Added by Christopher Zajac
A 100 foot traprock cliff with over 30 routes on it is the setting for one of the rock climbing centers of Connecticut. And a awesome view from the top.
The main face of Ragged Mountain (elev. 761 feet) is home to a lot climbing in central Connecticut. It runs north-south for about 600 feet. Its max height of 100 feet. The crag is home to several rock climbing guides and schools. Routes range in difficultly from great for the beginner (5.3) to sure to test the veteran climber (5.12). Climbs vary in length from 30 feet to 100 feet. There is good walk up access on both the north and south ends of the cliff face.
The area is now under the watchful eye of the conservation organization the Ragged Mountain Foundation. The Metacomet Trail, part of the New England Scenic Trail runs along the ridge through the preserve.
On a busy summer weekend there could be dozens of climbers taking on the challenge of various cracks, pockets, and edges. Even on weekdays the cliff face is active.
Many people use a top rope for protection at Ragged, while others set protection (traditional climbing using cams and nuts) as the they climb. If you haven't been trained don't climb, seek the help of a professional guide or experienced climber. There are several climbing gyms in Connecticut and the CT chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club (www.ct-amc.org) regularly hosts group climbs where you can meet experienced climbers.
The crag was well documented in 1964 by John Reppy and Sam Streibert of the Yale Mountaineering Club. The guide book they created is out of print, but can be found online here.
Anchors and Protection
No new fixed gear is allowed in the preserve. There are no bolts for creating top rope anchors. Top rope anchors need to be constructed with static rope, webbing, or cams and nuts. Most trees are back from the edge, so 150 feet of static rope is very handy, almost necessary, in setting up anchors. The anchor lines would run right across the popular Metacomet Trail so use brightly colored rope or have some flags on them so those hiking don't trip.
Parking & Access
Like with so many great outdoor spots, there are some access issues. Obey no parking signs and respect the neighbors. The map marks the spot of the trail head into Ragged Mountain Preserve.
Park on Sheldon Road or Moore Hill Drive off Andrews Street in Southington. Pay close attention to no parking signs in certain sides of the street. Do not block any driveways or mailboxes. This makes the neighbors unhappy and threatens more parking restrictions.
Recommended by the Ragged Mountain Foundation: Park in the lower parking lot at Timberlin Park / Golf Course at 330 Southington Road in Berlin, CT.
Walking up to the Crag
After parking, cross Andrews Street and walk east for about 0.25 mile on Carey Street. There will be a gravel driveway on your left at 150 Carey Street with blue blazes on the trail and nature sanctuary signs. Walk up the driveway for about 0.1 mile and turn right into the woods along the blue blazed trail. Here's were your have two choices.
- Follow the blue trail and scramble up between a steep draw to reach the top of the ridge. Follow the blue blazes about 0.4 mile to the top of the main face of Ragged Mountain.
- About 250 feet before reaching the base of the scramble up the draw, there is a side, un-blazed trail on the left (junction approximate coordinates N41˚36'51.7" W72˚49'16.4") that goes under the ridge to the main face. If you walk down this trail it connects to the private drive where there is a sign on a tree that says private nature sanctuary. Do not walk on the driveway, the trail turns right just before reaching the driveway. Follow the trail for 0.3 mile to the base of the cliffs.
A PDF map of the area with the un-blazed trail is available at the RMF website here.
- Small First Aid Kit
- Climbing Rope
- Static Rope and/or long webbing
- Climbing Harness
- Climbing Shoes
- Climbing Helmet
- Carabiners, Belay Device, other climbing hardware
- Protection devices, anchor building hardware
- Area trail map here
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