Connecticut Climbing Access
by John Peterson
Most cliffs in Connecticut are on private land or controlled by the state. Please respect cliff closures, parking restrictions. Avoid crossing private land when you approach the crags: Trespassing across private lands is a major issue which has cost us access to several cliffs and trails. The message board is the best place to look for up to date information, especially for ice climbing. Finally, leave no trace. Pack out all of the trash you find. Leave the crags cleaner than you found them.
Remember: just because a rock is described in a guidebook doesn't mean that it is open to climbing!
Small Cliff at Ragged Mountain
In August, the owner of the Small Cliff at Ragged Mountain closed the area to rock climbing. He has allowed climbing at the Small Cliff for over thirty years but is concerned about the ongoing environmental impact on the area around the base of the cliff. Therefore the Small Cliff has been closed for an as yet unspecified period of time to allow the area to regenerate. The Metacomet Trail remains open for hikers and climbers passing through to other areas, and he is continuing to allow visitors to use a portion of his driveway to access the Main Cliff area. The RMF is maintaining a dialog with the landowner in an effort to find solutions to these issues. In the meantime, while the loss of climbing at the Small Cliff is a disappointment please respect the owner's wishes so that this property may be used in the future.
Shuttle Meadow Area including Spider Wall,Grond, and Fox Den
The Shuttle Meadow Area cliffs including those listed below lie on property controlled by the New Britain Water Company. Climbing is forbidden on all land owned by the water company: this includes Bradley Mountain and all cliffs in the Ragged Mountain area, including Spider Wall, Fox Den, Lakeside, and Owl's Lair. Hiking is allowed but there is a seasonal re-routing of the Metacomet trail to prevent people from swimming in the reservoir. Do not swim in the reservoir. Do not hike on the caretaker's road. Do not park on the roadside. Do not argue with company officials. Continued problems may cause the Metacomet Trail to be permanently relocated and all access closed.
We are aware that many of the best crags in Connecticut are covered by this closure and we are pursuing the matter with the water company. They are concerned about liability and have banned climbing due to it's perceived danger. Please don't aggravate the situation: remember, this is private land!
Pinnacle is a very popular climbing area but it is on private land. Climbing is tolerated but climbers should be aware that this may change. Please maintain good relations with the neighborhood: obey No Parking signs, pick up trash, and encourage respectful behavior.
Winter Wall was once a popular climbing area. It has been closed for over a decade. If you are lucky, the owner will just call the police.
West Rock and Sleeping Giant
These parks belong the State of Connecticut. Climbing is permitted, and the trail systems are extensive. While the rangers in these parks are friendly towards climbers, please BE CAREFUL! These is a lot of loose rock in these areas and accidents have led to closures in the past. Please exit these parks before they close - closing times are posted at the parking lots.
East Rock Park
East Rock in New Haven is a city owned park, and climbing is not permitted. There is a well developed trail system that is heavily utilized. The park is beautiful and offers views of Long Island and Long Island Sound. However, this is an urban environment, and all types of criminal activity can be encountered on these trails. Be careful and take a friend with you.
The Haddam road cut off Route 9 has been popular for ice climbing. If climber activity causes any issues with passing motorists, climbers are asked to leave. Please do not park on the side of the road. Parking is available about 1/4 mile down the road. Watch the message board and find out what the current situation is.
Access Issues For Other Climbing Area