Cannon Rock Climbs
The winter season is here. It was quite a shift from the warm desert of Red Rocks, Nevada and into to cold of New England. Yet the psyche is high and MMG is is off to a great start. Routes include a few laps on the Black Dike, Standard Route, Shoe String, Kings Ravine, and routes in Huntington’s Ravine. Thanks to all the MMG guides and guests who made the first week of the ’14, ’15 ice season a amazing one.
There’s plenty to go around, come and get it!
Art enjoying pitch two of the Black Dike
Finding some good ice in Shoe String
Crossing the Presi-ridge in 80-mph winds
Early season = awesome climbing
Crossing the Alpine Garden after a successful day in Huntington’s
Topping out in Huntington’s
The Ridge from the bottom of the talus.
For almost any climber the striking arete’ that forms the Whitney-Gilman ridge begs to be climbed. The shear size of the feature is imposing. It can be easily see from the road and when walking along Lafayette Ridge, Cannon’s 5,000ft neighbor to the east. Needless to say, the climbing is just as fun and aww inspiring as it looks from the ground. Parallel cracks, perfect corners and exciting face climbing only add to the appeal.
(Left:) The excellent second pitch. (Right:) Mat, headed directly for the 5.9 exit moves on the final pitch.
Mat, came down from Montreal to climb the ridge. Together we made great time. Each pitch flowed smoothly into the next. The warm sun and cool breeze provided perfect rock climbing temperatures. It was truly a great day for Cannon.
What made this climb come full circle, was climbing it in October. Typically October brings cool temperatures, clear blue sky, and the amazing foliage. Watching the hills change from a sea of green to bright oranges, yellow’s and reds makes this experience even better. I’m not sure what it is about perfectly dry rock and collared leaves that makes climbing this route so fun, but I invite you to come and see for your self what the Whitney-Gilman ridge is like in October.
Thanks Mat for a great day on the ridge.
Mammut has produced top quality climbing ropes for almost 150 years!!!
The set of Revelation ropes pictured are my personal top choice of ropes for high end multi pitch rock or ice routes. I have used these ropes for well over ten years and my reasons are clear – the Revelation is a high quality lightweight rope with outstanding handling for climbing and belaying. The super dry treatment has a couple of benefits. The ropes are resistant to dirt and water and the slick finish provides exceptional glide and friction properties on the rock. When used as a set – two of these ropes slide with ease through the direct belay device with two climbers in action.
These Mammut Ropes have many features that set them as a leader in the industry and make a big difference for climbers and guides on the rock, ice and alpine routes.
Colorful sheath twines of the Revelation in Ocean and Duodess.
Revelations in action – two ropes used like one.
Grib and Bill climbing Kurts Corner – I am using a direct belay with a self locking belay plate off the master point of the anchor. This allows the two climbers to move together – efficiency and speed is achieved over a long route.
Cannon Cliff – New Hampshire.
Cannon is a high end alpine rock and ice climbing area which stands alone in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire. Cannon is known for longer complex multi pitch routes, unpredictable fractured rock and unstable mountain weather. This adds up to high end excitement in the mountains.
Finger of Fate – the above shark fin feature is hanging on by a thread!!!
Bill, Grib and I climbed the Whitney Gilman last spring. We had an such an amazing day on Cannon we planned this climbing trip – the ascent of Moby Grape.
Moby Grape 5.8 – Grade III
May seem like a simple undertaking when viewed from the guide book.
Actually Moby Grape is one of the longest 5.8 crack routes in the area. There are many difficult cruxes, the route finding is complex, and the length just keep on coming. Nine pitches of quality climbing set you on top of the world – views below of the Pemi Valley and across to the summit of Lafayette.
The striking Whitney Gilman Ridge.
Bill climbing the sharp cracks leading up to the stout triangle roof moves.
Committed to the Core
Mammut USA – - Bill (CEO) and Gribbin (Marketing Manager) at work in the mountains.
Personally I am very proud to be included as one of the sponsored Mammut Athletes and my commitment stands strong. For over ten years I have put Mammut products to the test at my work while guiding and at play pushing the grades climbing on the rock and ice routes. The exceptional quality, innovative design, functionality have made these clothing and technical products stand out as the best in the industry.
Yesterday was a blast – it was a pleasure to get out and climb with Bill and Grib. Another day is in the works for the ice – which is coming fast. Yesterdays cool morning showed a taste to come of the flavor of winter.
Much Thanks to Bill and Grib for believing in Mooney Mountain Guides and myself.
It is the middle of the summer rock season and Cannon is in prime condition. Last week I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days up there. The plan is always flexible and it needs to be this way – as routes can be seeping water, other parties are there and weather can change the plan. Our plans were for the VMC but upon arrival the main wall was soaked from the previous days thunderstorms. We opted for two pitches of Union Jack, then Reppy’s to get our day started. By mid day the main wall started to dry and Tom and I were excited for the Lab Wall. We were able to fire 5 pitches. By then it was time to descend. This was the right choice as when we hit the ground the skies opened up in a deluge. Happy to be on the ground we hike out slowly. The change of plans worked out and we had a pretty good sampling of Cannons finer pitches.
