Joe McLoughlin

Obscure New England Bouldering

A secret area in Rhode Island.

A secret area in Rhode Island.

Given the geologic history of the Northeast, there are scattered pockets of climbable rock throughout the area.  A lot of these are on private land and have, over the years, led to locals having their own secret areas.  You may or may not agree with the concept of "secret" areas, but due to access issues, some areas are destined to remain "secret."  Some, like the Ayer boulders, have legal access, a few amazing problem, and can be shared with everyone.  Some will never be accessible to the public.  Kai Webler has compiled a bonus video to his Northeast series showing a slew of these problems in Western Mass.  If you want to check these problems out, I suggest hunting Kai down and begging him for the goods....

Happy New Year

2014 has been a big year for NewEnglandBouldering.com.  We made our triumphant return and saw many big sends all around the Northeast.  Our NE's Hardest and Best features seemed to be big hits, and we look forward to adding to the Hardest list in 2015 (get out there and send some hard problems!).  We look to add to our momentum in 2015 by continuing to work with some of the great media producers in the area like Back Mattress Media, Kai Webler, and Chris Motta.  We are always looking for new contributions, so if you have something you think might go well on this site, please e-mail us at joev9@newenglandbouldering.com

Thanks for the support and Happy New Year!

New England Bouldering's Enigma?

e·nig·ma
noun: enigma; plural noun: enigmas
1. a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.

If any bouldering area in New England qualifies as an enigma, it has to be Lynn Woods. I see photos and videos (like the one below) and think, wow, this place looks great.  There seems to be tons of boulders there (see Mountain Project's page here) with problems of all grades, yet whenever I talk to someone who's been there, I generally get a less than enthusiastic description.  So what is the real story with this place????

Font at Night

There is talk (complaints) all over the interwebs about how bouldering videos are all the same: gangsta rap music, shirtless dudes with beanies, and lots of yelling.  Well, Sandstone Media Productions has taken the traditional bouldering video format and tossed it in the dumpster.   If you can get past the fact that it is a big Adidas ad, you will either love or hate or this video.  Paris La Nuit is an artistic masterpiece that has broken the mold and created a new way to look at bouldering.

Northeast's Best - Final Call for Votes

Just updated the results to date on the voting for the best boulder problems (V1 through V12+) in the Northeast.  Click here to check out the results and cast your vote!   We are going to keep the voting open until November 15.  Here is a summary of the results so far:

V1: Zig Zag Crack at Rumney, 80 votes (64% of the votes), Cream at Pawtuckaway, 20 votes

V2: TIED! The Wave at Lincoln Woods, 34 votes and The Whip at Pawtuckaway, 34 votes

V3: Hobbit Hole at Pawtuckaway, 50 votes (40% of the votes), The Pond Cave Traverse at Lincoln Woods, 24 votes

V4: Overlooked at Pawtuckaway, 52 votes (29% of the votes), Heart of Glass at Lincoln Woods, 46 votes

V5: Sleeping Giant at Happy Valley, 30 votes (29% of the votes), Snooze Button at Great Barrington, 15 votes

V6: Ride the Lightning at Pawtuckaway, 41 votes (46% of the votes), The Wave at Farley, 15 votes

V7: Homefront Arete in Central CT, 24 votes (19%),  The Buddha at the Gunks, 15 votes

V8: Appetite for Destruction at Farley, 43 votes (41% of the votes), Dopeman at Pawtuckaway, 14 votes

V9: Pipe Dreams at Farley, 42 votes (65% of the votes), Barbed Wire at Lincoln Woods, 10 votes

V10: Speed of Life at Farley, 26 votes (47% of the votes), Sterogram at Farley, 14 votes

V11: Suspect Device in Central CT, 28 votes (42% of the votes), Pretty Bloc Swag at Pawtuckaway, 13 votes

V12+: Roses and Bluejays at Great Barrington, 28 votes (75% of the votes), Touching the Sky at Smuggler's Notch, 5 votes

The V2 grade is currently tied between The Whip at Pawtuckaway and The Wave at Lincoln Woods.  Let's get some more votes to decide this one.   Voting will reamin open until November 15, so these results can still change.

The classic Overlooked at Pawtuckaway.

The classic Overlooked at Pawtuckaway.

The Northeast 3 - Part 1

Screenshot of a big fall from Oceans of Air, V8, at Great Barrington.

Screenshot of a big fall from Oceans of Air, V8, at Great Barrington.

Kai Webler is on a mission, a mission to get high quality video of every boulder problem in the Northeast.  Well, maybe not, but definitely all the best ones.  His latest series, The Northeast 3, starts with killer footage of the best of the best at Great Barrington in Massachusetts and McKenzie Pond in New York.  Check it out:

Number one. Great Barrington and McKenzie Pond bouldering.

