Lower West

Cliff Steward: Dr. Katzman
Guidebook: Tough Schist
Mountain Project:
Lower West
Access Beta & Closures page

The Climbing: One of Bolton’s oldest climbing areas and the location of many a first-timer’s adventure into Vermont climbing. With excellent toproping and lots of 5.10s to aspire to, it’s often a popular first choice. Climbing here is shadier than some of the other cliffs in Bolton and the southwestern aspect creates cooler mornings, until the sun peaks around midday. 

Don’t miss: Making Babies (5.5), Snakeskin Slab (5.6) Wavy Goodbye (5.7), In the Pines (5.7), Hush Mamma Thrush (5.8), Harvest Moon (5.8), Steel Feathers (10a), Ladyslippers (10c), Crack of All Trades (11d)

Access Beta: 

  • Be sure to check our Access Beta & Closures page for COVID-19 advisory, current closures, reopening or changed operations.
  • The parking lot is small, and while additional parking can be navigated along Bolton Notch Rd., please ensure your car is entirely off the road. 

Access Story: In 2003, climbers formed the non-profit CRAG-VT in order to pay for surveying and subdivision of the land that included the Lower West. The landowner at the time, Patrick Smith, donated the cliffs to the nascent organization.

Thank You to Our Partners: The acquisition of Lower West Bolton was made possible thanks to a grant from the Access Fund, the generous donation of the land from Patrick Smith, and a foundation of local community support.

History: Lower West was once part of a much larger parcel of undeveloped land that covered the entire surrounding hillside. For years climbers accessed the cliff with the blessing of the landowners. With Upper West and the Bolton Dome closed in the 1990s, Lower West became Bolton’s best option. In the early 2000s, the surrounding land was acquired for subdivision and development by Patrick Smith. Concerned that subdivision of Lower West would ultimately result in permanent closure, climbers approached Smith who generously offered to donate the cliff to climbers, as long as climbers would pay for the survey and subdivision. In order to manage this acquisition and become the landowner, climbers created CRAG-VT.

Roderick Russell on the FA of Ladyslippers