Union Jack – Vertigo start.
Tom working the tight finger crack on Union Jack.
Selfie high on Lab Wall.
Tom on the steep headwall pitch of the Lab Wall.
Traverses protected by old bolts are quite exciting for both the leader and follower.
Waterfalls came down the face quickly.
Terry and I have been a bit fixed on the Rumney scene and we both needed a break from the schist. Moby is a long and fun climb and we had not been on this together in some time. Bright sunshine and a warm breeze it was a perfect day for us to be up high on Cannon. The route was completely dry even up into Kurt’s Corner. It was awesome to move fast and light - on a Monday morning.
Terry getting her day going on the lower pitches of Moby Grape.
Triangle roof pitch – jamming through the crux.
Topping out on Kurt’s corner.
Cannon – there are a few more weeks – maybe two months to get out on a dry ice free Cannon. Join me for a tour of this amazing alpine rock playground.
I must say I have an absolutely fantastic job. Yes guiding rock, ice, mountains is not for everyone. This is what I chose for a career and it is weeks like this past one that showcase how good a guides work can be.
The people – my guests – these folks are what make each day interesting, engaging, and fun. They all have a choice of who to climb with and I do feel very special that they choose to spend a day in the mountains, on a climb with me.
A huge Thank You is in order to all the guests who climb with me and the guides at Mooney Mountain Guides. I/We do appreciate your choice and climbing with each of you is a blast.
Jerry – aka the force – a driven man who loves to climb. Whether is be the rock, the ice, or big mountain faces in the Alps Jerry loves it all.
Aubrey – trains hard at home and plays hard when he gets out. A busy man running his business but still manages to find the time to get out on the cliffs to refresh the mind.
Charlie – our second season together – Charlie is on his way to becoming a major player on the stone. This week we crushed the routes at Rumney and with three upcoming sessions planned – new personal heights will be gained.
Ryan and Amy – new friends – on the Whitney Gilman.
We enjoyed a fantastic day on Cannon together. Amy was challenged but maintained her focus on the big stone. Ryan and I swapped leads and worked on transitions and systems.
Ryan on lead the final pitch of Whitney Gilman.
A special day for Ryan – Happy Birthday!!!
Thank you all for spending your time with me. This was amazing week of guide work/fun in NH.
Franconia Notch and Echo Lake viewed from the Hounds Hump Ridge. The Eaglet and Flatiron are two of the many granite formations perched high above the valley floor. This area is absolutely amazing with alpine rock climbs of all types. The steep granite faces of the Flatiron, the wide cracks and awkward chimneys on the Eaglet, airy free hanging rappels all test a variety of movement and technical skills.
Aubrey and I were looking for a multi pitch climb of the unusual sort. A climb that we had not been on for a while would be nice and if possible a new pitch or two would top off the day. The Eaglet came to mind as the start to a perfect outing. The weather was good and it even held out for us. In the afternoon we bagged a new route ( for us) on the Flatiron Wall called Salt Packed Pig Sack a beautiful 5.8 climb.
The slab in center named the Flatiron and the free standing spire on right called Eaglet
Jagged formations loom overhead above our belay area.
Manky anchors – as they say buyer beware - we set up our own to be sure.
Chimneys and under cut overhangs – Aubrey in action.
Three points make and anchor – well maybe. These pitons are a piece of NH climbing history.
Aubrey busting a move on the crux of the final pitch.
Aubrey arriving on the summit – just enough room for two.
Me – prepping the airy rappel set up.
The descent from the Eaglet Spire – 180 feet rappel to the base.
Afternoon clouds boiled up around us.
The radar looked great so we opted for a few more pitches on the Flatiron.
Aubrey climbing Salt Packed Pig Sack – leave it up to Jon Sykes and you get a name like this.
The route is 5.8 and is one of the finest face climbs in the Notch. The protection is good and the vantage point is incredible.
Aubrey – very psyched at the top of this amazing pitch.
The approach and descent weave the way throughout this boulder strewn forest.
Hounds Hump Ridge as seen from the bike path.
The visitors center leads folks to the viewing point for the Old Man. We choose a different path one that offered a birds eye view of the entire Franconia Notch.
Thanks to Aubrey – it was an awesome day climbing with you.
Marc and I met up last week to get two awesome days of climbing.
Marc warming up on pitch one.
Marc – top of first pitch.
Exciting traverse to the belay anchor.
Marc high over the Black Dike area on the Pipe pitch.
Marc at the top of the Whitney Gilman!!!
Mooney Mountain Guides calls this blog posted trip the New Hampshire sampler – a day of sport climbing, a mountain adventure, and an alpine rock day on Cannon Cliff. This three day action packed event is not one for a week heart or mind.
Steve is a motivated man, when he sets his sights on a climb, a goal, a project he gives it 100+ percent. This was crystal clear from the beginning. United a not so favorite airline of his canceled his flight earlier this week and within a short time Steve was in the car racing from New York to New Hampshire. The weather pattern was solid, a mid week break from Peppercom was needed, and the body and mind were ready to climb.
