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Our Own Backyard

Secrets of Great Barrington's backcountry

Tyler Harrington, editor

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Did you know that less than one mile from Main Street in Great Barrington is some of the best bouldering in New England?  Most locals are completely unaware of Reservoir Rocks (The Res); however, if you venture into any climbing gym or shop in New England you’re bound to find someone that climbs there. The Res won’t be found on any trail map and boulder problems, names and difficulties are known simply by word of mouth. You will even be hard pressed to find any information at all– even on the internet.

The Res contains at least three established top roping or trad climbing routes and a countless amount of boulder problems. Anything from the easiest (V0) to the most difficult problems can be found on site (V12- 15) . To climb something at this level one needs both talent and strength. However, novice climber will have plenty to choose from with a wide variety of V0 problems.

Some important gear is necessary in order to safely climb at the Res. Climbers need a boulder crash pad, a pair or climbing shoes, and climbing chalk. The crash pad is a rectangular thick pad and is important because falling is inevitable when bouldering and it’s necessary protection so you don’t get injured. Typical climbing shoes have a close fit, little if any padding, and a smooth, sticky rubber sole. They make it so you can stand up on holds no bigger than 5 mm and use the different edges to progress up the wall. Chalk is a key gear every rock climber uses to absorb sweat off their hands as they ascend.  Without the proper equipment, bouldering is a lost cause and it is impossible to have much success.

The Res has drawn in some big names in the climbing industry, most notably Daniel Woods, a highly regarded climber from Texas. But The Res also attracts locals such as Nico Wohl, a junior at Monument, a regular at the Res. He began climbing early last fall. “Climbing allows me to focus all my attention on the present, all the stress and responsibility of everyday life melts away. Every time I go to the Res I have a goal, whether it’s a problem I finally wanna send or simply make a move that I was unable to; progression is something that is very easy to quantify in climbing. And getting in good shape is a positive side effect.” There is no shortage of passion at the Res, and for Nico climbing, like Jazz music, is a hobby he hopes to explore for the rest of his life.

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Celebrating the Spirit and News of Monument Mountain
Our Own Backyard