Signature Reduction


Connecticut climbing is currently at capacity.

Like all outdoor recreation activities, climbing and bouldering has the potential to cause ecological degradation, such as vegetation loss, soil erosion, and resource modification; social impacts, such as user conflicts, crowding, and increased anthropogenic noise; and aesthetic impacts associated with residual climbing chalk on stone.

I recently got involved in some FacePlant banter about climbing clubs, groups, and guides/climbing schools. My point is that we really need to try hard to put our own personal wants and wishes aside when deciding where we are going to go climbing, when we consider WHO is coming with us. If we decide to bring 18 of our closest friends, we might choose certain venues over others. The profile from parking alone is a huge factor, especially when we park on the street. We know the neighbors don’t want us there, and based on some conversations I’ve had with a specific neighbor recently, I’d suggest we, as a user group, consider the crags as less of an entitlement, and then think about our impact on others (neighbors, hikers, recreational users, other climbers). There is way more to responsible behavior than simply picking up micro trash, carpooling and saying we “tried” to mitigate our groups size of 30. We need to stop treating our crags like we treat the rock gym.

Just to put it into perspective, the National Outdoor Leadership School recommends a maximum group size of 12. Outward Bound recommends 10. Acadia National Park demands that all groups be 12 or less. makes no recommendation but suggests that 8 might be about right based on impacts to the ground we walk on.

How can we reduce our impact?

  • have a plan and hold yourselves to it
  • carpool in full car loads-don’t park on others property, and don’t clog the road
  • climb in small simple cohorts. Like a crew of 2 or 3. The larger your group is, the more impact you have, and the more you affect others outside of your group.
  • if your social club outing is large, spread out to two or three different crags
  • acknowledge that your large group isn’t helping to maintain access
  • own that you are part of the larger problem and that you need to come up with a solution
  • travel and climb in groups of 12 or less. This is a strong recommendation form me. NOLS also recommends this as a maximum group size.
  • reduce your sound profile. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve head someone’s F Bombs from the dam on my walk up to Ragged. These crags are sounding boards.
  • own that we are our own solution. If we don’t solve this for ourselves, someone else may do it for us, and we could very well loose access.
  • join RMF and Access Fund. Chip in a few bucks to buy a cliff. It’s hard to shut it down when you own it.
  • provide leadership to others who aren’t in the know or don’t understand

Group Take over at Green Wall

I wrote the following for the Ragged Mountain Foundation in 2016. It seems like ages ago, but it’s still totally relevant.

By Matt Shove, RMF Board Member

Our local climbing is awesome and everyone wants to go climbing on beautiful days. However, parking at all of our crags can be limited.

The RMF believes we can reduce congestion in the neighborhoods if more climbers begin carpooling. We hope that folks can leave a few minutes earlier, meet in a parking lot, and ride together to the crag. We know that it’s not always possible, and someone in the party might have to leave before everyone else.

Believe it or not, more No Parking signs are going up and the neighbors do actually notice you. All we ask is that you do the best you can to help limit our profile in the neighborhood parking areas. There is room for about 7 cars at Pinnacle Rock and about 10 at Ragged.

Please take as few vehicles as possible to the residential parking areas do your best to maintain a low profile. These small considerations go a long way in helping us maintain good relationships with the neighbors which in turn helps us keep our crags open.


  • Don’t block regular traffic on the roadway
  • Don’t park within 25ft of a mailbox, driveway or intersection
  • Pack and rack up before you arrive at the cliff. Please don’t rack up in the road or step foot on the neighbors lawn.
  • Leave your hammocks and stereos/speakers at home. The crags can be a sounding board.
  • Please don’t change your clothing in the road. There are women and children watching.
  • Please don’t drink celebratory beers by your cars.
  • Say hello and wave to our neighbors – be friendly and respectful if confronted.
  • Pick up some trash while you’re there and throw it away at home.

Below are some convenient places to meet you partners and arrange carpools to the crag.


These areas work well for Ragged, Cathole and the neighboring areas.

  • Timberlin Park
    330 Southington Rd, Berlin, CT 06037
    Please park in the main lot near the golf course
  • Big Y/Starbucks/Parma Pizza
    275 New Britain Ave, Plainville, CT 06062
    Also near Pinnacle Rock
  • Ferndale Plaza, Roger’s IGA Grocery
    45 Chamberlain Highway, Kensington, Connecticut 06037
  • Corbin’s Corner Shopping Plaza
    1445 New Britain Avenue West Hartford, CT 06110


  • Big Y/Starbucks/Parma Pizza
    275 New Britain Ave, Plainville, CT 06062

If you have questions or more parking and carpool recommendation, please reach out to

Thank you for being a responsible climber and helping reduce congestion in the residential parking areas at our crags.