Rumney Rocks was the first stop on Tuesday. The skies had cleared from the weekends low pressure and the cliff was drying out fast. A visit to the Jimmy Cliff got us off on the right tune, Bonsai was next with a fine display of sending a project by MMG guide Alex, and then to complete we ventured over to the Main wall for a steep technical face climb that put on the first of many pumps during the week.
A quick cardio workout romping up the Clippidy Do Dah!!!
Main Cliff action as Steve nears the belay.
Off to a good start.
The great weather continued on Wednesday which happened to be our Mt Washington mountain day. To both our surprise the mountain was in late winter condition with snow and ice covered trails from the Cog Station to the summit. There has been over 1 foot of new snow since May first which is quite unusual even for the rock pile. The new snow along with brisk temps and a stiff breeze make us feel like we took a step back in time by a few months.
Thanks to Julbo for keeping our vision in order – excellence with eyewear for mountain travelers and more.
Bluebird skies, wild rime ice, all in all a spectacular day.
The summit cone was tough – bear down and keep on trucking.
The prize Steve’s 13th time on the summit
The base area – four thousand feet lower – in spring time condition.
Our third day – time to ramp it up!!!
Cannon Cliff is New Hampshires finest alpine rock area. Our 1 hour approach to the Whitney Gilman wanders up the steep talus field to the base of the serpentine ridge. The WG ridge is a classic old school 5.7 route first completed in 1929. This was our last day objective and we were set to take it to the top.
All the movement skills are put to the test climbing on Cannon. Cracks, faces, loose shattered rock, wildy exposed moves as one works back and forth along the 600ft ridge climb. The Whitney Gilman Ridge can make one feel like they are climbing in the Alps.
The final pitch – Steve jamming and liebacking the final corner to the top.
The descent – snow and ice again?
Micro spikes on the Guide Tennies was the ticket home.
Steve and MMG guide Alex blasting home on the return.
Steve has come to New Hampshire many times to climb with MMG. This trip was one of the finest, it was
full of SERF – Surprises, Educational, Rewards, Fun time for all.
Thanks to Steve – for this amazing three day sampler.
The Whitney Gilman Ridge – a New Hampshire Classic rock climb for sure. This route receives many ascents over each season, at times there can be 4 to 5 parties on the route. One would think the rock is solid and sound but I find that the ridge is a heads up experience that requires precise movements and route finding up the stone. There are many areas that the climber must tip toe there way through the section to avoid creating rockfall on themselves and others below. Cannon is know for this adventure type of climbing and it is one reason many climbers have high respect for the area.
This was my second time on the route this week and each time I climb the ridge it is a truly amazing and fun experience. Over the years I may very well have logged 75+ ascents. It is through knowing the route this well that allows me to be able to guide guests with confidence up this wild and exposed terrain.
Mike and I met early this morning in Plymouth. Right of the bat he gave me a large package of the homemade cookies his wife Amy had baked for me. This day was shaping up nicely, the good treats and fun times began right away. We drove up 93 to the notch. The 1000 ft talus approach was a full warm up for our bodies, we arrived at the base at 730am and had the route to ourselves. I prefer to climb the ridge in 6 pitches, with each pitch ending on a comfortable ledge. This gives us good communication while climbing and good spots to recover and refuel. The technical part of the route usually take s 4 to 5 hours and today we arrived on the ridge top at 12:30. Mike enjoyed a great climb, full of exposure and three challenging cruxes.
First views of the wall.
Our delicious homemade power cookies – Thank you Amy
Whitney Gilman – Cannon Mountain NH
On the talus approach – a good pre climb full body warm up.
Videos, cameras, phones – lets log this event.
Wide cracks right on the deck – ready, set, go.
The Twin, a favorite rope system – The Mammut Twilight’s in action.
Guide Tennies doing the work, keeping me lighter and comfortable with excellent performance.
Mike managing the ropes.
Climbing on the spine of the ridge.
The exposed north wall – looking into the chasm.
Pitch number six – on top of the world.
Bring hoodies and bug spray – there were a few around.
Mike – Great to see you thanks so much.
Last summer I had the pleasure of climbing Moby Grape with father-daughter team Steve and Bridget Curley. You can check out the post here: http://www.mooneymountainguides.com/blog/cannon/riding-the-granite-time-machine-at-cannon/. On Saturday Bridget returned to Cannon with her sister Sharon for a fine sampling of granite cracks. Climbing is a family affair with the Curleys! The day was hazy, very hot and humid: more reminescent of mid August than early June. Never the less the motivation was high. We cranked out some true classics: The first few pitches of Duet, the first two of Union Jack, Reppy’s Crack, and Slow and Easy.
Sharon and Bridget at the base of Duet after cruising its
first few superb pitches.
Sharon launches up the wide first pitch of Union Jack
Bridget sizes up the steep and polished layback crux of Union Jack’s awesome second pitch
Hot, tired and happy! Descending Cannon’s massive talus field after a great day.
Thanks for a great day out, Sharon and Bridget. I look forward to climbing again with you soon!Cheers,
Derek Doucet, MMG