We’ve heard lots of rumors as to why Lincoln Woods, Rhode Island is not a good place to climb, as well as strange compliments for it. However, all I can tell you is what I see, and in my multiple times visiting the location, I haven’t seen any of the sketchy things that give it a bad reputation. Whenever I’ve been to Lincoln Woods, typically on nice weather weekends, the crowd has been young families, bicyclists, people running, walking, or jogging, kids on skateboards, families having BBQs, couples, etc. They’ve all been super friendly and almost everyone has a friendly fuzzy dog companion. From all my views of Lincoln Woods, it has been far from sketchy. Sure you might stumble across some broken beer bottle glass, or maybe a piece of trash, but really I have seen far less of this than I have in most other climbing areas.
I can’t tell you what makes up this huge difference in what I see and hear from other people. Other people claim there are lots of needles and sketchy things on the ground, and there are all predator looking males stalking around, etc. Maybe they go on week days and find things different, or maybe they haven’t been in years and the park has really cleaned itself up. All I know is that as a female, and one who is a bit more paranoid than most, I am always on high alert for sketchiness and I have never found any of it at Lincoln Woods.
In terms of actual climbing, I will say that I, personally, love the place. It is not a place you will go and think “that is the most beautiful rock I’ve seen.” There are not fancy crystals, swirled granite, or a rainbow of colors. The rock is a pretty bland grayish brown. However, the climbs are fun and there is a wide variety. They have interesting holds that are sharp, but easy to grip, especially with good friction temperatures. It is also a place where people at different climbing levels can easily climb together. I do most of my climbing with my boyfriend who is working on V10s and V11s. I am working on V2 and V3. At Lincoln Woods, you can find hard climbs right next to easy ones. We were working on a V7 and V3 yesterday that even used a couple of the same holds.
Another fantastic thing about Lincoln Woods is that you can climb almost as much as you would at a gym because there is almost no approach. You can drive right up to a lot of the boulders, you can see other boulders from any boulder, and most of the trails between are flat. We joke about how the Summit Boulders are the highest, steepest approach, when they are a 5 minute or less hike from the road on a easy hill compared to most hikes. It is great to go on a day when you are feeling psyched to climb, but lazy about the hiking.
One thing that makes the climbing a bit challenged are that on the classic boulders, like at many other popular climbing areas, the feet are polished and slippery. You can really tell the difference between the high traffic routes, and the barely touched ones. This can be found all over, however, and is not particular to this area.
When we got to Lincoln Woods, it was a beautiful day of warm sunshine and a little touch of chill. It was just enough to get solid friction without being freezing. Of course, as the day progressed it got much colder and numb fingers finally got us to move on just before sunset. We did get in plenty of climbing before this happened, however.
One of my favorite sends of the day was a V2 named Bugs Bite, which I was able to quickly piece together. It is a sit start and takes some strength to pull up on two low crimps. As you pull up, you go big with the left hand to a crimp and then grab an obvious right hand jug. I bumped up the crimp crack with my left hand, got my feet high, and then did a big move to a crack under a roof. You can pull both hands to the crack and you have good feet. I got my feet high again, and reached over the roof to a sloper top out. I worked my feet over on the crimp ledge, brought them up to a slab section and pull up onto the top out. With good friction this top out is easy, though it feels sketchy since there is a large boulder right behind you that you could hit if you fell without a spotter. The more left you are able to bring your body, the closer you will be to an actual jug. I didn’t really need it, but it felt comforting to know it was there.
I also made a lot of progress fast on Mack’s Traverse, which is also a V2. I probably would have finished it, but it was 25 ft long and I just got too pumped. Endurance is not my thing. My fingers also went completely numb half way through and I couldn’t tell what I was doing because I couldn’t feel anything. Therefore, I think I’ll wait for a warmer day on this one. The start is very easy as it is juggy with large feet. The further left you get, the thinner the holds and the smaller the feet. Some sections have very little or no feet. Even where there are crimps, however, you can almost always reach to a jug instead with good body positioning. As long as you find the feet and position your body well, this is a pretty easy traverse. Well at least the 3/4 that I did no problem.
Josh took an easy day as his skin was torn up pretty bad during some weekday climbing. However, it was nice to watch him on a V7 that had some really nice looking holds.
All in all we had a great day. I got on some climbs that were projects last time, but went easy this time. It’s always a nice, easy place to go for a few hours.