Prepared by Matt Shove
Ragged Mountain Guides


Access Fund Climbing Management Planning

Ragged Mountain Foundation

Leave No Trace

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Managing Expectations, I think…

With some regularity, I will receive an email request like this:

“I was wondering how much does an intro to trad course cost for a day with 2 people? My experience is a course for anchors and my friend has previous trad experience. My partner has led many easy climbs while I have no experience. We’re both confident 5.10 sport climbers and projecting harder 5.11s in the gym.”

First Impressions:

  1. You may have a match, but you may not. Seems to me that there is an experience dispense. Many leads and no leads means a lot of catching up to do.
  2.  5.10 sport climbing has some value to traditional climbing, but your mileage will vary depending on location.
  3.  Projecting 5.11 in the gym?  Yeah, sweet!  Those hand and footholds are pretty good compared to 5.11s outside.  The good news?  You probably pretty strong if you’re only one hanging those routes. Keep it up.
  4. Who taught your anchor course, and how long ago?

Second Impression:

  1.  You didn’t tell me your outdoor climbing experience.

Moving forward:

Can I teach you to be a trad climber? Yes.  But it probably going to take more than 2 days.  Doing a learn to lead program is best suited in a 2:1 grouping.  That way I can coach the leader while the partner belays.  That said, I have done a number of 1 on 1 learn to lead sessions and great success.

Expectation Management:

Please remember this.  When you come to visit me because you’re ready to lead, you make best use of our time together if you are an experienced outdoor climber.  You need to know how to top rope.  Sport climbing experience is a bonus.  Gym experience, while helpful, isn’t as useful because of the medium. After all, the floor is padded.

So, be like Jared.  Jared came with Brenna for a couple of days of training.  We went climbing on day 1.  Day 2, we brushed up on our anchoring skills so we could be at baseline.  Days 3 and 4?  Jared learned how to use the gear, practiced a ton, and by the end of day 4, he got to lead an easy climb. That set him up well for a bunch of his own climbing.  In fact, I have even seen him cruising around the Gunks on his own.  He does climb in the gym, however it doesn’t define him or his experience.


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February Rock Climbing

Everyone knows that ice and winter alpine climbing are my favorite things to do.  Tht said, when the weather forcast calls for 70 degree weather, it may be time to refocus and think about keeping the fingers strong.

Mike and I rallied to the Giant to begin the Ghandi-Bot Memorial link up.  This link is a brainchild of Nate McKenzie and I from a few years ago.

Pitch 1 is Yvette at the Giant. 5.9+

Pitch 2 and 3 are the Rib 5.6 world class!

Pitch 4 and 5 are Nickle and Dime at West Rock 5.7 and 5.9

Pitch 6 is the Tap Room at New England Brewing for a pint. High Gravity

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Mid-Winter Report

The ice climbing has been pretty good!  Despite the warm up during the last few days, things have been climbing well.  The routes at Frankenstien have been in good shape and Mt Willard is always a good time.

While the weather is challenging right now, the long range forecast for March looks good.  Cold is setting back up to finish out or winter strong.  Things are looking up starting today.



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Those numbers, the ones you see on your Petzl carabiners mean something here’s what it is and it depends on the year it was manufactured.

before 2017:

The number on this Gri Gri reads 11 159 FI 7996.  What does this mean?

The first 5 digits represent the year 2011, and the 159th day of 2011.  The letters indicate the inspector’s initials (Frankie Independence, for example).  The last 3-4 numbers are the Incrementation, or individual product number. That means this Gri Gri was manufactured on the 159th day of 2011, was inspected by Frankie Independence, and it’s specific number is 7996. It makes perfect sense now, right?

This blue Hera Attache reads 16081UM0275. This carabiner was manufactured on the 81st day of 2016, inspected by someone with the initials UM and it’s the 275th in the run.

This Reverso has a number 16302QA0123.  See if you can decipher it.

Now, in late 2016, Petzl changed it’s number coding.  This AM’d S has a code of: 17E0082751 091.  Manufactured in May (E) 2017, in batch 82751, and it’s the 91st in the run.  The month key may throw you off. A is January, B February, C March, D April, E May and so on.

Now for today’ jam, a little Arch Enemy. We are LEGION.

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