Adam Ondra - 2014

Check out this amazing video put out by Black Diamond on Adam Ondra's year so far.  Everyone knows who Adam is and what he can do, but what I think amazes me the most is his ability to objectively break down his climbing strengths and weaknesses.  His matter-of-fact discussion of his redpoint of Realization is something that is rare to see, an athlete who can analyze himself as if he were a coach discussing one of his players.  The other thing that makes Adam standout is his ability to excel at all types of climbing, at the same time.  Sharma dominated bouldering when he focused on it, but then switched his focus and was the top sport climber for years.  Adam is doing that all at the same time.  Can't wait to see what the next year brings from him.

Northeast's Best Voting Update

Just updated the results to date on the voting for the best boulder problems (V1 through V12+) in the Northeast.  Click here to check out the results and cast your vote!   Here is a summary of the results so far:

V1: Zig Zag Crack at Rumney, 77 votes (62% of the votes), Cream at Pawtuckaway, 19 votes

V2: The Wave at Lincoln Woods, 33 votes (26% of the votes), The Whip at Pawtuckaway, 31 votes

V3: Hobbit Hole at Pawtuckaway, 47 votes (39% of the votes), The Pond Cave Traverse at Lincoln Woods, 24 votes

V4: Overlooked at Pawtuckaway, 47 votes (28% of the votes), Heart of Glass at Lincoln Woods, 44 votes

V5: Sleeping Giant at Happy Valley, 26 votes (28% of the votes), Snooze Button at Great Barrington, 15 votes

V6: Ride the Lightning at Pawtuckaway, 37 votes (46% of the votes), Coitus, Snow Mountain, 14 votes

V7: Homefront Arete in Central CT, 18 votes (16%),  The Buddha at the Gunks, 15 votes

V8: Appetite for Destruction at Farley, 40 votes (40% of the votes), Dopeman at Pawtuckaway, 13 votes

V9: Pipe Dreams at Farley, 34 votes (62% of the votes), Barbed Wire at Lincoln Woods, 9 votes

V10: Speed of Life at Farley, 24 votes (47% of the votes), Babies with Rabies at Farley, 8 votes

V11: Suspect Device in Central CT, 16 votes (34% of the votes), Pretty Bloc Swag at Pawtuckaway, 10 votes

V12+: Roses and Bluejays at Great Barrington, 15 votes (65% of the votes), Touching the Sky at Smuggler's Notch, 4 votes

The V7 grade is definitely the most competitive grade with Roses and Bluejays having the largest percentage of votes.  Pawtuckaway seems to be the place for the easier grades with top problems at V1, V2, V3, V4, and  V6, while Farley seems to be the place for the harder grades with top problems at V8, V9, and V10.  Overall, Pawtuckaway has garnered the most total votes with 251, with Lincoln Woods second at 165 total votes, and Farley third at 156 total votes.  Voting is still open, so these results can still change.

Anne Skidmore nearing the topout of The Wave, at Lincoln Woods, RI.  Photograph by Joe McLoughlin.

Anne Skidmore nearing the topout of The Wave, at Lincoln Woods, RI.  Photograph by Joe McLoughlin.

Blog of the Week - The Rock Climber's Training Manual

Bouldering season is fast approaching, so to prepare you for sending your projects our blog of the week is one of the best training websites out there: The Rock Climber’s Training Manual.  The Anderson brothers, Mike and Mark, have taken their years of rock climbing training experience and research and produced one of the best training books available.  This book builds upon the work of Goddard, Neumann, and Horst, to name a few, to provide clear and concise information on why and how to train for climbing your best.  Best of all, the Anderson’s maintain their website and post regularly at mountainproject.com providing opportunity for questions and feedback on your own personal training program.

One of my complaints over the years about many training books was that bouldering was always part of the training programs but it was rare that there would be a specific program FOR bouldering.  The Anderson’s have included programs and training exercises specifically for improving at bouldering (in addition to great programs for sport climbing).  Although the differences in training should be obvious, it is nice to see the training needs for bouldering specifically addressed in a sensible manner.  At a minimum, the Anderson’s hang board workouts are worth the price of admission.  Check them out here.

Previous favorites:

Bass for your Face

Climbing Narc

Rock Climbing Life

Crux Crush

Joe Kinder

The Power Company

Paul Robinson

 

Northeast's Best Update

Just updated the results to date on the voting for the best boulder problems (V1 through V8) in the Northeast.  Click here to check out the results and cast your vote!  We will be adding V9 through V11 next week.  Here is a summary of the results so far:

V1: Zig Zag Crack at Rumney, 71 votes (63% of the votes), Cream at Pawtuckaway, 17 votes

V2: The Whip at Pawtuckaway, 31 votes (26% of the votes), The Wave at Lincoln Woods, 28 votes

V3: Hobbit Hole at Pawtuckaway, 45 votes (39% of the votes), The Pond Cave Traverse at Lincoln Woods, 25 votes

V4: Overlooked at Pawtuckaway, 42 votes (27% of the votes), Heart of Glass at Lincoln Woods, 41 votes

V5: Sleeping Giant at Happy Valley, 22 votes (24% of the votes), Snooze Button at Great Barrington, 15 votes

V6: Ride the Lightning at Pawtuckaway, 34 votes (46% of the votes), Coitus, Snow Mountain, 10 votes

V7: Up in Smoke, Pawtuckaway, 13 votes (14% of the votes), The Buddha at the Gunks, 7 votes

V8: Appetite for Destruction at Farley, 34 votes (37% of the votes), Dopeman at Pawtuckaway, each with 11 votes

The V7 grade is the most competitive with a tie for first and the next problem (Homefront Arete) only one vote from the top.  Voting is still open, so these results can still change.  Pawtuckaway is definitely the most popular bouldering area in New England with 5 of the 8 top problems in the Northeast!

