North of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s Green Mountain spine extends through the rugged landscape of the state’s highest peaks and down to the pleasant Lamoille River Valley. The North Central region extends from Route 108 to Route 15 near Stowe, Jeffersonville, and Johnson. Here we find the intimidating alpine defile of Smugglers’ Notch, and the pastoral buttresses of Prospect Rock.
Though only a short distance from Chittenden county, these cliffs have not been visited nearly as frequently as the cliffs of Bolton. While Smugglers’ Notch is one of the Northeast’s premier bouldering areas and is understandably popular, few have ventured off the road to explore the towering cliffs above. Prospect Rock enjoys somewhat greater popularity, being visited often by the Johnson State College outing club and the few climbers that live in Lamoille County.
Geologically, this region is an extension of the green schist band that runs through Bolton and dominates the northern part of the mountain chain. In Smugglers’ Notch, the rock quality varies from excellent to terrible with some routes having both extremes. It’s also worth mentioning that routes described as runout may also have loose, rotten rock. The rock at Prospect Rock is typically quite sound with few exceptions.
The Butchers’ Crags
For detailed route descriptions check out the Tough Schist guidebook or the corresponding Rakkup App at www.vermontrock.com