Climbing group buys Bolton site
December 25, 2004
Burlington Free Press
By Matt Crawford
Free Press Staff Writer
Rock and ice climbing aficionados in the Champlain Valley got word of an early Christmas gift this week.
The nonprofit Climbing Resource Access Group of Vermont -- an organization working to secure public access to ice and rock climbing sites -- closed on a 30-acre deal in Bolton on Monday. The group purchased a parcel known as the Bolton Quarry for $40,000.
"We're very excited," said Heather Furman, president of the climbing group. "We're now one of three local climbing organizations in the country that actually hold a title to a piece of property for climbing."
The site is just east of U.S. 2, south of the Bolton Ski Area access road. A small neighborhood on Green Mountain Drive abuts the property.
The Bolton Quarry site had been used off-and-on by climbers for years, but Furman said former owners Jim Callahan and John Companion were concerned about liability issues and neighbors on Green Mountain Drive were often uneasy about who was using the property.
"There are tales about kids going in there, playing around, getting injured," Furman said. "We want to work with the neighbors there to address any of the concerns they have with noise or parking."
Furman said the climbing club is trying to improve access, and is working on constructing a proper parking area.
The group raised the money for the purchase through private fund-raising and grants from the likes of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the Vermont Recreation Trails Grant Program.
Climber Derek Doucet said the Bolton Quarry -- featuring technical climbs on a steep face of more than 100 feet -- is one of the best ice-climbing spots close to Burlington.
"It's a great purchase as far as the climbing community is concerned," said Doucet, who helps run outdoor programs at Middlebury College. "The issue there has always been that to get in, you had to walk up a private road. I've met a couple of the landowners, and some seemed a little uncomfortable about outlandish hikers walking past their homes."
Reproduced with permission from the author.