Supporters of the WMCC


The Sunbowl has been growing in popularity recently due to its ease of access and number of moderate sport climbs. The Sunbowl lies in Sunderland, just off of route 116 and is convenient for climbers from both Amherst and Northampton. This rock outcrop is made of Mt. Toby Conglomerate, a loose stone containing many cobbles and pockets, which makes the climbing here unique and fingery. There are many variations of routes here ranging between ~ 5.6 through 5.11. 

Recently bolts have been restored to this cliff making the Sunbowl a destination for afternoon workouts and nice beginner sport leads. The routes increase in difficulty from the ends of the cliff towards the center.  “Classics” include Mono-pocket, 5.10, and ****?  A long girdle traverse just off the ground is possible making a nice V2 workout. The Sunbowl faces West and is pleasant and sunny(!) in the afternoons. The rock is porous and many pockets may be filled with water or mud after a good rain.


Pull off onto Clark Mountain Rd. from route 116 in Sunderland, across from Frontier Pizza, Dunkin Donuts, and the 7-11, and just South of the “Cliffside” Apartments.  Head up this road, and continue straight onto a narrow dirt lane.  This road travels up the side of a stream basin for about two tenths of a mile, passing a newly constructed, steep cell-tower road, until reaching a T intersection.  The left is gated access to the cell phone tower.  Make a right at this T and continue for about one tenth of a mile through a few large puddles until the 3rd pullout on the left near a small clearing in the woods.  There is typically a small fire ring here as well.



Walk past the fire ring following the old logging road and trail.  Hike about ½ a mile up this road, over a small stream.  A small cairn with a fairly used trail on the left marks the Sunbowl trail.  Hike a few hundred yards up this trail to the right end of the cliff.  The cliff is ~ 150 ft long with 2 moderate climbs at each end.  The best way by far to set up climbs is to lead them, but the top can be accessed by a trail around on the far left end.  Be careful when traversing the top as it is a treacherous slope and climbers below should be wearing helmets as there are many loose rocks.


Current issues

Several of the bolts and top anchors that replaced the damage left by the chopped bolts several years ago have been a growing concern. An effort was made to utilize the old bolt holes when the anchors were replaced however due to the nature of the rock, several of the new bolts have begun to work themselves loose questioning the safety of the anchors. As a result, the WMCC voted to have members of the community remove the current anchors and replace them with permanent glue-in anchors. These anchors are much better suited to the sometimes soft and crumbly nature of the rock at the Sunbowl and will ensure a much higher level of safety.