbing, or do have experience and you're looking for a new place to climb? This course is for anyone looking to spend a day climbing in the great state of Vermont.
Rock climbing in Vermont is great! Try it.
Vermont isn’t always what comes to mind when you may think about rock climbing, but with an appropriate introduction, you’ll see a myriad of options. Numerous schist crags pepper the Green Mountain’s flanks, offering those new to rock climbing a perfect environment to explore all the sport has to offer — there’s also plenty of difficult test pieces for those with more experience. If you’re looking for heightened multi-pitch challenges, you’ll discover plenty! Here’re some favorite local destinations to consider:
Only twenty minutes from Burlington’s downtown, Bolton is easy to get to and there’s plenty of rock for all kinds of climbers. Lower West Bolton is popular for its accessible top-rope set-up options in the 5.6-5.11 range and an excellent place for rock rescue clinics and other workshops. Upper West Bolton is home to the iconic Rose and Thorn seeking higher end trad leading. are favorite place for top-roping routes. The Bolton Quarry is peppered with challenging sport routes. Between these major crags there are an array of cliffs like Carcass Crag and 82 Crag waiting to be explored.
The positioning of the multi-pitch climbing in Smugglers Notch is unsurpassed, whether hanging from a cliff in autumn or gazing at Mansfield’s rugged summit during “stick season.” Quartz Crack (5.9) serves up 3 pitches of excellent face and crack climbing. Elephant’s Head Buttress (sandbagged 5.9+) pushes you to the max, with finger, fist, and stacking moves that will move your crack climbing into another league. The Buttress is home to the amazing high-end Ganesh, with four pitches of climbing up to 5.11d. Across the valley, Big Daddy Arete serves up a favorite two-pitch 5.10a dish.
Tucked up in the Northeast Kingdom, is this high-quality climbing granite dome. Our favorite multi-pitch is The Great Route. The name gives it away; several pitches of 5.8 crack and 5.10c friction culminate in the masterpiece, a perfect leaning open-book corner of 5.10b crack and foot-smearing climbing bliss. VJ (5.7) offers a similar style of climbing in the same pristine setting, looking out to the shores of Lake Willoughby. Moosehead Crack offers excellent top-roping in the 5.7-5.10d range.
Climbing just for you!
This program is yours to customize. Are you looking to climb for the first time? Do you have had specific objectives in mind, climbing with a specific focus? Or maybe you’d like to learn some advanced techniques? Partner with the best and create your ideal day on the rocks. Your guides will discuss your goals with you and help you plan the perfect climb.
Here’s what a day of climbing could look like
- 8:30am: Meet your guide at the guide’s recommended location
- 9:30am: Gear up and carpool to the cliffs
- 10:00am: Spend the day learning and rock climbing
- 12:30pm – 1:00pm: Lunch (bring snacks and plenty of water)
- 1:00pm – Continue to learn and climb!
- 5:00pm: Call it a day and head home!
After stints in the military, the corporate world, and a Zen monastery, Kel began his climbing career in the Pacific Northwest back in the 90’s with a summit of Mt. Adams. Since then he's had the good fortune to climb and guide rock and ice in twelve different countries on four continents.
Kel first came to the Northeast to earn an M.S. in Outdoor Education from the University of New Hampshire, and quickly fell in love with the ecological richness, sense of scale, and feeling of community he felt in this part of the country. After working as the Director of Georgetown University’s Outdoor Education program for three years, he returned to the Northeast to teach in Northern Vermont University's Mountain Recreation Management program. Almost a decade ago, he and his wife, Alysse, relocated to Vermont’s West Coast, Burlington, so that Kel could finish his doctoral studies at the University of Vermont. He and his wife love living on the shores of Lake Champlain, with the Green Mountains silhouetted at sunrise and the Adirondacks silhouetted at sunset--reminiscent of his roots on the Puget Sound in Washington. In summer, Kel often returns to those roots, guiding in the North Cascades and on Mt. Rainier.
Zeb is proud to be born and raised in a small town in northern Vermont. Big mountains and deep snow lure him away from VT from time to time, but the excitement of New England's world class ice climbing always brings him back. Zeb has climbed and skied lines from Alaska to Argentina, including ascents of Mount Everest and a ski descent of Cho Oyu - both 8000m peaks. He works most of the year on Mount Rainier and in the North Cascades. He is also an ambassador for Darn Tough Vermont socks.
Originally from Massachusetts, Josh graduated with his degree in Outdoor Education from Johnson State College. Josh has been working and living in Northern Vermont for three years since. A graduate of the prestigious National Outdoor Leadership School's (NOLS) Instructor Course (IC) in Alaska, he worked for several seasons guiding trips during the summer months, as well as instructing academic field work for students at Radford University in the spring. Now, he is based back in Vermont, where he is a faculty member in Sterling College's Outdoor Education program. Additionally, he is an American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Certified Single Pitch Instructor (SPI). He has climbed several high altitude peaks including Mt Rainier, La Malinche, and Pico de Orizaba. He brings his knowledge and experience to clients year-round, whether it's on rock, ice, or snow. Josh's passion for outdoor endeavors have taken him throughout the United States, Mexico, and as far as the southern tip of South America, where he expeditioned for 90 days in Patagonia. Closer to home, some of Josh's favorite climbing areas include Acadia National Park, North Conway, and Smugglers Notch. In his leisure time, Josh enjoys planning and researching for upcoming adventures, playing with his dog Topper, pickling things and making outdoor gear.
Despite growing up in the Deep South, Nathan began chasing mountains as soon as he was old enough to drive. After spending four years backpacking, cragging and earning his degree in Russian and English at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, Nathan worked for seven years in the military as an infantry and intelligence officer. After a break in service to earn his master's degree in Natural Resources and work for the US Forest Service, Nathan re-entered military service to work as the Training Division Chief for the US Army Mountain Warfare School. Nathan's climbing resume includes rock, ice, and alpine climbs from throughout the US and internationally in ranges such as the Kyrgyz Tian Shan. He most enjoys moving light and fast on mixed rock and ice routes under bluebird New England skies in midwinter. He is an American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Certified Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) and he has successfully completed the AMGA Rock Guide, Alpine Guide, and Ice Instructor courses.
Ben loves to play outside, whenever, and wherever he can. He works full time as a professor of Adventure Leadership at Lyndon State College. Prior to that, he was at The White Mountain School and served as Director of White Mountain Climbing Camp. Ben has taught college Adventure Education courses at the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University and the University of Northern Colorado, in addition to leading extended wilderness courses throughout the American northeast, northwest, Canadian Rockies and Alaska. In addition to rock, ice, and alpine climbing, he is an avid backcountry skier and mountain biker. Whatever the activity, Ben is excited to share his passion for using the outdoors to help students learn and lead.