Squire said climbing at Farley lasts “year-round on a good year” in terms of having mild winters, such as this past year. For general climbing around western Massachusetts, “things typically slow down after November or October,” he said, adding that these two months are “usually really busy” as climbers race to get in those last climbs of the season. On the flip side, things pick up again in March and April with the arrival of warmer weather.
When it comes to commercially led trips and classes, especially for beginning climbers, Squire said, “it’s kind of a fine line” in terms of what is allowed on Farley land and what is not due to the rules of some privately owned land.
He said most of the land is owned by FirstLight Power Resources and “they have explicitly asked that they have no commercially led trips” on their land. Other major sections of privately-owned property at Farley are owned by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and “they have the same sort of limitations,” according to Squire.
“That being said, there are a bunch of locations that are on Trustees of the Reservation properties and they have a whole event calendar with climbing and advanced classes. We work with them quite a bit to figure out which sites are appropriate.”
PARKING AND DIRECTIONS
As with most tucked-away climbing spots, directions come with added adventure in finding the place.
From Route 2, turn north onto either Briggs Street or Holmes Street, as both merge onto Wells Street. Continue until the end of the road.
The primary parking area and the trail head can be found directly off of Route 2 about 500 yards west of Maple Avenue. This is a new 16-car parking area constructed from funds raised by the Western Massachusetts Climbing Coalition.
If you’re interested in becoming a WMCC member, Squire said people can join through the website. The minimum membership fee is $35. Squire said there is also a membership program available in which, for the same fee, people can become a joint member of the WMCC and AccessFund, a national advocacy organization that conserves and keeps U.S. climbing areas open.
Joint members receive the benefits of both organizations, which include things like discounts off merchandise — water bottles, T-shirts, etc. — and a magazine subscription. This joint support, Squire said, “helps to build the climbing community” on a local as well as national level.
Donations can be made directly through www.climbgneiss.org or by mailing donations to WMCC at
25 Parkview Drive, South Hadley, MA 01075.
— CHELSIE FIELD