Zig Zag Crack at Rumney, the top vote getter across all grades!

Zig Zag Crack at Rumney, the top vote getter across all grades!

Back Mattress Media - Podcast #7

Back Mattress Media, one of our Media Spotlight team, has released their seventh podcast, an interview with Big Pete Ward, prolific New England FA'er and promoter of some of the biggest comps in the country.  Click below to hear the interview and the previous Climb Time Podcasts.

Podcast #7 - Pete Ward

Podcast #6 - Crux Crush

Podcast #5 - Josh Levin

Podcast #4 - Meaghan Martin

Podcast #3 - Vasya Vorotnikov

Podcast #2 - Angie Payne

Podcast #1 - Delaney Miller

Pete Ward getting close on the first ascent of Big, V8, at Farley Ledge.  Photograph by Joe McLoughlin.

Pete Ward getting close on the first ascent of Big, V8, at Farley Ledge.  Photograph by Joe McLoughlin.

Western Mass Rendezvous

On September 19-21, 2014, the Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition will hold their 5th annual Western Mass Rendezvous, part fundraiser, part festival, part climbing comp, at Farley Ledge in Erving, Massachusetts.  According to the WMCC, "The WMCC Rendezvous, presented by Millet is our annual fundraiser to help build cohesive relationships with advocacy groups, state and local governments, landowners, and conservation groups and to keep climbing areas open and conserve the climbing environment in Western Massachusetts."

This year's event includes a bouldering and roped climbing "friendly" competition, a screening of Reel Rock's latest film "Valley Uprising," and an Adopt-a-Crag event.  Check out WMCC's website, climbgneiss.org for more info and to register.

Back Mattress Media - Podcast #6

Back Mattress Media, one of our Media Spotlight team, has released their sixth podcast, an interview with the ladies from Crux Crush.  Crux Crush is one of our favorite blogs on the internets as we previously profiled them in our Blog of the Week feature.  Click below to hear the interview and the previous Climb Time Podcasts.

Podcast #6 - Crux Crush

Podcast #5 - Josh Levin

Podcast #4 - Meaghan Martin

Podcast #3 - Vasya Vorotnikov

Podcast #2 - Angie Payne

Podcast #1 - Delaney Miller

The Northeast Videos

Kai Webler, one of our Media Spotlight producers, has been putting together a series of videos on bouldering in the northeast.  He has finished up "The Northeast 2" which features bouldering at Farley, Rumney, Great Barrington, Pawtuckaway, Central CT and other areas.  What these videos lack in production or extraneous footage, they more than make up for with excellent beta footage.  Many classic problems are shown at areas all around the Northeast.  Here is the last installment of the 5 part series (see below for links to the first 4 videos).

Back Mattress Media - Podcast #5

Back Mattress Media, one of our Media Spotlight team, has released their fifth podcast, an interview with Boston-based pro Josh Levin.  Click below to hear the interview and the previous Climb Time Podcasts.  Page down to check out a cool video of Josh sending Livin' Astro at Rumney.

Podcast #5 - Josh Levin

Podcast #4 - Meaghan Martin

Podcast #3 - Vasya Vorotnikov

Podcast #2 - Angie Payne

Podcast #1 - Delaney Miller

The Northeast's Best Boulder Problems

Just posted up the results to date on the voting for the best boulder problems (V1 through V8) in the Northeast.  Click here to check out the results and cast your vote!  Here is a summary of the results:

V1: Zig Zag Crack at Rumney, 58 votes!, Cream at Pawtuckaway, 14 votes

V2: The Whip at Pawtuckaway, 26 votes, The Wave at Lincoln Woods, 20 votes

V3: Hobbit Hole at Pawtuckaway, 33 votes, The Pond Cave Traverse at Lincoln Woods, 20 votes

V4: Overlooked at Pawtuckaway, 34 votes, Heart of Glass at Lincoln Woods, 31 votes

V5: Sleeping Giant at Happy Valley, 12 votes, Snooze Button at Great Barrington, 9 votes

V6: Ride the Lightning at Pawtuckaway, 21 votes, Fuck the Method at Pawtuckaway, 5 votes

V7: Homefront Arete in Central CT, 7 votes, The Buddha at the Gunks, 7 votes

V8: Appetite for Destruction at Farley, 22 votes, Dopeman and Leave it to Beaver at Pawtuckaway, each with 8 votes

Seems obvious from the voting that Pawtuckaway seems to have the best bouldering in New England (or maybe the most popular)...

best.jpg