I would say nearly everything. Great Barrington is a location with impeccable rock quality. It is strong, sturdy, gorgeous, and fantastic to climb on. Of course, when I say great to climb on, keep in mind that it will shred your fingertips to pieces after a long day. When I climbed there, nearly all of my tips were bloody and tape covered by the end of the session. I say great because the grip is strong, the holds feel unbreakable, and climbing up those quartz crystals just feels fun. It has some nice movements, incredible crimps, and I don’t know, it just feels great. I’ve never heard anyone call it chossy. I’ve heard people liken it to some really high quality world class bouldering. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t enjoy a day at Great Barrington. Some people climb everything there like a thousand times. It’s just good rock.
There is a nice assortment of climbs as well. Climbing for all levels. We’ve been a couple of times and have seen new climbs each time. I still haven’t seen all the place has to offer, however. There is a great deal of climbing.
We went on a gorgeous day. It was a little on the warmer side, but the friction was nice. It was one of those days were it was a little chilly in the shade, and perfect in the sun. Certain climbs were in peaceful, quiet spots. On other climbs we met some really friendly frequent Great Barrington climbers. As the day warmed up and the afternoon was closer, more and more people appeared. It was an ideal climbing day that felt refreshing after long spells of poor weather due to rain, snow, and freezing temps.
Dogs were running up boulders putting climbers to shame with their elite abilities. Everyone was in a good mood and ready to greet you with a smile and some kind words. People and pets alike seemed genuinely overjoyed to be soaking in such a desirable spring day.
The approach is decent. It’s fairly steady uphill walking to get to where the boulders are. It’s not very steep or strenuous. Just enough to feel a little workout burn while moving. Currently the trail is pretty muddy, but it’s not hard to walk around. To get to some of the boulders involves a bit of scrambling over or climbing up other boulders. It really depends where you go, but this is mostly fun and not terribly challenging. It is not a very long hike in. About 5 or 10 minutes to get to the first boulders.
You park along the road where there are houses. This being said, it is not a night bouldering location. You want to be there at times that are appropriate for parking right by other people’s houses. Also, while I always encourage people to put music on headphones or leave it behind, this in particular is a place you want to be respectful of your noise level. It would be a real shame to lose it to access issues and even though everyone we’ve seen who lives by there seems very friendly, it could be possible. Please, please, please, be respectful. Pick up your trash, properly dispose of your waste, keep your noise to a minimum, be kind to the neighbors, and follow any rules you see on the posted signs.
There are some very fun climbs to get on. During this visit, I had some fun on a lip traverse we found. The lip is covered in spots of bad slopers but between them you will find beautiful crimps. The climb is easy when you know where to grab and reach to, and could be tricky when you don’t. There is one spot where you can heel hook or cut feet and then pull up into a mantle finish. As you pull up, good feet become available to help top out.
We also tried some easy warm up climbs on the Hamburger boulder. Some of these are pretty high up, but the climbing is all magnificent jugs and getting down is easy.
I enjoyed watching Josh work this little cave roof we found. We aren’t sure what it is, but it looked really fun and interesting. You’d probably want some good padding to try it because it is surrounded in other rocks and could be easy to hit one.
I also had a chance to get on pocket rocket, which is a fun flat wall crimpy climb. It’s one big move up to start and then only a couple other moves to top out. Josh got on some photogenic V8s and worked some projects. One climb started with getting a high heel hook almost to where your right hand is crimping a side pull.
This place has a climb that caters to everyone’s style. It has plenty of crimpy climbs, big move climbs, small move climbs, cave/overhung climbs. I’m sure looking at the pictures speaks for it well.
If you are in the area giving it a try, you should check out the Berkshire Co op. They have some tasty sandwiches, fresh made bread, and a little market. Check out the menu: http://www.berkshire.coop/wp/wp-content/uploads/togomenu_v2_13_2014.pdf.
I had a delicious cup of tea and a turkey sandwich with cranberry mustard. They do a fantastic job of recycling, the staff is friendly, and the meals are fresh. They have some vegan options as well. Josh particularly enjoys the vegan cakes they have in the market. He is not vegan either. He just thinks they taste better than other cakes he has had.
There are definitely great times to be had here.